Now I know I’m super annoying but…I FINISHED NANOWRIMO IN 3 DAYS.
Well, technically I wrote 62,000-words in 3 days and even finished up early enough that I got to spend a pleasurable evening relaxing and doing nothing. * This wasn’t actually a record for me either as back in September I wrote 130K in 6 days WHICH IS KIND OF A LOT AND I LIVED TO REGRET EVERYTHING. **
— Cait (@PaperFury) November 3, 2016
Okay, come back. Stop hissing at me through the laptop screen. I will give you cake if you read on, you delightful little kumquat.
This post is inspired by the fact that when I tweeted “HEY LOOK WHAT I CAN DO” I had a variety of things yelled at me, including:
- Cake for you!
- Want to write my book for me?
- You aren’t human.
- I love you but also hate you right now.
- Did you know it is actually National Novel Writing MONTH not week?
- Could you not.
I decided I shall answer the last one: HOW DID I WRITE A BOOK IN 3 DAYS? Because clearly it’s time to spill secrets and then pat you on the shoulder and assure you that, yes, you too can do this if you want.
But I also accept titles of Immortal Dragon Queen Of All if you prefer to think of me as not-human. That’s cool.
* I was lying catatonic on the floor with chocolate BUT SAME THING.
** Or did I live??? Is this a human typing now or the Ghost Of Caits Of The Past? Or perhaps just a clone I left to keep things together while I am dead after a 27K day that one time. Or perhaps there WAS NEVER ANY CAIT AT ALL AND I AM JUST PRETEND. #ExistentialCrisisIntensifies
OTHER HELPFUL POSTS INCLUDE:
- How To Write 10K in 1 Day
- My Writing Schedule for The Day
- How To Write A Successful 1st Draft
- How To Write a Bestselling Novel
(Spoiler: Some of those posts are no true help at all because I’m a sarcastic little wombat. But I am here to confuse and destroy and give you cake. You’re welcome.)
1. PRACTISE SPRINTING UNTIL YOU CAN SPRINT LIKE YOU’VE NEVER SPRUNT BEFORE.
You know the word “sprunt” sounded right in my head but now I’m second guessing my ability to use the English language. (Which, FYI, is the only language I’ve ever had. I need to be restrained from it.)
But that aside — look I didn’t wake up one day and say “I’M GOING TO WRITE 20,000 WORDS IN ONE DAY!” I worked up to it. I also figured out my process which is to write wild and messy and bad first drafts and do serious editing/rewriting later when I have the skeleton here to work off. Everyone’s writing process is different! BE AWARE OF THAT. But if you want to learn to sprint: then do it. Very rewarding. As rewarding as taking over small galaxies and ruling them nefariously. *
But a little backstory on my last three NaNoWriMo experiences?
- 2014: 65K in 7 days
- 2015: 63K in 5 days
- 2016: 62K in 3 days
On top of that, I’ve written 22 books, editing copiously, rewritten more, and just WROTE AND WROTE AND WROTE UNTIL I COULD WROTE NO MORE AND THEN YOU KNOW WHAT? WROTE MORE. **
Practise, is what I’m trying to say. Praaaaaaactise. You learn to write fast. You learn to sprint. You do it so often that writing 20K in a day is actually No Big Deal.
* I mean…not that I would know. [WINK WINK]
** Genuinely worried about my use of grammar now.
2. HAVE A 5-YEAR PLAN.
Well, that’s a little excessive, Cait. Maybe chill.
Try having a 3-day plan. AKA — AN OUTLINE FOR YOUR NOVEL. I wold not be able to do this as a panster! I JUST WOULD NOT. As is, I have a very detailed outline (this year’s outline was 7,000-words long and outlined every. single. scene) so I have zero chance of either going: “omg no writers block I don’t know what to do now” or “where am I going with this”. Because I know. I have The Outline. I follow The Outline.
The Outline and I are ONE. *
Because of having a detailed outline I don’t get stuck! I don’t need to overthink. I literally can just write.
* Just kidding, we still fight, but mostly it’s a good relationship.
3. GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO BE AWFUL.
I do not write neat perfectly stitched together 1st drafts. I WRITE WILD AND MESSY AND AWFUL. I give myself permission to write badly because 1st drafts are just always going to be bad no matter what. * So my method is to write awfully and freely and have fun because there’s 0% pressure here…I know I’ll fix it later!
