James Maxey has begun a series of blog posts about writing fast. The first one’s up today.
I’m a little obsessed with this topic. I’ve been trying to up my speed, so I’m looking forward to reading the rest of his posts. In my case, there are two things that I know will help me: more practice and sprints. Pretty much the same things that will help me get faster at running and swimming.
No wait, three things: more practice, sprints, and learning how to be more productive with the time I do have.
More practice is obvious: more time spent writing. Productivity is a fun subject that I’ll leave for another day. So let’s talk about sprints.
This is, by the way, just my theory. Ask me in a year or two if it’s helped. Or if you have a time machine, please go check and let me know now if I’m wasting my time. <waiting…> No one? All right then: sprints.
The way to get faster as a runner is to…run faster. Shocking! I suppose the theory is, you get used to running faster at shorter distances, and gradually you’re able to do longer distances at those speeds (actually, longer distances at a speed that is slower than the sprint training speeds but faster than you were doing before). When I was being good about my running training this did seem to be making a difference.
So it ought to work with writing too. I can churn out words pretty quickly–yay journalism training–and I enjoy using Write Or Die to time myself for short writing sprints. Doing that has made it easier for me to write quickly at other times (for example, my lunchtime writing slot). Of course the important part of it is to write quickly and still want to keep the words when I’m done, or at least the outline of the scene that I’ve created.
That’s short sprints. Then there’s longer sprints. (That makes no sense, but bear with me.) For example: National Novel Writing Month. 50,000 words in 30 days is much faster than my usual speed, and yet I’ve done it twice. I’m doing it again this year, to see if this whole planning and outlining thing helps me create a rough draft that I want to do something with other than sticking in a drawer. Maybe it won’t work out, but it’s still good practice for me.