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To be fair, with two notable exceptions, most of my first drafts are on the slim side, from about 40 to 65k (though I usually aim for more than that in later drafts). But as far as first drafting goes, I am, what many would consider, a fast drafter.
So why do I tell you this? Because NaNoWriMo is nearly here. And reaching 50k at the end of the month, my friends, requires fast drafting.
So for those of you who are new to the mystical ways of writing faster than the Energizer bunny on speed, here are five quick tips to help you get through your first draft quickly.
- Plot first. If you’re a committed pantser, then more power to you. It’s not impossible to fast draft without some sort of outline, but if you’re open to plotting before you begin, I highly recommend it. Why? Because put simply, it’s a hell of a lot easier to write quickly when you know where you’re going.
- Don’t look back. No really. Don’t. The key to fast drafting is to turn off your editing brain and write. If you want to make 50k by the end of the month, you don’t have time to fix that terrible first chapter or rewrite that cringe-worthy scene. Right now, you don’t need to worry about writing well—you just need to write. That’s it.
It’s ok to write badly. I promise. Worry about making the words pretty while you’re revising. For now, just get the bones down.
- Write or Die. If you’ve read my blog before, you know about my love affair with Write or Die. I won’t rave about it yet again here—all I’ll say is if you’re even the tiniest bit prone to getting distracted and/or staring blankly at the screen, unsure of what to write, then I dare you to try Write or Die just once.
- Word wars. If you’re on Twitter, chances are you’re going to find more than a couple writers who are participating in NaNoWriMo, or are otherwise writing. We writers love to tell Twitter when we’re actually being productive, and I’ve found that a great motivator to write quickly and stay focused is to have word sprints or word wars with other writers. Check out hashtags like #wordmongering, #amwriting and #NaNoWriMo to find other writers who are getting some words down.
- Daily writing goals: stick with them. And this is the holy grail of fast drafting rules: make a daily writing goal and do everything you can to meet it. For NaNoWriMo, your daily writing goal will likely be 1,667 words (assuming you plan to write every day). If you have Scrivener, you can set a goal and time frame and every day it’ll recalculate the words you need to write to complete your goal (which is pretty shnazzy if I do say so myself). If you don’t have Scrivener and you miss a day, don’t fret—just recalculate your daily writing goal and keep writing.
So those are my fast-drafting tips, now I want to hear from you: what tips do you have for NaNoWriMo (or fast-drafting in general)?
Getting reading for #NaNoWriMo? Here are five quick tips for your future fast-drafting needs. (Click to tweet)
Gearing up for #NaNoWriMo? Fast-drafter @Ava_Jae shares five tips for reaching the elusive 50k in 30 days. (Click to tweet)