I’m not just hitting my keyboard. And I will write scenes that I, modestly, view AS PURE GOLD. But there will also be sentences like “He ate the potato because he loved potatoes because potatoes were good” and yes I still call myself a writer. Although sometimes I make myself cry.
* Okay, fine, maybe your 1st drafts are perfect little works of art but I can’t look at you. Whose soul did you sell?
4. HARVEST THE SOULS OF YOUR READERS AND DRINK THEIR TEARS.
I thought this was good advice.
5. MAKE THE TIME, EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO STEAL A TIME MACHINE.
Obviously you can’t write for 6 hours a day IF YOU ARE BUSY DOING OTHER THINGS. Personally? I make time in my schedule. I can afford to take 3 days off from…everything. I PLANNED TO TAKE THESE DAYS OFF ALL YEAR. I had freezer meals ready, chocolate stockpiled, my dog bringing me sandwiches, and zero commitments to anyone or anything anywhere. I could be 100% focused on my writing.
If someone so much as looked at me with a, “Hey Cait could you –” I JUST SAID NO AND RAN AWAY.
Plus I don’t read or watch movies or blog or, like, talk. (I do faceplant on the internet during breaks though. And nap. So much napping.) That frees up a lot of extra writing time.
And yes! I do type for upwards of 6+ hours a day! SO THAT’S KIND OF A LOT. I get rather hyper-focused and can type and type and type and be perfectly happy lost in my own mind. *
A very simplified schedule of how I write would look thusly:
- 8:00am – 9:30am = 3,000 words
- 10:20am – 11:50pm = 6,000 words
- 12:30pm – 1:30pm = 2,000 words
- 3:40pm – 4:30pm = 1,000 words
- 7:00pm – 10pm = 8,000 words
BUT SEE ALL THOSE TIME BREAKS???? I am not writing the whole day. I am exercising or playing with my dog or gone for a walk or eating FOOOOOOD. Take care of your brain, pumpkins. You’ve only got one. **
And least to say: no procrastination. NO. NONE. NONE. AT. ALL.
Oh don’t give me that look.
* Wait. That is scary.
** And some of us have less than that after NaNoWriMo. But yet we remain! Go us!
6. I’M A MOTIVATED LITTLE MONSTER.
Honestly I think a lot of writing intensely huge word counts just comes down to: DO YOU REALLY REALLY WANT TO DO THIS??? You practise. You build up your skills. You write. I honestly have no Secret Recipe Of Awesome. There is nothing magical in my cake. * I do not have 8 arms and 7 clones. My dog does not type well unless I want my manuscript to saw “rawr and woof”. WELL, I MEAN, I AM THE IMMORTAL DRAGON QUEEN. So there’s that. But that only contributes a little.
And if I’m struggling to motivate me? I get YOU to motivate me. Twitter! Chatting with NaNo friends! Blogging about my projects! Comparing character tortures with writerly buddies! I mean, what’s the point of living on this planet unless you get to demand the mere mortals to encourage you and your word count and bring you cake, amirite?! What else are the mortals for???
Also, um…I’m hugely competitive with myself and have to keep beating my old records and it’s a disease probably. Shh.
* Except for the fact that I baked it and I am beautifully magical.
Speed writing isn’t for everyone, but if you want to do it: GO FOR IT.
Work up to it! Challenge yourself continually. And the basic mathematical equation is: plan + clear your schedule + stick your butt in your chair and don’t procrastinate + type fast + be motivated by the reward that is a finished manuscript + focus + cake + write wildly and badly with no editing + be just a teeny tiny itty bit INSANE = you did NaNoWriMo in 3 days.
NOTE: This post isn’t intended to be braggy! If any of my methods are helpful to you, GREAT. If not: your process and journey is different but just as awesome. Trust me.
hey NaNolings! how are you doing? surviving??? DO YOU NEED ENCOURAGEMENT BECAUSE I HAVE CAKE FOR YOU. what’s the highest word count you’ve reached in a day and what’s your Ideal Goal World Count for someday? are you a speed writer or a slow writer? what’s your process?! let’s chat of all the fun things.