M.A. Wohl

Writer on a Quest !

I am a slow writer.

I overthink, I over babble, I over edit.

Since I decided to make a living as an traditionnaly publsihed author, I started relentlessly searching for tips and tricks to improve, well, everything about my writing. From the routine and character building to the writing pace. Everything.

That is exactly what I found: every piece of advice every good willed (well, money willed too, let’s be honest here) writer can cook up about writing.

What’s a writer to do with all those tips ?

So many tips, so little time

First, I go by the zero bashing rule. I am not here to judge on condemn anybody who’s trying her or his best to help others out there.

Soon, I started to feel like a foolish unproductive amateur, although I’ve had creative writing classes in University; and I’ve been writing for twenty years; and I’ve actually started my own semi-successful little blogging in-French-an-in-English business.

Among other things, I started to think I needed to learn how to write faster if I ever wanted even a mere chance at getting traditionally published.

I stopped right there and I took a few moments to think things over.

Peer pressure, sort of

Why did I felt pressured by a bunch of people I’ve never met, to do things this-or-that way in order to achieve master the art of being a successful writing career?

Mostly because I want this to work sooo badly. I want to be able to tell my kid you can make your dream come true.

That being said, I was not going to pay hundreds of dollars to be taught how to write an cheap e-book repeating the same s***, to illustrated what I found on some blogs (I do not intend to attack anyone, you gals and guys are darn aloud to earn a living), for the sake of giving it away in order to build an audience for my own author platform. Its just not me.

That being said, I figured that some of those free tips I found might be worth a try anyway.

I choose three tips among the many, many, many writing tips about writing your first draft out there. And I put them to the test!

Carve time

Yeah, I know. How can that one event qualified as a tip, I asked myself every time I stumbled upon it. I put it to the test anyway, since it was everywhere and my writing process was still on the slow side of things.

Those great bloggers say to schedule time for writing, commit to it for at least 21 days and cut back your candy crushing time (that last one is from yours truly).

In short: clear distractions, put the kids to bed and the fiancé in front of a couple of new comic books, be consistent.

Consistency was, with self-doubt and a ton of other little icky things, a major problem for me.

I followed the obvious tip and, honestly, I wrote 23 000 words within 3 weeks. Never before, and I have been writing for 20 years, have I wrote that many words so fast.

Now, I still get up all the time to get more hot water for the tea (I truly dislike coffee, at all times, in all forms), but, I sat my butt back down on that chair and go back to it.

Here’s the authors and bloggers who helped me accomplish that :

Set realistic goals

I can do it. I also wanted to write a novel in thirty days. I wanted in.

So, I wrote a novel in a month. 50 000 words in thirty days. I did it ! Dirty little secret thought: I rewrote the thing for the next year and a half. I got up to 52 000 words and except for the names of the characters, none of those first 50 000 words written in 30 days survived.

Nevertheless, I kept coming back with unrealistic writing goals that only left me discouraged or disappointed or candy crushing my writing sorrows to oblivion.

Not healthy.

Setting realistic goals, like take a piece of paper and write them down, helped me tremendously. I was going to write 1000 words 5 night a week, get myself writing time two out of four Saturdays mornings and finish a tween novel in three months.

The first thing you know, I am ahead of schedule and I feel super proud, mainly because I set myself up to a goal way below of what I can do. I feel like I beat my highest score almost every day. Plus, I have so much more fun writing this story!

That tip helped me the most, by far.

Here’s the links to the posts that really helped:

Inner editor OFF

More then once, I spent an entire hour on ONE paragraph, or edit a chapter way to early in the process.

Something had to be done. I still struggle, but shutting off my inner editor made me able to write 23 000 words in three weeks.

I did some editing since a character got 75% deleted, some scenes changed and other rippling effects had to be delt with so the story would still make sense.

Still, by pushing through my urge to rethink everything on the spot instead of keep on writing that chapter, I got more writing done. And good writing too.

I tend to over-doubt myself, I guess. Forcing my inner editor to calm the heck down is a pretty good tip to write anything faster, truth to be told.

I edit later. The writing is improving because of it, I feel. It’s all good.

Here’s the best post about that tip:

Writing tips to the test, part two

I planned to finish the current first draft by March 31. I let you know if I was able to keep the tips going and what I found most relevant in the long run.

Let me know what you think about this writing tips test!

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