When it comes to writing fast, you need to find your flow.
When it comes to writing well, you need to fined your flow.
I won’t claim to be the fastest writer around, nor will I claim to be a great writer — I’m generally a humble sort, and besides, if you have to tell someone how wonderful you are, well then … you get the idea.
What I can say is that writing a lot every day makes me a faster writer AND a better writer.
And that’s what makes National Novel Writing Month such a boon for all sorts of authors, even if you never publish your book.
NaNoWriMo forces you to sit down and bang out (at least) 1667 words every gosh-darn day during November, and that will do wonders for your flow.
If you’re wondering what I mean by “flow,” chances are you haven’t experienced it full-force and could really benefit from NaNoWriMo.
In writing terms, at least, flow is that blissful state where you can sit down at your keyboard and just let your fingers fly. Those ideas that have been sprouting somewhere behind your eyes for weeks or month take full bloom as you begin writing, and the words pour onto the screen with little or now impulse to stop and analyze every keystroke.
You begin writing at 6, take a few sips of coffee, pound out some thoughts, take another swig, look at the clock, and it’s 8. Your screen is dripping with new content, yet you feel as if you’ve just begun your writing work day.
Beyond the mere act of forcing yourself to write day after day until the logjam of ideas and critical self-thoughts break free (call it “writer’s block” if you like), there are techniques you can use to cultivate and improve flow.
One of my favorites is getting to know TK.
Who is TK?
Actually, he is not a “who” but a “what.” Specifically, TK is shorthand for “to come” and is a handy little tool for keeping you focused on your story without breaking stride to look something up — AKA, surf the web — or to think about what a character’s name should be — AKA, stalling.
So you’re writing a story about football and can’t remember how many touchdowns Walter Payton had in 1984? The answer is TK.
Or maybe you’re banging out chapter 40 of your new sci-fi novel, and you’re deep into the rhythm of the climax. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a minor villain that you thought you had killed in chapter 10 reappears to wage the ultimate death-rumble battle with your protagonist.
Now, what was that dastardly dude’s name?
It was TK, naturally.
You see how much of a friend of the flow TK can be? Whatever you don’t know, or don’t remember, becomes TK, and you continue on your merry way.
You can and will go back to clean up TK’s mess later on, but use him to your advantage while you’re banging out your first draft.
TK has been right beside me all through NaNoWriMo this month, and, with his help, I just sailed past the last milepost on my way to victory.
More specifically, I hit the 40,000-word mark on Day 17. That’s what flow can do for you.
With TK’s help.
Daily Word Count: 3000
Overall Word Count: 41,000