Okay, so I’ve written posts in the past about increasing word counts, but recently, I’ve been reaaaally trying to push myself out of my comfort zone with how many quality words I can get on the page Monday through Friday. I say “quality” because I don’t want to pound out a huge word count that I will just have to go back over later and delete half of because it was just stream of consciousness.
After much trial and error, I found that by using the ridiculously simple method of micro-outlining and a little bit a self-discipline…okay a lot, I effectively more than doubled my word count, bringing my word count from 800 words a day to over 2000!
What’s micro-outlining? Well, I like to split my outlining process into two different categories: macro and micro outlines.
Macro-outline: The big picture of your story that covers the ENTIRE plot.
Micro-outline: The microscopic picture of each chapter/scene.
How to make a micro-outline:
In the past, I recommended spending 5 to 10 minutes dedicated micro-outlining before beginning the daily writing session, but lately, I’ve been outlining for about 20 to 30 minutes and sketching out several different scenes and not just one long scene. The more scenes you micro-outline, the more direction and fuel you have for meeting your writing goals.
1. Title the scene and underline it. Example: “Philomena almost dies, but is miraculously saved by the hero, Maximus.” Simple enough, yes? Well, this helps organize your work, so when you come back from a break to see the scene and understand exactly what happens.
2. Under each scene title, give plot points. Before you start, ask yourself: How does this scene move the story forward? What’s important about it? What needs to happen? What makes it exciting to write?
It is KEY that you have something exciting to write in each and every scene. It pushes you to get to that part and your excitement will flow onto the page and into your reader.
3. Give yourself dialogue hints. Originally, I shied away from “wasting” time on actual dialogue (not bullet point dialogue) during micro outlining time, but I found that if I wrote down a third of their convo along with bullet points that I wanted the characters to cover, it helps me to get the ideas flowing of what they would talk about, how they would talk about it (angry, happy, scared, etc.).
After I moved to Colorado in January, I gave myself an easy goal of just writing 800 words a day for 5 days a week, which was good for while I was setting up house, but after I finished with the house, I found my groove and increased it to 1k by using the tips above, but then when I was consistently hitting 1200 words a day in a little over an hour, I found that even then I wasn’t pushing myself enough. So, I increased my micro-outlining time and the result was over 2k words in just under two hours…for some reason, hitting a daily 2k word count is still a block in my mind and I know it is nothing compared to what most writers do every day, but never despise meager beginnings 🙂 Now that I’ve reached 2k with little pain and survived just fine haha I’m going to try to do it consistently before I raise the bar again. I just want to insure that I don’t lose the quality over getting quantity.
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