In this second post of the series on Writing Fast, we talk about pre-writing.
I can hear the pansters groaning now. She’s going to make me outline. It’s like needles in my eyes!
I’m not asking you to plot your novel, if that’s not your process. I’m asking you to consider priming the pump, playing with the muse, prep your brain to write. It’s called pre-writing.
We all do it. Sitting in traffic, conference calls at work, cleaning house, exercising. Our brains are constantly thinking about what we need to write.
Pre-writing is taking a look at what you wrote the previous session, your plot or what ever you use as part of your process to determine where you want to go next. I’m a plotter, but I still review what I wrote the previous night and what happens next in my plot. This allows me to sit down and start writing immediately during the time I’ve allotted to write.
There’s something about taking pen to paper and writing. Whether it’s bits of dialogue, scene notes or whole scenes, writing out notes in long hand can get me past any writing blocks I might have. It allows me to review the direction and brainstorm on paper the next scenes before I sit down to write.
This has always been my way of plotting my story: brainstorm on paper. Ask “what if” questions and play around with different scenes, different POV for the scene.
What I hadn’t realized was how easy it made writing that next scene.
The beauty of pre-writing is with pen and paper, you can do it anywhere. The time you spend doesn’t have to be much. I jot notes down during the day at work. Those moments when I’m doing something that allows my mind to wander, I’m pre-writing.
In the car sitting in traffic is also a good time to pre-write? Can’t jot it down? Use your smart phone and record your thoughts.
Once you train your brain to pre-write, you’ll find yourself doing it all the time. Cleaning house, doing laundry, taking a shower are all opportunities to allow your mind to brainstorm and prepare for words on the page.
Now this won’t always work. There are scenes that even though I’ve done some pre-writing, they still are difficult to write or take a different path. But it does help if you’re stuck down a rabbit hole in your story and need to figure out how to get out.
I like pre-writing and find that if I take a few minutes to jot down some notes before writing, what I write is cleaner and better than if I don’t pre-write.
If you’re interested in giving this a shot, check out the book 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What you Love by Rachel Aaron.
Give it a shot and see if it works for you.