5 Ways to Write More in Less Time

Your best marketing strategy is to give readers more of what they want: great books! Today it’s time to activate your writer superpowers and narrow down the five things you can do to write more in less time.

1. Write in Timed Sprints
Timed sprints (15-25 minutes with short breaks between are most effective) have multiple benefits to you as a writer. Not only do they focus your time on writing but they also help you to track how much time it takes you to do something. Use an online timer to track time and use a progress tracker to record out how much time you are spending on a project. Once you know how much time something takes, you can further streamline your process.

If peer pressure works for you, you can find other writers sprinting on Twitter with the hashtag #writingsprint. I sprint a few times a week so join me on Twitter to get in on the action.

2. Schedule Your Writing Time

Whether you have 15 minutes a day to write or 5 hours, schedule your writing time and guard it like Hagrid’s three-headed dog, Fluffy, would. Showing up to the page is one of the most critical steps for a writer but often the hardest to accomplish. So move writing to the top of your to-do list (even before book promotion and definitely before you hop on Twitter or Facebook!)

3. Plan What You are Going to Write

Whether you are a plotter or a pantser, sit down at the beginning of your writing session and map out what you are going to write about. Just a few quick sentences about the who, what and why of your scene or chapter give you a headstart on spotting potential issues before you’ve put a few thousand words on the page.

This will pay off big time when it comes to the editing phase of your novel. Your scenes will be more focused, character arcs and motivation will be clearer and you’ll have less revision to do before submitting it to your beta readers or editor.

4. Use Scrivener to Write Your Novel
Scrivener really deserves it’s own time saving list because it offers a host of tools to help you write faster. It will streamline your writing process no matter what kind of writer you are.

Plotter? You can outline hierarchically or use index cards on a virtual corkboard. Your outline and/or cards transfer seamlessly into the Binder where you write your novel. So there is no gap between planning and writing.

Pantser? If you prefer to wing it with your writing, you can write your novel straight through and break it into chapters later. Or if you want to jump around, you can add scenes as they come to you and re-order them when the mood strikes you.

You can color code your scenes by POV and see how your novel is playing out at a glance. Scrivener holds all of your research, character info and setting worksheets in one place. No additional documents, windows or searching your hard drive for your notes. You can even import pictures and place them on index cards. Want to write distraction free? You can block out the virtual world with full screen mode

And when you are ready to publish, exporting to Kindle or epub is a breeze. You can give Scrivener a try in the Author Toolkit which comes with a guide to get you started and an import your current WIP if you have one.

5. Implement One of the Four Ideas Above by Friday
Because even the best list of tips won’t do anything for you unless you sit down and put them to work, pick one of these tasks to try by this Friday. (You can let me know how it goes by replying to this email!)

I’ve organized this list with the easier tasks at the top so start there and work your way down.

Seven Point Story Structure with Dan Wells

I was listening to Writing Excuses the other day and Dan Wells (Partials, John Cleaver Books) did a great break down of his take on the Seven Point Story Structure. With NaNoWriMo coming up quickly, I thought I’d share that info here.

He’s also got a presentation of the Seven Point Structure on YouTube, so I’m linking to those videos as well. ( Scroll down for the videos.) They are well worth watching, especially if you are struggling to come up with a plot.watch full xXx: Return of Xander Cage 2017 movie

He runs downs the plots of many books and movies as examples including Harry Potter, Pride & Prejudice and The Matrix. I’ve also worked up a set of worksheets based on this structure (because after you know it, it is fun to find it in all of your favorite show and books.)

I’ll do a quick summary , give you some worksheets and a Scrivener Template* and you can watch the videos. It’s an awesome way to kick of NaNoWriMo with a strong start. (And increase the chances you’ll have something that you can eventually publish.)

*Please Note: The Scrivener Template must be imported. You cannot just double click on the file and have it open. If you don’t have Scrivener or want step by step instructions for using it, please download the free Author Toolkit.

