So, yesterday I wrote a little over 3,000 words. I know that is not my record, but I was quite pleased with it. But I also know that there are some of you out there who wish they could get just the required 1,667 words out in the course of one day. Or by the end, you hate every word you have written and it takes every bit of self-control and will-power you possess not to press that backspace. (Stupid backspace.) I know this, because I have been one of those people myself.
And it is really hard not to hit that stupid backspace for all it is worth.
On a bad day, you just want to strangle yourself. Or your cat. Or both, you never know. And since we don't really want to want to do that (huh?) we should really remedy the problem, shouldn't we?
So, how do you write a bunch of words in one day, and have them still be words you might not have to "X" out with a red Sharpie in Draft #2? Well, let me get to that by dispelling some common rumors circulated to and by amateur authors.
Rumor #1: You Have to Write It All At Once to Have the Best Flowing Narrative You Can.
True or False? False. I have found that my narrative is at it's worst if I try to word vomit 1,667 words in one sitting. Sure, I might get the words out, and they might be semi-okay, but honestly? I write better if I stretch it out over the course of the day. That might mean ten minutes here, fifteen minutes there, but at the end of the day, I have written my words, and I am more pleased over all with the words written.
Rumor #2: You Have to Follow Your Outline Religiously in Order to Have a Well Structured Story.
True or False? Yep, it's false all right. If you have an outline, which you may or may not (some people write their first draft as the outline), you should think of it as the general basis of your story. It is not the finished product, and chances are that you will change A LOT over the course of the revision process. So don't feel like your outline is sacred and unchangeable. Rather, look for ways to improve it as you write. Have a sagging middle? Light a city or village on fire. Have a really boring info-dump chapter? Well, sprinkle in some alien-invasion-mind-readers, and it just got a lot more exciting. There are so many different ways that this story of yours can go; feel free to explore. Change it. Make it better. Change it totally and completely from your original idea if you want. It is your story, after all. Make it yours.
Rumor #3: Your Story Will Probably Not Be a Bestseller, So It's Not Worth Writing.
True or False? False. True, your story might not be a bestseller, but most books are not bestsellers. So what if this one is never published? It is a story that matters to you, so write it. It is a story that you want to write, so write it. Just write the story.
So, now to how you can write a million words (okay, maybe not a million, but who's counting anyway?) in a day. Here is what I do:
Yes, you read that right. Whenever I am writing and trying to get to a word goal, I procrastinate. Now, when I say that, I do not mean that I watch movies and go to parties and do laundry instead of writing. I mean that I take lot and lots (and lots) of mini-breaks when I write. Maybe just enough to read the news, write an email (or blog post), or get some coffee. By taking all of these little breaks, I allow myself to get more excited about my work, and it feels like less of a drudgery. The longer I let something percolate in my brain, the better it gets.
Caution: Only do this if you are dead set on hitting that word goal. Otherwise procrastinating is just procrastinating. Don't procrastinate without a good reason, and not for too long. If you go too long, November 30th will come and you, my friend, will have a lot of good ideas, but only a couple thousand words. So balance it. I procrastinate about as much as I write. This enables me to write more, to feel better about my writing, and to be ready for more.
What about you? What are some tips you have for writing good words? Feel free to add your own tips in the comments below!
And, as always, Happy Writing!