Muse Review: Write Better, Faster: How To Triple Your Writing Speed and Write More Every Day by Monica Leonelle
I downloaded this book back in August because, as you might guess based on the content of this blog, I am very interested in any advice about increasing your writing speed and horde these kinds of books shamelessly. What got me to read it recently was her guest appearance on episode 186 of the Self Publishing Podcast (one of my current favorite podcasts) where Ms. Leonelle discussed her process and techniques.
Monica Leonelle has brought some proven productivity techniques to bear on what is commonly considered to be a “creative process.” By tracking your word count and steadily trying to increase it is a great approach for giving your writing a baseline metric. I too use a word count tracking spreadsheet (that tracks strictly word count), but Leonelle stresses the importance of tracking the amount of time you spend generating that word count as well as adding in some qualitative metrics within your tracking mechanism such as where you wrote during the session, how you felt during the writing session, and a general summary of what you worked on. This brought me to the conclusion that I need to revamp my tracking system and refine it to work better for me so that productivity can be tracked easier. So I added these metrics to my word count spreadsheet, and it really works. I’ve increased my weekly word count steadily each week, cracking the 7000 word barrier last week.
The sections on short timed writing sessions, using the Pomodoro method for writing, and how she uses pre-writing and outlining to supercharge her word count are particularly helpful.
These pre-writing tasks tend to be glossed over a bit. She doesn’t really go into detail about the amount of time that she spends working on the tasks such as outlining, setting up “beats” and planning the whole process out. I believe that this is covered in her other books The 8-Minute Writing Habit and Nail Your Story, two other books that are now on my reading list, but I would have liked just a little more detail about what she does and how she does it. I also wonder why she didn’t seem to count the pre-writing work toward her word count totals. I consider all of my writing to count toward my word count totals, and can’t imagine that her pre-writing wasn’t just as valuable as her “draft” prose.
I loved that she included her personal diary of her struggles to implement the techniques she came up with to vastly increase her word count and writing productivity. This showed the readers that she is not perfect and subject to the many distractions, resistance and unpredictable challenges of life that often manage to derail us. These challenges often cause us to give up for the day and promise that we’ll do better tomorrow and then don’t do anything at all–an all-too-common trap that many writers fall into.
I would be curious to see some of the drafts she wrote while keeping this diary, so I can see how rough these writing sessions are, what type of rework and preparation was involved within the process, and see examples of how she would “beat out” a story. I’d also love to see a couple of works go from a rough idea, to outline, to story draft, and then finished product.
Ms. Leonelle also goes a little bit into how to use dictation to increase your word count, but not really enough to explain how it works and the type of preparation she does to make it work well for her. Again, this is covered in more depth in another one of her books: Dictating Your Book.
In many ways this book is a gateway drug into Monica Leonelle’s work philosophy and methods, and as such, it serves its purpose well. Write Better Faster is well worth the price of $2.99 for the productivity tips it provides and links to other resources alone.
I’ve implemented some of these techniques already and have had some of my highest weekly word count totals ever. I highly recommend this book for anyone struggling to find the time to write or might be having trouble getting production rolling. The advice is clear, practical and easy to implement immediately.
So be sure to check out this book as well as the others available in her Growth Hacking for Storytellers series.
Buy it from Amazon Here: Write Better Faster by Monica Leonelle
Rating: ***** — Well Worth it at Full Retail Price — $2.99 Kindle eBook (Also available in an audio book edition on Audible)