More Productivity

I wrote last week about Nora Roberts’ amazing productivity. Now, through the Passive Voice, I’ve stumbled upon a blog post that gives me (and now you) some concrete suggestions on how to actually do it: write faster and better. I haven’t had a chance to use this yet, but I’m excited about this, so I wanted to share it.

The title of this post, “How I Went From Writing 2000 Words a Day, to 10,000 Words a Day” made me roll my eyes. Ten thousand words a day? Really? That’s forty pages if you calculate 250 words per page. A day! But I decided to read the post anyway–there might be a helpful hint or two amidst the puffery.

But there wasn’t any puffery, and Rachel Aaron’s suggestions are simple and sound easy to implement. They echo something Liz Danforth was telling me just yesterday about how she’s improved her productivity using Laura Vanderkam’s 168 HOURS. And some of Rachel’s advice seemed as though it was directed right at me and the problems I’m currently wrestling with in FIRSTBORN. Rachel says her productivity improved by:

  1. Having knowledge of what she’s going to write each day in detail, before she begins. Here’s her post on the prep work she does.
  2. Having enough uninterrupted time to write, and knowing what time of day she’s most productive.
  3. Writing scenes she has enthusiasm for. If she’s not excited to write a scene she changes it until she is. She reasons that if she’s not excited by what she’s writing, her readers won’t be either.

Don’t rely on my description which is extremely minimal. Read Rachel Aaron’s original post. And here’s her post where she expands on the subject and shares how she tracks her productivity.

Even though I’ve written four complete novels (and a couple partials), I still manage to get bogged down, usually in the middle. Then I grind to a halt while I figure out the problem–usually after a couple of weeks (or more) of exscrutiatingly slow progress and procrastination. That’s where I am with FIRSTBORN right now, even though I have a plot outline.

Rachel’s approach sounds simple and straightforward enough to work. I’m going to do what she suggests, implementing her triangle approach one side at a time. I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks how it’s working out for me. If you decide to try it too, or if you have other methods that work for you, please share!

13 Comments

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13 responses to “More Productivity

  1. This is cool. Thanks Frankie! I think I might try it. I saved it for sure.

  2. P.R. Mason

    Cool. Thanks for sharing.

  3. wow, wow, wow….

    Fantastic post. I’m forwarding the URL to http://groups.google.com/group/writingtips

  4. I may have to try some of these suggestions.

  5. Good info, thanks. Aaron’s process reminds me a lot of Wiesner’s First Draft in 30 Days book, which I found helpful in sketching out my space opera several years ago. I’m using that approach next month on my latest work, and plan on adding some of Aaron’s tips, too. Reading her process reminded me again that just because most writers I know insist on writing in “chapter order” doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with my own process of skipping all over the place. That’s always been my process: write whatever is playing in my head like a movie first and whatever gets me fired up. I’ve never been able to write anything in sequential order. Wiesner’s process seems to work great for me when combined with Karen Docter’s “W” plotting method as both are detailed enough to provide a plan, but not so detailed that I lose interest. Good reminders and tips!

    • I’ve read other advice about plotting and planning that is similar to this, and I’ve been using variants, but this was just what I needed, just when I needed it. Donald Maass talks about having tension on every page, but Rachel’s advice about doing a boredom check and rewriting a scene we didn’t feel excited about was what I needed to hear.

  6. I’m always looking for ways to jack up my productivity! Thanks for the links!

  7. I’ve done fast draft with Candace Havens several times. It works for me but then even when I try to slow down and revise and focus I leave things out and get screwed up on my time line. The closest I got to plotting was a summary of the story and goign from there. I have recently been lucky to brainstorm with my brother-in-law about the story I am revising. He has helped tremendously.

    • I’ll have to see how it goes for me. Up till now, I’ve needed time for my subconscious to percolate and offer up unexpected but valuable bits that my conscious mind didn’t think of. I hope that writing faster won’t close out those insights. Rachel Aaron acknowledges that sometimes the story takes those twists.

      This is an experiment that I hope will help me write more quickly.

  8. Dang. There methods won’t work on me. I’m too much of a pantser. If I know what exactly in detail I’m going to work on that day or an outline…won’t happen. 🙂

    • You have to do what works for you, Denise. I’ve been distracted with other things, but I have made myself a semi-detailed outline. I feel more comfortable knowing more or less where I’m going. I know from experience that things will morph as I go along, so I won’t get bored.

  9. Pingback: What’s In A Name? (Or A Title?) | Frankie's Soapbox

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