These days, it’s not just novelists and academics creating books—publication has become a marketing tool for all kinds of businesses. But how do you get those words out of your head to become articles, books, or curriculum?
Here’s a powerful system for tackling this issue: The Chunky Method.
What is your Chunk?
Your “Chunk” is simply how many words you write in a single sitting before you run out of creative energy. Most of us have a consistent chunk, and that can be the basis of some very effective planning. Once you give yourself a few experimental sessions and average the output, you’ll know your Chunk—and that’s half the data you need.
Are you a Big Chunk writer or a Small Chunk writer?
This distinction is the other half of the information you need. Based on my experience, if your chunk is 1000 words or greater, you are probably a Big Chunk writer. If it is less than that, you are likely a Small Chunk writer. Their needs are different.
Big Chunk writers, who must totally immerse themselves in the words to make progress, need:
-a dedicated space to work. Banging out your passages at the dining room table annoys you.
– a specific environment. You require silence or a certain kind of music around you when you write. A shared, messy, or a make-do office won’t do.
– an extended period in which to write. You need a big block of time to find your rhythm. It’s frustrating to find a large enough span of time to write every day.
– proper ergonomics. Long sessions mean you need a chair, desk, keyboard, mouse, monitor and lighting that helps your body rather than hurts it.
Small Chunk writers tend to be more adaptable…but prone to distraction. They take life, work, and writing in smaller bites and often juggle multiple projects. You can:
– write anytime, anywhere. Coffee bars, park benches, libraries, airplanes—any setting works for you.
– easily tune out distractions. You don’t need pleasing music (or silence)—you can tune out and crawl inside a project anywhere.
– write often. Small spurts fit your writing into a busy life. A daily word count works for you, but cramming for a deadline probably won’t.
– use any tools. Tablets, notepads, laptops, even index cards or cell phones —ergonomics don’t make much difference, so you’ve got lots of possibilities.
Big Chunk Writers aren’t better or more committed than Small Chunk writers, they’re just different. But both need a plan that takes their styles into account.
Use Your Chunk to Make a Plan
There’s an old joke “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” That’s a silly example of how to apply the Chunky concept to your text—whatever size it may be. Using a 50,000 word manuscript as an example, here’s how a Chunky Method Plan works:
Word count: 50,000
Chunk: 500 words
50,000 divided by 500 = 100 chunks
This tells you that it will take 100 Chunks to finish your project. Now decide how many Chunks you can accomplish in a week. Let’s go back to our example 500-word-chunk writer—we’ll call her Wendy Writer for the moment—and see how long her 50,000 word manuscript will take her to write:
- If Wendy gets 2 chunks per week, it will take her 50 weeks, or just under a year.
- If Wendy gets 3 chunks per week, it will take 34 weeks—roughly 9 months.
- If Wendy gets 4 chunks per week, she can finish her draft in 26 weeks—half a year.
The true power of this tactic is that you don’t have to write the whole thing right now, just this week’s chunk(s) of it. You’ll be amazed how empowering this smaller goal can be. Any spreadsheet or even a simple calculator can help you plan, but if you’d like help formulating your Chunk and the path to a completed project, I’ve created a free Chunky Calculator you can download. Simply text CHUNKY to 22828 or click here. You’ll be on your way to greater productivity and a sound plan in no time.
Bestselling author Allie Pleiter has written over 30 novels and non-fiction works, selling over 1.2 million books world-wide. Aside from teaching her popular Chunky Method of time management for writers, Allie works on as many as four books at a time. How? By fitting small “chunks” of writing into a busy life—accompanied by coffee, knitting, and lemon meringue pie. She is the author of The Chunky Method Handbook: Your Step-by-Step Plan to WRITE THAT BOOK Even When Life Gets in the Way. Visit her website www.alliepleiter.com for more information.