How to Write More Words on Your Next Novel | iWriterly

Are you looking to write more words in each
writing session? Learn 16 ways to increase your writerly output
in this iWriterly video. Heya, book nerds! I’m Meg LaTorre, and on this episode of
iWriterly, let’s talk about the 16 ways to write more words. With so many stories bouncing around in a
writer’s mind, it likely comes as no surprise that most writers seek to write more—or
to be more efficient in the time they have to write. In the month of November, known as National
Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) to the writing community, thousands of writers endeavor to
write 50,000 words in a single month. To give you perspective, 50,000 words is roughly
200 manuscript pages (at approximately 250 words per page). For non-writers, that number is probably akin
to a month of torture. For writers, it may feel that way, too. Yet, it’s a delightful torture we do to
ourselves… every year. Before we get into today’s content, hit
the subscribe button and ring that bell if you haven’t already. Here on iWriterly, we create videos about
how to be a successful modern-day author and we fangirl about books. But regardless of the month of the year—whether
it’s NaNoWriMo season or any other month—how can writers more efficiently put words onto
the page? 1. Make a writing schedule and track your progress It’s important to make writing a routine. Depending on your lifestyle, such as if you’re
a nurse, you may not be able to write daily. Find what works for your schedule and make
it a routine. Meanwhile, track how much you write to keep
yourself accountable. 2. Determine when your peak creativity is and
plan your days around that time Some people like to write in the morning,
some at night. Assess your daily habits to see when your
creativity blossoms throughout the day. If it’s in the morning, adjust your schedule
so you go to bed earlier. If it’s at night, try putting your kids
to bed earlier (if you have kids) so you have more time to write. Whatever your circumstances are, adjust your
schedule so you are available to write during your peak writing time. If your peak creativity is at a time when
you are at work, for example, and can’t make time to write, I have unfortunate news
for you. You will likely need to write at a time when
you don’t “feel” creative. Part of the difficulty of being a writer is
you can’t only write at the times you feel like it. Learn to be creative through discipline. 3. Restrict your writing time to only writing Don’t use social media or anything else
that might be distracting while you are writing. Allow your writing time to be strictly that:
a time to write. If that means going to write where there’s
no WiFi (and therefore no temptations), do it. Also, consider leaving your phone in the other
room when you write. 4. Utilize the Pomodoro Technique (also known
as “writing sprints”) If you have ever gone on the online writing
community, namely the communities on Twitter and YouTube, you will likely have heard of
writing sprints. In short, it’s a designated amount of time
(often ranging from 10 to 40 minutes) where writers will write as much as they can in
that allotted time. Recently, I stumbled across the Pomodoro Technique,
which is similar in theory to a writing sprint. Essentially, it’s a time management method
created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo where you work at timed intervals, usually
25 minutes in length, and it’s separated by short breaks. I’ve found the following schedule works
for me: Write for 20 minutes
Rest for 5 minutes Write for 20 minutes
Rest for 5 minutes And so on During the 20 minutes of writing, I write
as much as I can. In the five minutes of rest, sometimes I will
read over what I’ve written or my outline for the remaining/next chapter, or I might
hop on social media or do some other menial task and let my mind rest until the five minutes
are over. Test it out to see what works for you. I highly recommend setting a timer on your
phone (or another device). There are also Pomodoro Technique apps. Compared to having an hour and saying to yourself,
“I’m going to write for an hour,” and then writing for 20 minutes and fidgeting
on social media for the other 40 minutes, the Pomodoro Technique encourages single-tasking
and efficiency. 5. Avoid editing as you write This is a tip you will hear everywhere, but
I think it’s great to voice one more time. Your first draft is supposed to be an imperfect
retelling of the perfect story in your head. Allow yourself to be messy, to have typos,
and so on as you write the first draft of your manuscript. Only put your editor hat on when it’s time
to edit that first, completed draft (or section of the book). If you’re an edit-as-you-go writer (which
is totally cool), NaNoWriMo or speed writing may not be the thing for you. Or, perhaps, allow yourself to speed write
a chapter before going back to edit it. As always, take my advice (or any writing
advice) with a grain of salt. Experiment to see what works best for you! 6. Ignore all other shiny novel ideas Got a fantastic novel idea for your next novel? Does it somehow—rather suddenly—seem so
appealing to explore? That’s your brain trying to avoid working
on your current book—something it likely sees as stressful or hard work. Our bodies and minds are wired to want to
be the most efficient and take the path of least resistance. However, fight the instinct to divert your
creative attention. Instead, write these shiny new ideas down
and explore them at a later time. 7. Have your computer/notebook handy You never know when you will have downtime. Consider using any spare minutes in the car
between appointments, before a doctor visit, etc. to jot down a few words or book ideas. If you know you will have free time during
your day, such as while you are at the airport, bring your computer or notebook to write. If you don’t want to bring your personal
computer while you travel, download the Google docs app (or a similar writing app). That way, you can open up your Google docs
