500 word minimum

To help them stay focused and productive, some writers give themselves daily minimums. In a recent issue of Writer's Digest, author Hank Schwaeble said he uses 500 words a day as his minimum. When most authors do this, they have little to no expectation that those are 500 "publishable" words. That is, they don't think they will be polished or won't need editing. I'd go so far to say, they might not even have an expectation to publish them at all. It's more about just making sure you log time doing the most basic unit of work - writing - so not all your time gets taken up by editing, revising, contacting editors, or other administrative work. Different writers do it for different reasons.

There are some other examples of how people in our industry use quotas like this. Jerry Weinberg’s Rule of Three is one: "If I can’t think of at least three different interpretations of what I received, I haven’t thought enough about what it might mean." And I have some similar rules for chartering that tell me that if I don't come up with at least X test/charter ideas, then I haven't really explored the problem enough. I would never expect I'd execute all the charters I come up with, but because I'm a believer in overproduction and abandonment, I feel it leads to better work on my part.

Think about different aspects of what you do on a day to day basis and see if there are any areas where you might benefit from overproduction and abandonment. What "minimums" could you put in place to help you get better at developing more test ideas, or help you better execute certain tasks, or just help you break through a wall you might have while learning something new? Sometimes setting aside judgments about the quality of your work, and just getting time logged doing it, can be an important step at becoming more effective at it.