Thursday, November 18, 2010

Want to write faster?

This is my first time to try to ride the rip-roaring bronco called NaNoWriMo.  You've probably heard of it:  write 50,000 in 30 days.  Plot doesn't matter.  Passive sentences?  Ignore them!  Cardboard characters?  Bring them on.

The idea is to experience writing without the internal editor reading over your shoulder.  I'm doing moderately well in that category, sadly enough.  I'm slapping words on the monitor screen, promising to come back later and whip them into shape.  I probably will.

But the best thing I've discovered is that I write fast.  Being me, I timed myself today.  I write about 1200 words an hour.

How did this happen?  Here are some things I've noticed:

I don't sit down without a scene in my mind.
My best brainstorming times are while brushing my teeth and while having problems falling asleep.  Contemplating tomorrow's scene usually brings sleep right away.

But I digress.  The point is that I have some direction before I sit down at my computer.  I use those dull moments (like while showering) to let my brain skitter hither, fetching ideas.

I make mistakes.
And I don't care.  Sometimes the internal editor says, "whoa, that was the third was you've used in this paragraph  Aren't you ashamed?'  But mostly it doesn't and I keep rolling. I'd rather edit than stare at a blank screen.

I have experience.
 For me, working as a reporter on a small weekly newspaper helped shred my perfectionist tendencies.  Although I wanted to lovingly craft every lead paragraph, I did not have time.  I had the basketball stories to write after I finished up with the feature interview I'd done.  And now, unexpectedly, a news story demanded my full attention.  The point of my writing was to communicate clearly, not produce literary excellence.

Experience happens when we write.  Which brings me right back to my first paragraph.  I'm doing NaNoWriMo to get experience.  I am pushing myself to write 20,000 words a month (after NaNo) to get experience.  I'm committing myself to a consistent practice so that I get more and more experience.

Writing is easier when you can write fast.  Maybe these ideas will get your writing going, too.

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