Tuesday, October 20, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015 Prep: 5 Tips for Writing Faster by Anna Durand

Naked Writing: 5 Tips for Writing Faster

Want to write faster? Read on if you dare, if you can shed your writing inhibitions and strip down to the bare essentials of creativity. You've probably heard at least snippets of the debate between so-called plotters and pantsers. Well, I have a radical suggestion for you.

Forget the pants. Take it all off!

Welcome to the world of naked writing. It exists in a realm beyond the reach of the plotter/pantser debate, where typos are not shameful and changing your plot mid-draft is perfectly acceptable. Once you get the fundamentals down, like grammar and punctuation, then you've crossed the border into serious writing. Time to strip down to your creativity birthday suit!

Back in September, I challenged myself to write a complete 20,000-word story in five days (read my blog post about it here). I succeeding writing just over 20,000 words in five days, which comes out to about 4,000 words per day, and finished the first draft of Dangerous in a Kilt. At that rate, I could write 50,000 words in twelve days – since I averaged a little more than 4,000 words per day during my writing challenge. That's less than two weeks to finish a NaNoWriMo-length challenge. And I didn't write ten hours a day. I have a day job, so that's not feasible for me. I carved out three to four hours each day for writing.

How did I train myself to write faster? Everyone needs to develop an individual method that works for them, but I'm going to share my method. If you are a perfectionist, as I once was, you may freak out when you get to #2 on my list of tips, but I encourage you to think long and hard before dismissing it as nonsense. There's a reason I called my blog post about my writing challenge "Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist"!

5 Tips for Writing Faster

  1. Eliminate distractions. "I can't get rid of everything!" you might scream. That's true, but if you start with the basics and expand from there, you'll find you really can live without your cell phone and Facebook for a few hours every day. Turn off your e-mail. Close your web browser. Send the kids to grandma's house. Lock the cat and dog out of your work space. Turn on music to drown out noises. If you use Scrivener, as I do, to write your drafts then you can put it in full screen mode to block out on-screen distractions.
  2. Assassinate your inner perfectionist. I debated whether to make this #1 or not, because this tip is crucial to writing faster. If you don't think you're a perfectionist, think again. You probably are — at least partially. Research can wait (make a note of things you need to check). Fixing typos can wait (don't let me catch you going after that misspelled word). Screwy character motivations and plot holes can wait. Seriously, all of it can wait. We have a little thing called editing. Stop fearing it and USE it. You can't edit if you don't have a finished draft. Assassinate your inner perfectionist. Yes, I am advocating murder here. That red-eyed devil on your shoulder must die!
  3. Assassinate your inner procrastinator. Here we go again—embrace your dark side and destroy the other devil on your shoulder. You know which one I mean. This devil whispers "hey, we deserve a break to read People magazine" or "ugh, we're so tired, let's take a nap." To write faster, you must keep writing. You can read about Kim Kardashian later and if you're really tired, drink some coffee or (my favorite) Dr. Pepper. Jump up and down a few times (you'd be surprised how well that works). Crank up the volume on your favorite energizing/motivating songs. My favorites include "Love Runs Out" by OneRepublic and "Sweeter" by Gavin DeGraw.
  4. Adjust your expectations. If you've never written more than 200 words in a day and/or you don't write every day, then don't expect to write 4,000 words per day right off the bat. I needed a year to work my way up to writing faster and my 20,000-word challenge was the culmination of much hard work on #2 and #3 on this list. Last year, I decided I would write something every day, no matter how little it might be. The funny thing? The longer I did this, the more I wrote every day. Now I can write 4,000 words or more in a few hours. Set feasible goals and don't punish yourself if you sometimes fail. Take NaNoWriMo as an opportunity to practice writing faster, rather than as a deadline you must meet. You'll get plenty of those from editors, trust me!
  5. Have fun. Yes, the universe has given you permission to enjoy writing. If you aren't having fun writing the first draft, then I suggest taking a step back to see if the story you're working on is really a story you want to write. Yes, writing is hard work and sometimes you'll feel like you're digging a trench with your bare hands, but those are the moments you need #5 the most. Change a character, tweak the basic plot, switch from first person to third or vice versa — whatever it takes to make writing fun. After a year of pushing myself to write more, I've reached a kind of Zen place where — horrors! — I even enjoy the editing process. While editing, I don't write new words every day, but I am accomplishing something with my work-in-progress.
I hope these tips help you find success during NaNoWriMo, but remember this. Failing to reach the 50,000-word mark is not failure. However much you write in November, you have achieved a milestone, whether it's 1,000 words or 50,000. Celebrate your achievements. And above all, enjoy yourself!

