Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fast writing: what is it?

What is fast writing? Is it shorthand or is it a way to write my blogs quicker? It takes me forever to compose my blog posts. I have never worked for a newspaper or had hard deadlines. I am a “tourist” writer rather than a “worker” writer. I can amble along, write a bit here and a bit there on this subject and that subject. I do research because I like doing research and file many tidbits for future articles, blogs or book ideas.

However, tourist writing is time consuming and becoming frustrating. I thought when I became a better writer, I would write more quickly. Either I haven’t improved or the theory is flawed. My personality tends to the organized spirit rather than the go-with-the-flow. I like detailed outlines. I like research as complete as possible before I start writing. I like my notes in the same file, on a clean part of my desk when I begin to write. After reading about fast writing, I decided I must give it a try. Will be a marriage made by love or the arranged marriage from hell?

Several resources gave me tips that I pass along to you if you wish to try "fast writing":

1. Get into your writing mode ritual (cup of coffee and lit candles, walk the dog, yoga, or cleaning your desk.) Many authors benefit from a routine build up to writing.

2. Know the basics of what you want to say before you start.

3. Some find it helpful to set a timer the theory being you will relax knowing you have given xxx minutes to write and can forget how much time it is taking to write.

4. Choose a format for your writing: question and answer; tips like this one; story; lists (great web sites, books, resources) or a quiz (pose a question and offer a check list that readers can use to figure out the answer.)

5. Turn off your internal editor. You will throw aside all inbred tendencies to back space, spell check, stop to research that one tidbit needed in the second paragraph or rethink a point. Just write and edit later. Use brackets or all capitals if something needs qualifying and fix it after you are done with the first draft.

6. Begin to write fast; write without stopping and write until you think you have said all you want to say.

7. Read and edit.

8. Read aloud several times.

9. Post it!

Fast writing is neither for all writers nor for all circumstances. I wanted to give it a try and I liked it. It worked for me. Have you tried fast writing? Do you have any tips to share that may help the rest of us? Do you fast write often? Do you fast write for certain assignments or stories? We would love to hear your thoughts on this.

P.S. Tuesday’s Coeur d’Alene Press had a brief side bar on how long it took to write six famous books: Lord of the Rings: 12 months; Interview with A Vampire: 3 weeks; A Time to Kill, 3 years; The Pelican Brief: 14+ weeks and Fahrenheit 451: 9 days.

1 comment:

Mary Jane Honegger said...

I love the idea of being a "tourist" writer! That's what I was for many years too, but once I did start writing with deadlines it was a nightmare until I learned to speed things up. However, I've never used the technique you outlined. I think I'll give it a try. Thanks!