Wednesday, June 20, 2012

AcceleWrite Your Book: How to Write Fast Under Deadline

Okay, let’s say you made the commitment to write your book ... oh, about 60 days ago. You promised yourself – and your agent, coach or accountability partner, your critique group and your spouse – that you would finish the first draft of your manuscript on, hmmmmm, July 20th. You have exactly one month before your self-imposed deadline, you’ve written only 30,000 words, everyone is asking how your book is coming, and you’re starting to feel the pressure.

Deadlines matter. After all, you have a plan and you intend to stick with it. But somehow you got behind schedule with your writing and now it’s crunch time. You know you’ve come too far to quit. The deadline looms large and time moves seemingly at warp speed the closer you get to that deadline. What do you do?

I’ve been in this very situation more times than I care to recall. It’s a panicky, anxious feeling. As a freelance writer and author, deadlines can be a great guideline, especially at the start of a project. But as time goes on and life gets in the way, those very deadlines can seem like a nightmare designed to strangle your creativity and forever halt the forward progress of your book project. But you can get back on track.

Here are a few tips to help accelerate your writing when your deadline approaches:

Hibernate: Seriously. Sometimes you need to hide away from everything and everyone and just write, write, write until you get it done. This means no TV, email or cell phone. Ouch! I know that’s hard, but you’re under deadline, so make it happen!

Review: Take a look at what you’ve written thus far. Are there sections that can be beefed up by adding more description or greater explanation? Add content only where needed, but don’t overdo it.

Reach for your outline: You know that outline you drafted before you wrote even one word. Yes, that one. Take a look at it and make sure you’re on track to cover everything you committed to in the beginning of your book project. If you haven’t yet covered an area, here’s your chance to do so and add more content to your manuscript.

Try small bites: Break the remainder of your book into small bites; perhaps by sections or chapters. Then, focus on one section at a time and don’t quit until that section is done.

Cheat: Okay, I know that doesn’t sound good, but bear with me. If the words aren’t flowing the way you’d like, cheat a bit by writing in blurbs. These are short sentences or bullet points that describe the points you want to make. From there, flesh out the points into sentences and then paragraphs. Before you know it, you’ll have pages and pages of content.

Voice it: If the words aren’t flowing from your brain to your fingertips, perhaps recording your thoughts will help. Speak your thoughts into a voice recorder, then transcribe the recording word for word. From there, fill in the gaps with description, explanation and further insight.

Of course, the best scenario is to never get into the dreaded deadline crunch. But realistically, most writers and authors face it. So practice a few of these tips to help you finish your book by your deadline so you can breathe easy.

What are some of your strategies for writing quickly and meeting writing deadlines?

Anita Paul, known as The Author's Midwife, coaches aspiring authors to write a phenomenal book and helps current authors use their existing books to leverage their business. She is the author of Write Your Life: Create Your Ideal Life and the Book You've Been Wanting to Write, and is the creator of the Write Your Life program, through which she has created a dynamic system to Write Your Book in 90 Days or Less. She has owned The Write Image for 15 years, and has had her freelance articles featured in over 25 publications in the U.S. and Canada. Anita is also the host of "Book Your Success".

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