In these days of indie publishing, the more books you have out there, the more money you can make. But, how can you write faster? Can you really write books quickly that don’t suck? By following the strategies below, you can churn out multiple novels a year and get them out to your readers. Here’s how.
One caveat before we begin. While this article will show you some tips and tricks for writing more books, and getting more work in front of your readers faster, that does not mean that those books shouldn’t be good. You should still hire an editor or proofreader, and you should still rewrite and polish as necessary. Cool? OK. Now, let’s get to the meat and potatoes.
1. Turn Off Your Internal Editor During The Writing Process.
If you stop to edit during the writing process, to finely polish every sentence and phrase, you’ll never get to Chapter Two, let alone ‘The End’. Silence your internal editor to write faster. Just let the words flow for now, without regard for the occasional typo or whether or not it actually makes sense. Once you’re done, you’ll be able to go back, judge the entire book as a whole, and tweak where necessary.
2. Find More ‘Butt-In-Chair’ Time.
You don’t actually need three solid hours in your home office in order to write. All it takes is 15 minutes here and there to write at least 250 words. Maybe you’re in the waiting room of your doctor’s office, in line at the bank, or waiting in your car to pump gas. These are prime times to get a little writing done. Using your smart phone’s text function or even the voice notes function, you can “write” 50 words here or 100 words there. Add it to your master file when you get home.
It all adds up and, before you know it, you’ve got a novel.
3. Plan First, Write Later.
Most writers will tell you they are either a plotter–one who creates a meticulous scene-by-scene outline of every book before they start writing–or a pantser, who flies by the seat of their pants, making things up as they go along. I believe most writers are a little of both, and outlining ahead of time can sure make the actual writing go a whole lot faster.
Don’t like the word outline? Me neither. Create a beat sheet instead. This is basically just a list of scenes you know must happen in your story. During the actual writing process you can flesh these scenes out, and write the connecting scenes.
Detailed character descriptions come in handy at this stage, too. When you’re on a roll on page 37, you don’t want to have to scroll back to page 2 to see what color you made your protagonist’s eyes.
4. Leverage Technology to Help You.
It really is the best time to be a writer. There is plenty of hardware and software to help us write more from anywhere on the planet. Here are just a couple.
Scrivener. I just started using this, and I’m already hooked! This software is the best tool for writers since moveable type. It lets you move effortlessly between your outline, manuscript and research notes without opening other programs on your computer or dealing with stacks of papers. Learn more at http://www.literatureandlatte.com.
Digital recorder. These are great if you’re constantly on the go, like commuting to a day job or ferrying your kids around. Record story ideas or even dictate your novel.
5. Give Yourself a Deadline.
Deadlines are important for one very good reason: they work! You don’t need an editor or publisher to set the deadline. You can set it yourself. So, set a date for the finished manuscript, roll up your sleeves, and get to work!
6. Go Public.
One of the best ways to follow through with something is to tell others you are going to do it. Now, everything is on the line and you must deliver. Set a task, say, to write a novel in 30 days. Then, tell your family and friends. Announce it on Facebook and on your blog. Check in there from time to time to let everyone know how you’re doing.
7. Turn off the Internet.
The Internet is absolutely essential for things like research and connecting with readers, but it can be a massive time sink for everything else. When you’re writing, refrain from checking your email, Facebook, or that collection of catbeard photos until you’re done with your writing for the day. If you absolutely can’t resist, turn off your router or go someplace outside the house, preferably in a wi-fi free zone.
There you have it, seven steps to writing faster than ever before. Even if you only implement two or three of these methods, you’ll start creating more work in no time. Just remember: Don’t forget to edit!
James Palmer is a freelance writer, author, editor and publisher. He has written marketing copy, articles, and fiction. He has also guest blogged for the Make a Living Writing Blog. He is editor of the anthologies Monster Earth and Betrayal on Monster Earth, as well as the author of the Kindle e-book How to Write Faster! 30 Tips and Tricks for Writing More Books in Less Time. A recovering comic book addict, James lives in Northeast Georgia with his wife and daughter.