Editor’s Note: Each blog post that appears in this series was written before the pandemic and civil unrest took hold of the nation. We may be isolated, but we’re still united, working together to create an even better and healthier future. NSA-IL hopes this content will help you remain steadfast as you move toward a “new normal.”
Writing a book can be a daunting task. What will you write about? Once you decide what to write about, how will you find the TIME to write? In this post we’re going to answer that second question by describing “The Chunky Method.” The method was created by National Speakers Association member Allie Pleiter.
She fell into the authorship space accidentally and then, through successfully publishing over 50 books, discovered “The Chunky Method” which works for fiction, nonfiction, writing blog posts or articles and more. It’s all about finding creative chunks of words to write at one time. Many people think that you “can’t add structure to creative processes” which this method proves isn’t true.
The Chunky Method is Born
Some of Allie’s skills were honed in her former career of grant writing because it’s such a deadline-oriented business. The bulk of her work has been in category romance novels. That industry requires you to stay on track and regularly achieve writing goals to be successful in the industry. Allie needs to write four books a year and achieve all her contractual deadlines. Allie’s husband is an engineer and pointed out that Allie’s success as an author came from her ability to project manage her writing process. It’s about taking a huge task and breaking it down into chunks.
What makes the Chunky Method so successful for speakers and writers is that it is energy based. Rather than time-based chunks, it’s based on how many words you can get onto a page before you run out of juice. It helps you confidently create a writing schedule that’s not going to ask more of you creatively than what you’ve got to give each day. Without recognizing that you could write for a three-hour chunk and run out of energy halfway through, which is one thing that adds to the daunting side of writing a book because if you’re burnt out creatively you don’t end up with a good product.
Because she was so driven and great at hitting writing deadlines other people started asking her how she stays on track, so she began informally training people. Her unconscious competence was becoming conscious and the Chunky Method was born and eventually became a workbook for authors and aspiring authors.
What is the Chunky Method and how can YOU apply it?
Allie says the Chunky Method isn’t some “super-secret handshake”, it’s creative common sense. It’s a simple process for creative people to work as they already work when they’re successfully writing. It makes the structure personal to them instead of them trying to force their writing efforts into someone else’s format of writing a certain time a day, a special length of time, etc.
Simply put, the Chunky Method is about gauging your creativity and discovering how many words you can get out before you run out of steam. Once you know that then you figure out how many chunks you need to get out to write the final product that you want and how to schedule time to successfully achieve your deadline.
The first element is all about the discovery sessions. Decide on five times that you’re going to write your chunks and keep track of how many words you get out before your energy starts to drop. One isn’t enough to tell you, the average of five sessions gives you a good idea of where you stand. Put yourself in your idea writing environment – alone in your office, in a public coffee shop around other people, etc. Write at different times of the day for the five sessions. Sometimes people that always write in the morning discover that they’re actually more creative in the afternoon and vice versa.
The second element comes from the movie Finding Nemo. Are you Nemo’s dad Marlin, who has a specific goal, is a very linear thinker and stays focused on one thing for a long period of time? Or, are you Marlin’s friend Dory who jumps from thing to thing quickly? There’s no right or wrong, it’s just about figuring out which one you are. Marlins are often big chunk writers (1,000 words or more) who tend to need their own space. Dory are frequently small chunk writers (less than 1,000 words) who tend to work well in public spaces.
Once you get those things figured out you can create a daily and weekly to do list that reflects how you naturally work. This plan lets you know what you need to do and when you need to do it, which lowers your stress level and makes you more dependable along with other benefits. Then you can stay at the level that you originally discover or work on getting your chunk numbers up.
- The Chunky Method ensures that writing doesn’t drain the energy you need for speaking
- Knowing how you’ll fit each day’s chunk of a long-range goal (like writing a book) into the full scope of tasks you have to accomplish helps to ensure it will get done
- Creativity doesn’t have to mean chaos – organization and structure actually helps you be more productive
When creative people add more creative outlets to their lives it tends to positively affect other areas of their lives. Speakers become happier, executives get more done and your life overall is filled with more effective creativity and happiness. When you know how to meet deadlines using the Chunky Method, your confidence increases and spills over to other projects in your life and that boosts the overall results that you get with all your endeavors.
About the Guest
Bestselling international author Allie Pleiter honed her productivity skills in the world of popular fiction, where she still releases four books a year. Her well-known Chunky Method system trains writers of all kinds to formulate plans and meet deadlines in a way tailored to their unique working style. To date over 1.5 million Allie Pleiter books have been sold around the world. Allie holds a BS in Speech from Northwestern University.
Now, professionals in a variety of industries benefit from her unique momentum-based systems of time and task management. She runs an active coaching practice helping creative people be more productive, and productive people be more creative. Already a national speaker among writing associations, Allie now extends her reach to entrepreneurs, speakers, academia, consultants, and anyone who needs to bolster their productivity and creativity in a demanding marketplace.