With the digital age of publishing taking off with lighting speed, publishers want more books, more articles, more stories. It took me a year and a half to write my first novel. And I’m supposed to be able to write the next in half that?
Turn Off the Fears
So how can we write faster? I think it’s all about using the tools we have and simply writing. Don’t get stuck with that editor in your head that tells you what you wrote isn’t good enough. Just write it down anyway.
Then you’ll have something to work with.
When those voices come that tell you your work is terrible and no one will want to read it, ignore them. Don’t worry if the words aren’t exactly what you want yet. You can always go back later. The important thing is to get them down. You can’t fix something that’s not there.
Tips for Faster Writing:
- Blogging: Since I started blogging, my writing output has increased and my ability to shape a story has improved. It’s an invaluable way to communicate your thoughts and stories to the reader.
- Freewrite your thoughts: Don’t go back and edit until you’ve got your thoughts down. Give yourself a specific amount of time to write, say ten minutes, and don’t stop.
- Technology: With smartphones, iPads, and tablet computers everywhere these days, it’s easy to take your writing with you. I write in random places–waiting at the doctor’s office or at my daughter’s ballet class. I have more than one way to get the words down. As I was waited for a band concert to start recently, I pulled out my phone and typed a few hundred words to my next story. It all adds up.
- No excuses: If your current writing schedule isn’t working, make adjustments. Even if you only have fifteen or twenty minutes a day, you’ll eventually get that novel done if you stick with it.
- Reward Yourself: When you reach a word count victory or finish a chapter in your book, celebrate. You’ve worked hard!
- Get the First Draft Written: It will be awful. It won’t be perfect–far from it. Most people never finish their book because they can’t finish the first draft. They’re too worried about it being perfect. Don’t worry–it won’t be. But once you have the general ideas down, then you figure it all out as you rewrite and revise. Everyone is different, but I can safely say most authors spend the majority of their time rewriting, revising, and editing. For me, that’s usually about 80% of the novel’s life or more.
So give yourself permission to not be perfect and see how you do.
Rachelle Harp is editor-in-chief and co-founder of The Intentional Novelist, as well as an avid coffee drinker. Her speculative fiction has appeared in Havok Magazine and her non-fiction in Chicken Soup for the Soul. She’s got upcoming stories at Galaxy’s Edge Magazine and StarShipSofa. She’s a finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Contest, a Zebulon Contest Novel winner, and a Novel Rocket Launch Pad Novel Contest grand prize winner. Read more at rachelleharp.com or follow her on Twitter.