Key: KNOW that you can do it. If you can talk, you can write. I write around 1000 to 1500 words an hour.
If I’m writing fiction, most of that is fairly good, for first draft material. But it’s nevertheless first draft material. It needs editing. If you can only manage 200 words an hour, that’s more than fine. You’ll get faster as you go.
Here’s your basic writing process:
- Idea generation (know what you’re writing)
- First draft writing
1. Know what you’re writing when you sit down to write
Never, ever sit down at your computer to write, without knowing what you’re writing, and exactly how much you expect yourself to produce.
Consider your creative self to be the genie in the bottle, if it helps. You need to give your genie orders.
For example, yesterday I needed to do the final edits on a novella. I wanted to publish it yesterday, and I did. I had notes on what I had to cover in the final edit, and I just followed the notes.
This morning I did just 1000 words on a new fiction trilogy. I’d done zero planning, so a lot of my fiction writing time was fiddling around, creating characters. I knew before I started that my goal for that project today was a thousand words, so I wrote them.
To repeat: give yourself instructions. Know what you’re writing before you sit down to write.
2. Get uncomfortable: try Write or Die (your word count per hour will go up)
Every month or two, I use timed writing sessions to force myself to write more words per hour. This is challenging. But it works. You can get too comfortable.
Get uncomfortable. I’ve started using Write or Die 2, because I heard good reports on it, and it keeps stats. Write or Die has two sliders, one for the minutes in your writing session, and the other slider is a word count goal for those minutes.
You don’t need an app. Use a kitchen timer, and set it for a time — half an hour, if you like. Then decide how many words you’ll write.
Forcing yourself out of your comfort zone works. Your productivity will increase.
2. Focus on scenes: write the dialogue first
When you’re writing fiction, focus on scenes.
Here’s how to write scenes:
- Decide on the goal you want for a scene. What changes? What emotion do you want?
- Write the scene’s first line;
- Write the scene’s last line;
- Write the dialogue between the first and last line;
- Go back and fill in the extras: emotions, characters’ thoughts, movements, and so on.
The above process works for me, because once you’ve got the dialogue, everything follows from that. I tend to worry too much about characters’ emotions and thoughts. I put in too much, and slow myself — and the scene — down.
Focus on your scenes, and write the dialogue first: try it. You’ll write more, and more easily.
Have fun. 🙂
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