on your work computer or on your phone and write whenever you have free time. 8. Write in different places Whether you are a creature of habit or you
like variety in your writerly routine, consider the place you write as yet another contributing
factor to your productivity. Do you have a favorite place to write at home? A desk or office, perhaps? Write there. If the words aren’t flowing onto the page,
however, consider swapping locations: kitchen table, local library, couch, bed, coffee shops,
a local pub (if you are of age), and so on. 9. Write when others are sleeping Whether you are a parent or live in a busy
household, consider writing when others are sleeping—either late at night or first thing
in the morning. The hours before the world wakes up or after
it goes to sleep are some of the most productive hours, as there are fewer distractions or
other obligations vying for your time. 10. Remove distractions Turn off your WiFi, put your phone in another
room, or remove any other distractions that might tempt you to do something other than
write during your writing time. For me, it’s tinkering on my website. As a result, I will turn off my WiFi and only
allow myself back online when I’ve hit my daily word count goal. 11. Find an accountability partner I hesitate to include this tip. From what I’ve seen, many writers will place
the responsibility on their accountability partner to keep them writing. But, in my opinion, that responsibility falls
solely on the writer, themselves. Therefore, consider finding a fellow writer
to touch base with weekly or every now and again. Encourage each other to keep going, and don’t
be afraid to bounce book ideas off them if you are stuck. But do not count on these people to remind
you to write every day. That’s what calendar alerts are for. 12. Outsource non-writing tasks As many of you guys know, I’m a mom. And goodness knows my to-do list is about
as monstrous as my TBR (to-be-read) list. During the month of NaNoWriMo or any other
month you are looking to pump out some extra words and increase your productivity, don’t
be afraid to ask for help in non-writing tasks (that might otherwise take away from your
writing time). If you have a spouse or partner, ask them
if they wouldn’t mind doing the dishes or laundry that week. If you are at school, ask your roommates if
they could go grocery shopping for you. If you live at home, ask your parents or loved
ones to chip in as needed. You would be surprised how your family and
friends will go out of their way to help you if it means supporting your dreams. 13. Say no to non-writing activities Unfortunately, you won’t have time to do
everything. If you’re invited to a barbeque that’s
during your writing time, you may have to say no to get that next chapter down. Look at your schedule. Decide if you can (or have) hit your goals
with your remaining free time that week. If not, consider saying no. 14. Give yourself deadlines Sometimes, simply saying, “Write 50,000
words in a month” is a little too vague for our writerly brains to grasp (and ultimately
attain). Instead, consider giving yourself weekly deadlines,
such as writing 12,000 words by Sunday night each week. Most importantly, use these deadlines to keep
yourself accountable! 15. Make a long-term plan with short-term goals Similar to the first point in this blog, make
short-term goals for your writing. Write down attainable goals that are within
your power. For example, a goal within your power is to
write 50,000 words in a month. A goal not within your power is to get a literary
agent in the next year. Track your progress throughout and adjust
your timeline as needed. With these short-term goals in mind, consider
how this will impact your future. Do you want to have a published book within
the next five years? If so, you will want to factor in other things
to your timeline, such as the time it takes to research agents, query, go on submission,
etc. To accommodate for these things, which are
outside of your control, you may want to give yourself a deadline to complete draft one,
another deadline for self-editing, another deadline for exchanging chapters with CPs,
and yet another deadline for beta readers so you have extra allotted time for the time
it takes to get literary representation and then go
on submission. Time moves faster than you think; so consider
where you want to be in your author career in the coming years. 16. When all else fails, use bribes If looking into your future and thinking about
having your book on a bookshelf in five years is just too darn far away to motivate you
to write right now (vs. binging a television series on Netflix this very evening), you
may want to utilize my favorite writing productivity technique: carbs. I mean, bribes. It may not sound flattering, but humans aren’t
all that different from animals. Classical conditioning (also called Pavlovian
conditioning) works on us, too. Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist, discovered
in his research in the 1890s that dogs began to salivate at the presence of the technician
who normally fed them, and not salivating at the presence of food. In short, he discovered dogs could be trained
over time to respond to a stimulus and associate it with food. Similarly, we can learn to associate hitting
2,000 words per day with a well-earned bowl of pasta. Just saying. Thanks for tuning into this episode on iWriterly
on how to write more words. If you liked what you saw, give the video
a thumbs up. It lets me know you like this type of content
and want more. If you’re new here, welcome! Consider subscribing. I post writing- and bookish-related videos
every Wednesday. If you have questions about anything we covered
today, leave those in the comments below. Be sure to connect with me on my other social
media platforms, including Twitter and Instagram. I also have a monthly newsletter, Book Nerd
Buzz, which includes exclusive insiders and giveaways for subscribers. When you subscribe to the newsletter, you’ll
receive free copies of the How to Format Your Manuscript for Submission template as well
as a querying checklist. All of the links are listed below. That’s it for today. As always, keep writing!

