I never really had an actual term for the way I write novels. It was when I was setting up my profile on Twitter the term "binge writing" entered my mind and it is fairly appropriate. Write a lot one day, not much the next, maybe not much more the next, and then write like crazy again. Not very efficient but when you look at the fact I am writing 5000- 8000 words every few days, it works for me and my schedule.
I have read plenty of books and articles on writing and I do believe it is a good thing for us writers to write something everyday but it is necessary to write 2000 words a day? Eh, if it works for you great, but if not, find a method that does work. Most of us have lives where writing is a kind of "back burner" thing, we want to do it, we try to do it, but it isn't easily done.
I didn't jump to binge writing, I use to only write in small 500 word chunks but then BOOM, enter NaNoWriMo 2007. I started 8 days late and busted out 48,900 words before the midnight cut off. Quite a feat, in my opinion, considering before that the most I had written of a "novel" was 37,000 words over the course of three years.
I didn't attempt NaNo again until 2012 and this time I was ready. I started on time and completed my 50,000 words by 11/20. Most days I easily hit 1667, the daily amount needed to reach the goal mark in 30 days, and a few days I hit 3000-4000. At the end of 30 days, I had reached 67'000 words.
But that wasn't enough. I wanted a challenge. I decided at this point that by the time November 30th 2013 came around I was going to have three complete novels. (first draft wise, of course.)
To make the post shorter, I will skip over my plotting and worlbuilding conundrums (believe me, there are many!) and tell you I hosted by own NaNoWriMo type event with the same 30 day timeline. On book 2, written in June, I wrote 2-3 days a week, averaging around 4000-8000 words per day I actually wrote. Not bad, and the novel's first draft came to around 70,000 words.
NanoWriMo 2013 was interesting. I had less days of writing but set my own personal record of words in one day at 11,017. Thinking about that, it is crazy. Talk about a binge session! I think I still have a headache sometimes from that marathon! At the end of 30 days, I made it to my goal and completed book three thus reaching my goal of three novels in roughly a year.
Now by no means was (or is) my work done. There are pitfalls to writing novels this quickly but I feel accomplished that I actually was able to write three drafts in that time period. And in case you are wondering, on Book one of the three, I was very much a
"pantser". I jotted down a few ideas but then ran with the story. Easy to do this with a new world but with rules and precedent of a first novel book two and book three and a good deal of detailed planning. So I can best be described as a "plotting when necessary pantster".... That indeed is the key, plotting ahead of time. If you know what you will be writing, it makes the writing process that much easier!
If you want more about fast writing, I am a big fan of Rachel Aaron's 2k to 10K. Though her techniques differ from my own to a degree, her scene map organization as well as editing method are both very helpful. I recommended it to both plotters and pantsers alike!
So what has come of all this binge writing? I am now working to release Saints of Wura Book 1: Winemaker of the North this fall! Follow the link for a sample!
How do you write? Small chunks of 500-2000 words a day, or do you too have marathon writing days? Let me know in the comments!
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