Got Writing Velocity?

I've been mulling the concept of momentum in writing lately, because I think I'm finally getting some in my new novel.  As I pondered, I hit on the idea of writing velocity. Night_oktogon_budapest_270478_l

What is writing velocity?

Here's the dictionary definition of velocity:  "the distance an object travels in a specified direction during a unit of time."

And we all know the definition of writing.  It means putting words on the page.

So, here are some ideas about what writing velocity means:

— Writing velocity is writing fast

— Writing velocity is writing fearless

— Writing velocity is getting lots of words on the page

— Writing velocity is satisfying

— Writing velocity advances you toward your goals

Wait, you may say. Writing fast is scary and at times unwieldy.  Or even ungainly.  Or unholy.  Add whatever "un" word you like.  All of the above can be true.  And they can also be worked through. 

Because, here are some reasons why you want writing velocity:

— Writing velocity bypasses the conscious mind

— Writing velocity focuses on process, not product

— Writing velocity is fun

— Writing velocity goes deep.

Before I got into how to actually attain writing velocity, let's talk about when it is not appropriate to be writing crazy fast.  That would be when you are pondering big-picture rewrites or doing detailed editing work.

And now, how to get writing velocity into your life:

1.  Read.  All the time.  Read what you want to write.  Read self-help books.  Read spiritual tomes.  Read anything.  Words in, words out.

2.  Pre-write.  Take notes about what you're going to write about ahead of time.  This helps you to get a starting point, and having a way in is always useful.

3.  Connect with your work.  Read what you've last written (or your notes) before bed.  Or before you take a walk.  Find a time to get your work into your brain so your subconscious will work on ideas about it.

4.  Write every day.  There really is no better option than to just do it.

5.  Take a break.  On the other hand, some modes of healing such as Chinese medicine advocate rest for healing.  We can heed these as writers, too.  Sometimes going full out with the writing can burn us out, especially when working on a long project.  So build in intentional rest times (intentional being the operative word).

Please comment.  Do you write fast?  Does it help your writing process? What have I missed about attaining writing velocity? I'd love to hear more from you.

 Photo by fresh-m.

, , , ,

4 Responses to Got Writing Velocity?

  1. J.D. 05/24/2012 at 04:25 #

    Yes, I would like to pick up a speeding ticket or two. I need a faster pace. Last night was better but I need to string a few of those together. You can fill a water barrel with a teaspoon but . . . .

  2. Heather Jenkins 05/24/2012 at 07:05 #

    I have discovered that when I write fast, I write what’s in the heart not the mind. So much from the world taints my slow, methodical writing. Everything serves as a distraction. Fast writing gets it out and gets it done. I have to write longhand to write fast (seems counterproductive, I know), but I connect with the writing on a visceral level whereas using a keyboard and monitor puts me in a technology trance of [insert robotic voice here] “This must be perfect. No red or green lines. Computing…”

    Thanks for sharing and I couldn’t agree more. Now…if only I could write fast more often. There’s the rub.

  3. Charlotte Dixon 05/24/2012 at 08:13 #

    Wow, thanks Heather, for this comment.  You hit it exactly right–fast writing comes from the heart.  Which might be why we tend to resist it, because we're afraid of letting those feelings from the heart out.  And I, too, love hand writing.  I tend to get hung up on correcting mistakes on the computer, which is really counter productive.

  4. Patrick Ross 05/24/2012 at 15:30 #

    Man, could I use some writing velocity right now. My last MFA packet of the semester is due in a week, and I’m pretty behind. I’ll admit the new job has thrown me off stride. I agree with writing every day, but I’m thinking you need to have some of those days have a good chunk of time. I think that’s what’s slowing me down, just taking little bites of the apple instead of being able to dig in without worrying about having to head out the door.

Leave a Reply