Want to write faster? Today, getting the words out counts. You can’t dither, and take forever to write a simple article or ebook. That said, you need to write WELL.
Pablo Picasso purportedly said:
“The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.”
If you want to write faster, you need to ditch your good sense. That is, you need to drop your inner censor into a deep ocean.
Don’t worry, he’ll bob up again, the next time you sit down to write. You can’t kill your inner censor for good, and you wouldn’t want to do that anyway. He has his uses, but NOT when you’re in creative mode.
A couple of writers have asked me for a step by step process to write fast, quality content, so here it is.
Use that process. It works, and it will work for almost anything you’re writing, whether fiction, or nonfiction.
Sadly, even with that process, your inner censor will annoy you… you overthink things, and you’re unwilling to make mistakes. Remember Picasso — good sense is your enemy. He’s the censor.
If You’re Thinking, You’re Not Writing: WRITE!
I’m working on a series of novellas for a client. I’ve been working on this long project for almost a year, and it’s wearing on my nerves. There’s a benefit of course, not only does my client pay well, the daily grind of getting the words out is helping me to see some of my bad habits, so that I can eliminate them.
The chief bad habit: thinking.
If you’re thinking, you’re not writing.
To stop thinking, use lists. In Writing a Novel: Get Creative With Lists, I said:
Today, I’m working on a scene in which my lead character first meets the antagonist. So, I create a list: sunshine, bird song, clink of harness, creak of saddle leather, tired, hungry, sunburn, sound, fear, spooked horse…
Your lists help you to be in the novel, to hear the sounds, smell the scents, feel the emotions, see the sights. If you’re there, right in the action, using your senses, your reader will be there too. Your reader will feel what the characters are feeling, because you’ve triggered his imagination, and his emotions, by first triggering your own.
Creating word lists helps not only before you start writing, but also during the writing process helps you to write faster. It seems to befuddle the inner censor, who goes to sleep.
Tip: you can use the words on your lists in your writing, or not. They merely prime the writing pump so that you keep writing. If you’re working on a long project, you should be able to write anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 words an hour, if you remember to keep creating word lists… and stop thinking so much.
If You’re Resisting a Project, It May Be a Good Thing: Let Your Mind Work.
Are you procrastinating? In general, if you’re supposed to be writing something, and you’re three days past the deadline, and aren’t writing, it’s BAD.
At other times, procrastination may simply be your creative process at work, and you need to trust it.
I mentioned trusting your creative process on Google+:
But I went with it. When I finally opened my fiction WIP, the story took off in an entirely new direction. I’m thrilled. I didn’t work on any fiction at all yesterday; I had a couple of client deadlines.
Writing is just a habit. So is not-writing. Getting a writing habit is simple, but it’s not easy. You need to write every day, even when you’re not in the mood, and when you’re whimpering because you’re hung over, or have the flu, or your kids are driving you crazy.
Once you’ve developed your writing habit, you can trust your creative process. When I found myself opening my email rather than writing fiction, I wondered at myself, but I knew that somehow, it was right. When I did get back to the fiction, as I said in the post, the story took off in an entirely new direction, and I was elated.
Of course, I started the writing session with word lists, to befuddle the idiotic inner censor. That always helps.
In summary, if you want to write faster, learn to eliminate your inner censor. Distract him with word lists. Then write, and trust your inner process.
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