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I write fast as it is. That’s a brag—I think I earned it. I’ve written more than a million words and I’m still in my twenties. That’s probably worth some credit.
But even I was not prepared for how effective writing sprints are for me.
Like, these things are absurd.
A little bit of backstory. I’ve been dealing with the problem of not publishing fast enough to get a good backlog and thus better book sales. I just haven’t been that fast at editing to make it possible. And I would read from these authors who somehow manage to get out books at a rate like one every few weeks.
To me, that sounded insane. And everything I did to figure what shortcut they must be using found no shortcuts. These were 200+ page books, fully edited, with covers and everything.
And that made me sad for a while because I couldn’t fathom coming that close to speeds like that.
But then I learned (still learning to actually use) the magic bullet to at least write that fast. I’ve yet to master the editing part.
And this method may not work if you’re not already a writer with some practice under your belt. It feels like it might be too intense if you don’t have the practice and experience telling tales.
But, if you are a writer who has written for a while, you’ve got to try this. I’m averaging over 1000 words a day in less than a half-hour with this method.
I did the math, and if I used this method for even an hour a day, I would have written a 90,000-word novel (350 or so pages) a month. A month.
I had to read three books on related subjects to figure this much out:
- You need a detailed chapter-by-chapter outline and world bible. You are only able to write fast because you don’t have to think too hard about your plot while you’re doing it. You can “pants” this, but it’s slower.
- You need essentially a locked away, quiet, Wi-Fi-free zone. Or to make a place like that. Turn off your phone, seal the doors, and make sure you don’t and won’t need to pee—because you’re going to be glued to your chair.
- Have a clock with a timer on it that works without the internet or Wi-Fi. Both your computer and your smartphone should be able to do this.
- Dim the lights or turn them off so that everything but the screen and the words are in shadows or fuzzy to the eye. I am very easily distracted, so, if you are too, this can help limit anything that might slow you down.
- Get a saved musical playlist that contains no lyrics and no intense instrumentation. Just something to drown out random sounds but not too interesting as to be distracting.
- Set a timer for twenty-five minutes, make a note of your start time, and just pedal to the metal write, without self-editing or even thinking back on what you just wrote. Create new chapters as you go if needed and stop as soon as the timer stops. I find being mid a scene makes it more tempting to go back to writing the next time.
- Note down all of what you did, every time, in one place. You’ll have redundant information, but note that down, too.
This could change your path as an author and a writer. I have never come across a speed-writing method that works as well as this simple idea of removing distractions and doing it for a very defined set of time.
Seriously, get on this shit.