Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

How do you become more prolific as a writer? (2 Viewers)

Status
Not open for further replies.

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
This is the question that preoccupies my mind right now. Trying desperately to finish my novel, I only seem to be able to push out 200 - 1800 words a day. I can’t figure out what my limitation is, but this is my attempt at an explanation:

I’m someone who heavily plans everything in life -- I’m a 100% “J” on the MBTI scale. When I first started writing fiction, if you had asked me if I was a ‘planner’ or 'pantser’, I would have hastily said, “planner!” However, I have learned that I am much more on the pantsing side. Although I have a very definite plotline as a skeleton to work with, I have no idea what I’m going to write.

For example, in Chapter 36, MC-A needs to fly from Las Vegas to the Hamptons to meet MC-B. They are both there to attend a charity event. At that event, clues are revealed through conversations of the event guests. That’s all I have to start with. So I just place MC-A on a private jet and then think about what might go through her head. She thinks about how different the two places are and compares them. As she runs through her thoughts, I try to portray an innovative message that ties into the theme. To do this, I must research the two places, so what I am saying is accurate, and then I dig deep into my own understanding of the two destinations and their unique qualities. I also must craft a realistic discussion that MC-B overhears, and hits on the key subjects but is still compelling to read. I run through various versions in my mind, hoping to come up with something clever or humorous.

I have always been an over-thinker, so this process is natural for me, but it takes time and can be exhausting. There must be a better way!

Any techniques you have used to increase daily production?
 
Last edited:

Cephus

Senior Member
I plan just about everything. I know every aspect of the book before I write a single word. All of the hard stuff is up front, all I'm doing is filling in the prose. It's how I can get out 100k+ words a month. I get up every single day, I know what I have to accomplish and I don't stop until I'm done. I refuse to stop before I hit 5k a day on a normal writing day. Ultimately, all of that comes from many, many years of experience. I just keep getting faster as time goes on.

Most of that comes down to dedication and having the background to get it done. Most production writers that I know, they all had to earn it over a long period of time. You know your capabilities and you continually push yourself to get better.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I plan just about everything. I know every aspect of the book before I write a single word. All of the hard stuff is up front, all I'm doing is filling in the prose. It's how I can get out 100k+ words a month. I get up every single day, I know what I have to accomplish and I don't stop until I'm done. I refuse to stop before I hit 5k a day on a normal writing day. Ultimately, all of that comes from many, many years of experience. I just keep getting faster as time goes on.

Most of that comes down to dedication and having the background to get it done. Most production writers that I know, they all had to earn it over a long period of time. You know your capabilities and you continually push yourself to get better.
That's amazing! I do appreciate that experience plays a big role in this. But I do think that being more of a planner would also make it easier. It just seems like a lot to think about all those scenarios and conversations upfront. I will have to devise some sort of structure to capture ideas before actually writing the prose. Any suggestions welcome. :)

The other thing I'm hearing from you is willpower. Perhaps that is something I lack. To push on even when you are tired. That's a learned skill

It's great to hear from you Cephus, as I know you are one of our most prolific writers. Although, you provide no magic solution...lol!
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I'm REALLY impressed by Cephus's post. Wow... I don't have anywhere near that throughput. If I can get a thousand words a day, I'm happy.

Like Cephus, I plot heavy - a full page of bullet points for each chapter. Having that keeps me focused and prevents a wandering story line.

The thing is though, writing shouldn't be a race. Whatever you get done in a day is fine, but I think it's important to write everyday. Treat it like a job, be serious and dedicated to producing a good quality story. What keeps me focused is loving the story.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
[...]

The other thing I'm hearing from you is willpower. Perhaps that is something I lack. To push on even when you are tired. That's a learned skill

It's great to hear from you Cephus, as I know you are one of our most prolific writers. Although, you provide no magic solution...lol!
One of my martial art students opened his own studio years ago, and I would visit often. He told his students that to succeed at anything requires: Discipline, Dedication, Responsibility, and Respect.

Discipline to work every day.
Dedication to telling the best story you can.
Responsibility to your readers and keeping to your personal goals.
Respect of your story - love it, and in so doing writing becomes a pleasure rather than a burden.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
One of my martial art students opened his own studio years ago, and I would visit often. He told his students that to succeed at anything requires: Discipline, Dedication, Responsibility, and Respect.

