7 Secrets to Becoming a Prolific Writer (post by Anna)
When I mention how many books I’ve written in the past year, or how many projects I have in the works now, I’m often asked the same question. How do I keep up the pace?
I enjoy cranking out multiple books per year, because I’ve got more ideas for stories than I could write in a lifetime. Or maybe not…When it comes to completing all those ideas, I’m giving it my best shot! (Check out my writing roadmap for 2017, here and here.)
How did I make the change? Here are my seven secrets to becoming prolific.
- Find your niche. This is number one because finding the thing that best defines your writing style can change everything. For me, this happened when I wrote Tempted by a Kiss and realized I had an affinity for writing hot sex.
- Ditch the perfectionism. As a recovering perfectionist, I know how hard this can be. But I didn’t truly achieve fast writing until I realized the first draft is just that — a first draft. Typos? Fix ’em later. Muddy descriptions? Fix ’em later!
- Don’t let research bog you down. I often start writing before I’ve finished all the research for a book. I get the characters and basic story down first. Filling in the little details can happen in revisions.
- Find shortcuts. I use Scrivener for my initial drafts, and some of the editing, because it lets me easily rearrange scenes. It also lets me create a history of versions of each scene with the snapshots feature and even store research files within the program. I have other shortcut secrets, and I might share them if you ask nicely. 🙂
- Give yourself permission to screw up. This kind of goes along with number two, but it deserves its own spot in the list. Accept that the first draft is not the final draft and don’t feel bad if you can’t get everything right the first time. With Dangerous in a Kilt, I started out with a 50,000-word first draft and wound up with an 86,000-word published book. I realized the characters needed more time together, and more problems to overcome. On the flip side, with The Mortal Falls I deleted many scenes. I loved them, but they weren’t necessary to the story. I also rewrote the whole book to change it from third to first person.
- Block out distractions. Music helps me tune out the puppies rampaging through my living room and the lawnmower roaring outside. Focus is key!
- Just. Keep. Writing. This can be hard if, like me, you have another job besides writing. (I run a small business, Five Rainbows Cataloging Services.) Take any chance you get to write, whether it’s 50 words or 5,000 words. This is the absolute, no-doubt-about, most-important tip of all time!!
This is what works for me, to keep me writing fast. Take this post as inspiration, not a dictate, and discover your own way of improving productivity. Good luck!