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Devcrunch Time – June 2014

If spaced out over the course of an entire Devtome submission round, one only has to write less than three thousand words a day every day. If writing is only done on weekdays, one only has to write four thousand words a day. If one does not write on a regular basis, however, it can be extraordinarily difficult to catch up.

Doulas Adams once remarked that he like the “swooshing” sound that deadlines make as they pass by. As amusing as this may be, it is only funny because it downplays what can be a stressful situation. Putting off writing can have a number of negative consequences especially if you would like to see devcoin generated in your wallet regularly in large amounts.

Another consequence of procrastinating with Devtome writing may not be as obvious. When a large number of people put off submitting work until the last minute it can make it very difficult to approximate how many shares the round of devcoin will be subdivided by. As a result, it can be difficult to guess what one’s earnings may be.

I’m bringing this up because, not only am I attempting to hold to the resolution to submit more regularly, I’d like everyone to join me in this endeavor. If we can all submit our work spaced out evenly across the entire submission round, we might all be able to get a better idea what or compensation will look like when the future payment round is underway. It may be a small thing, but it could be rather nice.

Obviously “all” writers will not be submitting their work in this fashion. No matter what I say or do, there will be some that aren’t ready to confront the challenge. Nevertheless, if more of us submit our work regularly, it may still be helpful.

There are a number of methods of developing good writing habits depending on personality and lifestyle. Some might wish to force themselves to write whenever they get a spare moment so that they write during any opportunity as it presents itself. On the other hand, there are many more who will need to schedule specific times to write and will get so into the habit of writing during those times that they will feel uncomfortable if they do not as if they are doing something wrong.

There are still other people who will need to schedule but, instead of writing down a ridged schedule in a day-planner, will pick a specific point during the sequence of their daily routine to work. This is different from a strictly scheduled period in that no specific time will be laid down but rather there will be daily events which, upon conclusion, will trigger the habitual need to write.

No matter what method is used, the important thing is to make yourself do the work. At first, this may be difficult and require sheer force of will but through repetition it will become automatic like any habit; good or bad. Presumably writing is a good habit but that may be open for debate. I’d give it up if I could.

This particular article is being written, quite literally, in the last few minutes of the submission round. I decided I wanted the last article of the round to be helpful to other writers. I certainly could have written this while not under any pressure but since I am trying to sneak as many words as I can into the last round, the topic of procrastination was a given.

I remember seeing a meme online suggesting that if you feel bad about procrastinating, it might make you feel better to know that Mozart composed one of his greatest works the night before. This is a great way to rationalize something which can have dire consequences. Fact of the matter is; if you procrastinate too much the work may never get done and it is possible that quality may suffer.

When writing a scholarly article which requires proper citation, or some other equally ambitious project, procrastination can greatly impact quality of work. In some other cases, like poetry, if you practice writing it quickly and learn how to put yourself in the creative mode necessary, the work may not be compromised and may actually be improved but you may still run into the problem of running out of time and not getting the work submitted at all.

That having been said, even if you have successfully established regular posting habits, speed can still be advantageous like I mentioned in another recent article. Increasing speed, as well as effectiveness, in writing verse can be managed using the techniques I touched upon in my article on how to write really bad poetry. Increasing speed when writing essays and editorials seems to be more a matter of repetition and practice but creative writing warm-ups are sure to help. Nothing can slow you down more than not having the words come to you when they are needed.

If there is an exceedingly fast method of writing high-quality scholarly articles, I would be quite interested in reading about it. I do not know how much speed can be increased with the tedium involved in such a task but it must be possible to some degree. If I find a method, I will let everybody know.

Another tip which could help ensure timely submissions is to make lists of topics and ideas beforehand as they come to you naturally. This can save a lot of time staring blankly at a computer or wall wondering what to write about. Things that you want to say in the essay can bubble up into your consciousness naturally when you are away from the keyboard. This can be helpful in that it can facilitate speed in writing sometimes. Unfortunately, thinking too much about something can cause it to just be a thing thought about rather than a thing done.

That last sentence was a sort of paraphrase of a quote usually attributed to Bruce Lee, by the way.

If you have any trouble finding ideas for what to write about, ask people in your life what they would like to read. This can be a great promotional strategy as it may increase the likelihood of a friend or acquaintance actually consuming your work. With friends and family being the toughest sell, usually, this can be a rare sales opportunity indeed.

One potential downfall in asking people what they would like to read is that you may be tempted to set your own deadline for the work and tell them what it is. I would urge you not to do this because you may not be interested in working on that specific piece yet and will want to work on something else more immediately compelling. Let us try not to set ourselves up for failure.

A cute idea might be to schedule your time so that all of your writing gets done for the round within one or two weeks. If you write about five hundred words per hour, including time spent researching, proofreading, editing, et cetera, it will take you eleven hours a day for two weeks to get eighty-thousand words completed. If you write about an hundred words every hour, you could get that done, at eleven hours a day, in one week or, at less than six hours a day, in two weeks.

Does not sound so bad, does it? Why is it then that so many of us do not get the majority of our work submitted until near the very end of the round? I suspect a few different dynamics at work. The first, and probably most obvious at the moment, is insufficiently established writing habits. Lots of things can get in the way of you and developing said writing habits. I know my excuses. There are always things coming up to distract me from my work with little recourse.

Another dynamic which could affect one’s ability to submit work throughout the payment round would be those who get all of their writing done throughout the round but then wait until the last week or so to post said work. I do not know if anybody is doing this but I should not have to spell-out that I would prefer you did not use that strategy. Another problem with submitting at the last minute I had not previously mentioned is that there may be a day where practically the entire new articles list, or at least the top of it, will consist of your articles but every other day will have none of your articles. It may be advantageous to submit articles more regularly for this reason as well.

If there are any other reasons work tends to be submitted at the last minute, it escapes me at the moment. I suspect I have named the most significant ones and provided appropriate insight. If anyone would like to give their take on this please do not hesitate to post an article of your own on the subject.

Devtome


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