Monday, 22 August 2016

Wow! 10K words a day really is possible!

I don't use many gifs, but for this post, nothing else will suffice.

Look at that! 10K words a day really is possible!
After a week and a half of outlining, last Monday I started my next book (Book Two in 'The Secret Chronicles of Lost Magic'). This time I'm trying dictation. After perusing a few books on the subject of fast writing, including 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron and Dictate Your Book: How To Write Your Book Faster, Better, and Smarter (Growth Hacking For Storytellers) by Monica Leonelle, and listening to Chris Fox on various podcasts, I was convinced to give it a go.

I was very reluctant to even try dictation when I first heard of it. But after seeing the positive results from several authors, I soon came around to the idea.

I first trialled it with my outline. I recorded it and pasted the outline into my scrivener file. As I started recording, my hands itched to type, or even handwrite, but I forced myself to continue with the dictation. After a few days, I switched to typing, and I was surprised when I put the laptop down. I wanted to dictate instead. It dawned on me then that dictation was much quicker and I just wanted to get the words out.

With outline complete, last Monday I began dictating the novel in full. Monday came in at 6209 words. I was happy, as it was above my best output ever, though I did feel rather exhausted. Tuesday was a little slower as I got sucked into editing and all the 'experts' will tell you to avoid editing until the first draft is done. Tuesday's count was 5640. Wednesday I was disciplined and didn't allow any editing – I reached 6308 words. Thursday I wanted to push myself, as I knew I wouldn't be able to write on Friday, so I aimed for 8K and achieved it with 8017.

That first week I noticed I was a little flat in the evenings. Writing so much really seemed to be a brain drain and I felt a little more fatigued than usual. But today, the start of the second week of dictation, I've noticed a huge difference. Firstly, I decided to try for 10K words. This, after all, seemed to be the Holy Grail of dictation – the magical number that dictation alone makes possible to achieve. And given my next book is a true epic; I could do with the massive word count.

As I dictated today, I noticed the words came easily. Perhaps the muse was with me, or perhaps I felt energised after a great weekend – but, I think the real reason may well be that I've grown accustomed to dictation. I felt much more comfortable with it today and as a result I managed to get 10,027 words into the Scrivener file. All before lunch!

My first ever 10K word count in one day!
If you're interested in following my daily word counts, I'll be tweeting them Monday to Friday. I'm now hoping to achieve 10K Mon-Thurs, and 5K on Fridays. Since I'm not typing, I'll be able to keep all fingers crossed. Look for the hashtag #AderynDictates.

One final thought – some of you may wonder about the quality of the draft. Well, it is pretty bad. But, my first drafts are always awful, so that's nothing new. I'm accustomed to spending time and energy on those first edits. It won't be any different with dictation. I'll report back when I have finished the first edit and I'll share more reflections on the whole dictation process.

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