Why does the actual act of writing sometimes seem agonizingly slow and exhausting? It doesn’t have to be. The writer’s brain is trying to juggle three things at once: the actual words, what to say next, and theories of how an imagined readership will respond to what’s being written—in other words, trying to be a writer, editor, and audience all at the same time. The key to writing faster is to develop strategies to break free of these cognitively-intense tasks and make the act of drafting less mind-blowing. Just keep telling yourself:
Hint 1: Lighten up emotionally, and lower my demands.
See J.A. Konrath’s web site—I’m having fun, conducting an experiment.
Remember best-sellers like Wethering the Storm and 50 Shades of Gray—they are hardly deathless prose. When writing for the genre market, I don’t need to win any literary contests.
As Ray Bradbury said, “Start writing more. It’ll get rid of all those moods you’re having.”
Hint 2: Realize I’m writing under many different pseudonyms.
So nobody’s going to even know who I am or judge me personally. I’m free.
Hint 3: Use headphones to listen to music.
Music frees me up, sets the mood, and overrides my internal censor.
Hint 4: Just plunge in–anywhere.
“I can write even when the world is chaotic. I don’t need a cigarette, silence, a comfortable chair, or inner peace to write. I just need ten minutes, a piece of paper, and a writing implement.”
Hint 5: Write for 10 minutes.
After I’ve prepared my outline, it’s time to start writing. This process is beautifully simple.
- Look at the clock.
- Write – without stopping – for ten minutes.
- Once started, I can even go beyond the ten minutes if I want to.
That’s all there is to it.
Hint 6: Write to myself.
Stop thinking of myself as “writing for others.” Get rid of the codependency. This is for me, and I have good judgment. I’m just thinking out loud and living vicariously. The words will flow as I write in a conversational tone, to myself, in my own voice.
Hint 7: Make a Mess.
You know why children are so creative? They’re not afraid of making a mess. Creativity always means making a mess. Nothing I create will ever be perfect. Write a GEFN manuscript—Good Enough For Now. Editing will come later.
“The secret of it all, is to write in the gush, the throb, the flood, of the moment – to put things down without deliberation – without worrying about their style – without waiting for a fit time or place. I always worked that way. I took the first scrap of paper, the first doorstep, the first desk, and wrote – wrote, wrote…By writing at the instant the very heartbeat of life is caught.” ― Walt Whitman