|Photo credit: 2create on Flickr|
Now I’ve written in the past about the pros and cons of both plotting and pantsing, and for those of you who aren’t too keen on plotting, I don’t think it’s a requirement to intricately plot out your entire novel in order to write quickly. However, as someone who has in the past indeed pantsed an entire novel (and enjoyed the process), I can say from experience that if writing quickly is your goal, it helps to know where you’re going.
The reasoning behind this is pretty obvious—as many of you are aware, I’m sure, the times when we don’t know what to write next tend to be the slowest and most excruciating writing days. They’re the days that we write a sentence, then stare at the screen, then decide we’re hungry and grab a snack, then think maybe I’ll find inspiration on the internet! and spend precious writing time trolling Twitter and tumblr (don’t deny it—you’ve done it). Even when we don’t seek distraction, the times we don’t know what to write next tend to not-so-coincidentally also be the times where you have to fight for every word (at least, it is in my experience).
So by setting down some landmarks and deciding what you’re going to write today ahead of time, you can save yourself the headache of slamming your head into the wall and jump right into the writing bit.
Although I pantsed the last WIP that I drafted up, I decided to actually outline the one I’m currently working on in a checklist format—and I have to say, it has made all the difference. No, I didn’t plan every intricate detail, and yes, I’ve changed things around as I started writing, but having a checklist of plot points that need to happen along the way has saved me huge amounts of time that would otherwise been spent wondering where to go next. With the outline kept close at hand, I have a pretty good idea what I’m going to write every time I sit down, and this has allowed me to really boost my output.
While I’m not writing 10,000 words a day (yet, anyway), this one change (combined with previously discussed speed writing techniques) has allowed me to achieve an average of 900 some-odd words per 30 minute #wordmongering session.
Now, if you’re a pantser you’re probably thinking, but I hate outlining. That sort of ruins the point of pantsing. Which would be true, except I’m not saying you have to outline your entire novel (I did, but you don’t have to).
What I am saying is that before you sit down to write, it helps tremendously if you go in with a good idea as to what is going to happen. For Rachel, it meant writing down a brief list of things that had to happen in the scene she was going to write. For me, it meant looking at the next point on my outline and thinking about how my character would get there and what would happen during the scene before I actually started writing.
And just like that, writing quickly became easier.
What do you think? Do you have any tips for writing quickly?