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November 10, 2013

How to Write Fast Right

Since November means NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month, we thought we’d offer some tips on how to write fast productively.

1. Start with a basic outline. Outlining in longhand is faster and makes it less tempting to keep revsing your outline. Or make a plot grid, one square per chapter. Our workbook, Write a Marketable Children’s Book in 7 Weeks, offers helpful plotting guides, one of which is a grid outline with ideas for major plot points.

2. Eliminate distractions and get ready. Turn off all phone ringers and alerts for email. Email POTUS to hold requests for help. Declutter your writing area. If needed, scoop up clutter and pile in a box to be attacked later. Put a pitcher of water or a big cup of your favorite beverage nearby.

3. Do not stop writing to do research. If lack of info will impede your writing, research first and keep your notes handy. Better yet: skip research. Write reminders in your manuscript (historical detail here) or (correct?).

4. Write during the time of day or night that you function best. This is your best chance to enter the zone, the state in which you are immersed completely. You have on blinders for all else and do your task with ease and confidence. When you realize that you’re in that state, pay attention to how you got there.

5. Let the words flow and do not edit while you write. Blogger Alyssa Bowman writes, “throw up on the screen.” (http://alisabowman.com) Don’t think about how it sounds, the structure, or who is going to read the finished product. Now is not the time to write eloquently. Choppy sentences? Run-on sentences? All okay. Ask yourself what part of the story you need to get down, and then write what you are thinking.

6. If needed, set a timer to train yourself. Write free-flowing words for just five minutes. Stop. Reset the timer and go again. Soon you should be able to set the timer for ten and fifteen minutes, and then not at all. Do this until the words begin to flow naturally for long periods. Or instead of using a timer, write half a page, stop, and start again.

7. But you don’t have to write your daily word quota all in one long session. Taking a brief break can prevent discouagement and allow your subconscious to be creative. Definitely stand up every hour for your body’s sake.

8. Don’t fret about how fast is fast. Do free-flow writing at your pace. You have a daily quota of words, not words per minutes.

Write fast to create a body of words that you can enjoy playing with and editing later. Just get words on paper.

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