Day 5 of writing through May! Today, I want to talk about some weird tricks I use to write faster because I don’t have infinite free time to write (for myself). Have the same problem? Share your tricks or struggles with me in the comments below!
With all my airy writing, love for poetry, and desire to find quiet places, you probably wouldn’t expect someone like me to be in marketing. But…
That’s what I do for a living. And I LOVE my job… 98% of the time. 2% of the time I would rather be eating ice cream and crying over algorithm changes. Everyone has bad days.
If you leave me alone too long (when I’m not outside or adventuring), there’s a good chance I’m checking social media channels and emails, reading about marketing, and obsessing over content strategy. It doesn’t help that I’m in destination marketing, and I believe travel enriches your life. That just makes me more passionate about my work. Passionate Sarah = obsessive working Sarah.
The problem with all that? Sometimes I don’t leave enough time, energy, or head space for my personal projects. I already work 40 hours a week at the office, so I’m limited on WHEN I can sit down to work on my novel, paintings, blog, and editing side business (because I need one of those, right?).
That’s part of the reason I decided to carve out part of my morning specifically for Lit Bear. I need to give my little corner of the internet some TLC. That brings me to…
Trick #1: Developing routines.
This trick basically works for everything I do, and I’m still developing a few routines to help myself out. Whether it’s social media management or writing, forming a routine around work helps me do everything faster.
When I develop a routine out of my writing, I’m mentally prepared to put the work in. It’s not lackadaisical, and I’m not thinking about how I should write more. I don’t guilt trip myself or stare at a blank page for an hour.
I just sit down during a specific part of my day to write. For me, that’s the morning. It’s when I feel most creative and open.
I’m not a scientist, but I know for me, this tricks my brain into being ready to do the thing. It also takes the pressure off. I’m not worried about “finding time” to write. That time already exists, and it’s all mine.
Trick #2: Formatting my document for productivity.
I know I’m not the only writer out there that needs a specific font and font size to even begin writing (Garamond, 12 point). But that’s not the end of it for me…
I also require 1.15 line spacing, a space after paragraphs, a carefully formatted outline to jump to chapters easily, and small pages. The page size is probably the most important part when it comes to writing faster for me.
An 8.5 by 11 inch page is an intimidating sea of white and often a mental block. Using small pages makes me feel more productive. There’s satisfaction to filling a page with writing, and I get to experience that more often by formatting my page to smaller dimensions. I also do this to save myself time later when I’m ready to publish.
Bonus tip: Formatting for self-publishing is probably the most frustrating and painful part of the process. Especially if you’ve never done it before. I’ll give you my tips for saving yourself time and heartache in another post.
Trick #3: Don’t let writer’s block be an excuse.
The muses aren’t always singing, and I don’t always feel a wellspring of creative energy. And I refuse to chalk that up as writer’s block. Instead, I do the next best thing. I start writing synopses for the upcoming chapters. These are generally 4-5 paragraphs in length, and I focus purely on plot.
Not only does this allow me to continue working on my novel, it removes some anxiety for me. I get to play with ideas without worrying about how good my writing is. I get to move forward in the plot without feeling committed. I get to work instead of staring at a blank page.
In case you haven’t caught on, I HATE staring at blank pages.
Once I circle back around to where I left off in my novel, it’s easy to write the next chapter with a nice synopsis to refer to. Boom! Writing speed increased.
There you have it. Those are my three tricks for writing faster. It’s not exactly rocket science, but it took me a while to find that perfect groove for myself. We’re all different when it comes to the writing process, and I encourage you to experiment with what works best for you. You might surprise yourself.
If you’re feeling stuck or need some feedback, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with me on social media. I love having writing buddies.