Charlotte Rains Dixon  

The Magic Formula For Getting Tons of Writing Done

Okay, guys, Nanowrimo is on the horizon, swiftly approaching…just four more days!  I know many of you like to torture yourself with the task of writing a 50,000-word novel in a month.  And even those of you not participating this year (I'm sitting it out) still would like to know the magic formula for getting tons of writing done.

Amiright? Crest-bda7b7a6e1b57bb9fb8ce9772b8faafb

I thought so.

I shall share it with you, and bear in mind there is good news and bad news that comes along with it. The good news being that a magic formula exists.  The bad news being that magic formulas don't work unless you use them.

So, here it is: 

Commitment + Consistency + Courage = Creativity

And guess what? Creativity equals words on the page and words on the page result in a finished book. So let's look at each element in turn.

1. Commitment.  For most people, this is likely the hardest part of the formula.  I know it is for me. You tell yourself you're going to get up at 5:30 and get those words written….and then you see something interesting on Facebook (Or CNN if you're a newshound like me). And instead of writing, you're browsing the internet.  If this happens once or twice, give yourself a break, maybe your brain needs a rest.  But if it is a regular occurrence, take a look at yourself.  Where's your integrity? Ouch.  I hate calling you (and myself) on the carpet.  But, sometimes it is necessary.  So, do yourself a big favor. If you say you're going to write, by God, go write.  Integrity feeds on integrity.  And procrastination feeds on procrastination. (As in, I've blown it now, why bother? This is the same sentiment that derails diets.  Don't ask me how I know this, just trust me, okay?)

2. Consistency.  Another difficult one.  If you're anything like me, you get a good momentum going and then rebel against it.  A little rebellion is okay–it allows your ego to thing its in charge.  But only a little! Because consistently showing up at the page, day after day after day is how you get tons of writing done.  I knew a writer who scheduled writing days once a month.  Didn't work, because in the vast distance between writing dates he lost the threads of his project and it took hours to get caught up again.  Last I heard, he wasn't writing any more.  Don't be him!  Write as often as you can!

3. Courage.  You need it.  Period.  You need it for when you dredge up those old dormant emotions in order to inject realism into your characters.  And you need it for when your kids want your attention and you just need to finish a paragraph.  Or for when your spouse tells you he misses you sitting next to him on the couch at night, watching TV.  Or for when your mother makes a snide remark about how much time you're spending on that dumb-novel-that's-not-going-anywhere.  You need it to persevere, to commit and be consistent.

Put those three elements together and you get:

Creativity.  The mad delight of putting words on the page.  The feeling that all is right with the world.  The joy of being so in the moment that you don't even realize time has passed.  The satisfaction of meeting your word count.  Yeah, some days it is hard to convince yourself to get to the page, but oh my goodness, it is worth it!

So dive in!  The words and sentences don't have to be perfect, they just have to be.  Get them out of you and onto the computer, or typewriter, or spiral or whatever you write in.

(By the way, this magic formula is taken from a little Ebook I wrote called Set the Words Free, which I will be releasing soon.) 

Do you have a magic formula for getting your writing done?  Please share in the comments!

I snitched the image from the Nanowrimo website.  I don't think they'll mind too much.

0 thoughts on “The Magic Formula For Getting Tons of Writing Done

  1. Suzanne Robertson

    You did it again, Charlotte! Nailed it. “Courage” and “integrity” are not the first words that come to mind about writing but that’s exactly what we need. That’s a new way to think of it — very helpful!

    Do you have any tips for a person considering nanowrimo? I don’t THINK that person is me this year but it’s crossed my mind … What are some preps you have done before you start splatting words down in a fury nov 1?

  2. Charlotte Dixon

    Oooh, I think you should do it! I would love to do it this year, but as I mentioned I’m so absorbed in rewriting my novel so the timing is not great. I recommend having a loose idea of a plot, and by this I mean even a scrawled list will do. (Although I did take a class on fast drafting fiction and wrote half a mystery with no plot outline. Problem is, I never figured out who was killing people.) You might want to write up some quick character sketches and dream up a few locations for them. And then–have at it! Write fast and don’t worry if the writing is terrible or good, just get words on the page. When you get to the end, you’ll be amazed at how much of it is usable. I do hope you do it!

  3. J.D.

    I don’t have a secret formula. I wish for one. That “integrity” think caught my eye, as it did Suzanne’s. Are you a writer, or do you just like describing yourself that way? Some of the other arts, like say dance: If you have a performance, you have to show up, you have to actually dance. You can’t be back at the studio stretching and preening in the mirror. Nanowrite has to be great for that. I’m not Nanowriting but I need to look in that mirror. I have to make my WIP good. No pretending.

  4. Dyoung

    Integrity and honesty…it’s what success is made of.

  5. Zan Marie

    Love the formula! It works…when you’re consistent. Thanks for telling it like it is.

  6. Charlotte Dixon

    Yeah, I know, that “integrity” thing slaps us in the butt, doesn’t it? Love your comment about how if you’re a dancer, you have to show up and dance. So true. When I’m at a concert, I always marvel because the performers not only have to write the songs and music but then they have to get up in front of everyone and sing it! Geesh. And I know for a fact that you are way too hard on yourself and I bet your WIP is great, seeing as how the first book was wonderful.

  7. Charlotte Dixon

    So very true.

  8. Charlotte Dixon

    Indeed! And you are welcome, Zan Marie.

  9. Jenni

    Ever since I read this I’ve had the lyrics from that old Carly Simon song running through my head –“You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you.” Well, I certainly felt like this post was about me. And it really hit home — especially the integrity notion. Thanks, Charlotte. You may actually have inspired/shamed me to get back to work..

  10. Charlotte Dixon

    Who, you, Jenni? The best writer in the world who doesn’t write? I would be delighted if I inspired you to get back to work! And keep that Carly Simon song spinning in your head, maybe it will help. I would so love to read more of your mystery…..

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