Things I Have Learned About Writing of Late

  • Posted on: 6 June 2013
  • By: MeiLin

I've been tinkering with Rachel Aaron's 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love, a brilliant, short, CHEAP read that's done a lot for me. Per her suggestion, I'm tracking my work, looking for my most productive days and what the commonalities are.

So far, no 10k days, but I'm a lot more productive. In no particular order:

1. I work better in silence
This SHOCKS me. I always assumed I did better to music. Untrue.

2. I work well pretty much anywhere
When I don't have my mojo workin', I do better at home just slogging through it. But when I'm on, I can tear through the word counts anywhere.

3. Mid-mornings are best
I have low spells in late afternoon. Like now. zzzzz

4. I can have Internet access as long as I don't let it interrupt my flow. Turning the sound off so I don't hear notifications means I don't get interrupted but I can still access the web if I need to for research. Yeah, yeah, put in a placeholder and fill it in later, but when I'm writing I need the info or I just can't continue. It niggles. It's more distracting to leave it. I'm quick and I'm focused on the web when I'm writing, not plotting. Plotting, I get distracted. Speaking of which:

5. I do best when I outline
I totally pantsed the serial the History used to be. I wrote myself into so many dead ends I had to take it down and start over. Right now I'm going through parts of what was book two for Macca's story, and holy mother of the gods. Wow. I can't believe I ever posted that. I no longer refer to the original serial as the Crappy First Draft, because as Gudy once pointed out, it's insulting to the people who loved it. (And people who loved it, thank you so much for loving it.) But I'm so, so much better at writing now, like whoa.

Following Rachel's advice I not only outline--I'm working on meta-outlining the entire remaining series even as I work on book 3--I'm outlining scenes before I write them. Rachel says, spend five minutes writing out what needs to happen in the scene, in longhand in a notebook, then write the scene. Yoiks! It works.

The whole thing is reminiscent of Michael Moorecock's How to Write a Novel in Three Days, except a little more detailed. Smile

6. Scrivener is genius
All these years in and I'm STILL discovering the brilliance of this software. If you are a writer, try it. If you thought it was too steep a learning curve, start with just using it as a plain word processor and build up. That's how I learned it.

Rachel has some really good advice on plotting, too. Seriously, it's 99 cents. Money well spent at five times the price.

That's what I've learned the last month. More shall be revealed!


Pikachu42's picture


like something I should do. I haven't written anything in AGES because I just pants everything. That and I'm reminded everyday how ATROCIOUS my grammar is. I mean it's just terrible.

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