|Photo credit: Solo on Flickr|
Writing quickly doesn’t often equate to writing well—and depending on what your goal is, that’s ok. Your first draft is nearly always less than gorgeous, and when you’re writing it in a month, that “nearly always” becomes…err…something like 99.953485897347% of the time (which is a totally scientifically proven number).
But the point of the first draft, especially when written during NaNoWriMo, isn’t to write something beautiful—it’s to get the essence of the story down on paper. And when you’re trying to get 50,000 words in a month, doing so quickly is useful, to say the least.
That being said, here are some methods to get those words down on the page:
- #wordmongering—I can’t stress enough how useful I’ve found the #wordmongering hashtag on Twitter to be. If you’d like a full explanation of what #wordmongering is and why you should be doing it, I’ve posted about it before, which is where that pretty blue link will take you. For the rest of you, #wordmongering is a thread where writers get together and start writing at the top of the hour until the :30 minute mark, then share their word counts for that thirty minute session. Something about writing in spurts keeps me from burning out faster and the people who participate in the thread are amazing, supportive people.
Some have asked me if #wordmongering actually works. I tell them the truth: I wrote an entire WIP in just #wordmongering sessions. So yes, I’d say it works (for me, at least).
- Word Wars—similar to #wordmongering, but it’s basically when you get together with another writer (or two, or three, or however many), set up a time limit (15 minutes, 30, an hour, etc.) and race to write more than your peers. It works especially well for those of you who are competitive out there and it’s a fun way to boost your word count.
- Write or Die—I’ve personally never tried this, but I know some writers who swear by Write or Die. It’s an application where you set the punishment for distractions (which can be anything from “gentle” to “kamikaze,” which I hear starts erasing words if you stop writing) and write like the wind. It’s meant to eliminate all other distractions and get you writing, then slap you on the wrist if you start daydreaming to long. Think of it as a personal writing coach.
The only caveat is I recently heard on Twitter about someone who encountered a glitch and hit a button and lost some words…permanently. So I’d say just be careful.
- Don’t Look Back—this is key. If you’re trying to write quickly, you can’t afford to take the time to look back at what you’ve written so far. Writing quickly means you can’t edit yourself—what you put down you put down and you keep trekking forward without so much as glancing back. Pretend that your previous writing is the end of Sodom and Gomorrah—if you look back you’ll turn to salt (and it’s very hard to finish a novel if you’re a pillar of salt). Remember that your first draft probably isn’t going to be pretty, but it’s not supposed to be. The first time around you need a finished draft, not a polished one.
It’s not a comprehensive list, but it’s November and chances are you need to get back to working on your WIP, anyway. J
What methods do you use to slap some words down quickly?