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How To Write A Novel In 2 Weeks

by Jennifer on September 14, 2011

As of today, there are only 47 days until NaNoWriMo 2011 begins. If you’re not familiar with NaNoWriMo, it’s that one time of year when writers everywhere go into hiding and spend 30 days writing 50,000 words.

But what if you’re ready to get started now?

Well, you have two options then:

  1. You can get started writing today and work on your novel until you’re finished
  2. ou can Fast Draft your novel and be finished with it in 2 weeks (give or take)

Fast Draft—Say What?
You may be new to the term Fast Draft (I certainly was until yesterday), so let me explain it to you:

Created by writer and teacher, Candace Haven, Fast Drafting is when you literally write an entire novel in the span of 2 weeks! Yes, you read that right—two weeks. That’s 14 days with 336 hours, in total.

Could you do it?

The premise, as writer Suzanne Pitner says, is simple:

“Unplug the Internet, turn off the phone, and write 5,000 words a day for two weeks. It can also be done by page count at twenty pages a day. In two weeks, a 70,000 word rough draft of a novel will be finished. In twenty days, a 100,000 word first draft can be completed.”

The idea is to throw your inner editor out the window completely and pound away on the keyboard as fast as you can for as long as you can.

Essentially Fast Drafting is NaNoWriMo on Speed.

Intriguing—But How Do I Do It?
When you first read that Fast Drafting requires you to write 5,000 words/20 pages a day, I bet your jaw dropped a little (mine did too). And now you’re probably wondering—can I even do it?

I’m here to assure you that yes, you can do it. But it’ll take some serious commitment and motivation on your part. There’s no room for excuses here, only writing.

Pitner offered her tips for writing faster in the article, How To Write Faster and Reach Word Count Goals. Some of them include:

  • Use a timer to do “block writing”—this really is the best method, hands down, for getting concentrated writing time in every day. You can also use the Pomodoro Technique if you have a large block of writing time.
  • Have “word wars” with other writers—gather a group of the bravest writers you know and challenge each other to see who can write more words the fastest during a set period of time.

For more of Pitner’s suggestions, be sure to read the article.

Have you ever taken on such a crazy challenge? What was your experience like?

And if you’re ready to get serious about NaNoWriMo this year, stay tuned to this blog. Next week I’ll be announcing my new program for serious writers who want to create a NaNoWriMo writing roadmap before November 1.

About the Author: Jennifer Blanchard is the founder of Procrastinating Writers. She is co-founder of the Better Writing Habits Challenge. For more great writing tips, tools and advice, be sure to follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Bill September 14, 2011 at 12:31 pm

And after two weeks you have… a pile of crap.

2 Jennifer September 14, 2011 at 2:27 pm

@Bill Maybe for some people. But for those who do a ton of planning beforehand they will likely have a working draft that is in decent shape.

3 Daza October 10, 2011 at 4:39 pm

@Bill Maybe if they write like you, but for those of us who love to let the ideas flow after two weeks we have a brilliant story and people love it.

4 Rainer January 22, 2012 at 10:27 am

That’s the spirit, Bill! Actually, with really solid planning, a general sense of story, genre and voice and a lot of positivity and motivation, this technique really works. If you want it in publishable form you can then take a year or so to polish every word, knowing that the underlying structure of scenes and themes is already there.

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