Quick Notes

Here are a few quick notes on the presentation, so that you can get  jump on the information. The worksheet has a cover sheet that includes these notes:

The Hook

This is where your characters start from. You set up your character’s world and set their stakes (what they have to lose) in this part.

Plot Turn 1

This is the event that sets your story in motion.  It moves you from the beginning to the Midpoint. You character’s world changes here.

Pinch 1

Pinches are where you put pressure on your hero from your antagonist to force your hero into action.


The midpoint takes your character from reaction to action. At the midpoint, your character determines that she must do something.  (This can take place over a series of scenes.)

Pinch 2

Pinch 2 is where your story takes the ultimate dive. Your hero is literally sitting in the jaws of defeat. Everything has fallen apart.

Plot Turn 2

This point moves the story from the Midpoint to the Resolution. Plot Turn 2 is where you character receives the final piece of information that he needs to make it to the resolution. (No new information can be introduced after this point.) You character finally understands he has the power to achieve the resolution.


Your hero completes what he sets out to do.


Download the Worksheets

7 point story structure worksheet - Self Publishing Toolkit

How to use the Worksheets: The first page contains the definition of each point and three examples. The second page is blank. Since your story will likely have more than one thread, you can assign each thread to a column and see how they weave together to form your story.

Watch the Videos

This is a 5-part series and they are listed in order. It’s worth watching all of them to get the concepts completely drilled it into your head.

The Indie Author Toolkit

I am super, unbelievably excited to announce the debut of the Self Publishing Toolkit’s first child: the Indie Author Toolkit!Download the SPTK Author Toolkitdownload full film Carol 2015

The Self Publishing Toolkit’s Indie Author Toolkit has everything you need to write your next novel in one package–all you need to add is your imagination.

Inside the Toolkit, you’ll find:

  • Scrivener 30 day free trial (This is the only program you need to write a novel! It is the total package from start to finish.)
  • The Scrivener Quick-Start guide to get you up and running as fast as possible.
  • The Self Publishing Toolkit Scrivener Template – This template takes all of the best practices outlined in the Self Publishing Toolkit and puts them to work for you. It also includes tips inside the program to advise you as you work.
  • Grammar Matters – A quick reference quick to the most common grammatical mistakes and how to fix them. Also includes a complete guide to punctuation.

The Indie Author Toolkit is yours to download. Simply fill out the form below and get free instant access to this one of a kind toolkit.


Setting the Mood: Writing Music

Music inspires your writing!When it comes to Self Publishing, the more books you have, the more money you make so productivity and concentration are a top priority. Music, whether it’s your favorite movie soundtrack or white noise, helps to get you into the zone, improve your focus and achieve your goals. Here are three of my favorite free online sources for mood setting music:movie Rings streaming


RainyMood gives you a non-stop sound track of rain that is so realistic, it will have you checking the windows to see how wet it is outside. You’ll love using RainyMood when proof-reading or editing. I’ve discovered it sets the perfect atmosphere to keep me focused for long stretches of time. In fact, I’m listening to it as I write this post.


No matter what kind of music you are in the mood for, Pandora’s got it. You can set up stations for each of your books to make slipping into your writer mode that much easier. If you’ve never used Pandora, give it a go. Pandora learns what you like (and what you don’t) and will suggest new artists based on your preferences. I have found so much inspiration on Pandora, both for life and writing, that I can’t recommend it highly enough. Pandora is free, but ad supported. It’s $36/year to get rid of the ads.


Want the world to go away for a while? Writing in a busy cafe or coffee shop? Simplynoise gets the job done . You can live stream white, pink or brown noise for free. They also have a free downloadable 60 minute Thunderstorm track as well as a donate and download option for an Ocean Waves track and white, pink or brown noise. These would be perfect for timing your writing sessions.

Do you have a favorite site that you’d like to share? Let me know and I’ll add it to the list.