Friday, July 27, 2007

Writing faster

I have a really limited amount of time on my hands these days… largely due to my expanded family. Whoever said newborns sleep a lot should be shot..

So when I do have a free moment, I have to think carefully about what I want to do. The usual answer is work on my current WIP. Which is what I’ve been doing.

What I would love to know is how to write faster. I really have to work on this, because right now, a book is taking me close to eight months start to finish and I really have to shave two months off that.

Lots of people write several books a year and raise families, so I know it can be done. I think it’s a lack of focus on my part. I sit down to write and my mind wanders and I take breaks and check email, and all of a sudden my time is up, and I only have four pages written in two hours.

Molly is great at writing fast, three books a year, and she has said what helps her is having a computer disconnected from the internet, along with deadlines.

Other people leave the house, go to a coffeeshop where they have nothing to but work. This works really well for Maureen.

Me, I work in spurts. I have great weeks, and really pathetic weeks. Some weeks I get to the computer and can focus on what I'm doing and get tons done, other weeks, I find surfing the net irrestible when I should be writing.

What does help me is having a specific goal when I sit down to write. Knowing exactly what scene comes next, and what needs to be accomplished in the scene. If I sit down to the computer with only a vague idea of what comes next in the book, I'm screwed.

Does anyone have any other ways to keep focused and write faster? I'd love to hear them.

5 comments:

Christyne Butler said...

Hey there,
I'd love to write faster too, but yes, the www gets in the way at times.

One if my tricks is to use my timer ina 2 for 1 deal. I set my timer for 30 mins when I first get on the computer. That's all the time I allow myself to check email, visit my yahoo groups and check blogs. Then the internet wire is disconnected from the laptop for 60 mins of writing. After that I can get back into the www for 30 mins (hopefully I'm so into the writing I skip the second 30 mins!)

Another trick I use is because I tend to hear my characters talking in my head, I'll sit down and get all the dialogue done first. Sometimes its nothing but 'talking heads' and no one but me knows who's talking but it gets pages done. Then I go back and fill in the body movements, internal thoughts, etc.

Okay --- gotta run...I'm down to 9 mins! :)

Kimber said...

I only write during my summers off so I have 4 months to write a novel and a novella (and I'm a 3 drafts minimum girl).

That means I plan out those four months.
I break them into daily goals,
write those down on my infamous to do lists and stick to them.

What happens when I fall behind?
I "punish" myself by not allowing myself to do anything else until its done.
That meant, for example, missing out on an exclusive Harry Potter event one of my bookseller friends invited me to.
My own fault and yes, I caught up.

Maureen McGowan said...

I still have two schools of thought here... Sometimes I think the key is writing faster and sometimes I think that putting so much pressure on myself to do so, leads to me making big mistakes or doing sub-par work.

Wish I knew...

Christine d'Abo said...

I write fast only if I have a really clear picture of where I want to go with my story. If I hit a road block, then I'm staring at the screen.

Sinead M said...

Thanks for the tips, Christyne and Kimber. The timer idea is really good.
Christine, I hear you, if I hit a roadblock with a scene, everything slows to a crawl.
I wish I knew as well, sometimes I think we just write at the pace we write at, and other times I'm pretty sure I could be writing faster..

Oh well, hopefully I'll figure it out

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