I’ve been listening to a lot of self-publishing podcasts lately, and one theme that keeps coming up is how to write more words in a day. This idea appeals to me because I don’t like long, drawn-out projects. While I love to write novels, I wish I could get each one done in a week. After three weeks, I’m bored with the story and ready to go onto the next one (see this post).
So, how can a writer increase her word count without adding more time on the keyboard? There are two ways. The first is to type as quickly as she can, without editing. The second is to dictate the story and let the computer translate your speech into text.
Supposedly, if you know what you’re going to say, you can whip out 6,000 words in an hour using dictation.
I’ve been resisting both methods. Regarding the first, I’d convinced myself that not editing as I go would not work because after finishing, I’d still have to take the time to go back and fix all the mistakes I made. Therefore, my time spent writing would end up being the same.
But I haven’t been able to shake the ever-growing desire to be able to produce more words in a day, in the same amount of time. So yesterday, I decided to test the first idea, to type for a certain amount of time without editing.
Here’s what I did. I wrote for fifteen minutes. I had started a short story a couple of weeks ago, and so I continued on with it.
With my old way of editing while I type I could type 300 words in fifteen minutes. During this test, I typed 577 words.
That’s right. I almost doubled my speed, not counting the editing that went afterwards. And I may have made it all the way to 600, because a few times I forgot I wasn’t editing and went back and deleted and rewrote.
After finishing the mistake-ridden section, I timed the revision and editing of it.
Thus, I wrote 577 words in twenty-one minutes, which turned out to be 405 words in a fifteen-minute period. This is 105 more words than what I used to write in that period, which translates to 420 extra words every hour.
Over the usual two-hour period that I spend writing every day, that would take me from 2400 words a day to over 3200! And that would mean, I would get finished writing the 3200 words in less than two hours, with the remaining two-hour period spent editing and revising.
What do you think? Am I going to discipline myself to stop editing while I type?
Now, of course, I’m wondering about dictation. Because I don’t thoroughly outline my stories ahead of time, I don’t think I’ll ever get anywhere close to the 6,000 words per hour level. But what if I could get to 3,000 words per hour?
Can you say, “cut your daily writing time in half”? Or, “cut the time it takes for you to write a novel in half”?
I’ll be messing with that over the next day or two, and let you know how it goes.