In my previous posts, I noted that some of the reasons that I am able to be a productive writer is that I have a specific place and time to write. In addition, I have a specific minimum length of time (and word count) that I write every day. My minimum words per minute is based on how many words I could write if I were writing using the search and peck method of typing right into the computer. This is about the same speed that I would also be able to write out the same information long hand as fast as I can.
Focus on Writing First, the Edit
“Throw up into your typewriter every morning. Clean up every noon.”
― Raymond Chandler
If there was one lesson that I learned from my experience in NaNoWriMo was that writing whatever is in my head and getting it down on paper had to be done before I ever started editing. As I see it, I have two conflicting writer’s helpers in my head. One is the inspiring Muse and the other is the picky Editor. The muse is the playful child that likes to create new things. To illustrate the attribute these two conflicting aspects of the writer, we can use the ego states of the child and parent. The creative child needs to be allowed to play creatively. Otherwise, the child will lacks dimension and creativity. . Same goes for the muse. Allowing the muse to make a mess for the editor to clean up is a good thing because by doing so, your writing, or at least my writing has better flow. Once the muse has grown tired for the day or has at least been put down for her nap, the editor, like the parent that cleans the playroom, so the editor cleans the content that the creative muse has done. A writer may not want to wait until the end of an entire project like NaNoWriMo recommends, but waiting until the end of the writing session will prove to be much more productive for a writer just as waiting until a child is put down for the night is better than trying to clean the playroom while the child is still playing in it.
In NaNoWriMo, the writer is instructed not to edit at all during the whole month of November, but rather to go through every day just writing and without editing until after fifty thousand words are written. This may be an uncomfortable and impractical suggestion for many writers. There internal editor is just too determined to work. These writers would do better to work through their daily word quota and then allow their editors out to their magic and quit at the end of the day. If a writer can write for a while without a the internal editor’s interference, then this method might be effective for some writers.
Composing Directly on the Computer Screen
Back when I first started writing, I did most of my composing in long hand and on paper, then transferred ti to the computer to edit it further. (Sounds almost like my Dad’s story of walking seven miles to school, up hill, both ways, doesn’t it?) This process took longer than it should have, so I decided that I would learn to type my thoughts directly onto the computer screen. Then I thought, what if I just composed directly onto the computer screen? Talk about a leap forward! Now I could type away and get my thoughts directly onto the computer where I could easily make changes and edits. This is so much easier to day than it was back when I first started. Not only can I do this directly onto my computer screen, but if I have new ideas that come to me when I am away from the computer, I can put the information into my phone or tablet and have an email sent to myself that I can pick up directly to my laptop where I can cut and paste and add it to my work in progress.
Learn to Type Faster and More Accurately
Another thing that i learned to do was to type faster and more accurately. I went from thinking about typing a single letter to where now I think in words as I am typing. There are a lot of programs online where individuals can hone their typing skills. One of them is Goodtyping. com http://www.goodtyping.com/test.php Even practicing one lesson every day, a writer could improve his or her typing abilities over time. Still using search and peck typing? Then its time that you learned to use five finger typing. Start with a free online program like Peter’s Online Typing Course .
Speak Your Writing
Rather than taking the time to learn to type, if you are a better speaker, you might want to speak your content into existence. You could speak into your computer and then transcribe into your computer, or send it to someone else to transcribe for you. A free program that I have used is Audacity.
With Audacity, you can not only record your voice for transcription purposes, but you could also use it to create and edit your audio version of your writing material.
Another program that I have used is Dictation, Naturally Speaking. With program you speak and your computer types it for you. Like with any program, there is a learning curve and it is not free. You also have to give the program grammatical instructions when to use a capital and when to include punctuation. Although I have used both audacity and Dictation Naturally Speaking, my own personal style is typing directly into the computer. I type fast enough so that I practically think into my fingers so the learning curve required for these programs and the added cost of transcription or paying for the program isn’t worth the effort to me personally. For others however, these programs are a God-sent.
By learning to separate my muse from my editor, composing directly on the computer screen, and learning to type faster and more accurately, I went from having written one book in twenty years of work to last year I wrote three. The faster I can produce good content, the more likely I am to make it as a full time author.
Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church 1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm. As Author Cygnet Brown, she has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener
She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga