Thursday, November 17, 2016

Writing Full Speed ~ #LynnCrain #amwriting #NaNoWriMo

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! 



Maureen said...

Great post! I love hearing about other's writing process. I agree. For one, cyberspace is a huge distractor for me as well. I can get on to looking at something and be lost for way too much time. Sometimes if I really need to focus I will set a timer so I get out. I can also write really fast when I'm focused- and it requires lots of editing, but it does get words on the page. Congrats on your NaNo win!

Nancy Gideon said...

Great post, Lynn. Boy can I relate. "Squirrel!" I love the writing process but that seductive social media can just Hoover your whole day away if you let it.

Diane Burton said...

Lynn, what a great post. I admire your dedication. I could write all day, I have the time since I don't have an outside job. Just because I have all day, I don't write all day. Too many things luring me away--social media is the worst. Squirrel. LOL Congrats on winning NaNo.

Taking time off: We all have the need to grieve. You can't force getting back to "normal" after a loss. Don't beat yourself up because you can't write for a period of time. The Hospice counselor told Hubs he couldn't help me get over it (loss of the 3 Moms within 18 months). You can't "get over" a loss. You just deal with it, and it takes as long as it takes. Hugs on your losses.

CJ Burright said...

I'm in awe of you, Lynn. 2,100 words an hour?! If only I could form words as fast as I can type (I've been clocked at 100 wpm)! Unfortunately, I work FT and help out with my husband's business PT and write too. It's a tough balance, but you're right about how easily it is to be distracted. Writing time is precious.

Lynn Crain said...

First let me thank all of you for stopping by. I love it when I have comments.

Maureen ~ Yes, cyberspace is one of those great distractions. I do think it has to do with having so much out there. The research is never ending! And it depends on how much I'm focused on the story in terms of editing. I find if I slow down a little, I can write well and nearly perfect. Sometimes, I just want to write fast and get it down! Again, thanks for stopping by.

Nancy ~ Yeah, the 'squirrel' thing is awesome. One of my past critique partners used to love that term and we'd always have a laugh. Social media is something writers can really binge on and it serves absolutely no purpose unless you have a focus. I find myself following threads that were legitimate to start but ended on some weird tangent. Thanks again for reading my post.

Diane ~ There are days I'm not sure I'd call it dedication but more determined. LOL! In all the years I've wrote for NaNo, this will be the first where I actually offer up the manuscript I'm working on to confirm the win. And yeah, taking time off for life is just as important as not. We all must do it sometimes. Thanks again for dropping by.

CJ ~ Nah, don't be. It's just that sometimes I feel like a dog with a bone. I don't know if you have dogs but I have one who I can give a bone right after dinner and he'll have it gone before bedtime 4 hours later. And don't get me wrong, there are stories where I just drag my feet and don't want to get it done but most of the time, I stay focused. I also feel anyone can do what I can especially if they are short on time. Thanks for reading my post and commenting. I appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

Great advice! I got hemmed up by the election and behind, but decided to keep plugging away- running the music through the TV helps, too!

Lynn Crain said...

Thanks for stopping by, tamvanhorn!

And I so understand getting hemmed by the election. Doing one's civic duty can be time consuming. LOL! I'm glad you were able to continue writing. Music is a good motivator as is TV. Happy that you can make it work for you.

Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment. It means a lot to me!

Elizabeth Alsobrooks said...

Congrats on your NaNO progress and as a first-timer, I really enjoyed your post! Thanks for sharing and keep on NaNoing!

Lynn Crain said...

Thanks, Elizabeth. Congrats on being part of the NaNoWriMo family. Glad to have you. Thanks for enjoying my post. Hopefully, it helped to give some insight on just how good NaNo is for your writing.

See you in the winner's circle and thanks for stopping by.