Writing at the Speed of Rachel

Moonday Mania

This is the second in a series of posts on how I am increasing my writing speed. Click HERE to see my first post on The Speed of Writing, or Why Am I Even Thinking of Trying to Write Faster?

Last year I found a post by Rachel Aaron on how she went from writing 2,000 words a day to writing 10,000 words a day. OMG!

Rachel Aaron's 2,000 to 10,000
I know, it’s crazy, but she did it. And she not only accomplished this amazing feat with consistency  she did with a brand new baby!!! (That deserves more than one exclamation point.)  I read this blog and tried to put it into practice, but it wasn’t easy. Why? Because the first piece of the puzzle is time management and that is one of my weaknesses. How did she do it? How could she possibly squeeze all that writing into one day?

She really started with three simple steps:

1.Knowledge of What you are Writing Before You Write It

2. Time

3. Enthusiasm


Now I know when all the stars are aligned, the Muse is looking over my shoulder and there is no one in the house, I can write one thousand words in less than an hour. I’ve even hit 3k before in a day. So it seems simple. I can do it. I have done it. But how do you do it day in and day out?

The first thing Rachel did was sit down before she wrote and outline the scene. Take five minutes and try this the next time you sit down to write. It is amazing. I spend more time than Rachel at this, I end up basically writing the whole scene in shorthand and when I sit at the computer all the thoughts I had while writing it pour out. I take three pages of handwritten notes on a scene and turn it into a thousand words. Presto, chango!

It’s that simple.

Sitting down and outlining the scene first helps you get through all the speedbumps before you get there. It’s your map, just like creating an outline is a map. But even pantsers can do this. You don’t have to take much time or spend a whole lot of effort making sure the words are right. That’s not what this is about. This is a rough draft. A fast draft. It’s about thinking ahead to where you will be in your scene before you get there and getting the scene, the dialogue, the action roughed out so when you actually write it, everything flows.

So now I’m writing 1k per hour consistently. No muse required.

One caveat. This is a very rough draft I’m producing. I know the first step for many of you is giving up the perfection of the word and admitting the first draft needs to be done before you can start editing. I do edit. I edit a lot. But in order to get a draft done in two months I do not edit at all. Just write.

Tune in next week to see what Rachel did next and how I am implementing that this month to get my sometimes 2k per day into ten thousand words per week.

Have you ever written 2k per day every day? What did it take to get you to the 2k mark. Did you get farther than that? Can you do it consistently? What helps you?

Read Rachel’s original post HERE. Or just buy the book. It’s only 99¢ and it is packed with other fantastic information that you will use.


Filed under Writer's Journey

7 responses to “Writing at the Speed of Rachel

  1. Aha! So now it begins to make more sense to me, Jessica. I was wondering how a writer of historical fiction such as myself who must interconnect actual history within her plot could possibly write 3000 words a day. I have my outline (10 pages), my notes on several research books, and my spreadsheet timeline of actual events and people. But all of this takes time to assemble and even after that I find writing the nitty gritty needs sink-in time. Those aha moments in the shower or on a walk are crucial to my process so I am doubtful I could ever write 3000 words a day, let alone 10000. Nevertheless reading this post series is exciting to me as I can use some of it to at least speed up the process. You go, girl!

    • Don’t forget, this does not mean that you don’t spend time researching and outlining. Those things would all have to be done before you actually sit down to write. One of the things that has sped up my writing is that if I have a question while I am writing, or something I have to look up, I just put a note in the margin. That way it doesn’t slow down my writing. I go back when doing the next draft, or I can look those things up once my numbers have been hit. For me, this is just a very very very rough draft. I believe Rachel Aaron does all her thinking about her ms first, lets it percolate for as while, before ever starting to write. She world builds ahead of time. That helps the writing go much faster, even for someone such as yourself. Don’t get bogged down in the details while writing. Just focus on words on the page. 🙂

  2. I have written 6 or 7k in a day, but there are days I’m lucky to write 6 or 7 words. Though I do make a lot of notes in longhand and yes, they expand when I get around to typing them into a scene.

    • Those are some amazing numbers! Occasionally I do have an amazing day, but my goal is to make my writing more consistent on the days I do sit down to write. What I’d love to do is write fast and write an amazing first draft, but those two things don’t seem to coincide! 😉

  3. I absolutely agree with Rachel, I must know what I’m going to write before I sit down and write. Pantsing, my writing day was filled with a lot of thumb-twiddling, wondering, what now? Figuring out my story before writing it down speeds up the writing part of the process and decreases the revision and editing process. It’s a trade-off, because now my process is front-loaded with plotting, but I find I become more engrossed with the story and the characters, and that knowledge makes it harder for me to lose interest and walk away. We each figure out the process that suits us best. The trick is not to quit before we find our process.

    • What a good way to approach it: “not to quit before figuring out our process” is a terrific idea. When I just pantsed, it was slow going. Outlining with the Snowflake method has sped up my writing immensely, but sitting down for a few minutes and going through the scene has tightened up my writing time immensely. I think that 3k is right around the corner!

  4. Pingback: To Write Faster, And Beyond! | JessicaAspenWrites

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