When my self-imposed rough-draft deadline whooshed past (in August) and then again (with the extended deadline, in September) I decided it was time to consult others’ advice on the matter of getting things finished. I read Rachel’s Aaron’s “2K to 10K: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love” and am following her advice on making editing a smoother and more thorough process. I went on to read Chris Fox’s “5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter” and was pleased with the word-tracker Excel spreadsheet included with it. Ever the skeptic (I’m more a messy-notecard writer) I tried his ‘writing sprint’ exercise and logged my efforts accordingly. I was really happy to see that it helped my word count considerably. While the real trick to increased word count is staying focused, it can really help to have specific exercises aimed at improving one’s focus.
I think the appeal of a how-to book often falls into the question of “how badly did I need that advice?” – and, in this case, these were both the right books at the right time. Additionally, I realized as I was going through them that while writing itself is often a talent that grows out of the sheer enjoyment of storytelling, revising and editing are separate skills (and, often, not nearly as fun as the writing). For a long time I’ve considered myself just not very good at the revising part of the process and finally, I see why: I haven’t really put in the effort to develop the skills for it. Since it’s more fun to write and write and write, I’ve been setting novels aside once it’s time to revise and starting something new instead. (And I’ve just publicly admitted to being – yes indeed – that lazy.)