Discipline to work every day.
Dedication to telling the best story you can.
Responsibility to your readers and keeping to your personal goals.
Respect of your story - love it, and in so doing writing becomes a pleasure rather than a burden.

I can say yes to the second point, half of point three (I have no idea who my reader is yet), and the last point. I never feel it's a burden, and I love the story, so that's why I get so frustrated, that I can't push it out sooner. I think I have to work more on point one, likely the most important. :)
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I can say yes to the second point, half of point three (I have no idea who my reader is yet), and the last point. I never feel it's a burden, and I love the story, so that's why I get so frustrated, that I can't push it out sooner. I think I have to work more on point one, likely the most important. :)
Just keep moving forward, as I said, it's not a race.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
If I can get a thousand words a day, I'm happy.
That is a very consistent approach, and you have accomplished a lot as an author. A thousand words a day is still a lot for me. Do you build up stamina over time? Because I find that after one scene, I have to push myself to then go into another scene right afterward. Maybe there's something I can do in the transition period. Do you clear your head between scenes?
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
That is a very consistent approach, and you have accomplished a lot as an author. A thousand words a day is still a lot for me. Do you build up stamina over time? Because I find that after one scene, I have to push myself to then go into another scene right afterward. Maybe there's something I can do in the transition period. Do you clear your head between scenes?
Probably much like Cephus, I lay everything out in advance. Having an outline keeps the story on track AND reduces plot holes that I have to go back to fix later. Word count per day doesn't matter much, just be consistent in your writing discipline - set aside some time every day for it if you can.
 

Ajoy

Senior Member
Trying desperately to finish my novel, I only seem to be able to push out 200 - 1800 words a day.
First - I think that fact that you have any number of words as a daily occurence is great. Having that habit in place will make you ready for when you are able to increase your daily word count. I go for 500-1000 words a day (always excited when I blow past that) right now, even when I'm on leave from my day job. When I go back to full time work in August, I'm going to shift to something like 60 minutes of writing effort on weekdays and maybe like 1500 words a day on weekends. I stopped writing for a few years, partially because of life, but also because I became discouraged about not doing enough, and soon, I just let that become none. After picking it back up again last spring, my thinking has shifted to 'just keep going', despite how fast or slow it's coming. It's all better than nothing.
I run through various versions in my mind, hoping to come up with something clever or humorous.

I have always been an over-thinker, so this process is natural for me, but it takes time and can be exhausting. There must be a better way!

Any techniques you have used to increase daily production?
Something what works for me in these situations (when you know exactly what needs to happen, but not how to write it out yet), is to just write the scene out badly (like connect your outline plot points in whatever way gets you from one to the next). I have to tell myself things like 'yes, this is bad, but I'll fix it later' to keep myself pushing through the scene. It means for some pretty in depth revision, but it allows me to get through the draft so that I can see where my bigger issues are. Once I've done that, seeing how to fix those badly written scenes suddenly feels clearer. This is how I manage to reach my word count goals at the times when I feel stuck.
 

Cephus

Senior Member
That's amazing! I do appreciate that experience plays a big role in this. But I do think that being more of a planner would also make it easier. It just seems like a lot to think about all those scenarios and conversations upfront. I will have to devise some sort of structure to capture ideas before actually writing the prose. Any suggestions welcome. :)

The other thing I'm hearing from you is willpower. Perhaps that is something I lack. To push on even when you are tired. That's a learned skill

It's great to hear from you Cephus, as I know you are one of our most prolific writers. Although, you provide no magic solution...lol!

Willpower is all. If you're not going to follow through on your goals, what's the point of setting goals in the first place. If you can get that down, you're golden.

The thing is, I'm not even that fast. I know people who can write a million and a half words a year and I only get through half of that. Could I be faster? Yes. Will I be faster? Yes. Everyone has to have a goal in mind. There was a point in time that I pushed my daily goal to 7500, with the ultimate goal of hitting 10k a day. I just couldn't do it consistently. I could hit it a lot but not every single day and I found that often, I was putting down garbage just to hit numbers and that's why I reduced it back to 5k. Today, I routinely go over 5k. I track everything. In my current WIP, which is now 17 out of 20 days in, I've passed 7k 5 times. I've passed 6k an additional 7 times. Virtually all the rest is past 5500. I won't give up before I hit my goal but I'm always looking for reason to keep going, not to stop. If I can invent a new goal, I'll do it. Finish this scene. Finish this chapter. Hit some arbitrary number goal. It doesn't matter. I'm never looking for an excuse to quit. I'm always trying to find a reason to keep going. The more you challenge yourself, the faster and the better you become.
 

