The 250 Word Trick: Advanced Level

I've written previously about my million dollar secret of a productive writing day, ie to start off by writing 250 words before I do anything else.

After extensive research, I can now reveal the next step of the 250 word trick, strictly for advanced players only! This is the 250 words per hour trick. At the beginning of every hour, I write 250 words. Then I stop. The remainder of the hour, whether that's five minutes or fifty, is non-writing time. I can vacuum, hang out laundry, have a snack, read a book, go for a walk to the shops, browse the internet - but I am not allowed to write again until the next hour begins.

Strangely, this is a rule that's frequently broken. I find myself writing much more than 250 words in my allotted time, or I take a short break and return to the keyboard before my 'rest' time is up, to add some words that don't count towards my total (because the counter resets to zero every hour). And even if I adhere to it strictly, I can produce 1500 words in my working day.

I think the reason this works is because it removes the pressure to churn out stuff every moment I'm at the keyboard. If I know I'll earn a legitimate break once my 250 words is done, I relax. If I'm sitting at the laptop feeling guilty and lazy, the urge to distract myself with blog-browsing or fatty snacks is almost irresistable.

Structure! Permission to slack off! Low targets! Timetables and rewards! Strict discipline!

Forgive me. I can't help it. I'm a Virgo.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your million dollar secret, Kate. I've been giving it a go this week and - aside from the tummy rumbles associated with writing before breakfast - it's helped me write almost 10,000 words this week. I'm not quite ready for the Advanced Level (I can't trust myself to come back if I start doing something else), but starting each day by focusing on what I'm writing (as opposed to what other people have written in emails, on Twitter, on blogs, etc.) has made a huge difference. Thank you!

  2. Aimee, I'm so thrilled that the trick has worked for you. Now all I need to do is make sure I use it myself!!