How I write so darned fast – Part 3
Did I think this would turn into a three part blog post? Heck no. Feel free to go back and read Part 1 and Part 2 before continuing on with Part 3.
In case you didn’t noticed from the previous two posts, I’m a bit of a rambler. I get that. It comes with being me and given that I’ve been me for as long as I can remember, I guess that’s bound to happen.
When we left off we were talking about distractions, music, and communication with those around you. Those are all great for creating an environment conducive to writing. All that stuff is important. Just like in part when when I talk about typing speed and knowing ahead of time what you’re planning on writing. Also important.
You also need to get yourself into the mindset of ‘I’m going to write’. Yes, being able to focus is one thing, but actually focusing is another thing entirely.
For example, you have a job, right? (well, let’s pretend you do have a job even if you don’t). Or you’re going to make something for dinner. (well, let’s pretend you cook). Or you’re going to do something that requires you to be all there when you’re doing that task. You don’t just walk in and hope for the best. You don’t sit at you desk or operate heavy machinery without having some idea what you’re doing or at least some level of competency. And if you’re new, you need to give that job you’re about to perform.
Writing should be approached in the same manner. You don’t just sit and hope for the best. You need to focus on what you’re doing. Yes, I write fast, but one of the reasons is I’ve freed myself of distractions so I can type without being interrupted. Even if it’s for only 10 or 15 minutes, I make those minutes as productive as possible. I can usually get 300-500 words down in a fifteen minute stretch. Why? Because I’m focused on the task at hand.
Think about your job for a minute. When you’re typing an email, or driving a forklift, or operating a machine, does a distraction take you out of that task and make you lose focus? Even if you distract yourself by letting your mind wander away from the task at hand. Are you your most productive when you’re not fully engrossed with the task you’re performing? I know I’m not.
I write code for a living. When I’m typing code and I get an instant massage, I lose focus on what I was doing and it might take me five or ten minutes to get back into the task and try to remember where I was. I’ve lost focus. Or I’ll stop what I’m doing and look my email, or look something up on the web. Again, I’ve lost focus on the task at hand.
But when I’m on my game and I’ve got that laser-like focus, I can type at great speed and things happen in my story.
Yes, yes, I said I’m a discovery writer at times and the story will take a turn I wasn’t expecting, but that does not mean I wasn’t focused on the task of writing. It means I’ve been able to get so into my task, that I’ve allowed my brain to get out of the way of the creative process. One side of my brain is engaged in getting the words on the page (the logical side), the other is focused on making the story happen (the creative side) and when you’re highly focused on writing and you’ve entered ‘flow’, this is when both sides of your brain bring everything together.
Writing, for me, isn’t about treating it like a hobby. If you’re writing for a hobby, any words you write are great! Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking those hobbyists out there. Writing is a wonderful hobby. What I am saying is that if you want to move from writing as a hobby into something you can produce large amount of content (I’m talking 4 or 5 or 7 books a year) then you can’t look at writing as a hobby any more. You need to approach it like it’s a job, but a job you love to do and are excited about doing. That means you need to focus on what you’re doing.
I would keep going on and on here, but I think I’ll save my next topic for next time. What will that be? Goal Setting.
Until Next Time!
How I write so darned fast – Part 2
So yesterday people seemed interested in how I write quickly. I only touched on the topic (yes, 1000 words was just touching on the topic) so I decided to include a part 2. I mean, why not? Sounds like fun. It was, after all, one of my better hit posts and hopefully shed a little light on my process and mentality when I actually sit and write.
Maybe I’ll even be a little more organized today, but I doubt it. 😛
So there comes a time in every writer’s life when they want to get the ideas out of their head and onto paper. I think that’s an awesome feeling. The desire to create is what drives a person to think they can actually sit and write a book. I mean, it’s only 50,000-100,000 words, right? That’s not that many and in a couple months it’s easy to knock those words out and have a book.
Well, it does take practice. It really does. As was proven by Chuck Wendig, you can type fart 100,000 times and have a book.
But if you want to write something that people want to buy and read, that’s a different matter entirely. But the process of getting the words down don’t have to be difficult. Like I said, it takes practice. It’s more than just sitting and typing whatever comes to your mind. These blog posts, for me, are an info dump of what’s going on inside my head. When I’m writing a book, that’s different and took me time to learn.
First thing I need to know when I’m writing something is where is it going to end. What’s the point of the main character’s story? What is motivating my character to get to the end? How is the character going to change.
Let’s look at my giant robot story that I’m currently working on. I started this one last year and I was plugging away when I realized my character had little motivation and everything was being handed to him. A ‘Mary Sue’ story. Nothing bad was happening.
Oh, sure I had ideas on how to mess with him, but overall, his life was really good.
So I deleted nearly 20,000 words and started over. Yes, CTRL+A, DEL!
I still had an idea how I wanted the book to end, it just took me 20,000 words to figure out I was starting the book incorrectly. I went down a rabbit hole and it dead ended on me. Once I understood that, everything fell into place. I had an idea for the beginning, a comfortable feeling how the middle would go, and I thought I knew the ending.
So I typed knowing the general direction of the story. Each time I’d sit and type, I knew the next scene I wanted to write and I would do that scene. If the next popped into my head, I’d write that scene. I’m a linear write. I write from beginning to end. Sometimes I will add additional chapters as needed (or delete extraneous chapters) but that’s when I’m done with the book.
Knowing what I’m going to write really helps as I’ll have already through out some of the dialogue, some of the action, but I’ll let things happen and sometimes I’ll type something that will surprise me. As I said yesterday, those are great moments.
Another big thing that I need when write is time to focus on what I’m doing. This allows my brain to wander around the universe I’ve created and I can get deeper into my characters’ heads. I can see what they see, feel what they feel, and experience, to some degree, what they experience. In order to do this, distractions must be removed from the equation.
How do you do that? First of all, DISCONNECT FROM THE INTERNET! I cannot say that loudly enough. Get off! Shut it down! Have a dedicated computer with no internet connection! Just don’t! Not for research, not for names, not to hop onto twitter and complain that you’re having trouble writing. NADA! Why? This is writing time. Not research time. Not social hour. It’s not time to catch up on what people are doing on facebook. It’s time to sit and write.
Yes, like I said, it takes practice. It also takes discipline.
You want to be freer of distraction? Tell your family when you’re going to sit and write. Turn some music on that’s conducive to a writing atmosphere, and write. If you’ve only got 15, 20, 45 minutes a day to write, you cannot waste that time doing other things. You don’t know what science to use for a scene? Insert [RESEARCH HOW STEAM ENGINES WORK] and move on! Don’t know what to name the farmer down the road? Don’t get hung up on a name Insert [FARMER’S NAME] and move on! Write forward past those things because they’re not important at the moment. Don’t get hung up on something you can go back later and fix.
Again, when it’s time to write, write. Don’t research, don’t look things up, just write. Don’t let that writing time slip past you.
This also is a time you should schedule. You want to write a lot of words? You need to treat it like anything else you want to get done. You want to rake the leaves, you plan on what you’ll do it. You want to go on a date with the Mrs? You need to plan when you’re going to do that. You want to write a book, you need to plan and schedule the time (I usually write from 8-10 if I can swing the time. Sometimes I’ll write right after work for 30 minutes in case I can’t get the time later in the evening. Planning this time helps as the wife and my favorite daughter know that’s my time I’ll be spending writing.
Wow, another 1000 words? I don’t think I’m done yet. Whew. Well, I guess there may end up being a part 3 to this.
Until Next Time!