Ready for a Breakthrough

Earlier today, I wrote 126 words in 5 minutes. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but that’s on pace for 1500+ words per hour and that’s exceedingly good for me. EXCEEDINGLY. My average pace is more like 300 to 500 words an hour. In fact, I’ve never written 1500+ words in an hour before. Although it’s possible I’ve written 126 words in 5 minutes before, I certainly haven’t done it while timing myself.

What led me to this today was some journaling I was doing in Evernote where I revisited the typing speed versus writing speed debate I have with myself on a fairly regular basis. Don’t bother hacking into my Evernote account, because all you’ll find is a lot of rambling notes I’ve written myself and what amounts to a diary’s worth of angst over my writing woes. Seriously.

Selected excerpts from my notes to myself today:

Typing speed versus writing speed

I know I type faster than 50 wpm most of the time. I could even time myself to see what it comes to, as I write random stuff from my brain. I voice all these words, by the way, as I type them. I wonder how much that slows me down as I write?

Anyway, off to test my typing speed. I’m going to set a timer for 3 minutes and just type and then do the math.

I got 188 words in 3 minutes. That is a speed of 63 wpm. Not that great to be honest. I thought it would be more. I definitely need to start practicing my typing with some typing exercises.

So, my top speed possible in a hour would be about 3,760 words. If I did 50% of that, that’s 1,880 words. This might be “hard” but it is totally doable. Completely and totally doable, and I need to remember that. And 1,880 is 470 words in 15 minutes.

So why can’t I? There’s no reason. I can do it. I absolutely can do it.

While I’m waiting on my coffee to brew I’m going to try this again, slower, and see where I end up.

Okay, 122 words in 3 minutes this time. Much slower, and I deleted some stuff as I was writing just to get that in there. That felt more like real writing and yet it was still 2,440 wph. To turn that into my average speed, I can only be writing at 23% of my slow speed. That’s 15% of my top speed. Which makes no sense. I have to be letting my mind wander a ridiculous amount while I’m composing for that to be possible.

I think I can hit 2,440 words per hour. Probably not all the time, but I can definitely hit it some of the time.

Here’s the thing. I think I’m chasing the wrong ideal here. I don’t think putting all my effort into trying to make myself want to write for the sake of writing is the answer.

I enjoy competition, and competing with myself is just as good as competing with other people, possibly better, because I’m not comparing myself to anyone but myself.

Okay, I’m going to do some writing. What is my goal?

I’ve deleted lots, so really I should just write. I am going for 200 words in 5 minutes. If I keep typing and stop letting my mind wander, I should be able to do that. If I managed to type at top speed I could type over 300 words in 5 minutes. That would be AWESOME.

I’m going to give it a shot.

I wonder what I might gain from forcing myself to write really really fast and not worry about it being nonsensical. Would I get better at it as time went on? So that I could in a sense train myself to write super-fast and it make sense? This is something to think about.

I just wrote 126 words in 5 minutes. That’s the equivalent of 317 in 15 minutes. That is GOOD! If I kept that up for an hour, that would be 1512 wph.

Yeah. It was kind of boring. But it was also very interesting to me, because it wasn’t hard—although I admit it was hard to keep my focus on exactly what I was writing for even 5 minutes, but I did it.

I think it’s time to start working on a breakthrough in my writing speed.