During NaNoWriMo, I try to participate in writing sprints, short 30 minute periods were everyone just writes and then shares a line of there work. We take a break and then do another sprint. I am always amazed at how many words some writers can get down in those precious 30 minutes.
So I was excited when one of the blogs I follow posted 14 Tricks to Write a Book Faster (Meg LaTorre on SavvyAuthor, read it). I am not a fast writer, so of course, I wanted to know more, so after reading it I went searching and I found more posts, like How to Write a Book Fast: 5 Simple Rules. These, and others, had some good tips for any writing, like outlining (I’m mostly a panster, but a general outline helps the plot stay somewhere near the tracks!), setting aside time everyday to write, removing distractions, and doing sprints. But, I have to say when, I read a post that suggested you can write faster by doing the research after (gasp – never!), I had to stop.
I know the first draft isn’t the final product, even for non-fiction or news articles, but no way am I going to write off the top of my head without doing any research. Do you know how little people actually know about that they think they know? I’m sorry, but it’s true. Unless you study the topic as your primary job, you are going to need to do a lot of clean up to get anything accurate “off the top of your head”. The particular post I read was referring to writing a news type post, that makes it even worse in my opinion. Without the research you are just writing fiction, not news. And if you are actually writing fiction, well, it won’t be believable.
But back on the topic of writing faster… In searching, I stumbled upon a post by K.M. Weiland, How to Write Faster (And Why Maybe You Shouldn’t) and I was intrigued. I mean, who wouldn’t want to write faster? Faster is better, right? She had some good tips for how to write faster, like some of the others (except as noted), but she also made a good point for not over stressing the importance of speed over enjoyment, priorities, and quality.
I’ll let you read her post, but it comes down to what is your goal? If it is to crank out several books a year, then sure, you need to write as fast as you can. You also need to have a good editor and self disciple to go over it many times because the first draft is going to be really rough.
If your goal is to write a quality draft and really get into the characters and savor the story as you write it, to really enjoy the process, than writing super fast is going to be disappointing. I personally like to think about what I write, decide if my character would actually say something, or describe his smoulder in detail, even in the first draft. It feels more rewarding then slapping down a bunch of words that are just place holders for the 2nd and 3rd draft.
In the end, it’s about the author’s priorities and how she wants to come to writing. Like I’ve said before, I see all these wonderful posts as guidelines, take what works and put it use to make the novel, or post, the best it can be.