In one writers’ Facebook group I am in, we have a writer who is producing prodigious amounts of work. She not only has 11 books out under her own pen names, she writes for customers, too. Every time I turn around, it seems like she is telling us about a new book she has up or is thousands of words into her next book.
It’s working for her. She has had 1000 sales already this month, mostly over 6 titles. These are mainly fiction titles, and I know she writes sweet romance, not erotica. The books receive lots of compliments. I suspect within a year she will be retiring from working for others.
So how do we duplicate this effort? One way has got to be increasing our writing speed. Write more and faster. Let’s not worry too much about how good or bad the work is at this point. That’s what experience and revision will improve, if it can be.
Using this as a basis of thought, I took a look around the web to find some tips on improving writing speed. These are my own versions of what I saw or what they made me think when reading them:
- - Next month is NaNoWriMo where writers are encouraged to write a novel in 30 days. This is going to require about 1700 words a day to be written on the novel. Join the site or do you own novel writing challenge if you don’t want to hand in your work to someone.
- - Don’t edit or obsess over details. The details will come out later if they are important, or they can be added during revision.
- - By writing fast, you have to listen to your inner muse. Let the muse take over. Just get the words down.
- - Use whatever helps you get into the flow be it coffee, loud music, the carrot, or the stick.
- - Writing time is uninterrupted time. Tell the family, friends and whoever not to bother you unless, as I say, “blood is spurting or the house is on fire.”
- - Set a target for your writing time, and don’t stop till you hit it. It could be a time period, word count, or scene count. If time, use something to countdown the time for you.
- - Shut down your browser and get rid of anything but the file you are writing on. There are even some ways to darken your desktop with only your writing showing. If your email chimes every time you receive one, shut off your speakers or headset. Turn off skype.
- - Outline before you start so you can just write.
- - Set a regular time to write if at all possible. Make it an appointment and keep it.
- - Don’t try to write the Great American Novel. Just get a short story done if it’s your first work.
- - Improve your keyboarding skills. A hunt and peck typer is not going to be as fast as someone who doesn’t have to look at the keyboard.
Those are just a few ideas to get you started writing faster. Biggest are to set aside a specific time and set a goal. I personally try to write 1000 words on my third book of the trilogy a day. That’s just one thing I write a day but it’s the one for which I set a word count and time period. I also write short stories, blog posts like this one, squidoo lenses, emails, etc. I don’t always get time to do it, but that’s the daily plan.
I also pick my best time of the day to write which is first thing in the morning once I get on my computer. By afternoon, exhaustion can set in. Morning is when I’m fresh and best able to think. Plus my fingers aren’t already tired by all the typing I’ve done. For you, it could be after the kids are in bed and the house is quiet for the night.
One way to improve your writing is to write. By writing faster, you write more which, unless you are like the guy who has one year’s experience over and over, means you are going to learn and improve.
Get at it!