Matt wrote 50,000 words in a single day on the 1st November 2013, completing NaNoWriMo in one day. He has a passion for fast drafting and we talk about the mechanics how to write fast in this episode. In the show notes for this episode, you’ll be able to download the first draft of this book, as well as grab a PDF he has put together
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The unedited first draft of Matt’s NaNo project “The Game (right click save as to download a zip file with PDF, mobi and epup versions)
Fast Drafting Guide – Written by Matt for a workshop he gave on how to write fast (right click “Save as” to save to your computer)
NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month, write 50,000 words in the month of November.
The KBoards thread – where Matt kept people updated on the day.
Dragon Naturally Speaking – Dictation program. Matt didn’t use this as he is a fast typist, but these can be useful if you are willing to spend the time ‘training’ the software.
Typeracer.com – Speed typing website where you can race other people. Matt has an average of 106 words a minute on the site. If you want to learn how to write fast, start by learning how to type fast (or you Dragon Dictate 😉 ).
Scrivener – Enough has been said about this fantastic writing software.
Write or Die – Forces you to write hard, it either gives you rewards or penalties.
Matt came across the idea of writing 50k in one day after a friend of his pointed out that people try to do NaNo in one day. He decided he liked the challenge and it’s in his personality to take on that sort of challenge!
Matt is not unique in this and several people take the challenge each year. There are even people who write a million words in the whole of November.
The result has not been edited yet and he doesn’t have it on the calendar for this year, he is planning a lot of other novels elsewhere and this doesn’t fit into his plan.
My research was somewhat hampered as Matt writes under a series of pen names, he has one book under his own name, and he sold 3 copies of that last month. The pen name was because he was afraid of falling on his face and if things went sideways he could just start another pen name.
What he actually found was that several of the pen names took off and so he was working under numerous pen names under the same name. One pen name is his main breadwinner, but there is another which also brings some money in.
Matt recommends writing under a psydonym, whatever your level, protection yourself is a good idea – “there are some crazies out there.”
For each pen name Matt has a different website and Facebook account. He maintains each of these with quite a bit of time each day – he sees being on these Facebook accounts as part of his work day. This does take up a bunch of time, but it’s part of his marketing plan and is important to his success.
Implementing the right tools, Matt uses Scrivener and WriteOrDie.com to get his work done. These two tools were essential in learning how to write fast, and complete the challenge in a day.
Planning and outlining was also essential, he plans everything in detail before getting started. Everything that he is passionate goes into the plan first. Next goes the end of the book so that he has a destination to reach – without that things slow down and he can get stuck. In his plan there are several milestones that have to have happen, and the rest is just filling in the gaps.
Matt says that if you want to learn how to write fast, make a plan but be prepared to deviate from it. Having some sort of plan is going to make it easier either way.
The plan starts with the big scenes, and then works down from there, getting all the nitty gritty sorted.
Matt uses the editing phase to “turn everything up to 11.” It’s important not to focus on perfection when learning how to write fast.
He knows that having a very detailed plan can make things seem a bit stilted, and he uses the editing phase to get rid of some of this. Matt also does his research at this point. During the draft he will write it with his gut feeling about what is right, and then correct it during the revision to get the facts right. He gave the example of EMTs responding to a crash, he didn’t know what they did when they arrive, so he guessed and then found out and added it in later.
20% plotting, 30% drafting, 50% making it ready for market.
Matt finds the plotting most enjoyable, but the polishing the most rewarding. He believes that you can separate yourself from the rest by delivering a really high quality end product to the customer.
Doing the Work
If you treat writing like a job and even just put in a regular 8 hour day you are going to achieve an awful lot. If you treat it like a business and work hard then you are far more likely to have success.
Matt quit his job before he was making money from his writing, but he wanted the full time hours in writing to make it happen. “While he is young” was his attitude. He is not tied down by any debt and doesn’t have a family, so he felt that if he was going to take a risk on being a writer, now was the time.
On pen names: “There are some crazies out there!”
“Spend a few days, maybe a week, working on your outline”
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