How I Lost My Pants: Plotting Murder, Mayhem, and (sometimes) Magic (Pt. 4)

Last week I went into depth on how I use my plotting journal and ALL THE ART SUPPLIES! If you missed it, you can still take a peek HERE.

This week I’m going to share how I sped up my writing process and how you can, too!

So, the first thing I did was to define my writing process and the best balance (for me) between plotting and pantsing. Finding my journal plotting method made a HUGE difference for me. But this second thing…well, that made an EVEN BIGGER difference.

I learned how to sprint.

No, I don’t mean I got on my jogging gear and went for a run. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t run. Unless there’s cake. Or possibly wine.


What I learned was how to do writing sprints. It’s crazy easy and it makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE! For real. I know people who use this method to write over ten thousand words per day. Without giving themselves carpal tunnel. Me, I tend to stick the the 5k or below mark. My brain only holds so much.


But I digress…

Here, in six easy steps, is how I sprint. Me specifically, not anyone else.

  1. Open laptop and pull up manuscript. Open journal for manuscript and do quick review of notes for the next scene or two.
  2. Go pee, get coffee (I like to use my favorite Wonder Woman mug) and water, etc. While peeing, etc, let the scene play out in my mind so I know where I’m going.
  3. Sit down at laptop. Set timer for fifteen minutes.
  4. Start typing.
  5. When timer rings, stop typing. Get up, stretch.
  6. Rinse and repeat.

See how crazy easy that is?

Now, let me clarify a couple of the steps…

Visualization of the scene. You may be wondering, “Why am I imagining the scene before I write it? What does this accomplish?” Well, by allowing your mind to sort of half focus on the scene while going about your, ah, business, your brain can dream up some pretty cool things and get you over bumps in the writing road. It prevents those moments of staring at a blank screen wondering what to write next because you already know where you’re going.

lost in woods

There are, in fact, RULES to the typing portion. You can’t sprint if you’re going back to fix things as you go. You have to TURN OFF your inner critic. NO BACK SPACING! NO DELETE BUTTON! Just type as fast as you can without overthinking. Don’t worry about whether or not what you’re writing is the best prose in the history of the universe. Just get it on the page. Screen. Whatever. Making it pretty is what rewrites and edits are for. Right now, we just want to get the thing out of our brains. This is literally one of the hardest things to do, but once you get used to it, it’s MAGIC!

I’ve always been a prolific writer, but this method almost DOUBLED my output. I recently taught my method (journaling paired with sprinting) to an author friend. She went from writing and publishing one novel a year, to THREE!

If you’re struggling with speeding up your writing process, I suggest you give it a try. It may just work better than you could ever have imagined!


Additional reading:

If you want some reading material on the subject of sprinting, I highly recommend VS Nelson‘s A Sprinter’s Companion. I took her class a few years ago and it changed my life. Another book I found very helpful was 2,000 to 10,000 by Rachel Aaron. It’s a quick read and goes more into depth on her method of sprinting.


Next week: How binge watching your favorite shows can teach you to write. Sign up for my Writing & Publishing Tips newsletter to be notified of future info.

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