Monday, October 20, 2008

Timed writing

I'm sitting here this morning thinking about all I need to get done, but wondering when I'm actually going to get to it all. Many times, I join in a chat room where we do writing challenges for 20 minutes at a time and then at the end, we report back how much work we finished. These challenges have really helped me get a lot done. In fact, I wrote my whole novella in chat challenges. 

Timed writing can work even if you are writing by yourself. Just set the timer and see what you come up with at the end of 20 or 30 minutes. You can amaze yourself at just how much you can get done when you are focused like that. 

One of the main things to remember is that in this short time of writing, you're not supposed to edit yourself. Just write. Don't think about anything but what comes next. You can always go back and edit later. Once you turn off your inner editor, you can get a lot more written. 

Sometimes it goes well and sometimes it doesn't, but even if you're sitting there writing junk, you never know when a pearl will show up in your writing. If you get stuck, skip that section and just write "add later" and keep going. If you need more research on something specific, then you can type in "fill in when researched" and move on. Just don't forget to go back in and fill that in once you have the information you need. This is one of the big concepts of the fast draft notion. The point is to get it all down and not lose momentum. 

Have you ever tried timed writing or fast drafting? It can be a lot of fun and you can surprise yourself at how productive you can be. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. Happy writing!

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