Last weekend my RWA chapter, Central Ohio Fiction Writers, hosted Allie Pleiter, inventor of the Chunky Writing Method. The Chunky Method is a way of scheduling your writing time to make yourself more productive, based on how you naturally write–in big chunks or small chunks.
The size of your natural chunk can be determined by how many words you can write on a normal day before you run out of energy/creativity. In the absence of writer’s block or incomplete research, which will stop any writer from moving forward, each writer will still hit a point where they just run out of steam.
Big chunk writers, according to Ms. Pleiter, can write thousands of words before that happens. Small chunk writers run dry after only a few hundred words–or even less.
But, she says, don’t despair. By figuring out which kind of writer you are, you can adjust your writing schedule to make the most of the way you write.
Big chunk writers typically need big chunks of time to produce words. They need time to get into their story world before the words start coming. They also, often, need a dedicated space to write and a minimum of distractions. Once those things are in place, they are fiction-writing machines.
Small chunk writers, on the other hand, can sit down in a coffee shop and start batting out their word count on a moment’s notice. They don’t need warm-up time or a dedicated space, so it’s much easier for them to schedule multiple chunks in a single day.
Not sure which kind of writer you are? Ms. Pleiter suggests tracking your word count for five days. Sit down and write till you run out of steam. If you average over a thousand words per session, you’re a big chunk writer; less than a thousand suggests you’re a small chunk writer.