I've never been a fast writer. I've always let my inner critic dictate the pace because I'd languish over each sentence, editing as I wrote and then re-editing the next day before starting a new section. I couldn't understand how anyone could write 1,000 words in a hour. Most days I'd be lucky to get 250 words done in a hour.
After I finished the first draft of Finding Meara, I realized all the time I took to edit as I wrote didn't prevent me from having to edit and revise. When I started the next work in progress, I decided I wanted to try writing quickly.
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Putting all the knowledge I've learned about myself and my writing process together with some articles I've read about increasing writing speed, I came up with the following plan.
1. I plot. Not just a few scenes in a row, but the whole book. While writing FM I realized that if I sat down at the computer without an idea of where the characters were going I'd get lost in daydreaming the potentialities and not write. By knowing what is going to happen before I sit down at the computer, I spend the time getting what I see in my head transformed into words on the page.
2. I write in short spurts. By writing as fast as I can for fifteen minutes and then having some time to think between spurts, I can organize my thoughts and be ready to go again after a short break. This technique by itself has increased my word production monumentally.
3. I am learning to turn off my inner critic. It's hard. Really hard. I keep thinking I'm writing crap. That's why I included the Lawrence Block quote above. If I write crap, and I tear it up or can't use it later, I'm in no worse shape than if I didn't write anything at all. And the chances are actually pretty good I'll be able to edit at least some of the crap into usable shape later.
Trying out this new method, I have been clipping along, consistently writing 250 - 300 words in a fifteen minute block. I tend to write more regularly, because I only have to write for fifteen minutes to get a decent amount of words down. Also, finding fifteen minutes to write is a whole lot easier than finding forty-five minutes to an hour to write.
I know that what I'm trying out wouldn't work for everyone. Each writer has their own personality and cognitive processes that direct their creative process. So, I'm curious! How do you write? Are you concerned with speed, or are you content to let the words happen as they may? Has your writing process changed much over time? Please share!