13 Replies to “How to Write More Words on Your Next Novel | iWriterly

  1. When I first sit down to write I always read what I wrote the day before. It is impossible not to line edit at this time. lol

  2. The grain of salt was adorable 😄

    I love everything you said (and the way in which you deliver it!). I really appreciate the deadline and goals advice. I’ve always found that helps me be more productive 😊

    Haha, the “bribes” in the form of food is so true!!!

  3. Thanks for another great video. Awesome stuff!

    When I was a younger guy (I'm talking late teens into my twenties) I only wrote when the muse hit. If I wasn't inspired I did not sit down to work. Thankfully I grew out of that behavior! College deadlines helped. haha Nothing like pulling all-nighters at the library doing research on an essay to learn a hardcore work ethic. And once I jumped back over to the creative side of things, writing all night long was easy. (Black coffee is your friend. haha)

    My goal was never word count on any given day or night. I like to finish scenes, like get my two characters out of the house and across town. I like to put chapter goals on my shoulders. "By Friday, I need to have this chapter complete in rough draft form and half of the next one." And each chapter has several scenes within it usually. Some are one big, crazy scene in total. Others a bunch of little ones.

    I guess I feel more like I've done a days work when the story morphs and changes. When I look at the word count number for the day I get all out of whack. I get upset and distracted. I need the story to lead me somewhere new and exciting or I feel like I'm a loser. It can be tough, too, when all I did some days was literally spend eight pages that session getting my two characters to merely walk across a room. That's just me. My own weird worries and stressors.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm a gi-normous over writer. I always have to go back and trim. That's okay. The writer simply needs to pull the kernel out of the clutter and shine it up. Pantsers know.

    My only additional advice to add to yours is get two or more characters talking on the page. Let them lead you along. Add in big, sweeping descriptions later. Just plop in what is necessary on the first round. Don't get knocked off balance by the name of some type of obscure architecture or the weird name of an old-timey hat. Just let the characters lead. Type as fast as it takes to let them take over. I mean fast!! Blast it all out on the page! Do it nonstop until your fingers get all twisted up and almost cramped. Then…hit save and go watch a youtube video as a treat. (Wait! Wha-? haha) The next day edit the work from the time before and turn the writing faucet on full blast again. Rinse and repeat until the story is done(ish).

    It works for me.

    Thanks again for the video!

    Take care.


  4. Thank you for always putting out such helpful advice. And speaking clearly and concisely! It makes it so much easier to get the help we’re looking for. Thank you for all your hard work. You’re a great model for us other authortubers

  5. I use dictation software. I find I get way more words on the page when I use that. Plus it really helps make dialogue feel more natural.

  6. These are all great tips! I put a post it note over the clock on my laptop so that I’m not constantly checking the time. It really helps me get into the writing flow and forget about the rest of the world.

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