by S-l-o-w Writer Keli Gwyn.
Are you scratching your head after reading that title, wondering what a pokey writer like moi is doing talking about writing zippy fast? Well, turtle-writer me just spent the past month and a half producing 10,000 words per week so I could get my November Love Inspired Historical to my editor by the deadline.
Not to boast, but the tips below helped me turn Their Mistletoe Matchmakers in a week ahead of schedule! I spent the better part of each of the past 42 days with my nose to the screen, but I achieved my goal. I have a hunch you can produce more words than you think you can, too.
1. Clear your calendar.
If you want to crank out words for SpeedBo, you’ll need to carve out time to write. If you have appointments coming up, reschedule those you can. Don’t add any new ones until SpeedBo is over. Turn down invitations to go out with friends, or postpone the fun until you’ve reached your goal.
2. Ask for help.
If you’re married or have a family, let them know about your SpeedBo goals and how much they mean to you. Explain that you won’t have the time to do everything you normally do. Ask them to take over some of your chores. If you have small children, see if a trusted friend or relative would be willing to watch them on occasion. Perhaps a friend would be willing to prepare a meal. You won’t know if you don’t ask.
3. Enlist your cheerleaders.
Unless we tell others what we’re doing and why, they won’t know how much we’d appreciate their support. Take time to share your excitement, explain your goal and enlist your friends, family members and fellow writers as your encouragers along the way. Let them know that a quick email, text or IM with an uplifting message would be appreciated. Share your progress on social media and here in Seekerville so others can rejoice with you.
4. Lock up your internal editor.
My pesky internal editor sits on my shoulders shouting in my ear. She seems to think it’s her job to point out every repetition, missing comma, dangling preposition and… Well, you get the idea. I like to produce nice, shiny manuscripts. The trouble is that listening to my internal editor slows me down. It can also lead me to doubt myself. Her time will come once I’ve met my goal, but she’s not helpful when I’m drafting a story, so out she goes.
5. Dive into your story world.
Find ways to transport yourself from your current location to your fictional world. Since I write historicals, classical music takes me back in time. If listening to music would immerse you in your story world, create a playlist and go for it. Perhaps having a dedicated writing spot would do the trick—a corner of the couch or your corner coffee shop. Experiment with ways to whisk yourself into your story world. Feel free to share what works for you in the comments.
6. Give yourself permission to be a sloppy writer.
One of the things that slows me down is the desire to produce nice, clean manuscripts. However, my stories don’t start out that way. By telling ourselves that it’s OK to take note of needed changes or tweaks and move on, we can get those words down. At times, I’ll leave myself an ALL CAPS reminder right in the file. As Jodi Picoult and/or Nora Robert have said, “You can’t edit a blank page.”
7. Take breaks.
Sitting at the computer for hours on end isn’t good for us physically or mentally, and it can end up stifling our creativity as stiffness and weariness set in. Get away from the screen from time to time, and you’ll return refreshed. Taking a walk clears my head. So does a rousing game of Bananagrams with my husband. Choose what works for you and enjoy those much-needed breaks.
8. Steer clear of your procrastination pitfalls.
Be it social media, a sudden urge to scrub the tub or an errand you’re sure you need to run right then, we can all fall prey to procrastination. I tend to be most susceptible when I’m avoiding my story due to fears, doubts or a lack of direction. What gets me back on track is sitting down and writing something, even if I turn right around and delete it. What usually happens is that ideas and words start flowing again once the pump is primed.
9. Jump those hurdles.
Life happens: kids get sick, cars break down, story ideas elude us. How we choose to handle these inevitable interruptions or setbacks can make a difference. We can whine, worry or—even worse—give up, or we can deal with the situation as quickly as possible and get back to our writing. The choice is ours.
10. Let go of guilt.
Maybe you didn’t meet your daily word count, but look at how many words you did write. Perhaps you missed a day, but look at how many days you showed up in front of your screen. Rather than beating yourself up for missing the mark, give yourself a pat on the back for attempting something few others would.
Ten is such a nice round number. My Monk-like, semi-OC self loves it. However, because this final tip is so important, I’m going to s-t-r-e-t-c-h myself and give it to you, even though eleven is both an odd number and a prime. (How’s that for a non-math person?)
11. Celebrate your accomplishment.
You signed up for SpeedBo, you plunked yourself in front of your computer for days on end and you added lots of words to your story. Your dedication and determination deserve to be recognized. Dinner out works for me. What would a suitable celebration look like for you?
I’m not an expert on how to write fast, by any means, so for those of you who are (Ruthy and Mary Connealy come to mind), I’d love to know how you do it. What tips can you share with those writers among us who are mere mortals?
If you’re a s-l-o-w writer like I am, what ways have you found to increase your productivity? Have there been times you’ve gotten on a roll and amazed yourself with the number of words you added to your stories? If so, how did that feel?
For those of you who aren’t novelists, I’m sure there have been times when you’ve stepped outside your comfort zones, done things you didn’t think were possible and amazed yourselves with your accomplishments. I’d love to hear about them.
Keli is generously giving away FIVE copies of her latest Love Inspired Historical release, Her Motherhood Wish. Let us know you want your name put in the purple hat! Winners announced in the Weekend Edition!
Her Motherhood Wish
Building a Family
En route to the Double T Orphanage to work on its expansion, carpenter Chip Evans and Caroline Hunt discover two orphaned children—and become their caregivers. But Chip’s determined not to let himself get too attached to the children who just lost their widowed father…or to the lovely woman helping him care for them. Especially since Callie and the little ones just don’t fit into his detailed plans for the future.
Callie can’t help but fall in love with the orphans, and despite her better judgment, she’s falling for Chip, too. Her dreams of being a wife and mother were not quite like this. But Callie believes a plan bigger than Chip’s brought them all together…and now she just has to help him see it, too.
Copyright © 2017 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
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