It’s ironic I picked this subject for a blog post, since I’ve been in a bit of a writing slump lately. Most of the writing I HAVE done has been slow and painful. So, perhaps this post is as much to remind myself to get my nose back to the grindstone as it is to offer up advice.
Normally, I’m a very productive writer. I write a lot of words in the average month, sometimes enough to boggle my own mind. My writing style is such that I usually write a huge amount in one session instead of a little day by day, but I know this doesn’t work for everyone. You have to find your own pace and go with it. I think I like writing in large chunks because it also gives me large chunks of not-writing time in which I can relax and slack off.
People have asked me how I manage to write so much (and I actually do have a day job and an active social life!) so I’ll share some of the things that work for me:
– Get really good at typing. Most of us do the majority of our writing on a keyboard. Typing is a skill that improves the more you do it. I was thrilled when my typing speed actually caught up with the speed of my thoughts. It’s amazing how much work you can get done when you’re able to relay thoughts to the monitor as fast as they pop into your head.
– Don’t edit as you write. This was a really, really hard habit to break–that compulsion to keep going back and fixing things. DON’T DO IT, or 90% of your writing time will be editing time. Save the rewriting and editing for after you get the entire story out. Don’t worry about how crappy it is in production. No one but you will see it.
– Don’t go back and look for details. This is a trick I recently started employing. If I forget a name or detail I used earlier in the story and suddenly find myself needing it on page 50 but unable to remember what I named a minor character or what color a house is, I don’t dig back through 49 pages of manuscript to find it. I just put a note at the spot where I need it and insert it later. Stopping and scrolling back breaks the writing flow.
– Do as much research as you can before you start writing. Sometimes you’ll need to stop and look something up, but doing this constantly will mess up your pace. If it’s not something you absolutely need to move forward, just put a note in to look it up later.
– Be invested in your story. The more passionate you are about the tale and the characters, the faster you’ll find yourself writing and the less you’ll want to stop, or get distracted.
– Seek out projects with deadlines. When something has to be completed by a certain time, it forces you to discipline yourself. I’m personally easily distracted by shiny things, so deadlines keep my eyes in front of me. Even if you’re making personal deadlines for yourself, it helps.
– Write every day, if possible. The more you write, the more of a habit it becomes.
These are just a few things I use to boost productivity. If you have any additional tips, I’d love to hear them!