When I first began seriously writing, I had no knowledge regarding word counts. What was a reasonable goal to set for a year? Was anyone who did NaNoWriMo absolutely crazy? How long should it take to write two thousand words? Years later, my writing journey has yielded a few tips along the way: how to write faster without compromising quality.
Pick your music.
Writers disagree as to which genre is the most productive. There are hardcore instrumental-lovers, who will indulge in a Star Wars soundtrack to fuel their words. As someone who draws inspiration largely from song lyrics, I love listening to music with words.
Be selective about the music you pick! There’s certainly a difference in the clickety-clack of my keyboard when I’m listening to a piece of the Captain America soundtrack, as compared to Dear Theodosia.
For those who haven’t heard of it, the concept is simple. Challenge a writer friend to a word war. Agree on a time frame, perhaps fifteen minutes, and see who can write the most words in that time period. Sure, there will be typos, but perhaps it will shove you up and over the troublesome scene that has been subconsciously blocking any sort of desire to write.
Out of all the writer-ly quotes that I have ever found, this one remains in my top ten.
“What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat,’…. And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.” -Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou had it right. I’ll slog through the first two hundred and fifty words, maybe five hundred, before I’m excited about writing this section, before I can’t wait to write the next line of description.
How much do you want to have written this year? This month? This week? Break down your goals, judging by how much you can write in a given time frame. Set a timer and see how much you can write in a fifteen minute time slot. No distractions, no social media, nothing! Take that as your goal and see if it’s feasible, or can be improved. Set goals according to what you want to have accomplished in one day.
I’ve seen multitudes of creative prompts floating around social media, particularly Pinterest. While they’ve served to spark story ideas for me, sometimes other methods are more useful to ease into the writing flow.Watch a quick movie clip! Nothing too lengthy, and focus it around your chosen genre, or maybe your face-claim. Target it toward the mood of the scene that you’re about to write. For example, the face-claim of one of my WIPs is Jensen Ackles. As popular as the show Supernatural is, there is no lack of material. I can easily find a scene-specific clip that will spark my interest. Even if your main character’s physical appearance doesn’t correspond to a movie or TV character, this can still be useful. Maybe you’re writing a tense superhero suspense novel, where your hero is about to be betrayed. Choose a clip from your favorite Captain America movie and watch. Sometimes it’ll spark fresh ideas, or maybe just kick you into the mood to create your own amazing story.
Of course, there will always be those stretches where plunking yourself down at the keyboard is painless, with no need of motivation. Plot twists and witty dialogue flow from your fingertips. Sometimes, I have no need of luring tips to get my cursor to fly across the page. Other times, I need to write, but I have no motivation. That’s when I use any tools or tips at my disposal to get back in my writing groove again.