Monday, December 28, 2015

13 Tips to Write Faster

Do you want to write faster? Are you struggling with completing your novel, or are you working on the sequel and it's taking you twice as long as the first book to finish?

I'm always looking for ways to get more out of my writing time, and recently I discovered "13 Things I Learned About Writing Faster" by Veronica Sicoe. It's a great starting place.

What follows is her list shuffled into my order with a few additional thoughts added.

  • Make writing your Top Priority 
  • Writing first thing in the morning is HUGELY helpful
  • Life doesn’t care about your writing time
This doesn't mean shun your family. It does mean treating your writing like a business even if you have a regular 9 to 5 job. Set a schedule and do your best to stick with it, but be prepared for distractions.  The earlier in the day that you can start working toward your writing goal, the more likely you are to meet it.

  • Having a great outline is half the victory
  • Your first outline isn’t necessarily a great outline
  • Separating decision-making from typing does the trick
  • Conversational tone is the fastest to write and the easiest to read
Before you sit down and begin writing for the day, have an idea of where you want to end.  Work that out in your downtime between writing.  I start with a outline so basic that it hardly deserves to be called one. It just gives me a focus for the beginning, middle and ending of the story. As the story progresses, I flesh out each part.  It's like planning a trip to Disney World. You want to make all of the major decisions before the first day of vacation begins so that you can enjoy the trip.

Stick with what works best for you. Everyone has heard "Write what you know," and that applies here. If you are going to stretch your boundaries (and you should), do the research before you sit down to write.

  • [Placeholders] are your [friends]
  • Social media isn’t [your friend]
  • Perfectionism is the death of creativity
In the words of Gold Five from Star Wars, "Stay on target."  Your writing time is for writing, not for research, watching videos of cats or editing.  If you need to remind yourself to double check something later, then stick a placeholder in and leave a comment.  I use [XXX comment XXX], but you can use anything you want. Just make it unique enough that it is easy to search for.

  • What gets measured gets managed
  • Celebrating progress is VITAL 
  • Knowing “it can be done” is a great motivator
Record your progress each time you write. I like to track words and time spent. Some people prefer to track scenes. The key is to decide on a goal and then track whatever you need to measure to make sure you reach that goal. Commit to meeting those goals. Make yourself accountable if only to yourself.

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to keep yourself motivated.  The first thing to remember is that it can be done.  There are authors with 9 to 5 jobs, who take care of their family and have a social life that can finish a couple of books a year. Once you start tracking your efforts, you'll see that you can do it too.

To see Veronica's original list, check out her post at