Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Productivity. How to get the editor off your shoulder to spit out the first draft
This week we declare war.
Cheryl here. This is one week when it is OKAY to ignore an editor. I’m talking that internal editor (IE) in your head who mercilessly pokes your brain with the business end of an imaginary red pen at all the mistakes in your manuscript. That perfectionist creature in you who (rightfully) aims for excellence in fiction. Said editor will be a wonderful, crucial asset at the self-editing stage. But for now, for the purpose of attempting to double-handedly type an entire book in a week, ignore it.
Read: your IE is hereby deemed The Enemy. For one week fight it.
Great links to articles on disabling your IE:
Turn Off Your Internal Editor and Write Your First Draft Faster
Use Three Words To Bypass Your Internal Editor
How To Bypass Your Internal Editor
My added advice for BIAW:
Be brutal with time management
Break the bonds of your backspace key. Deem it off limits.
Unshackle your ability to free write. Use prompts if needed.
Wipe out weapons of mass distraction. Stay offline.
Seek and destroy incoming schedule missiles. Tell everyone you’re unavailable for a week and then do not answer the door or phone.
Tell your family to call ONLY in the case of a life-threatening emergency. Tell your teenager the fact that they forgot their PE clothes is NOT an emergency. If they have to run their mile in flip-flops, they’ll remember their tennis shoes next time, guaranteed.
Eat and sleep right.
Schedule the upcoming week’s blog posts in advance. Send message explaining you’ll be MIA for a week in order to do BIAW.
Type in the dark. I’m serious. Then you won’t see what it is you feel the compulsion to fix. LOL.
Write on an Alphasmart if you have one or borrow if able.
Type with noise-cancelling headphones on to drown outside distractions.
Type with music on to block IE’s voice unless music distracts you.
Think forward. Type forward. No looking back. No going back over the work either mentally or by reading/proofreading. Push the forward momentum. Watch your work snowball into a story you never thought you could write that fast.
Writing well will happen after you complete your mess draft.
Give yourself a strenuous daily word count. For instance, to write a 70k BIAW, you need to write 10K words a day. Figure your necessary daily word count and meet or exceed it.
The average typist masters 2000 words per hour at leisure. If you work 5 hours a day without distraction, you’ll meet your goal. Or write 6 hours per day and take brief breaks.
If you work, getting a book out in a week would be worth taking a few vacation days. Just a thought. How desperate are you to publish?
I didn’t watch TV for three years before I sold. I gave TV time up and became brutal with my online time. I disabled IM and went “no mail” on most loops. What can you give up this week in order to have uninterrupted hours to write?
TIME IS YOUR MOST VALUABLE COMMODITY.
Spend it wisely. Don’t waste it on unproductive activities. I’m serious, people. Playing games on Facebook will NOT lead to a book contract.
If it makes you feel better, stick a note on the door that says, “Warning. Deadline house.” Then ignore laundry, dishes and cleaning chores screaming for attention. Learn the art of ignoring. At least for this week. Say no to everyone who tries to infringe on your time unless God taps you on the shoulder and tells you to pay attention or break free. Literally, clear your schedule and warn your friends and family that you are hibernating for a week and can’t be disturbed.
No exceptions. No procrastination. No excuses. I wrote three books in a two month time period with all the tendons injured in my hands after a car wreck when my hands went through the steering wheel but my fingers didn’t. I also had two surgeries in the midst of that. If I did it, you can too.
Give yourself permission to write messy. Aim for edit-free writing.
After you’ve been writing for about four hours straight, something begins to happen. The more you write, the faster the words will come. Here is a daily word count for the sixth book in Wings of Refuge:
4,218day 1 total
9,765 day 2 total
15,153 day 3 total
23,829 day4 total
36, 306 day 5 total
49,405 day 6 total
64,708 day 7 total
Cut to 58,900-final word count
So you see that the more days I wrote, the higher the word count happened each day. Don’t look back. Don’t look around you at everything that needs to be done. It can wait a week. Trust me. Don’t let anyone cut out in front of you as you race to the finish line for this BIAW.
Cook a week’s worth of meals for your family or clean your house top to bottom before you start if that helps ease your guilt factor. Secure safe childcare for your children and attend to anything they may need that week early. Free yourself up.
Those totals broken down by day:
Day 1 approx 4k
Day 2 approx 5k
Day 3 approx 6k
Day 4 approx 8-9k
Day 5 approx 12-13k
Day 6 approx 14k
Day 7 approx 15k
You can cut or add later.
My point in showing you this is to demonstrate how, once you’re immersed in your story for hours and then days, how your word count will snowball. Not only will you be upping your cumulative word count, but you will be upping your average daily count too. Stay immersed! Do. Not. Edit. No matter how tempted. Do not give in to internal or external distraction. Blow through the story and fix later. If your piling-up laundry or dishes bother you, get thee out of the house. Stay with a friend who will respect your writing time. Or check yourself into a hotel (with no Internet access!) for a week. Then come out with a completed book. I’m serious. You can do this! Knowing you finished a book in a week will be worth the time you set aside.
Focus on finishing. Don’t stop to edit for anything.
It’s possible to write 70k in a week. Once you get going and become immersed, you’ll be surprised at your productivity.
Today I'll be giving away a copy of Noah Lukeman's, The First Five Pages to one Seekerville poster. Winner will be announced Sunday in the BIAW Weekend Edition.