Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Crazy-Write (Holly Schindler)

Let’s face it—about, oh, halfway through the process of writing a book, when the glow of the “ah-ha!” moment of inspiration has long since died, and you’ve introduced so many subplots that you’ve begun to doubt that you’ll ever be able to tie the threads back together at the end, writing a novel feels just like dancing in quicksand.

It’s usually about this time that taking the wallpaper down in the kitchen or hand-cutting every blade of grass in the yard can seem appealing. Anything to get up out of the office chair and away from the muddle-brained mess you’re in.

The solution? For me, it’s a Crazy-Write.

In my world, a Crazy-Write means I challenge myself to get a book completely finished as quickly as possible. (It depends on how much of the book is left to finish, but usually, I give myself a three-to-four-week period.) Which means that I draft in excess of twenty pages per day. If I’m rewriting, I’ll revise anywhere from fifty to a hundred pages a day.

Right now, I’m on a Crazy-Write for an adult novel (the pacing of a hundred-thousand-word book is so much different than the pacing of a sixty-thousand-word YA!), and have just a little less than three weeks left in the process.

The Crazy-Writes are fantastic for building momentum; the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing an inordinate amount of work in one day always spurs me on to tackle the next day’s insane word count goal.

To be fair, I consistently have long workdays—I usually spend eight solid hours a day writing. On a Crazy-Write, though, I can spend ten to twelve hours a day on my current novel-in-progress. So my Crazy-Writes do take a really good amount of stamina (and lots of time in the day to write).

But, really, though, the Crazy-Write can be molded to fit anyone’s schedule or routine. What you want to do is make what you think is a just-over-the-limit goal. A probably-impossible goal. If you usually write one page a day, aim for five (or ten). If you write for one hour a day, shoot for three. If you write five hundred words, aim for two thousand. You’d be amazed at how accomplishing what you once thought was impossible will absolutely energize you—and push you forward to get your novel finished!


Below: A portion of my floor-to-ceiling stack of manuscript drafts and outlines, all begging for their own Crazy-Write...

5 comments:

  1. I love this idea!!! I think it's high time I did a Crazy Write and finish the book I'm working on.

    You people have the best freaking ideas!I love reading how you write.

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  2. Holly, you ARE crazy! Just kidding. I'm curious about your process -- so, do you outline beforehand? How do you know where you're going with your story every day? I feel like sometimes it takes me a while to really know what I'm doing. But you inspire me! Thanks, Julie

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  3. "Crazy Write" is an awesome description of that process!

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  4. Hey, Julie--I suppose I'm lucky in that I'm not one of those writers who has to spend an inordinate amount of time just thinking...I get an idea, sketch some characters, outline the plot, and I'm off! (There's something about writing too quickly to overthink it all that helps, too...)

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