Cephus

Senior Member
I'm REALLY impressed by Cephus's post. Wow... I don't have anywhere near that throughput. If I can get a thousand words a day, I'm happy.

Like Cephus, I plot heavy - a full page of bullet points for each chapter. Having that keeps me focused and prevents a wandering story line.

The thing is though, writing shouldn't be a race. Whatever you get done in a day is fine, but I think it's important to write everyday. Treat it like a job, be serious and dedicated to producing a good quality story. What keeps me focused is loving the story.

It doesn't really matter what your number is, so long as you don't give up and you're willing to push yourself. Write a thousand words minimum every single day. I did that once upon a time. Then it was two thousand, then three. So long as you are dedicated, you are going to get there, wherever you happen to set your goals.

That's really the thing with writing, nobody is looking over your shoulder, making you write. You have to do that. You have to hold yourself accountable. If you don't, no one will. It has to matter to you and if it doesn't, you're probably doing the wrong thing.
 

Cephus

Senior Member
Probably much like Cephus, I lay everything out in advance. Having an outline keeps the story on track AND reduces plot holes that I have to go back to fix later. Word count per day doesn't matter much, just be consistent in your writing discipline - set aside some time every day for it if you can.

You can do this faster with planning than you can with pantsing. For most panters, the first draft, at best, is their outline and that takes a lot of time. I've seen people go through four or five drafts before they figure out what they're even writing. Granted, there is no right way or wrong way to do this, so long as you produce a finished product, but some ways, at least in my opinion, work better, at least for me.

I think another huge thing to learn is story structure. Authors need to figure out how stories go together and what beats they need to hit to be successful. There are lots of different structures but virtually all of them are doing the same thing. Find one you like, learn it, learn how to think in terms of structure and beat from the start and you'll tell better stories faster. It keeps your pacing on track too. There is so much to go into this beyond typing on the keyboard. Nobody ever said this was easy. :)
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
First - I think that fact that you have any number of words as a daily occurence is great. Having that habit in place will make you ready for when you are able to increase your daily word count. I go for 500-1000 words a day (always excited when I blow past that) right now, even when I'm on leave from my day job. When I go back to full time work in August, I'm going to shift to something like 60 minutes of writing effort on weekdays and maybe like 1500 words a day on weekends. I stopped writing for a few years, partially because of life, but also because I became discouraged about not doing enough, and soon, I just let that become none. After picking it back up again last spring, my thinking has shifted to 'just keep going', despite how fast or slow it's coming. It's all better than nothing.

This seems like a really sensible approach. I'm not that far off of that. I stopped for a couple of months, much for the same reason. So I lowered my daily expectation to 200 words a day. That seemed to work to get me back into it. I like the "just keep going" approach...same as indianroads advice. I think I will have to have that slogan somewhere near my keyboard. :)

Something what works for me in these situations (when you know exactly what needs to happen, but not how to write it out yet), is to just write the scene out badly (like connect your outline plot points in whatever way gets you from one to the next). I have to tell myself things like 'yes, this is bad, but I'll fix it later' to keep myself pushing through the scene. It means for some pretty in depth revision, but it allows me to get through the draft so that I can see where my bigger issues are. Once I've done that, seeing how to fix those badly written scenes suddenly feels clearer. This is how I manage to reach my word count goals at the times when I feel stuck.

I have never been able to do this for some reason. I start off saying I will do this, but then I just naturally drift back to that other process I set out in the OP. Maybe I should try forcing myself to do this one day, perhaps by setting a higher word goal. A do or die day!
 
Last edited:

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Willpower is all. If you're not going to follow through on your goals, what's the point of setting goals in the first place. If you can get that down, you're golden.

