How To Write Faster? Writing A Million Words In A Year.

write faster, write more





We all know about prolific writers such as James Patterson and Stephen King that are somehow able to produce anywhere between two to five books or more in a single year. Are there tricks and techniques that they employ to produce books at such a high rate? This article will enable you to learn how to become like these authors and possibly even write a million words in a year.

Before we begin, let’s do some simple arithmetic:

If your goal is to write a million words each year, all you have to do is write 1000000/365= 2740 words each day.

Considering, you’ll be only be able to write five days per week (on average), this brings you at 2740 words per day for (52 weeks x 5 days) = 260 days of writing. Now (260 days x 2740 words per day) =   712400 words.

Now, let’s say, 30% of what your write is omitted (not, re-written, but completely omitted during the revision and editing). This will bring your total word count to (70% of 712400 words) ~ 500,000 (half-million) words. 

Now, consider for a moment, what can you produce with half million words each year? Let’s do the maths. Say, an average novel is 100,000 words and a book of 10 short stories (each short story approximately 10,000 words long) is 100,000 words. So just with 300,000 words you have published two novels and a collection of short stories. And you will still have 200,000 words left.

Wow, congratulations, at this pace, you will be able to write a dozen of novels and short stories collections and perhaps poetry collection and blog posts in just few years. Isn’t that amazing? 

So what is my point here?   And more importantly, why writers are not doing this? The reason is it is not simple to write 2740 words each day, five days per week for 52 weeks straight. But why? Because people cannot write fast enough. It’s not that writer’s run out of ideas but that their thoughts often time run much faster than what their hand can type or write.

So what can you do? Read on and comment at the end. If you are reading this, I challenge you to join me in 1 million words a year mission. If you can do it, it will benefit you more than me. Are you with me?

A blogger, Karen Woodward, summarized the techniques used by one author, Chuck Wendig, who was committed to writing 3000 words a day in a blog post. Read it here on her blog.

In summary, Chuck tips included:

1. Doing your writing in the morning. He wrote, “Writing in the morning has more potential than writing in the evening and here’s why: writing at the end of the day means the candle is burning down. The timer is ticking. You’re watching the horizon eat the sun and with it, the remaining hours before sweet, sweet slumber. Write at the end of the day, you’re racing the clock. Write at the fore of the day, you own the clock.”

2. Waking up an hour earlier. Woodward explained that waking up earlier results in greater productivity. You should also make sure to attain at a minimum seven hours of sleep a night.

3. Drinking coffee in moderation.

4. Using your time to write. Wendig stated, “If you’re going to write a lot, you’re going to need to feint and duck, stick and move, and reach in to grab fistfuls of time-flesh and use it for your own sinister purposes: in this case, writing. Got a lunch break? Write. Sitting at a long stop light? Take a few quick voice notes on your phone.”

5. Maintaining a schedule with the amount of work you’ll need to complete each day to meet your deadlines.

6. Outlining the content of your manuscript. Wendig wrote, “If you start the day with a mission statement already in play thanks to an outline, you can jump in, eschew any planning the day might require, and just start writing. The goal is to give as much of your time to actually telling the story as you can.”

7. Asking your loved ones for the time you need to write.

8. Finishing your first draft without editing as you go.

9. Do not doubt your ability to produce a great story.

 

Write and then write some more

Write my friends, write. Tell your stories.

 

The origin of the challenge to write a million words in a year is credited to Raymond Chandler (1888 – 1959) who had the idea that to make a living; pulp writers had to produce a million words a year. A key component of writing this quantity of words is keep track of your daily word count.

One blogger, Alasdair Stuart, wrote though that this method only made him more anxious and finally succumbed to the fact that he could not produce a million words in a year. He wisely stated:

“What’s important is the willingness to try something new that will push you and shape you and make you stronger coming out the other side.”

 

However, setting word counts did work for one writer, Anthony Trollope, whose goal was to write 250 words every fifteen minutes. His method of writing was detailed by the writer, William F. Buckley, in an interview with the Paris Review, when he stated,

“He had a note pad that had been indexed to indicate intervals of 250 words. He would force himself to write 250 words per 15 minutes. Now, if at the end of 15 minutes he hadn’t reached one of those little marks on his page, he would write faster.”

 

In an article published on Slate.com by Michael Agger, strategies for writing faster were explored. He wrote, “Since writing is such a cognitively intense task, the key to becoming faster is to develop strategies to make writing literally less mind-blowing. It’s obviously a huge help to write about a subject you know well. In that case, the writer doesn’t have to keep all of the facts in her working memory freeing up more attention for planning and composing.”

 

Another strategy for increasing your volume of writing is to write in longhand. An author, Karen Dionne, wrote an article for Huffington Post, describing why this method is so successful. She wrote:

When an author working on a computer makes a typo, as I just did by typing “Whey” instead of “When” at the beginning of this sentence, they stop and fix it. Why shouldn’t they? The mistake will have to be corrected at some point, the author has noted the error in the here and now, and it only takes a second to correct it.

When I write in longhand, I don’t write “Whey” when I mean to write “When.” Occasionally, I cross out a word or a sentence, but there are no distracting typos, no time consuming regressions.

 

Five tips for improving writing speed were examined in a blog post on the website of Hootsuite, a social media management application, with these strategies:

1. Skip the Introduction—Write your piece without the constraints of a planned introduction or lead.

2. Don’t Get Caught Up in the Wording—you have to maintain a rhythm while writing and keep the momentum going. Leave placeholders when you have difficulty figuring out what word to use in a particular context.

3. Keep Your Research in the Document—Copy any quotes, information, or statistics at the bottom of your document before you start and put a line across the page to distinguish between your writing and the research you’ve compiled.

4. Write What You’ve Got—be concise and make your writing easy to digest for readers.

5. Talk It Out—ask a colleague for their perspective on your topic as they may offer a perspective that may alter the direction of your article.

 

It is now evident that writing faster is a topic that is has been discussed frequently by writers. The tips and tricks discussed in this article can certainly enable you to become a more productive writer.  An important thing to remember though is to never skimp on the quality of your work when you increase the speed at which you write.

 

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Was this post interesting? Are you taking on this challenge? Just for one year to test what can you achieve using this method and mindset?Please feel free to share your comments and thoughts with us.

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9 comments

  • Kayo

    Wow I must confess you make some very good points.

  • Wallace

    It’s actually a great and helpful piece of info. I am happy that you shared. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks again!

  • Gbemi Tijani

    Sir writing on such a broad topic to guide writers, this is commendable. Did any of your resources mentions or talks about about the writer’s block, especially with the prolific authors?
    Gbemi Tijani

  • Gbemi Tijani

    Commendable and resourceful for general public or blog writers!
    Gbemi Tijani

  • Diana

    It’s like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about the writing process, like you wrote a book on it or something. I think that you can do more justice with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is an awesome blog. An excellent read. Loving each article. 🙂

  • Julius

    Hi! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and starting a new project. Your blog provides to us ton of useful information to work on. You have done a marvelous job! A hardcore fan. 🙂

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