I'm sure we've all heard the swirling stories of authors who wrote their book in a few days or weeks, signed with their agent shortly thereafter, and sold it at whiplash speed!
I sure have. And every time that I've heard a version of this Fantasy-like story, I want to B-slap myself in the face. Or run full speed into a brick wall. Or some other really fabulous way to hurt myself.
The fact of the matter is that up until recently I have been a rather slow and steady writer. I took my time plotting, "brushing my cat" (see Blake Snyder's book on writing called SAVE THE CAT), and thinking things through. It could've been that I write thrillers which take a lot of planning...or it could be that I just plain sucked at writing fast!
At the LTUE Writing Conference, which I attended last weekend, I had an Oprah-esque "aha moment." I learned from presenter, L.L. Muir, that it is possible to write a complete 60,000 word manuscript (first draft) in three days. Of course possible and probable are two different things. But even if the goal is to write a manuscript in a month, it's good to have some guidelines and strategies. L.L. Muir gave me some, which I shall now freely share:
- Research Michael Moorcock's helpful advice on the matter
- Download Dr. Wicked's Write or Die program. It only costs $10 and it will help you keep track of your word count and time productivity. It's amazing how easily distracted we can be. A little punishment and/or prodding can help.
- Get a hotel room or go away somewhere you can lock yourself away with as little distractions as possible.
- Set goals. Hourly (1,200 words/minute is a good pace), daily (from 2,000 words to 20,000 words), and so on.
- Rally the troops. Have a "write day." On Monday of this week, my two CP's and I (Peggy Eddleman and Erin Summerill, locked all the children (and spouses) out of Erin's house and wrote for 8 hours. At a 1,200 word/hour pace, we should have written 10,000 words. Well, it was really hard and I only made it to 7,500 words before steam started escaping out of my overheated brain! But that's better than a kick in the groin, right?