I’m not going to lie: I’m not a very fast writer. I did win 2015 Nanowrimo, and it’s true that I finished the first draft of my book in less than a year, but most days I wrote very little. Now that I’m editing/rewriting my WIP, I average around 500 words a day.
But every now and then, I decide to have a Productive Writer Day™ and write a lot, all at once, until my fingers start to hurt and I question my life decisions. On these days, I generally write 4,000 to 6,000 words.
Why do I do this to myself? I wish I could answer that question. In case you’re as crazy as me, here are some slow-writer verified tips on how to write more in a day.
Cancel All Plans And Pretend That Other Humans Don’t Exist
This is most important step to have a productive literary day. First of all, I am giving you advice on how to have a concentrated day of writing, and not every day can be like this. In fact, a “cram a lot of words into a couple of hours” day only comes around every two weeks or so for me. A day where I have absolutely no obligations to anyone besides myself. No parties, no school, no work, no pre-planned Netflix binges. Chose this day, circle it in red on your calendar, and, as J.K. Rowling said, “Be ruthless about protecting your writing days.” Let EVERYONE know that you will unavailable that day. Your parents, siblings, children, relatives, friends, coworkers, and more. I find this is easiest as a teenager with no one around her who won’t take no for an answer, but regardless of who you are, be stubborn about preserving your time.
On the actual writing day, continue to ignore everyone. Bake them apology Banana bread later for their patience. It’s a good deal.
I’m not sure anyone can actually write for 8 hours straight, but personally, I find that breaks can help keep me refreshed. Here’s what my typical writing schedule looks like:
7:00 – 8:00 = Write!
8:00 – 9:00 = Breakfast & Fun Writing Prompts
9:00 – 1:00 = Write!
1:00 – 3:30 = Reading
3:30 – 4:00 = Blog Post
4:00 – 6:00 = Write!
6:00 – 8:00 = Dinner, instagram, and revisions
8:00 – 9:00 = Write!
9:00 – 10:00 = Journal
As you can see, I break my writing into several large chunks, and I work on my book for approximately eight hours of the day. This gives me enough time to get a large amount of writing down, but also, my hands don’t literally fall off, which is a fun bonus.
Turn Off the Internet
I know. I say this in every writing post I do. Maybe I just have an internet problem, but while I’m writing, I get the urge to check everything from my Instagram feed to what Dr. Seuss’s real name. (Theodor Geisel, by the way.)
In order to get a lot done in one day, you can’t be taking mini breaks every few minutes to check your email. Minimize all your distractions, and save your pseudonym inquiries for one of the larger breaks you have scheduled for later in the day.
Write in Public
There is something about the low hum of people talking in coffee shops that’s good for the writing soul. By going out to your local library, park, or coffee shop, you can almost trick your brain into thinking that you’re going to work. There’s no where to slack off when you’re sitting in a restaurant. You’re forced to stay staring at your screen, writing. Also, the caffeine can help with morale. 😉
Don’t Read In Your Genre
You may have noticed that I put two and a half hours of reading time into my schedule. That’s because I like to remind myself how words work halfway into my day. But I give these words of caution: Don’t read books in your genre on days you plan to be working extensively on your novel.
Any other day in the year, my first piece of writing advice would be to read books that resemble your own. Dissect them. Figure out what makes them tick. But on writing days, avoid them like the plague. Don’t compare yourself against other authors. You don’t have time to feel bad about your words. You’ve got to get writing!
Create Little Goals
Whether you’re shooting for 2,000 words or 10,000 words, you have to pace yourself. Set little goals. For example, write 300 words by the end of the hour. Finish this chapter before you eat lunch. By splitting up everything you have to do, it’ll be less stressful and overwhelming. You’ve got this!
Turn Off Your Inner Editor
I should clarify: These writing days are for just that: writing. I wouldn’t recommend trying to edit like this. In fact, I’m pretty sure that there’s no way to edit quickly. Editing makes you rethink everything you’ve written. You have to consider how every word works together, and how every sentence fits in to your book’s overall themes and plot. It’s an immensely slow process.
Which is why you shouldn’t try to edit as you write. Ignore the critic in the back of your head, and just let the words flow. Write without a care. It’s easier to work with a story that isn’t perfect than to work with a story that isn’t written.
And of course, the final step! Make writing days fun. Reward yourself when you’ve reached a goal. Some of my favorite writing rewards are:
- Food (I’m partial to potatoes and pound cake for writer’s treats)
- Watching an episode of Project Runway (just make sure one episode doesn’t turn into three)
- Scrolling obsessively through all that I’ve already written and feeling proud
- Reading other blog posts!
I hope that this advice can help some of my fellow slow writers reach a higher word count! Please share some of your own tips in the comments below. Until next time, you can find me on Pinterest or Instagram.