Thursday, 6 December 2018

Writing More: Not As Impossible As It Seems

Last weekend, ORWA's monthly workshop was a panel of prolific authors sharing their secrets.  Two of them, Eve Langlais and Mandy Rosko have over 300 published titles between them.  Of the other two, Lucy Farago has written 6 books in the last 3 years, and Carey Decevito has written 10 books in the last 5 years.

There was some good advice about how to increase your word counts, with the best piece of advice being to just get started writing.  Don't worry if it's crap.  Don't get hung up on the amount of time or the number of words.  Just sit your butt down in front of a keyboard and start writing.  Keeping doing that and the word totals will continue to rise and eventually, you'll have a book.  Whether plotter or pantser, New York Times Bestseller or new author, independing or traditionally published, we all have to go through the same process of actually sitting down to write.

Ask a dozen authors how to write more and you'll get dozens of different answers.  Sometimes the answers will work for you and sometimes they won't.  If a technique doesn't work, it can be discouraging but the truth is that writing is a skill and like any skill, not everyone learns that skill the same way.

So my first piece of advice is to be gentle with yourself.  There will always be someone who writes more or faster but the only person that you should be in competition with his your past self.  If you want to do more, then aim to do more than you did before.  And if you fail, remember that it is a setback, not a judgment.  And when you do succeed, take the time to appreciate your accomplishments.

The next piece of advice is to experiment.  Try different things, different locations and different times of day.  Try a strict daily writing schedule or writing blitzes.  Keep track of what you write and it may surprise you to find what's most effective.  I've always been a night person but I was surprised to discover that I write best in the late morning and early afternoon.  I do best with writing for an hour or two, then a half hour to an hour break, and then back into it.  I can push myself to write daily but I do better long term if I give myself the weekends off (or at least, the weekend writing different projects).

And the last piece of advice is to remember that writing is a creative skill, and all creativity can be affected by what's going on in your life.  If you're stressed, sick, or overwhelmed, it will change what works for you.  Just because a technique worked in the past doesn't mean it will always work in the future, so you will always be adjusting.  Which circles back to my first point, be gentle with yourself.  

And get yourself in front of a keyboard and write.

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