You want your latest writing project to move faster. Many great writers have felt the same way.
Don’t worry, it’s fixable. When the words stop, writers have effective ways of getting them to flow again. Here are 20 techniques:
1. Plow new ground. Write multiple drafts instead of obsessively editing the same one. You can tell the same story, but tell it over again. You will probably feel more encouraged. That part that you never knew how to fix? Maybe your new draft doesn’t have it anymore.
2. Commit to a consistent schedule. Write daily, not someday. Start today, not tomorrow. Find the best time for you. Resolve that 6 a.m or 9 p.m. will be your regular time for writing, and that’s it. If you don’t make time, you may not find time.
3. Use the time you have. After all, you can’t use the time you don’t have. Though it’s definitely easier to write when you don’t constantly switch tasks, you can’t wait for large blocks of time to appear in your schedule. Take advantage of the minutes between tasks, time that might have been misused. When you can’t write, prepare to write.
4. Set priorities. You can’t do everything. You can’t spend three hours a day watching television, four hours playing video games, eight hours at work or school, eight hours sleeping, two hours eating, and one hour writing. That totals 26 hours a day. You’ll have to cut something from your schedule. Do you want to write or not?
5. Count words, not minutes. You may feel lighter and freer if you know you can go play golf once you have written 1,000 words. You may write faster out of sheer anticipation.
6. Count minutes, not words. On the other hand, sometimes the words get hard and so does your chair. If your mind is strained, tired or muddled, maybe you should limit your writing time. Find a goal you can stick to. (This is not permission to give up easily.)
7. Don’t begin at the beginning. The title and first lines are the hardest parts to write. They get easier after you’ve finished the rest, and having perfected them might not help you write the rest more efficiently. So, don’t bother writing them first. You can change the title anytime before the release; that’s one reason movies have working titles.
8. Start in the middle. Actually, start writing the part that most inspires you. Start where you want to, where your creative urge is strongest. You can add introductions and conclusions later. Write your favorite part first.
9. Choose an audience. You write most effectively when you know whom you’re writing for, when you can picture them. Then you’ll know your purpose more clearly.
10. Change your audience. If your writing gets stuck or even boring, try picturing a different reader. Maybe you weren’t picturing any particular reader at all. No wonder your writing sounded unfocused. Imagine you’re writing to your best friend, your best customer, your biggest fan, or to your grandmother. (Write regularly to your grandmother, if you have one.)