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Writing Faster

Writing Faster

I’m trying to learn how to write faster. 

I know faster isn’t always better, but I keep getting stuck in these drafts. I type fast. Often faster than my brain works, but I freeze up. I nitpick over small details. 

No, it doesn’t matter if she’s baking blueberry or blackberry pie. I constantly have to remind myself – you can always change it in the next draft!

So that’s why I’ve become fascinated with techniques on writing fast.

Get it done, then revise!

 

Here are 3 Tips for Writing Faster

 

1. Word sprints – I set a timer and then write, write, write! I don’t let my fingers stop typing until the time is up. I’ve had mixed results with this. 

Sometimes I feel like I’m Lorelai from that Christmas episode of Gilmore Girls (“Monkey, monkey, underpants” anyone?)

But sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised by the ideas that pop out when I don’t edit myself.

I usually set a timer for 20 minutes, but if I can push myself to do 30 minutes, I sometimes can get 1,000 words down.

 

2. Outline – You know that dreaded moment when you don’t know what happens next? That’s usually when I wander onto social media, or decide that it’s SUPER IMPORTANT that I get a load of laundry done IMMEDIATELY! (At least I’m a neat procrastinator, right?)

A complete outline can help prevent those “what happens next?” moments. 

Some people worry about stifling creativity, but an outline is a living document – ready for change at a moment’s notice. I’m on my fifth outline for the current Magic Pie Shop book. (I’ll probably need to practice fast outlining techniques next!)

A good outline is valuable because you can plan your writing day by seeing which scenes or chapters you want to write. It’s also a great way to see your story arc.

 

3. Directed daydreaming – When I’m walking my dogs, or taking a shower, or doing that laundry I so love, I think about my story.

As writers, we’re probably already good at daydreaming. 

But when I take all that imaginative energy and focus it on the next chapter I’m going to write, it can be a really productive use of my time. I can get excited about the characters and the scene. Sometimes I identify plot holes and how to fix them. That way, when I sit down at my keyboard, I’m ready to go full speed.

What are your tips for writing faster? Please comment down below!

Writing Update and Goals!

Writing Update and Goals!

I work seasonally as a parking lot striper. It’s a wonderful, but sometimes exhausting and unpredictable, job. Now that the snow has fallen here, I am fully focused on my writing projects and freelance work. I freelance as a developmental editor, and I’m taking on new clients now. If you know anyone who is looking for a developmental editor, send them my way!

I’m also working on the third book in The Magic Pie Shop series.

Book three feels like it’s taken a long time (probably because it has). I’m so close to wrapping it up now, I can almost taste it — and it tastes like blueberry pie!

December is also the month I begin to plot out my goals for the next year. I’m very excited about 2020. I have a feeling it’s going to be a wonderful year. I think this time I’m going to set both monthly and seasonal goals (with maybe a couple of daily goals sprinkled in).

I’m still working out what all of my goals will be, but I already know that one of my big goals will be to complete two manuscripts next year. I’m posting it here, so I have to do it. There are no take-backs once it’s up on the blog.

Comment down below, I’d love to hear from you! How do you set goals? What are your goals for 2020?

How Our Pets Help Us Write

How Our Pets Help Us Write

As writers, we often spend our time alone with our imagination – which is wonderful, don’t get me wrong – but every now and then it helps to talk to a living, breathing being. And yes, I mean our pets.

As I’m typing this, my dog is sleeping next to me. She’s snoring so loudly, I’m longing for a nap of my own. This might be a case where she’s not actually helping me improve my productivity…

My dog has listened to me go off on angry spiels about the terrible thing my characters are doing to each other and excited a-ha moments that leave her wagging her tail and hoping for a treat. (For the record, I do sometimes reward my dog with a treat when I make a major breakthrough because she helped me get there with her patient listening and well-timed snuggles.)

Talking through plot problems out loud can be a huge help. Or sometimes when I’m feeling stuck, I serenade my dog with my made-up song, “What Should I Write Next?” She usually only lasts through the first verse before seeking shelter in a quieter part of the house.

Do you have a pet? Does your pet help or hinder your productivity? Share in the comments below!

How to Keep Your Novel Notes Neat!

How to Keep Your Novel Notes Neat!

(and no, it’s not with sticky notes)

Let me start by saying, I really do love sticky notes.  I use them all the time for notes, plotting, and random doodles.  At this very moment, my office space is covered with colorful reminders courtesy of sticky notes.  

But as I edited book 2 (A Slice of Christmas Magic, coming out later this year, eeek) I discovered a new helpful tool – spreadsheets.  

I originally wrote the first two book in the Magic Pie Shop series in quick succession.  The details of the characters and the setting stayed (mostly) clear in my mind. Then there was a gap between the time they went off to my editor and the time I was editing them, and some of those details I thought I’d never forget had faded.  

I started making notes.  Notes on my outline, notes on my characters.  What color were Lena’s eyes again? How many tables did the pie shop have?  

These notes got lost in pages of a notebook and sticky notes that fell off the wall, and I still struggled to find the information I was looking for.  Then even when I did find it, I sometimes struggled to read my own handwriting. Does anyone else have handwriting that’s really neat when you’re focused, but looks like a full on toddler’s scribble fest when you get excited and write quickly?  I knew I had to try something different.

I started keeping track on a spreadsheet.  

Not only were my notes legible, but I could also cut and paste lines directly from the manuscript.  I kept separate tabs for the main characters, supporting characters, and settings.

The plot tab was really helpful – especially when editing.  I put each chapter in its own column and filled each cell in the column with scene notes.  I was able to see where additional scenes would work. Then I highlighted the added scenes so I would know that I still had to write them.  

If I were to do it again, I would start a spreadsheet as soon as I began writing book 1.  It would have definitely saved me some time. I’m always exploring different writing techniques so I can figure out what process works best for me (check out my post 5 Ways to Get Unstuck in Your Writing), and keeping notes on a spreadsheet is something I highly recommend – especially if you’re writing a series.  

Do you keep notes when you write?  Where do you keep them – notebooks, sticky notes, chalkboards, spreadsheets, somewhere else?  Share in the comments below!

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