I’m almost afraid to tell people how many projects I’ve finished because the remark I get most often is, “You write so fast! Do you ever sleep?”
Yes. Yes, I do. I like sleep quite a lot actually. I never get quite as much as I want, but I’m not staying up ridiculously late every night either. I WISH I had the superpower of going without sleep, but that left with my early twenties 😉
I’ve debated on writing this post for a long time because I don’t want to be like – LOOKIE WHAT I DO!!! AREN’T I AWESOME!?! And it would suck if someone felt that way about this post, but for whatever it’s worth –
Here are my tips for getting a rough draft down fast.
1. All that extra stuff people do? The candy crush and the Tetris or the Sudoku or the TV watching? Do less. Or stop it altogether. I watch usually 44 minutes a night (Fringe right now). One show. And I normally check email and/or blog during that time. Or…Pinterest b/c I have a serious addiction there. I play Tetris on weekends. Sometimes. But I just…don’t. I’m maybe too focused.
2. I know my characters. I can answer almost anything about them, which means I know how they’ll react. I make music playlists for my characters or for my book so that when I’m not at home or around my computer, I can play that playlist and be thinking about the book.
3. Related to #2, I always have my phone with me. I have “notes” on my phone for every book that I’m working on. I take recordings of things I think about that book while I’m driving. I use Siri (annoying as she is) to make more notes in my “notes.”
4. I “channel” my characters in everything I do. When I was writing Leigh, I sewed more than normal because she was a seamstress. It gave me time away from my MS while still thinking about my MS. Or, everyone does laundry. Or almost. I can let a character or their situation simmer in my head almost anywhere.
5. Let’s say I have 3 hours of time. At home. (Yes. I get this often. Writing is my job, and my kids are in school. I realize this is RARE). BUT. I check the MS before I take kiddos to school. I think about the next scene I need to write, or if I don’t know, I think about what’s just happened and what needs to happen next. By the time I get home, I’m practically salivating over the words I want to get down. I let my fingers fly when I get home. My sprints honestly are between 15-30 minutes. That’s it. Then I get up and do something else while I think about what needs to happen next.
6. Staring at my computer when I don’t know what comes next is not helpful. It ruins my writing mojo, lol. Sitting at my computer scanning Facebook and Twitter almost never helps me move forward in my MS because it does take more brainpower than say…sweeping the floor.
7. When I’m stuck, it’s time for plotting or running or both.
8. I find that the longer I write, the more I plot. If that doesn’t help me get to the next step in my book then I start reading from the beginning and hope something comes to me before I get to the end of what I have written. I write a list of things my character wants and then I start coming up with roadblocks for them to prevent them from getting it.
9. I need to not be afraid to shelve something. If the story just isn’t COMING, there’s probably a reason for it. And while I’m an advocate of sometimes pushing through and writing crap, I think there’s a time and a place for that so make sure you’re in that time and place before you voluntarily write crap 😉
10. If I can’t write the next scene, I write a scene that takes place WAY later. I write a scene that will most likely never make it into the book. The thing is that I stay connected to my characters.
11. Stay connected to your characters, lol. What’s so funny is that as I read back over my little strategies, I realized that most of them have to do with characterization. But for ME that’s where a story comes from. Maybe the idea comes first, but most often the character does. That’s what drives my stories.
The thing is. And what I want to tell EVERYONE is find what works for you. Because I guarantee that our ways of writing are as individual as we are…
Also. I talk about channeling my characters all the time, but I try to turn that off in the evening. If I’m on my computer at night or on the weekends, it’s not working on my MS, it’s doing one of the many other things I do…blogging, Facebook, editing, TETRIS, lol.
Whew! That was longer than I thought it’d be…
PS – No. I have not yet had time to get this blog looking more like ME, but it’ll come… Some night when I’m not desperately trying to think about my characters 😉