Does any of it really work?
There is no good answer to that question. If there was, we would all be prolific writers and the person who figured out the puzzle of finding time for writing would be a millionaire. The disappointing reality is that some things work for some people, some of the time. But, is there a correlation between how you structure your writing time and the quality of your writing? As a sociologist, I would love to discover a way to determine whether more time to write makes one write better. As an editor, I invite you to reflect on your own experience. How do you write? When do you write? When do you feel most satisfied with your writing?
To paraphrase a line from the musical Hamilton, do you write like you’re running out of time? Or, are you methodical, knowing that if you plan for 30 minutes of writing time you can put 300 words on paper? Think about your current strategies, but before you set your timer for 20 minutes or wake up at 5:30am to write every day, think about when you are most at ease writing, and when you feel the most accomplished. Then, look at your writing. Is the paragraph you spent two hours on better than the one you spent 30 minutes writing? Perhaps you write better when you’re close to deadline because you don’t have time to second-guess yourself. Or maybe you know that you can’t focus under stress, so your writing needs to be completed way in advance.
Don’t force yourself to adopt strategies that will ultimately prove futile, simply because they worked for a colleague, or you feel desperate to have a “system” to prove how productive you are!