You read that right – it’s totally possible to write 500 words (or more) in fifteen minutes. We’re going to outline some techniques for speeding up and improving your writing output, as well as include some advice and insights from other authors who have managed to increase their word counts through practice, experimentation, and trial and error. Read on – and then write on!
Many authors have found that dictation – using a speech-to-text tool – can help them increase their word count. Author Nana Malone is one of them. She has found that she can write just as quickly via dictation as she can at her desk – after she got over the initial learning curve, of course.
Other authors, like Dale Mayer, find that they can write more via dictation than they can at their keyboard! Dale herself has been able to write 9,000 words in one hour using dictation. While dictation may not be for everyone, it can really help improve your output.
Writing Sprints –
Writing sprints are an effective way to write more in a shorter amount of time, since it’s often much easier to focus for a short period of time than a long one. Start with five minutes, then ten, and then fifteen. Once you’ve built up your stamina, you can even try writing for thirty minutes at a time!
Keep track of how many words you’ve written during each sprint so you can keep track of your progress. You can adjust the amount of time as you see fit; remember not to feel discouraged if your word count is lower the first few times around. Like any form of exercise, this will take time and effort, too.
Writing dialogue is a great way to bulk up your word count. Dialogue, for many writers, often flows – it’s fast, can be easy to write, and is a great way to push your story along. Dialogue-heavy genres like romance are especially suited to this.
Try writing a scene that is completely dialogue-based, or flesh out a previously written scene with more dialogue. For many, dialogue comes easy – all you have to do is imagine a conversation! If it wanders as you write, let it – your characters might surprise you with what they have to say. Dialogue can be trimmed or edited later; for now, this is all about increasing that word count and getting you closer to your goal of a finished draft.
Fast drafting –
Fast drafting is a more intensive process; it involves quickly writing not just a scene or a chapter, but an entire novel. We have an outline of how to get into fast drafting here. Be sure to check it out (and try it out)! You’d be surprised as to how effective fast drafting can be.
For a similar idea, check out this KWL podcast episode about skeleton drafting:
Participate in National Novel Writing Month –
National Novel Writing Month is another fast drafting exercise – but you don’t have to wait until November to participate. Set yourself a goal of 1700 words a day for a month and you’ll end up with fifty thousand words worth of a draft in only 30 days! You can lower or raise the daily word count to suit your writing style and speed, or even extend the 30 day deadline to 45 or 60. Whatever you end up doing, remember that writing a novel in a month (or two) is entirely possible. The drafting stage may not be the prettiest or the easiest part of writing, but it is, of course, the most necessary!
Have you found it easy to increase your word count? Have you tried any of these tips or techniques before? Let us know, and as always, happy writing!