Mid June of this year (2012) I decided something. I decided I was going to finish 7 more novel drafts before the end of the year.* The ideas for the novels wasn’t the hard part. I’ve got a backlog in files waiting to be slapped onto a page.
So I did some planning** and figuring out of things (like word count, what I wanted to first, etc) and then I dove in.
With my nifty spreadsheet, I knew what I wanted to write, when I needed to get it done by, and how many words/day I was going to need to write.*** The resulting spreadsheet showed me how I was going to get 7 drafts done in just under five months. (My deadline is November 15th)
This is what that spreadsheet looks like:
Now, scheduling a word count doesn’t mean it automatically gets written, there have been many days that I’ve failed to meet that day’s goal, and so I adjust. The key to fast drafting is small goals. Sure, I may have a 5k word count goal for the day, but I break that up. For instance, today, my goal is 5060-words. I know I have 5 hours of writing time in which to complete that. So, I’ll divide it by the hour (or sometimes half hour) and then I’ve only got 1012-wds to write.
Beyond that, I’ve divided my outlines for my chapters into scenes and I know the approximate wordage I need to put into each scene… so I can use those as mini goals within my overall hour goal.
Also, I cannot stress how much Writeordie.com has helped me with this. Maybe that’s simply because I do better with deadlines and stress pushing me (I can tell you having your screen turn read because you’ve let your mind wander helps to kick your butt back into gear.)
But overall, what I’m getting at is that Fast drafting works for me because I have big goals, that are then fractured into smaller ones. Each accomplishment helps me press on to the next, even if I’ve got a scene that isn’t particularly fun… or isn’t flowing all that well.
Now, that being said, several of these fast drafts turn out looking like this:
Complete, but not at all pretty, and you certainly don’t want a cuddle.
*The end of the writing year for me is mid November. My brain turns to mush as soon as the holiday arrives. I can do revisions, I can blog, I can read as much as you’d like, but any decent word count is just not going to happen. And I’m the type of person who’s not going to fight that, I’ll just find other ways to be productive.
** I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but Spreadsheets make me happy.
*** As another note, I barely get any writing done on Fridays and weekends are a complete drought.