Writing fast doesn’t have to mean sacrificing quality. In the immortal words of Nora Roberts, first drafts always suck. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to write the first draft of your masterpiece, it’s not going to be your best work. Accept that fact, move on, and you’ll increase your productivity by leaps and bounds. I remind myself daily when I’m writing the first draft of my novels that I can’t fix what isn’t on the page.
So, the first thing you have to do when deciding to write quickly is give yourself permission to write a really crappy first draft. Remind yourself that you’ll fix mistakes during the editing process.
How quickly you plan to write that first draft is up to you and your writing style. There are writers who can knock out a first draft in two weeks. Others, like me, can’t completely turn off that internal editor. I give myself four weeks once I’ve loosely plotted my story.
And this is how I stay on track:
Every morning before I start writing, I pull out my spiral-bound notebook and jot down scene ideas. Once I hit on an idea that I can’t wait to get started writing, I know I’ve hit writing gold.
Set a goal.
If the thought of setting a daily writing goal—either page or word count—makes your shoulders bunch up with tension then reframe it. Call it a target or happy number, whatever works for you. Having an end goal in mind will keep you on track to finish your book.
While writing, I set a timer for 25 minutes. This works magic on my brain because it wants to have something to show when the timer buzzes.
Give yourself 5 minutes to run, jump, or climb stairs. I jump rope, do jumping jacks, planks, whatever it takes to keep the blood moving. Movement increases blood flow to the brain and keeps us sharp.
Then, repeat until your writing time is up for the day.
I want to hear from you! Share one of your best tips for writing faster.
Barb Han's latest book, an Intrigue Noir called Atomic Beauty, is available now:
Erika Nile knows her devastating beauty always leaves men begging for more, but her lust for Jace Mitchell is raw and powerful. And although she's just obeying orders when she cozies up to the rogue agent, giving in to temptation is the worst possible idea.
Still, how can she ignore what her body craves: to be with Jace, no matter the cost. And that cost will be high. Because there's a lot more to this case than anyone is telling her—including Jace. Trust and feelings have no place in her work, or in her life. And yet there's no denying Jace is a distraction. They're perfectly matched as adversaries—and as lovers—and if this mission goes wrong, it could be Erika's undoing. Especially once the kill order comes in and it's clear only one of them will get out alive…