The thing is, I'm not even that fast. I know people who can write a million and a half words a year and I only get through half of that. Could I be faster? Yes. Will I be faster? Yes. Everyone has to have a goal in mind. There was a point in time that I pushed my daily goal to 7500, with the ultimate goal of hitting 10k a day. I just couldn't do it consistently. I could hit it a lot but not every single day and I found that often, I was putting down garbage just to hit numbers and that's why I reduced it back to 5k. Today, I routinely go over 5k. I track everything. In my current WIP, which is now 17 out of 20 days in, I've passed 7k 5 times. I've passed 6k an additional 7 times. Virtually all the rest is past 5500. I won't give up before I hit my goal but I'm always looking for reason to keep going, not to stop. If I can invent a new goal, I'll do it. Finish this scene. Finish this chapter. Hit some arbitrary number goal. It doesn't matter. I'm never looking for an excuse to quit. I'm always trying to find a reason to keep going. The more you challenge yourself, the faster and the better you become.
You are a wonder and an inspiration! You really helped me pull my bootstraps up that last time I started to wane.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I think another huge thing to learn is story structure. Authors need to figure out how stories go together and what beats they need to hit to be successful. There are lots of different structures but virtually all of them are doing the same thing. Find one you like, learn it, learn how to think in terms of structure and beat from the start and you'll tell better stories faster. It keeps your pacing on track too. There is so much to go into this beyond typing on the keyboard. Nobody ever said this was easy. :)
I haven't done a lot of work learning story structures. Can you recommend any good resources?
 

Cephus

Senior Member
I haven't done a lot of work learning story structures. Can you recommend any good resources?


That should be a decent introduction, but honestly, a lot of it depends on your genre and your own personal preference. I use three-act most of the time, although I do shift around occasionally if I find something else that needs a different fit. Once you really understand how stories go together, it becomes second nature. I don't think about where the inciting incident fits in, I just know that, at about 15-25% of the way through, it needs to happen. You learn how to view your book as a complete product instead of a bunch of disparate parts.
 

bazz cargo

Retired Supervisor
This is the question that preoccupies my mind right now. Trying desperately to finish my novel, I only seem to be able to push out 200 - 1800 words a day. I can’t figure out what my limitation is, but this is my attempt at an explanation:

I’m someone who heavily plans everything in life -- I’m a 100% “J” on the MBTI scale. When I first started writing fiction, if you had asked me if I was a ‘planner’ or 'pantser’, I would have hastily said, “planner!” However, I have learned that I am much more on the pantsing side. Although I have a very definite plotline as a skeleton to work with, I have no idea what I’m going to write.

For example, in Chapter 36, MC-A needs to fly from Las Vegas to the Hamptons to meet MC-B. They are both there to attend a charity event. At that event, clues are revealed through conversations of the event guests. That’s all I have to start with. So I just place MC-A on a private jet and then think about what might go through her head. She thinks about how different the two places are and compares them. As she runs through her thoughts, I try to portray an innovative message that ties into the theme. To do this, I must research the two places, so what I am saying is accurate, and then I dig deep into my own understanding of the two destinations and their unique qualities. I also must craft a realistic discussion that MC-B overhears, and hits on the key subjects but is still compelling to read. I run through various versions in my mind, hoping to come up with something clever or humorous.

I have always been an over-thinker, so this process is natural for me, but it takes time and can be exhausting. There must be a better way!

Any techniques you have used to increase daily production?
Turn off the Television and Internet. Use a kitchen timer to make sure you have regular breaks. Inspirational music can help.
Good luck
BC
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Turn off the Television and Internet. Use a kitchen timer to make sure you have regular breaks. Inspirational music can help.
Good luck
BC
I seldom watch TV, unless it's at the end of the day, and everything is done. But I use the internet a lot when I'm writing. I sort of research as I go. But, yeah it can compete for your time. Like right now, answering you is so much fun!

I do have a theme song, Ocean Eyes by Billy Eilish. And recently when I start to lose focus I play Your the One, by the Vogues. It's the theme song for Net Flix Queens Gambit, so now I associate it with a strong will.

The kitchen timer sounds interesting. I never thought about taking regular breaks. But it makes perfect sense. We do that when we're working in a full-time job, so why not.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I'm trying to be more of a planner because that seems to be a common theme with high volume. I've added a lot more detail to the remainder of the outline. But where I struggle is planning dialogue.

How do you planners set out a dialogue in advance? What does that look like? Bullet points of things that need to be said?
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top