Today's Darklight On is ... Anna Hackett
How do you write so fast?
I get asked this question quite a bit. I’m a prolific writer, and since I’ve been writing full-time, I’ve published a lot of books. It’s my job and I love it.
But…I wasn’t born a fast writer. I had to work up to it and fine tune my process. I also don’t think of myself as a fast writer, but rather, a productive writer. If you think I sit at my laptop all day, you’d be wrong. A little bit every day really does add up.
So, if you’ve been wanting to write a little faster, or get a bit more writing done each day, or just finish the darn book, here are a few of my tips for writing faster, better, smarter, and more productively.
#1 Write what you love
If you think you’ll get yourself to sit down every day and write lots of words while working on something that you don’t love, you’ll probably be making a hard path for yourself. You might be able to write a book or two, but the dreaded burn out will no doubt rear its head. Every book I write is packed full of the things I love: high-octane action, adventure, sexy romance, strong heroes, smart heroines, and often a whole lot of science fiction, sometimes a dash of ancient history and some treasure hunting. Don’t get me wrong, some days the words don’t flow and the writing feels tough, but there is never any doubt that I’m writing exactly what I love and that my story excites me.
Okay, so all authors know the old plotter versus pantser argument. Mention plotting, and some authors break out in a cold sweat. Mention sitting down at a blank page without a plan, and other authors will start to itch. I’m firmly in the middle – I do plot, but not exhaustively, and I give myself permission to go off map if that’s where my story takes me. For me, having at least a rough mud map of my story and the major turning points is vital to helping me write faster and be more productive.
Another part to plotting is what I call scene notes. There is the big picture outline, but there are also the notes for each individual scene I am just about to write. These could be a few bullet points or for me, usually handwritten in my notebook, stream of consciousness-type notes (mine are generally a mess – sometimes sentences, or words, or notes about the action, maybe a bit of dialogue). All you need is a rough idea of what the high notes of your scene will be.
#3 Writing Time
Work out when your best writing time is. I’ve always been a night owl and was sure I wrote better at night, but then I experimented. Turns out, my most productive writing time is first thing in the morning. I sometimes (with a lot of grumbling) get up early to write, but mostly I write in the mornings after my kids are at school. Most days, I’m finished by lunch time. We get bombarded with a lot of stuff, jobs, and decisions during the day, so I find being creative at night difficult. BUT you need to experiment for yourself and find your most productive times.
It is also important to be consistent. Some people write every day. Others write on the weekends. Whatever fits your schedule, find your writing time, block it out, and protect it. At that time, always sit down and write.
#4 Build the Habit
This one leads on from #3. It is so helpful to build a habit around your writing so when you sit down, your brain slides into writing mode as easily as possible. If you can write at the same time every day, that clearly helps build the habit. But if that isn’t always possible, there are other things and rituals you can do. For me, I usually drop my boys at school and head to the coffee shop. I always sit at the same table, facing the same direction and get the same pot of Earl Grey tea. I open my notebook or laptop and get to work. Some authors like to listen to music, some like to set a timer, some light a candle. It doesn’t matter what it is, just make it your habit. You then need to do it for a week or two to let the habit set. Once it does, it can make your writing so much easier and more productive.
#5 The One Thing and eating the frog
Apparently, Mark Twain once said “If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning.” Whatever the hardest or most important thing is to get done each day, get it done first. And there is a great book I love called The One Thing (by Keller and Papasan) -- what's the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
For me, it is always my writing. I get it done as soon as I can, and if it is done everything else (emails, cover art, editing, responding to reader messages) falls into place. Later in the day when my brain is fried, I can respond to emails or proof listen to audio samples, or ponder the cover for my next book. Get your One Thing done first, eat that frog, then you can worry about all the other writing-related things you need to do.
Anna is a USA Today bestselling author who's passionate about action romance. She loves stories that combine the thrill of falling in love with the excitement of action, danger and adventure. She writes about people overcoming unbeatable odds and achieving seemingly impossible goals. She likes to believe it’s possible for all of us to do the same. Anna’s bestselling series include Galactic Gladiators, Team 52, Treasure Hunter Security, and Hell Squad.
For more info on Anna and her action romances, visit her website: www.annahackettbooks.com
Anna’s latest release is the high-octane romantic suspense, Mission: Her Rescue, the second book in the series Team 52.
Thank you, Anna
Mission: Her Rescue
When archeologist January’s plane is shot down over the Guatemalan jungle, she knows she’s being hunted for the invaluable Mayan artifacts she’s carrying. Only one man and his team can save her…the covert, black ops Team 52, and the distrusting former CIA operative who drives her crazy…
Dr. January James has a motto: live life to the fullest. A terrible incident in her past, where she lost both her mother and her innocence, taught her that. Now she spends her days on archeological digs doing the work she loves. When her team uncovers a pair of dangerous artifacts in an overgrown temple, she knows they need to be secured and safeguarded. But someone else knows about the artifacts…and will kill to get them.
Working for the CIA, Seth Lynch learned the hard way that people lie and will always stab you in the back. He has the scars to prove it. He lives for his work with Team 52—ensuring pieces of powerful ancient technology don’t fall into the wrong hands. When he learns that the feisty, independent archeologist who works his last nerve has died in a plane crash, he makes it his mission to discover who the hell is responsible.
Deep in the jungle, Seth rescues a very-much alive January and it is up to him to keep both her and the artifacts safe. Hunted from every side, their attraction is explosive and fiery, but with January’s life on the line, Seth must fight his own demons in order to rescue the woman he can no longer resist.