The article How to Write Faster: A Series on How to Finish a First Draft in 6 Weeks appeared first on The Write Practice.
Do you get nervous starting a book? Does it take you forever to write that book, and because of this, you eventually end up giving it up? Learning how to write faster will not only boost your writing productivity, but teach you ways to be a better writer that finishes projects in the process.
Writing the first draft for any book is hard work, but it is also manageable.
In fact, it’s even possible to learn how to write faster and complete your book in six weeks!
That’s my goal for my upcoming blog series, to teach you what I’ve learned about writing faster, and not only that, but show you why writer faster will make you a better writer as well.
How I Learned to Write Faster First Drafts
When you sit down in front of that endless blank screen, does it look utterly, incredibly vast, like a white desert waiting to be filled? Do you feel yourself wanting to stop before you even start, putting your book off for yet another day, because the idea of putting that many words on paper just feels too daunting?
Maybe you are telling yourself “one day I will start, that day will definitely come” to give yourself a little vote of confidence, even though you have no idea when that day will actually happen.
My first book took me three years, and that’s just the time it took to write one draft. Altogether, if you count the time from the inception of the idea, it took at least six.
I dreamed of the idea for at least two years, wrote bits and pieces, put it side, changed my mind on and off, forgot where the story was going in between months of inaction, made notes, lost notes, renamed the characters, redesigned the plot, made the story too short, then too long, and everything in between.
By the end, I ended up with a 150K word behemoth and was so tired of looking at it that I couldn’t bring myself to write another draft.
What I learned in this experience, above all else, is how not to write a book.
Fast forward a few years, and I wrote my second book.
The first draft of this book, 90K words long, took a little less than six weeks.
Not only that, it was a far more cohesive, well-plotted book with a tighter story and more well-developed characters. This book, titled Headspace, has become the first in a series and will be published this summer by Story Cartel Press.
Its prequel, Master of the Arena, was written last year, and in six months’ time went through two drafts and two rounds of editing. The first draft was written in eight week, amidst working full time from home, with two children being homeschooled, and a global pandemic.
So what changed in those years?
How did I go from a multi-year slog to turning out books that are not only fast and efficient, but also of far improved quality compared to that first disaster?
In a very special series of articles, I’m going to take you through the lessons, tips, and tricks in efficiency that I’ve learned over the past ten years.
These lessons have helped me improve my writing productivity greatly, even in a year like 2020. I hope that by sharing them with you, you will be able to write your best stories—specifically your first drafts, quickly and efficiently, without having to take a decade to figure it out.
Because, surprise of all surprises, productivity can be learned!
How to Write Fast: The 3 Fast Writing Essentials
Learning anything takes time and that should come as no shock to anyone. However, the good news about productivty is that you can learn it while simultaenous accomplishing your goals and projects.
In this blog series, we will go into detail how this process works, but there are three core things you need in order to write fast:
- The correct mindset
- A set of writing techniques
- A good system.
Mastering these three and you will write faster, and start finishing your stories, too.
Develop a (Fast) Writing Mindset
Believe it or not, productivity begins with a mindset. This applies not only to your writing schedules and habits, but also how you view the first draft of your story.
The first draft is different from all the subsequent drafts. It is the starting point of everything. It serves as the skeleton of your story that holds up the flesh of the story.
In a drawing, it would be that first messy sketch under the final drawing that no one sees.
It is important to remember that the first draft does not have to be perfect. In fact, it doesn’t have to look anything like the final product. All it needs is to be written, however ugly and flawed.
Rather than trying to write a perfect first draft, it’s far more productive to focus on producing a first draft that does its best to support future drafts.
This lesson was one of the most important ones I’ve learned on my journey.
Apply Writing Techniques
Writing can be taught.
More than that, writing can be learned.
The more you learn about the craft and technique of writing, the more productively you will be able to write. This is the same principle as anything—you can build a house, paint a painting, or perform a dance choreography better the more you are familiar with the skills and craft involved.
But with endless resources, programs, seminars, and classes, how do you know where to start?
What’s going to be the most useful to you and what might turn out to be a waste of time? It’s easy to get overwhelmed or fall into the trap of feeling like you need an endless amount of education or even a university degree before you can write a decent book.
Good news—it’s a lot simpler than it looks.
With a targeting approach and a clear goal in mind, leveling up your writing skills doesn’t take nearly as much time as you might fear.
Use a System
What’s a system?
The word “system” can sometimes scare people off. It conjures images of computers and codes and complicated thingamajigs.
Many writers may not think systems have anything to do with their craft and shirk away from it. But it need not be that way – systems are your friends.
A system can be defined as “a set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organized framework or method.” To put it in simpler, clearer terms, it means a way to do things that is organized and repeatable.
When you have a system for how you approach a book, you will never be left lost and stranded, wondering what to do next.
You will always know the steps to take, from the first to the last. In this series, I will show you the system that’s worked for me as well as guide you on how to build and continuously improve your own writing system.
I’m beyond excited to take this journey with you all! Below is a list of all the topics that will be covered in this series.
What You Should Accomplish in A First Draft (and What You Shouldn’t)
In this first post we will get a better undertanding of what you should accomplish in writing your first draft, including identifying important elements and goals, as well as what isn’t quite a important in this process.
Planning Slow and Writing Fast
This post helps you understand the importance of planning and the role it plays in writing a book quickly.
Your Productivity Toolkit
You will want to keep this post close by. It’s going to serve as a helpful reference of what you need to achieve productive writing, and we’ll use a variety if tool for you writer’s toolkit to do this.
Building Your Foundational Skills
Overwhelmed and don’t know where to start building your skills? This is the post for you. This is where we will talk about how to identify your strength and improve your weaknesses by learning