Writing Tips

How I’m writing so fast this summer

I started writing my new Young Adult Fantasy Dystopian novel on the 26th July. I am now 20,000 words into the story. That’s 20,000 words written in just 10 days. I feel like I’m writing very fast. I already did a post about how I plan to write this summer, which is similar to this. But here’s how I have achieved this so far.

Breaks

I have taken many breaks between writing. Yes, I have a lot of time to write because I’m off from work and university over the summer for 6 weeks, but this does not mean I am writing all day.

Repeat: I am not writing all day!

Instead, I write in sprints. Writing Sprints are timed active writing sessions. I use 25-minute sprints, where I set a timer for 25 minutes and aim to write until the timer goes off. Sometimes I want to carry on, but I mostly stop on purpose. Why? So that next time I sit down to write I know what I’m writing next and I’m excited to get back into it.

In between these sprints, I take breaks. I live my life! I read, do yoga, work out, walk the dog, see people, blog, eat, watch TV, stretch, clean, and so on. I can do about 1k during a 25-minute sprint. Of course, not always, but usually 800-1000 words if I’m focused.

Looking after myself

As I say, just because I have a big writing goal for the summer, it doesn’t mean I am neglecting everything else in my life. You need to look after yourself in order to be successful in your goals. You need to sleep, eat, drink water, move your body, and check in with yourself.

Don’t neglect your needs in order to get more done

Breaks are productive. Looking after yourself is productive. You are more likely to show up and do well when you’re feeling healthy inside and out.

Plotting

Thinking ahead is useful when you sit down to write. If you’re a “pantser”, someone who makes it all up as you go along, you may find yourself lost at times and having to write much more slowly. When you know (even loosely) what is happening next, it helps you sit down and get right to it.

Don’t get me wrong, I make things up, but I generally know what needs to happen in a scene before starting it.

Enjoying myself

Creative freedom is crucial to enjoying the writing process. As I say, I don’t plot so much that I have no freedom to make things up, too. I need that space to be creative and let the characters take the wheel and be spontaneous. It’s exciting! There has been a few time where I’ve said, “ooo that was so cool” or “OMG this is connecting to that other thing in a cool way I didn’t see coming” which is awesome.

Knowing my characters

Knowing your characters means you know what choices they will make. You know them. You enjoy them, for one reason or another. You want to tell their story. You’re excited to do it justice. When you know them, it helps you to write faster because they are alive and basically whispering in your ear telling you what should happen next.

It’s also important to highlight that my story is told from multiple points of view, which means I’m not just writing from one character’s perspective, but four! This keeps my story fresh, fast-paced, and wide. This makes it more enjoyable for me as a writer, and hopefully for you guys as readers in the future, but also makes it easier to write quickly. You get to jump from place to place, person to person, which keeps you writing consistently.

Accountability

Accountability is a great motivator. You sometimes need someone to know what you’re doing so that you feel a little “friendly pressure” to get things done! I have been very active on my Instagram, treating it like a YouTube channel almost. This means people are seeing my progress. They’re watching me and expecting me to reach my goals because I’ve shown them the inside of my process.

Consistency

Consistency but not rigidity is crucial for my writing process this year. I am writing every day but not setting a word count goal. I didn’t reach 20k in 10 days by consistently writing 2k a day! I did it by writing 1k here, 500 there; 3k here, 5k there. In fact, I think this ebb and flow way of writing helps me to feel less boredom from my writing. I kind of get a “day off” by writing less one day, then I come back with a vengeance the next day and write more than expected!

But to write fast, you do need to keep writing. Even if you only write a paragraph. That’s still one paragraph more than you had yesterday.

Cutting to the chase

I have been cutting the fluff and getting right into it. Instead of taking a long time setting the scene, I give what’s needed and then get right into the core stuff. Especially with first drafts, you don’t need all the added fluff (descriptions, unnecessary conversations, etc). It just isn’t important yet. Instead, it sometimes slows you down.

There you have it, how I have been writing quickly this summer. Are you writing anything? Let me know!

Happy writing, fellow writers!

Follow my writing Instagram for updates and writing advice @writersrcrawford

Sincerely,

S. xx

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