Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Tuesday Talk-Time - Tips for Writing Faster

Pink Heart Society columnist Barb Han is dishing advice on how to write faster... 

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:

Take ten minutes to plan

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.

Set a timer.

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.

Get up and move.

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:

"You wouldn't call me angel if you really knew me," Erika said.

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…

Since selling her first story to Harlequin, Barb’s written seven books for Harlequin and is hard at work on her eighth. You can find out more about her writing on her website and Goodreads. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for regular updates and pretty pics!


  1. I love your ideas, Barb and will use that happy number of 25 minutes. And I love that blurb. And that cover. Now I need to schedule some reading time. :)

    1. Thank you so much, Robena! And thanks for stopping by!! 25 is a magic number for me and moving around keeps me fit since we sit so much.

  2. Barb, I recently downloaded a fun app called Duha that counts down 25 minutes. :) I'm always looking for ideas to speed up the writing. Part of me wonders if I should learn to plot more. Great post.

    1. What a great app, Alison! Everyone is so different when it comes to how much to plot in advance. I just read that an author I enjoy reading sketches out a 60 page plot with specific scenes and then copies and pastes it into her mss. My plotting consists of about 10 pages and my books are about half the size of hers. It's fun to play around with ideas to improve, though.