Sometimes you don’t have tons of time to produce lots of writing. You may have run up against a hard deadline. You may be trying to build your self-published backlist. You may be participating in #NANOWRIMO and trying to write a whole novel in a single month.
Whatever the reason, sometimes you need to get a big old first draft written in a little tiny bit of time.
So here’s some things you should and should not do to write your children’s book in a short amount of time:
DO—Have a Plan!
Even if you are the pantsingist pantser that ever pantsed the writing of a book, you need to have some sort of idea in mind of the kind of book you’re writing. I’m not saying to outline. I realize that this is a non-starter for you. But, have an idea of where your book starts and where your trying to end it. Things may change, but you’ll spend less time staring off into space if you have these two basics in your mind before you start.
DON’T—Listen to Your Internal Editor
There is a time and place to edit as you go. The first draft is not it. This is true of all first drafts, but it’s especially true of all first drafts being written in a time crunch. You simply do not have time to agonize over every word. Write the wrong ones if the right ones won’t come. You can always go back and fix them. What’s that quote?
Personally, I’m bad about this. I go through reading phases and writing phases when really I need to do a little of both every day. Reading is inspiring, even when you read things that aren’t in the genre you’re writing. Maybe especially if they aren’t in the genre you write. And just because you need to write 50k words in 30 days doesn’t mean you should stop reading.
DON’T—Read Your Work Critically RIGHT NOW
You will absolutely need to critically read your work at some point, but NOW IS NOT THE TIME. It’s like the whole thing with the internal editor. You’re trying to get as many words on the page as quickly as you can. That means you are not going to waste time rewriting. In fact, I would tell you to not read any of your work at all, but you’ll probably need to read what you wrote the day before in order to get back into your story.
DO—Write with Friends
Too often writing can feel like us alone, just our laptops and our words against the world. It doesn’t have to be that way. Do write-ins either in person or online with writer friends. Find your community in critique groups or at conferences. Because most importantly,
DON’T—Go it Alone
You want to build community during the writing stage because you’ll need it in the revising phase. You’ll need other eyes on your manuscript while you edit, and you’ll need someone cheering you on when you get bogged down in the dreariness that can be revising. We are not the solitary geniuses staring at our keyboards. We are a community of them striving to tell our stories to the world.
And remember, no matter what, DON’T GIVE UP. You’ve got this, no matter why you’re writing at a furious pace. You’re still going to produce an amazing book.