Before we start, I want to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving in the US. This is the week we truly remember everything we’re thankful for…and yeah…Black Friday may be one of those!
As you can tell, it’s National Novel Writing Month for many writers, including many here. While we’re all talking word counts and getting things done, it might surprise some of you to find out I’m already at my 50,000 word goal.
I’m sure some of you are thinking ‘Wow’ but you really shouldn’t as any of you can do this. See, I write full time. If I don’t produce things don’t get done, blogs don’t get posted and I feel my life isn’t going like it should. So I write nearly 5000 words daily on my good days and we’ll talk about the bad ones at the end.
On good days, I get up, grab my cup of Joe and sit down immediately at my computer. My first couple hours are weeding out emails and Facebook posts. If I have time, I will put some tweets in HootSuite to go out but I know if I don’t get to writing right after those first two hours, the day might be lost. And that’s because I love the internet. I love to surf, research, watch TV and do otherwise mundane things that would never normally catch my attention.
I’m like the dog in the movie Up. You know, the one who would be talking to you and suddenly he’d say ‘squirrel’ and off he’d go. The first thing I have to focus is myself on the task at hand. I normally leave open the story I’m working on. Or rather 3 stories I’m working on. Right now, that’s a time travel and two paranormals. Yeah, I’m one of those people who get bored easily, so I’ve always got more than one project going.
Many times that’s a good thing since I tend to finish projects quickly and need something to move on to. But I digress. The fact is that once I’m focused, I write fast. During the time I’m doing my email, I’m also looking at my calendar to see what’s planned for the day. For writing, I put just that down unless I’m under a heavy deadline then I will list the story.
When I open the story, I will review what I did yesterday, go over things that might not have meshed the night before, making notes as necessary for later editing. I do NOT edit when I write. That takes way too much of my time and will get me second guessing what I’m doing with the story in the first place. Writers are their own worst enemies and other than minor corrections, the story needs to get out to critique quickly.
Once I start writing, I can theoretically do 2100 words an hour because I type 35 words per minute. It’s more like half that amount, especially when I’m concentrating on some good plot points. Now, I know some of you are saying you can’t do that. I’m here to say…YES…you can.
Let’s face it, writing is a hard gig and things like NaNoWriMo helps us through motivation techniques. Mainly, they just have a way of getting our butts in the chair to write. I don’t know if it’s the thrill of competing or just the fact it’s a concerted effort by a lot of writers. We have a companionship that most people don’t share.
Writers are solitary by nature. Each of us in our offices with only our social media to remind us there is a real world out there. With NaNo, we get together even though it’s virtually and we talk and we plot and we do sprints and lots of things we don’t do on a normal basis. It motivates us and gives us a high unlike anything we’ve ever felt before.
On those bad days, I’ve mentioned, I get off track and maybe I’ll watch a movie all day. Or do Facebook. Or help with an election. Or a thousand other things that keep me away from my goal. Somehow, I’ve lost my motivation and if I don’t find it quickly, it could be lost for a while. Like when my father died and I didn’t write for nearly four months. Or during my move from Vienna back to the States, another 4 months as we tried to figure out where we were going to live. Or how about the election, which had me paralyzed for four days before I could start thinking positive things.
Yes, those are all life events and sometimes one does need time to figure it out. However, I’ve now got some things in place to help me over those humps and make sure they don’t take longer than a week. First, I limit my social media exposure. I don’t know about you but things there can get me going and upset and geez, why do I ever read it sometimes, I wonder. It has its purpose and I just need to remind myself sometimes to not make it so ‘real.’ Second, I start listening to music. Lots of music. There is nothing in the world that motivates me more than an good song. Third, I’ll watch some of my favorite romantic comedies like Notting Hill or While You Were Sleeping as they remind me of what I’m doing and why. Last, I will read and remember I write well and do okay.
So, I bet you’re all wondering just what the secret to fast writing is…right? Well, the big secret us writers aren’t telling you is there is no secret. Writing has to be a passion and a priority to write. If you want to write fast, it has to be the only priority for the time you’re writing. And with the right frame of mind and motivation, you too can write 2100 words an hour.
All you need is to think you can. And you will.
See you all next month with some Christmas cheer! I’d be happy to hear from you, so don’t forget to leave a comment and you’ll be thrown into my monthly drawing for a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate. See you next month!