I just bought a book he co-wrote with Cussler, The Eye of Heaven, so I’ll let you know how I like his style).
Since my writing pace is more turtle than rocket, I decided to test some of his craft tips on how to write more, faster.
- Do your research before you write the frigging book. Then turn off the internet. Your productivity will increase 30-40%. If you must, make notes of items that need research and do them after you’ve hit your daily word count.
2. Insert place holder for shit you don’t know. Don’t agonize over the perfect character name. Use XXX or ZZZ and come back to it after you’ve hit your word count.
These simple adjustments have made such a difference in my production! For the last week, I quit going back to research every detail I ran into. Instead, I made a footnote on the manuscript in red, to return to later.
YES! I’m making my daily word goal every day now! And note the emphasis on daily. I’ve written every day for the last 12 straight days. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to be writing every day, and with much less effort. On the writing every day, Russel says…
3. Hit your daily word goal no matter what. Having too much to do life happens, all of those reasons are not reasons. They’re excuses. You either want to make this happen or you don’t. If you can’t quit making excuses, take up some other hobby that’s less demanding, because this ain’t for you.
4. Ditto on revising. If you feel you must edit as you go, set aside time AFTER you’ve written your day’s word goal, then go back and edit. Note: I just quit editing. And still gave my pages to my critique partners. We’ll see if they hate me.
5. Looking at the larger picture, Russell says to sit down at the top of the year and pencil out a production schedule, and stick to it. “When I say stick to it, I mean stick to it like someone will blow your head off if you miss it. Like you’ll be fired from your job as a writer if you miss it. If you want to do this as a career, develop discipline.”
Harsh words, but Russell lives them. He starts on “content creation” around 8 or 9 in the morning, and works until 10-11 at night. Too much?
6. I’ve set a goal that’s realistic for me (also a Russell suggestion). I’m going to generate 700-1000 decent words a day, every single day, no exceptions. Guess what? That will allow me to generate 300+K per year! That’s three, maybe four novels a year. Would I be happy with that? Hell yes.
One last interesting tip. Since the man spends so many hours writing, he bought a treadmill desk. Russell says he now walks about six miles a day, and has actually lost weight writing. Hmm.
At this writing pace, I’ll have Crescent Moon Crossing finished in November, right on time. Maybe then I’ll ask for a treadmill desk for Yule.