Over the course of NaNoWriMo 2015, my daily word count fluctuated between 0 and approximately 20,000. That’s a huge difference. Over the past two months, I’ve reflected on how I worked throughout NaNoWriMo and have a few of conclusions on why my word count fluctuated so much, and how I can increase my daily word count further. Here’s how I managed to write faster:
1.) Planning is key.
On the days where I had extensively planned what I was going to write, I wrote more. This culminated in my final sprint where I wrote just over 14,000 words. At this point in my NaNoWriMo journey, I had spent a couple of hours planning out each scene. The extent of this planning ranged from a couple of sentences of what was to happen in the scene (sometimes I had a few pieces of dialogue that I wanted to use), to a list of bullet points and various sentences. This made it much easier to write – I was able to have the plan open on one screen and the novel open on the other. Every so often I would look across at the plan and check what I was going to write.
Having the plan also allowed me to write in a non-continuous way. As I had been trying to upload my daily additions on here, I had been writing in a chronological way – IE: From the start of the novel to the end. The extensive plan (and the looming deadline) pushed me to write different sections of the novel – when one scene was getting difficult, I could move to another scene. This did lead to a problem. When the deadline came, I had huge sections of the novel written, but the middle was missing. This has prolonged my uploading of the rest of the novel (N-Day readers… it will return soon!) while I juggle my PGCE, other writing, and the rest of the novel.
I have a number of writing ideas that I am pursuing, and have begun to create extensive outlines so that I can write more, and faster.
2.) Set timers.
On that final day, I kept setting 1 hour timers and seeing how many words I could write in that time. Once the hour was up, I would take a very brief break before trying again. Each time I would try and beat my previous score. A small element of competition – even if it is with yourself – can help to increase your writing speed.
3.) Music. Get some good music.
That final day I searched for, and found, a huge Spotify playlist of Soundtracks. Some of these soundtracks were from films, some from video games, and some were specially made songs for film trailers (look up Two Steps from Hell). The playlist was extremely long and meant that I could click play and forget about it. I chose Soundtracks because they can be fast paced and they can create a really strong atmosphere – I’m sure that some of the songs I was listening to probably influenced the scenes I was writing.
While I like to write to Soundtracks, I think that fast-paced music would work well. Just as there are plenty of running CDs made to make you run faster, I think that fast-paced music – or at least emotive – music will help you write faster.
One of my aims for 2016 was to write 1,000 words a day. I think that I can easily surpass this and write a lot more. Let’s find out.
Any techniques you use to write faster? Let me know in the comments!