Most of us indie authors are obsessed with writing more, either through forming a habit of writing more regularly or by driving up word count through learning how to touch type or through use of dictation software.
I am really impressed by all of the many ways in which it is possible to increase productivity as an indie fiction author and I have tried some of these techniques.
Some of them worked for me, others seemed like secret ninja-tricks that I would have to invest a lot of time in before seeing results.
Working a full-time office job alongside my fiction writing adventures, time is my most precious asset and I work very hard to protect it. So, investing a lot of time in learning to write in a different way just to be able to write faster some day in the future never seems like a good idea to me.
But there is something we indie authors can do to increase our productivity, be more focused and write faster, better without having to invest a vast amount of time first.
It doesn’t require secret ninja-tricks and you can reap the benefits of it pretty much instantly which is why it is my favourite way to work when it come to my own fiction projects:
Know your story REALLY well.
That’s it. That’s the technique which I used to write a 15,000 word book segment in 1 week. It sounds lame. It sounds obvious. But stop for a second and ask yourself: how well do I really know my story?
I am not looking to come under cross-fire in the ‘plotters’ vs. ‘pantsers’ debate.
Having tried both, I am now halfway between the two; thanks to Libbie Hawker’s excellent book Take off Your Pants! Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing. I would recommend it to anybody who would like to write better, and more coherent, stories faster.
Additionally, I have also started to develop an interest in story beats and how they work. I first heard about story beats when I was reading Write. Publish. Repeat. (The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success) by Johhny B. Truant and Sean Platt, successful indie authors at Sterling & Stone.
I recently started outlining my fiction projects using a basic story beats sheet that allows me to plan the major plot points and conflicts that I have to cover. I like to use a basic beat sheet which can be downloaded for free via Jami Gold’s Worksheets for Writers.
Doing this has vastly improved my writing speed, because I don’t have to stop so often to remind myself of what my characters have to do next.
It also helps me saving time on foreshadowing big events in the story because I know they’re coming up and naturally add in the necessary tell-tale signs as I write the initial draft.
But this is only me. You might have different needs and a vastly different writing process. That’s the trouble with us creatives – we are individuals. There is no right or wrong here. Do what works for you.
However, I am sure that however you get to know your story better, once you know it REALLY well, you will be able to write faster, better fiction and be able to eliminate a lot of the frustration that can happen when writers get stuck.
If you found this post useful or have some techniques to share that have helped you gain a good knowledge of your story or characters, don’t be shy and pop them into a comment below.