Alright, time for part two of my Rachel Aaron trifecta of posts. As I mentioned in my last post, I want to comment on Rachel’s strategy for dramatically increasing her daily word count. Rachel improved it 500%! And while her words per day might be impossible for some writers, her strategy will definitely help you improve your word count.
OK, I’ll be honest. Before I read this post on how Rachel improved her word count from 2,000 to 10,000 words per day, I was a bit skeptical. It sounds like an instant weight-loss drug, promising more than it could possibly deliver. I mean, I was already impressed that John Scalzi writes about 2,000 words per day (as mentioned in his book You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop: Scalzi on Writing, as reviewed here by me), and he’s a full-time writer. Rachel was writing 2,000 words per day before going to her full-time job. Many writers would say she was already kicking ass. But 10,000 words per day? C’mon.
But I have to admit, Rachel won me over. And while I might not get my word count up to 10,000 words per day, the strategy is simple enough that I know my count will increase. Maybe it’s the fact that it involves spreadsheets and metrics that won me over. But anyway, before you shout “nerd!” and close this link, let me explain a bit.
Rachel’s method boils down to three elements: knowledge, time, and enthusiasm. Knowledge–know what you will write before you start writing. As a big outliner, this was music to my ears. But Rachel offers very specific advice on how to outline so that you can get a lot down in a short time, but not so much that there are no surprises left when you write your story. Time–record when you write, how long you write, and how much you write; then look for patterns. Are you better in the morning, afternoon, or night? Are you better at home or elsewhere, perhaps where there is no internet? Yes, this is the nerdy step, but it takes only a second, and it will produce big results. For example, I know I’m bad with checking the internet while working. But how much does it affect my writing? I have no idea, because I’ve never measured it. I like to think I’m a night owl, but do I know for sure? Nope. And lastly, enthusiasm–if you’re not excited writing it, readers won’t be excited to read it. And you’re probably not excited because something is wrong with the scene, so rewrite it (after reading the earlier post on tension).
And that’s it: know what you’re going to write, know when and where to write, and make sure you are excited to write. Simple, right? Definitely. Now many of us probably can’t spend the hours per day working on our short story or novel like Rachel does (she’s now a full-time novelist). But what if you could double your word count? From 1,000 to 2,000? From 2,000 to 4,000 words per day? Suddenly you can churn out short stories at a blinding pace. And that novel seems much more doable, doesn’t it? How doable? Well, Rachel wrote a novel in 12 days! She plotted and wrote a complete first draft of a new novel (not part of a series) in 15 days. Incredible. Suddenly National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) doesn’t seem so crazy, does it?
So take a look at her post and good luck. And I’ll be back in a few hours with my last comment on Rachel Aaron–this time on the five easy steps to plotting your novel.