I was fiddling around on the internet a few weeks ago when I stumbled upon a post about a writing technique called fast drafting. It was created by a writer named Candace Haven, and basically boils down to writing 5,000 words a day, and finishing your first draft in record time!
When I first read about it, I couldn’t even fathom the possibility! Just think, if you wrote 5,000 words a day, you could finish NaNoWriMo in just 10 days!
Eventually I discovered, that the author offers a four-week class in the process for only $40. I couldn’t pass that up, so I decided to go for it…
Build that Word Count Muscle!
With NaNo, you start that month knowing that you need to write 50,000 words in 30 days to reach your goal, so you just go for it. You write tons, and you learn to turn off that inner editor. There are those moments when you’re itching to go back and fix stuff, but you just press on, knowing that you can fix it later during editing. Fast Drafting is a lot like that, just times ten! So far I’ve mostly enjoyed the process. I have by no means hit 5,000 words a day. But one thing I have noticed is that my daily word count is rising. When I was doing NaNo in November of 2011, I remember participating in LOTS of one hour writing sprints. I remember when the month started I could write about 600 words in an hour. The more sprints I did, the higher that number grew. By the end of the month I was up to about 900 words per hour.
Obviously I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately, and I’m noticing that my hourly word count just keeps growing. I’m currently averaging about 1500 words an hour. And I have even hit the 5,000 word count goal a few days. I think the biggest lesson this class has taught me so far, is that I’m capable of a lot more than I think!
The class treats word counts and writing like a person going to work out at the gym. The more we work those word count muscles, the bigger they grow. So before you know it, you’ve got the word count equivalent of a six-pack!
Skyscraper’s and Writing
Author Roxanne St.Claire wrote a great post about her experience with fast drafting. At first she was not a big fan. But some words of wisdom from her husband caused her to change her mind. He compared the way she writes books to building a skyscraper…
You don’t build them very wisely,” he told me. “You create the first floor, lay carpet, add paint, decorate, buy furniture, and arrange your plants for the optimum amount of diffused light….then you start the second floor and do the same thing all over again. And when you get to the fifteenth floor and realize the stairwell doesn’t meet fire code, you tear down the whole thing and start the first floor again, with the stairs in a different place, and while you’re in there, you redecorate and buy new plants.”
I love his analogy! I think my internal editor wants to do this all the time! I’ll write a scene, and then immediately I’ll want to go back and “pretty” things up, when really I should just press on. Here’s the rest of her husbands thoughts…
“What you need to do,” he told me, “Is frame the building with rebar. Lay down the floors. Leave holes for stairwells and elevators and windows. Build the exoskeleton in 60,000 words, then go back and start filling in each floor. And after the floors are done, then you can paint, hang curtains, and put your precious plants around.”
In other words, write first…and decorate later! Great advice…
(to be continued…)