About the Author

Anna Durand is an award-winning writer, a freelance librarian, and an audiobook addict. She specializes in sexy romances, both paranormal and contemporary, featuring spunky heroines and hunky heroes. As a member of Romance Writers of America, she volunteers for two of its chapters—as membership chair for Hearts Through History and social media chair for Outreach International. In her previous life as a librarian, she haunted the stacks of public libraries but never met any hot vampires hunting for magical books.

Book Info

Intuition (Psychic Crossroads, Book 2)

Torn apart by their haunted pasts, Grace Powell and her fiancĂ© David Ransom are struggling to reclaim their passionate bond and build a normal life — one without danger and paranormal powers. But David can't renounce his obsession with hunting down Karl Tesler, who abducts and tortures psychics. David endured Tesler's tactics himself, but despite what Grace believes, he's not out for revenge.

Tesler covets her unprecedented abilities and her mysterious connection to a source of limitless psychic power. David will do anything — even abandon and lie to her — to protect Grace from Tesler.

With a psychic stalker on her trail, Grace charges into a desperate mission to uncover the truth about David's obsession. But Tesler's agents are closing in on her, and a terrifying new enemy is rising…

As events drive Grace and David toward a battle of epic proportions, they must risk everything — their relationship, their lives, and even their souls — to defeat an enemy who wields unspeakable psychic power.

Intuition is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Google Play, Smashwords, Kobo, and All Romance E-Books.

Excerpt


Grace rolled onto her side. Her nose bumped into David's pillow. She drew in a long breath. The spiciness of his aftershave flooded her senses, along with another scent—a subtle, masculine smell unique to David. Indescribable. Delicious. Warmth suffused her, seeping into her heart and mind, smoldering in parts of her that ached for him. She inhaled another draft of his scent, her body responding as if he were there, caressing her. He may drive her nuts at times, but…

Oh, the way he kissed. Her lips tingled from the memory of it.

A chill whispered over her skin. Every hair on her body stiffened. Her sixth sense burst out of its slumber, clanging alarm bells in her psyche. Someone is here.

She bolted upright and whipped her head left and right. Nobody there. She swung her legs off the bed and pushed up onto her feet, nabbing her .357 Magnum revolver from the bedside table. A chill trickled down her spine. Eyes watched. Invisible, ethereal, but real. She turned toward the doorway. Nothing lurked there.

Why couldn't she pin down the source of the sensation? Her paranormal radar was blanked out, as if overwhelmed by input. Psychic energy crackled through her. Behind you. She whirled around, thrusting the gun up, clamped in both hands, and confronted—

The lamp.

Hell. She'd let her unease blossom into paranoia. Nobody hunted her anymore. Probably. Tesler wouldn't find her here. Her cell phone buzzed. A text message had arrived.

David. She snatched up the phone, tapping the screen until the message popped up. As she scanned the words, a shiver rattled through her.

"Come to me," it said, "I can help you. 1325 Meroz Road."

She didn't recognize the phone number the message came from, and no name was given. Oh sure, she'd rush right out to the address texted to her by an anonymous whackjob.

The phone buzzed again. Another text message: "Your lip is bleeding."

Her lip? She dabbed a finger on her mouth. It came away wet. Blood stained her skin. How did the texter know she bit her lip? Her heart pounded. Without moving, she searched the shadows for a figure, a camera, something to explain this, though she knew she'd find nothing. A thick curtain shielded the window. The person sending the messages could either see through solid objects or had another means of viewing her. Extrasensory means.

The phone tumbled from her hand, clattering on the floor.

No, she was jumping to conclusions. An intruder must've stolen into the house. With the revolver in hand, she sprinted out of the bedroom, down the hallway, through the kitchen, and into the living room. Vacant. All vacant. She rushed back to the bedroom and dug through the closet, scoured the dresser, even dropped onto her belly to investigate the space under the bed. No cameras. No stealthy intruders. Not a damn thing. Which left her with one unthinkable possibility.

Maybe she should call the police.

What for? They couldn't help her with this kind of problem.

"You belong with me."

She jumped. Her head smacked into the bed frame. She clutched the gun tighter. Where had the voice come from?

No, no, no, not again. Nausea swelled in her stomach, bile rising high in her throat. The voice did not originate in this room, or from outside. The source was much, much closer. Someone rammed the words into her mind.

A psychic intruder just hacked her brain.

1 comment:

Barbara Bettis said...

Your suggestions are excellent, Anna, but I'm still in awe of those of you who can produce so many words so quickly--in any form. Loved the post.