That’s what we all want to do, right? Many indies are well aware that the secret to success with self-publishing is to have more books out. Not only does this have the advantage of more chances for a reader to stumble across you, but it also means you can take advantage of your 30 days on Amazon’s Hot New Releases list. Many books start off well, then hit the ’30 day sales cliff’, and authors wonder why their sales suddenly plummet. Usually, it’s because they’ve dropped off this list.
So frequent releases have a lot of advantages, BUT, only if you’re writing is good. So the question is, how can you increase your writing output, without sacrificing quality?
Here are some of my tips:
1. Know what you’re writing – now I’ve mentioned before that I’m a pantser, not a plotter, so I’m not talking about having your entire novel plotted out. But I find that if I have a general idea of where the scene is going before I sit down to write it, it helps.
2. Minimise distractions – We all know how insidious Facebook and Twitter are for sucking up time. I know I get much more done when I don’t open them up at all. If they’re open in the background, I’ll keep stopping and checking, which pulls me out of writing.
3. Don’t look back, don’t edit – If you do, you might end up with a perfectly structured paragraph, but what we’re aiming for here is a page. I’m sure many of you are thinking “But I edit as I go, and it makes my book better”. That may be true, but we’re not talking about writing the perfect scene here, we’re talking about getting as much down on the page as possible. You can edit all you like later, but don’t let it stop you getting that rough draft down.
4. Use a timer – Choose 10 minutes, or 15, or even 5 if that’s all you have, and write without stopping until the time is up. Even better if you can find a friend to race against! I can get about 500 words in 15 minutes with this method. Do that a couple of times a day, and you’ll find your word count is really mounting.
5. Choose when you write – And this might not be when you expect. I’m so not an early riser, but I find if I can force myself to get up, I get SOOOO much more done in the same amount of time. This could be because of the lack of distractions (my family is still asleep!), or it could be that my mind is more awake at that time of day. Experiment a bit, and find what suits your particular circumstances.
6. Do it more than once – If you find yourself flagging after 1,000 or 2,000 words, take a break. Go for a walk, do some other chores, play a game, anything. Then come back in an hour or two, and try again. Your mind will be refreshed, and you’ll find you can add to your word count more easily. My second session is usually shorter, but all words are good words!
7. Keep writing – Sometimes, I just feel like the words aren’t flowing, and that I’m having to force them out. I just want to quit, because it’s too hard. And it’s tempting to say ‘I write better when I’m inspired, so there’s no point pushing myself when I’m not’. But the truth is, that’s not always true. I’ve written many scenes by pushing myself, when I’m not feeling inspired, and they’re no different in quality to my other scenes. Sure, sometimes the sentences need a little more smoothing afterwards, but other times, they turn out to be some of my best work.
How about you? Do you have any good tips to help get through that first draft more quickly?