Friday, July 7, 2017

How to write 40k words in a single day!

I started writing in 2006 at the age of 13. My first book took seven years to write. The story it started as is not what it ended up becoming. The title changed, the setting changed, the plot changed, and basically it morphed from a single thought into a full world containing a series of stories (now known as the Finding Gold Series). 

Upon finishing that final version I submitted the book to a publisher already 99% sure it would be rejected, but knowing if I didn't do something with it  I would never move on.  

With notebooks filled with ideas, I moved onto something new; the book now published as Only Half Alive. It took me 13 days to write. 

First book = 7 Years. Second book = 13 days. 

What changed? Well, first of all, I didn't really care what that second book turned into. I just wanted to have fun. I let the story take me where it wanted to go, no questions asked. Whereas the first book was my baby! My precious first story that had to be perfect!

After seven years of writing, I was already good at typing fast. Whether I'm sprinting online or at a writer's retreat, my typing speed is constantly questioned. "How can you write so fast?", "Did you really write that much?", "It's not even possible." But the truth of the matter is, YES, I can write that fast, I do write that much, and yes, it's possible.

After my first book was published I was introduced to the world of sprinting. No, authors are not meeting up to go for a jog. Writing sprints! And I quickly learned I was a bit competitive. I finally found a sport I could win at. 

The sprint group I joined welcomed me and I found a new way to write books faster. Most sprints were 30 minutes to an hour long. This worked for the first little while. But the more I did it, the faster I learned that I would only write for a short period of time and then get distracted the rest of my writing time. 

Introducing the new schedule!

First, one thing you have to know is I'm a bit odd. Some people joke that I have OCD. I don't  know if that's true or not but I like things to have order. So joining sprints (that most often started at random times and ended just the same) was a bit stressful for me. 

I created my own sprinting schedule. I start the sprint at *8pm and write for twenty-five minutes (until 8:25pm). I give myself a five-minute break. And then I start again at 8:30. I go for twenty-five minutes (until 8:55pm), take a five-minute break, and start up again at 9pm. 

*Times are just examples. 

This schedule took my writing from 500-1000 words every thirty minutes to roughly 1000-5000 words every twenty-five minutes (on average). 

Life changing! 

The questions kept coming ...

The sprinting made a huge difference. But that's not the sole reason I can write as fast as I do. And after being asked "How do you write so fast?" so many times, I decided to put together an actual list of ways I accomplish it. 

  • 1.      DO NOT EDIT. I know you are tempted to stop and agonize over every single word while writing them. DON’T DO IT! IT’S A TRAP (read that in Ackbar’s voice).
  • 2.      Write with your eyes closed. This helps in many ways. The first of which is you won’t be able to see the things you want to fix, and therefore will listen to the number one tip.
  • 3.      Envision what you are writing. This is another reason to write with your eyes closed. Picture the scene, the moment, the characters. Put yourself in that situation.
  • 4.      Speak out loud. You will sound like a crazy raving lunatic to anyone nearby. This is why I write in the comforts of home, where no one will walk by, hear me talking to myself, and question my sanity (although my sanity is still questioned … often). But really, if you’re struggling (or even if you’re not) with dialogue, a great way to fix this is to have the conversation with yourself out loud, so you can hear how it sounds. Is it realistic? Would your character really speak that way?
  • 5.      Act it out. Again, I don’t recommend this if you’re in public. But acting out a scene can be a great way to figure out if it would work, how it would work, and if it conveys the right emotion for the scene. Don’t be afraid to get up in the middle of a sprint and quickly act out a scene you can’t get on the paper.
  • 6.      Skip around. If you can’t write the current scene in your book, don’t be afraid to skip to the next scene, or chapter, or end. Just keep writing!
  • 7.      Wear headphones. Make sure what you’re listening to matches the tone of the scene you’re currently working on. Don’t listen to something romantic while writing an epic battle scene. That will (most likely) NOT help.
  • 8.      Don’t get distracted by Facebook and other social media sites. Once you get pulled in there is no getting pulled out. I say this from experience. If you’re sprinting with people on Facebook just keep that conversation/post up, but do not go to any other page. And even at that, I recommend you find a less distracting place to sprint.
  • 9.      When you reach a scene where you don’t know how to describe something or you know you’re using the wrong word to convey something, put the word/description in parenthesis and move on. Once in the editing stages search for the parenthesis and fix those spots. This right here is probably the tip that saves me the most. 
Through these things, I managed to write just over 40,000 words in a single day. 

   I hope this is helpful! 
As I discover more secrets to writing faster I will share them!
 Feel free to post questions in the comments! 


  1. Great tips! I've done a few sprints in the past. I think I'll give them a go again! :)

  2. Impressive!! Thanks for sharing. 😆😁😄

  3. Awesome tips! I've been bracketing (insert random barista) things for ages, I find it makes the rewriting stage more fun, as there are still scenes requiring good writing as you go back to find the baristas you need to create for the background.

    1. Thank you very much! Yes, it definitely makes rewriting more fun. lol

  4. Thank you! These are great tips. Bookmarking this one so I can refer back. :-)

  5. Those are some really great ideas. Unfortunately, due to my OCD, I don't think I could follow the first one... and I have been typing for YEARS but cannot seem to use all my fingers. I type way slower if I do that than when I just use my pointer fingers and thumb for the space bar >_< I've tried, many times, to get my fingers to cooperate but for the most part, I am a two-finger typist. LOL

    1. When my son was about 13 (he's now almost 29) he took typing in school. I went for a conf and that teacher told me that he was the fastest, and most accurate, typist in the class. Then she said, "But I can't get him to use all of fingers."

      I asked, "Does that really matter if he's the fastest and most accurate in the class?"

      After thinking on that for a second, she laughed out loud at how ridiculous her comment had been.

      Of course, it didn't matter.

      Personally, I'm a (mostly) touch typist and use all of my fingers. But I can't type fast on a smartphone at all. Period.