So far, I have 14, 730 words and I am planning to bring myself up to 15, 000 words tonight. That’s more words than I had going into the final weekend last year. With cooperation from The Man, The Boy and The Little Guy, I managed to finish with 50, 000 by the 28th. I am clearly capable of pushing out a ton of words on demand at the last minute as needed.
This year, with my side-project of learning to break down my work in to more manageable chunks, and my other (news to me!) project of learning to focus on the process rather than the results, I have been working away at about 2000 words a day. To put this in perspective, my usual average is about 30 words a day (I write in fits, and not even regular ones, I’m working on that too). So, I’ve made a huge leap this past week, moving from barely writing to it being a high priority.
And it really hasn’t been hard. Sure, at least one day I had to handcarve each letter (or at least that’s what it felt like) but mostly it has taken very little time or effort to write 2000 words.* It has taken me 90m or less each day, and for someone who has business cards that say ‘writer’ that’s not really a lot of time and I feel that it will be sustainable after NaNoWriMo ends.**
But today I read an article about how to take your word count up from 2000 words a day to 10000 words a day. I confess, I’m intrigued. Imagine all the ideas I could run with if I could write that much every day. The author of the article (I’m going to have to add a link in later when I’m more awake) had a list of ways to improve your output but the one one that I realized I need to use is to plan what to write.
These first 14000+ words have been off the top of my head. I had an idea about how someone could go missing, and I rolled it into a world where demons are stirring up trouble (the same world as last year’s novel) and I just starting writing. Last year, I did much the same thing, but with one crucial difference. On that last weekend when I went from ‘oh, shit, I can’t do this’ to ‘oh shit, I CAN do this’, The Boy woke up at 4am on Saturday with a nightmare and he needed me to come sit with him until he fell asleep. The 45m I sat up with him as he tried to fall asleep may have made the difference between can’t and can for me, because as I sat there my plot began to unfold in my head and I grabbed a notebook and made a list of scenes and ideas and plot points to bring me up to the end of my novel. I slept on it and when I got up in the morning I was essentially typing, the writing was practically already done.
I wrote somewhere in the neighbourhood of 35, 000 words in approximately 19 hours of writing time. That’s almost 1850 words an hour. All because I planned it out.
Now, I have no intention to try and match that pace on a regular basis. It’s not necessary and, besides, some things work better when written slowly. I do, however, intend to speed up my writing and increase my output by planning more specifically.
Now, I must head back to my novel. I have another 270 words to write and I have nothing planned. Tomorrow, however, I’m doing some planning before I try to write at all. I’ll let you know how it goes.
* No promises on the quality, but at least I didn’t take TLG’s suggestion and type ‘Nonononononononono’ over and over again. Also, in case I’m coming across all braggy-pants, my schedule is a hell of a lot more flexible than most people’s – the benefit of working from home on contracts.
**The key, I believe, is to have another project to move on to. I’m working on that already.