I used to be the writer who thought everyone who participated in NaNoWriMo was insane for writing a book that quickly. I didn’t think I could ever do it. But then everything changed. I discovered fast drafting and I’ve never looked back. Fast drafting is where you write large word counts each day and get the manuscript drafted in a very short period of time. My record is eight days for an 80K manuscript. Crazy? Not really.
Here’s my tip for getting those words out and quickly. Set specific writing time each day and keep your fingers moving. You can train yourself to be creative on cue. Yes, you heard me right. You can train your brain to respond to writing at certain times of the day. I know I am going to write from 9:00am to 2:40pm when my daughter is in school. My brain expects to have to be in writing mode during that time, and it is. Does that mean I never get stuck and stare at a blank screen? No. I’m only human. But I have a tip for that, too. When you’re fast drafting you can’t tolerate writer’s block. When I get stuck, I skip whatever is holding me up and jump ahead. If I’m really feeling in a slump, I’ll write the ending or the climax because I know those parts and they get me excited about the story all over again. After that, I find I can go back and work through the part that was tripping me up earlier.
Also, when you’re fast drafting, don’t go back and edit what you’ve already written. It’s about constantly moving forward and typing new words until the manuscript is complete. Like I said, I thought I’d never be able to write like this. Now, I can’t imagine writing any other way. And fast drafting doesn’t just help me to get the manuscript written. I find that during revisions, I’m pleased by how well the story flows because of the pace in which it was written. Things stay fresh in your mind, and gaps or inconsistencies that can result from writing a manuscript over the course of months aren’t there anymore.
So, give fast drafting a try and see if you surprise yourself the way I did.
Kelly Hashway grew up reading R.L. Stein’s Fear Street novels and writing stories of her own, so it was no surprise to her family when she majored in English and later obtained a masters degree in English Secondary Education from East Stroudsburg University. After teaching middle school language arts for seven years, Hashway went back to school and focused specifically on writing. She is now the author of three young adult series, one middle grade series, and several picture books. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she isn’t writing, Hashway works as a freelance editor for small presses as well as for her own list of clients. In her spare time, she enjoys running, traveling, and volunteering with the PTO. Hashway currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and two pets. Visit her website: http://www.kellyhashway.com.