To write something, you have to risk making a fool of yourself.”
“All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald
This November, tens of thousands of people around the world will take part in National Novel-Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and take up its brain-crunching challenge: Writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. While this whole idea may or may not float your boat, there’s one clear advantage to focusing on word count as a primary goal that may be worth looking at: It inspires (actually impels) fast drafting.
Fast drafting is exactly what it sounds like: You set a writing goal and push through until you reach it, no matter what. You fast-track your work by focusing on speed and output. The benefits of this approach can be impressive:
Fast drafting encourages you to write every day, whether you feel like it or not, whether your muse is in or out to lunch or vacationing in the Bahamas.
Fast drafting gives you momentum: Immersing yourself in your story from day to day as you keep moving through it will ignite your ingenuity and put your brain in overdrive. The payoff: new ideas and insights.
Fast drafting strengthens your writing muscle: When you keep moving through a draft, no matter how bad it seems or how difficult a day’s output turns out to be, you’re proving to yourself that you can write through tough stuff — and this builds your resolve and your ability to do it again. And again.
Fast drafting helps you get your story down on paper: You create something with sense of wholeness: It has a beginning, middle, and end. Once you have the bones of it in front of you, you can give it guts and heart.
So if you have a story rumbling around inside, why not give fast-drafting a go and get it from your head to your hand so you can see if it has legs and a heart? Or if you’re stuck at a pivotal moment in your current draft, why not try the fast-draft strategy and just barrel through that thorny patch until you come out on the other side and see what emerges? Write on!
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