Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Stay on the Write Track: Writing Fast

Thanks to NaNoWriMo, I've been doing a lot of thinking about novel-writing. Not that I don't normally, because hey. I am a career writer. But I've been thinking about the process of writing a book in the environment of deadlines. Yes, remember this: once you become a successful author, you no longer have the freedom to work on your book whenever you want. You must create, and do so quickly, because there are a lot of people waiting for the next book to come out. Not to mention the fact that as a writer, your business is selling books. So you better have a lot of books to sell, and they better be good

I guess the question raised here is, How do I write fast and still retain the quality of my work? This is the art that you must perfect as a writer. You must be able to work within  tight deadlines and intense pressure. Imagine college homework assignments on steroids. It's kind of like that. Kind of. Here are a few things you can do to stay focused and productive. 

  • Keep an outline. When you're working within a limited amount of time, it's important to know where you're headed with your book(s). Outline your basic story plot lines. When you're writing to catch up, you'll save a lot of time if all the major plotting is already done. All you have to do is write. 
  • Stay gold. Don't sacrifice quality for speed. Just because you're writing fast doesn't mean the writing is good. I can write for ten hours at a considerably speedy rate, but if I'm just writing to up my word count, what I'm really doing is regurgitating fluff. It's better to write a little bit less than write a lot more of lower quality work. You'll actually save time by slowing down just a click or two. It will save you rewriting, which is time-consuming. 
  • Stay quiet. Here's the thing. Even though I am definitely capable of writing in noisy places (my home office isn't always encapsulated in perfect silence...), it's not always the best idea. Sometimes, yes. But not always. If I am totally uninterrupted, I can write from the time I get up to the time I go to bed, and everything I create will be high quality creative awesomeness. Really. It's important to set aside "quiet time" to get the heart of your writing done every day. Especially when you're working with a tough deadline. 
  • Get your hours in. As a writer, I was actually finding myself losing track of how many hours I worked a day. Was it ten? Was it thirteen? I don't know. They all kind of meshed together...So I decided to fix the problem. I made sure I got so many hours of writing in every day, and in those hours I was to meet a word count goal. Then I could move onto other tasks, such as editing and all that good stuff. I started off in high school by working at least four hours a day. These days my itinerary has grown and it takes anywhere from six to ten hours to get everything done. Sometimes longer. 
  • Don't force it. Last but not least, if you're not feeling it, don't force it. Sometimes it can take me a full hour to warm up to writing something, so I take that "warm up" time to write something else. Then I come back to my primary task. It assures quality work and keeps my creative though process limber. 


  1. Good for you, Summer! Wish I could be as productive. I've found that if I force it, I end up taking it out later anyway.
    I can't go that long but I try to write when I have bursts of energy, usually cuz the ideas and thoughts are flowing. Readers can tell when you're bored or uninspired--it shows up in the writing.

    1. The only reason I can go that long is because I've "conditioned" myself for it. It's like running long distance for me. If you train long enough, you'll be able to endure longer periods of time writing. But those bursts of inspiration are certainly helpful, haha ;)

  2. Hey, that'd make a great blog post: How do you condition yourself to write for hours (in marathons)? I end up getting headaches and backaches--ouch! lol What's your secret?


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