Small and short-term goals have always been lauded as the way to achieve success, but I was curious as to just how effective it would be for writing. After all, I am a dawdler and procrastinator extraordinaire, so I am always in need of help to start writing. Out of this desire, nay, this need, to stop procrastinating, I decided to try a month-long experiment.
Around YouTube’s AuthorTube and Writing Community channels, many authors recommend joining and hosting live writing sprints. They said that it serves several purposes.
1) It makes writing seem like a less lonely endeavor.
2) It encourages the sharing of success, creating a motivational atmosphere.
3) It can create a competitive spirit between writers to see who can get the most words written. And finally,
4) If you plan to eventually monetize your channel, hosting writing sprint streams greatly increases your watch-time and your chances to gain subscribers when you interact directly with an audience.
On April 26th, I tried streaming through StreamYard for the first time. It worked with no problems, so I created a schedule that I would follow through the end of May.
I hosted live writing sprints Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 1-3 PM EST. I did this every week for 5 weeks. During the 4th and 5th week, I added in a stream on Sundays because I was feeling so motivated.
I set up a spreadsheet so that I could track the amount of words written in each sprint, the length of the sprint, and the stream length. The nice thing about spreadsheets is that the formulas can do the math for you (I’m not mathematically inclined).
I started the experiment with 41, 131 words in my WIP.
Total Stream Time: 8 hours
Weekly Word Total: 8,443
Avg. Words/Hour: 1,055
Writing Time in Stream: 5.5 hours
Productivity % (Writing Time divided by Total Stream Time): 68%
I was pretty impressed by these numbers, but I was sure I could improve those numbers in week 2. (This was an added benefit of tracking the small goals. I could compete with myself to improve.)
I hit 50,000 words in the WIP, and worked in mostly on taking notes for different scenes and chapters all throughout the book.
Total Stream Time: 6 Hours
Weekly Word Total: 7,176
Avg. Words/Hour: 1,196
Writing Time: 4.4 Hours
Productivity %: 73%
At this point, I had written over 15,000 words in 14 working hours. The number was staggering to me. I hit 60,000 words in my WIP on Friday (3rd stream for the week).
Because I was so motivated, I started to attend more writing sprints hosted by other authors (but I am only analyzing the numbers from the streams I hosted).
Total Stream Time: 6 Hours
Weekly Word Total: 7,942
Avg. Words/Hour: 1,323
Writing Time: 4.5 Hours
Productivity %: 76%
The steady increase in my average word count was a motivational factor in why I decided to add a weekend writing stream. I just couldn’t wait to get back to writing, an emotion which I had not felt for the longest time.
At this point, I had written 23,000 words in 20 working hours. (Now if only it was all in one day, I would have won the 10K day challenge twice!)
I finished writing 5 chapters during this week. I realized if I continued at this pace, I would finish writing the entirety of the draft by the end of the month.
Total Stream Time: 9 Hours
Weekly Word Total: 9,472
Avg. Words/Hour: 1,052
Writing Time: 6.7 Hours
Productivity %: 74%
I added a Sunday stream, so I streamed four times in week 4. My average words per hour was the lowest that I had written so far during the experiment, but it still maintained the 1,000+ words per hour.
By this time, I had written 33,000 words in 29 working hours. I hit 70,000 words in my WIP on Sunday (the first stream of the week) and 80,000 on Wednesday. I finished nine chapters during this week, and only had a few chapters left to write.
Total Stream Time: 9 Hours
Weekly Word Total: 9,366
Avg. Words/Hour: 1,037
Writing Time: 6.2 Hours
Productivity %: 69%
It was interesting to see that my numbers were very close to those that I started with at the beginning of the month. However, I know that a good bit of this was due to increased interaction with the audience of the streams.
I hit the 90,000 word mark on Monday’s stream. Initially, I thought I would be finished on Wednesday, but I completed the first draft on Friday, May 29th.
I wrote 42,399 words in 38 ¼ working hours on my writing sprint streams. That is an overall average of 1,108 words per hour. My overall productivity time was 27.4 hours, or approximately 72% of the stream time.
I more than doubled the total amount of words in my WIP this month. I wrote 2.4 times the amount of words, to be exact.
Starting Point: 41, 131 words
My Sprint Streams: +42,399
Attending Other Sprint Streams: +16,094
Completed First Draft of WIP: 99,444 words.
Most authors know that it is hard to make a full-time living just through writing. YouTube has created an opportunity for authors to network, market their writing, and eventually (1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours later) begin to make an additional stream of income.
But when a channel is small, it is often hard to get discovered through the algorithm. Other authors on YouTube recommend hosting live writing sprint streams help increase the channel’s visibility through instant interaction with your audience.
Everything I read and researched indicates that posting videos often and consistently is the key to having the algorithm promote your channel.
On April 26th, when I started this experiment, The Dawdling Writer YouTube Channel had 32 subscribers.
As of May 31st, I have 87 subscribers.
That is nearly 3 times the number of subscribers! (2.7 times)
On April 26th, The Dawdling Writer YouTube Channel had only 23 hours of watch time for the last 365 days. That’s only 0.5% of the 4,000 watch hours required for channel monetization.
As of May 31st, the channel now has 229.4 hours of watch time for the last year. That’s 9.97 times the amount of watch hours!
My Thoughts after the Experiment
Was this experiment worth doing? Absolutely, yes! I was able to accomplish a great deal of work. I met some new friends online. My channel grew.
And most of all, I finished the first draft of my novel! All with the help of the short productive time periods known as writing sprints.
Will I continue to host live writing sprints?
Yes, although I will also be using the time to edit and revise for draft 2, plan the sequel, write blog posts, and generally be productive in the writing world.
So, please, if you feel like joining in on a writing sprint session, come on over to The Dawdling Writer YouTube Channel and join me MWF 1-3 PM EST, or Sundays 2-4 (and sometimes 5) PM EST.
Inspirations for Writing Experiments and AuthorTube
Kate Cavanaugh https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrE_yfPzL-aGQtk80lF_Khw
Aphrodite Lee https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqjagOB4HljbzjcOG8aKpqQ
Camille Myrick https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChpgGoWm-scUGSPMj-PDOiw
Brooke Passmore https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwxbU2zO6l5DNgq8IN6f8Uw
Liselle Sambury https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6jB0_XTYU6QjnM6OS0kX4Q
Sarah Scharnweber – Author https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3dCHpzDUTJwhUzHa4VoxGQ
Becca C Smith https://www.youtube.com/user/beccacsmith
These ladies were the first ones that I encountered in “AuthorTube,” and the ones who got me hooked.
Some of the People Who Encouraged Me Greatly
A Screenwriter’s Journey (my very first live stream viewer!) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9oKMtpvH_G0aKmPxqunr9A
Alli Earnest Writes https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCGoNRMVwQez41A8KYEi5Wg
Author Abigail Ford https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClzSnErMjp2EaE8Vv4W06Bg
Hannah R Palmer Author https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtBU-jvG-ssBpqI_iEF-rYA
Life of Angelina https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzL8XqAExoU5NAVI4qNHF0w
Better Days Are Here
Thank you so much for being encouraging and welcoming!