Earlier this month, I mentioned my process for writing 10,000 words in less than four hours. I thought I’d give you the full run-down on my speed writing method. May these tips help some of you as you tackle your NaNoWriMo 2021 writing goals this year!
- Set your writing goal for the day. How many words? How many hours?
- Prepare your workspace fully before starting. Grab tea, water, energy drinks, coffee, snacks, or whatever else you need. Plus, create the kind of atmosphere you need. Writing with the typewriter? Laptop? Notebook? Lay these out. Add scented candles, a houseplant, or anything else that makes this a welcoming creative environment. Ideally, separate from your usual workspace (if you work from home).
- Log out of all social media accounts, turn off the phone ringer, and leave only quick reference tabs open (dictionary/thesaurus/name generators, etc.).
- Let those you live with know: this time is totally off-limits. They must fend for themselves!
- Crank the playlists to help block out distracting noises.
- Start writing!
- Resist the temptations to self-edit as you work. Simply say “no” and keep moving forward. If something occurs to you while you write that you need to go back and correct, add a note about this in a separate document. Do not scroll back.
- Set timers for solid work chunks. I like to use my Pomodoro timer for 25 minutes. Then I get up for those 5 minute break periods to move around, drink water, use the bathroom, play with the cat, kiss my husband. Stick strictly to these timers. I also like to do push ups, squats, yoga poses, and similar fitness activities on these breaks to keep my body engaged and flexible.
- Set micro word-goals for each timer. If I’ve got a 25-minute timer going and know my total goal is 10,000 words in 4 hours (approx. 8 of these timers), I determine that each timer requires me to write at least 1,250 words.
- Write whatever comes to mind – don’t sit and contemplate. Let the words flow freely, ignoring the quality of the writing. (That’s what editing and revisioning are for!)
- Avoid thinking about the story while on your physical breaks. This helps to clear the head and allow for deeper progress when you return.
- If you’re competitive, see if each writing session can improve your word count. I.e. First session wrote 1,149 words. Second session 1,201 words. Third session 1,250., etc.
- Take long breaks between sessions, as needed (grab dinner, watch an inspiring television show or movie, take a walk, enjoy a chat with your partner or housemate).
I don’t know if my process will help everyone, but for those fellow speedy writers, you might find you can power through a few longer sessions and discover you, too, can write 10,000 words in under four hours.
Adapted from author’s original blog post at Juanita Millhouse on WordPress.
Need more writing tips and resources? Check out these NaNoWriMo posts from the MockingOwl fam.
- Writing in Memorials
- What’s in a Name?
- Ways to Keep Inspiration Going
- Inspirational Quotes to Keep You Motivated
Editor-in-Chief of The MockingOwl Roost, Rita Mock-Pike is the granddaughter of aviatrix, Jerrie Mock, first woman to pilot an airplane solo around the world. Rita has found inspiration from her grandmother’s life and flight and pursued many of her own dreams in theatre, podcasting, novel writing, and cooking up delicious food from around the world. She now writes on food, travel, pets, faith, and the arts. She’s happily married to Matt, and faithfully serves the very fluffy kitten queen, Lady Stardust.