Friday, June 10, 2011

Day 10 - Guest Post by Emily May!

Today's Guest Post is by romance author Emily May, or perhaps romantic fantasy author Emily Gee. Whatever the name, Emily has seen some brilliant success, with her Regency novel "The Unmasking of a Lady" making the finals in several competions including the National Readers' Choice Awards and the RWA's Romance Book of the Year Awards 2011.

I'm a slow writer.  My happy word count per day is about 1000 words--usually written laboriously over many, many hours. But 1000 words a day is a little too slow when I have deadlines to meet!

Last year I started doing two things that helped me to increase my word count and achieve my writing goals a little more easily. Both are quite simple. They may work for you ... or they may not.

First, I wrote the following sentence on a piece of paper and put it on my keyboard each night, so that I saw it first thing in the morning.

"Take a few minutes at the beginning of each day to set goals."

Each morning I sat down and read that sentence and thought about my goal--"Today I am going to write 1500 words"--and set it firmly in my mind.

(I know, 500 extra words per day doesn't sound like a lot--but it adds up! A 90 000 word first draft takes 60 days, instead of 90--that's a whole month less!)

Second, because 1500 words is a daunting amount for me and can easily drag out over eight or more hours, I wrote down my goal in little chunks, like this, on a scrap of paper:

  1500 words

100 600 1100
200 700 1200
300 800 1300
400 900 1400
500 1000 1500
And then I started writing, not focussing on the end goal, but on the mini goals instead. 1500 words was impossibly far away, but 100 words was easy, and then 200, and 300. And with each mini goal I crossed off, I got a nice little boost. I could SEE that I was blasting through my mini goals, which made me feel more positive about my writing, and that in turn made the words come more easily. 
Incredibly, there were days when I reached 1500 words by lunchtime! (A miracle for me.) So then I'd write out more increments of 100 and keep working. Several times I passed 2000 before my brain shut down, and once I even passed 2500!

So there they are, my two little strategies for upping my word count. I hope they work for you too!


zarisson said...

Thanks for the great suggestion, and i LOVE the cover of Sentinel Mage. I wanna be her!

Enid Wilson said...

Thanks Emily for the tips. Since sprinting with fellow challengers here, I've been achieving my word count. And I've used this 20 minutes fast writing privately. As long as I forget about the mistakes, word choice etc, I can write much faster. Editing will come later...

Chemical Fusion

Robyn Grady said...

Great post, Em! Set a goal, and just start writing. It's amazing where your characters will carry you off to!

marilyn said...

Thanks Emily, this is so much me! I just cannot seem to write more than 1000 words a day. I am definitely going to give the word count goal-setting a go.