Yvonne Kohano blog

Writing Fast is Possible!

A flurry of emails between writing friends over the weekend produced the following question:  Yvonne, how can you write so fast?  (Implied in this should also probably be, and not have it all turn out to be c— that needs to be deleted?)

The smarty-pants answer is that my fiction voice has obviously been repressed by decades of working in serious, nonfiction fields.  Academics and researchers aren’t rewarded for making false stuff up.  Neither are management consultants.  These characters spewing out of my brain have been waiting in the gray matter for their chance to bust out for years.

But that’s only partly true.  In reality, I’ve always been a fast writer.  When I know what I want to say, it’s easy.  When you don’t yet have a clue, sometimes it’s best to write fast anyway.

Yvonne Kohano blogI’ll give you an example.  As a consultant, I often had to create long, detailed reports about broken processes and the methods to repair them.  This wasn’t sexy work, and honestly, by the time I figured out how to fix something, my interest in it waned.  The client still wanted a report, though, so I’d set fingers on the keyboard and pray.

Early on, I learned an important lesson.  If I started typing, something would come.  It wasn’t always useful, but getting moving was all I needed for the ideas to flow.

As an academic, I learned another important skill, the art of visualizing the end before I started typing.  It wasn’t the concept I wanted to explain in an article – it was the result of it appearing in a journal or as a paper presented at a conference.  I imagined myself there presenting it, or someone citing it.  In other words, it was the outcome.

Researching brought me yet another ah-ha moment, the ability to exercise what-if.  What if this incentive didn’t motivate people but frightened them off instead?  What if some people would never change, no matter what you did?  What if they changed and you did nothing?  You get my point.

Today, I apply all of these things in my fiction writing life.  I put my fingers on the keyboard and I type, even if I have no idea what I’m going to say.  I visualize an avid reader, unable to put down the book because they LOVE this character, unable to stop at the end of a chapter because they need to know what happens next, unable to wait for the next in the series because I promise them a visit to some place else.  I play what-if with the characters and plot to bring a story twists and turns that people aren’t expecting.

And I write – FAST!

What tricks do you use to get yourself writing?

 

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4 Comments

  • Kathye Thornton

    January 20, 2015

    Hi Yvonne. Nice post. I think my problem with writing fast has been the word FAST. That always looked to me like 200 WPM. It’s not that, of course, but more “get going” or “ready, set, begin”. Just start typing. Once over that small issue, I find that I’m a think-and-then-go type person and I’m thinking when everyone is saying go. I can’t just GO because it’s time. I feel stupid typing things I know will NEVER make the cut. So finish your book and give me some tips. Write Fast!!

    • Yvonne Kohano

      January 20, 2015

      Kathye – You made me smile! I guess the trick is to think before you’re at the starting gate – easier said than done. And yes, I’ll write it FAST!!! Write on! Yvonne

  • Diana McCollum

    January 20, 2015

    Great post, Yvonne! Like you, if I sit down and start writing anything the story comes. It helps me to stick with writing with my on line chat to my sister, and fellow writer, open. If I need to brain storm she’s right there.

    • Yvonne Kohano

      January 20, 2015

      Diana – Having a brainstorm partner makes sense. I’d be afraid that I’d get distracted brainstorming and get nothing done. Thoughts? Yvonne