Write the damn story.

How I have written at least 300k words in the last year.

Cara Blaine

7/28/20232 min read

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I started writing novels in August of 2022. Since then, I have published two novels and have three more manuscripts in varying stages of completion - all at least with a first draft finished. I’ve written somewhere in the neighborhood of 300k words in the last year. I have had many people ask me how to complete one book, let alone five, so I’ll share my methodology.

It isn’t complex. Some authors refer to it as the "barf" method, but as someone with emetophobia, I’d rather invoke different imagery. LOL. Let’s call it the “just write the damn story” method.

Some people like to edit as they go along. Some writers want their first draft to be as close to perfect as possible. If I, personally, tried to write like that, I would never finish a book.

When I sit down to write a new book, I start with a few pages of notes about characters, settings, and a plot summary. I usually do an outline, but it is short, not detailed at all. Sometimes I break it into chapters, sometimes I use the 3-act type of breakdown. Either way, each part of the story is described in only a few sentences. All of these notes and outlines are completed within a couple of days.

Then, I write the story. It's generally pretty bare bones; I tend to under-write, rather than over-write. My main goal is to get the story onto the page, start to finish. It will have mistakes, probably plot holes, and not a whole lot of description. I tend to hyperfocus, so I write almost daily until the first draft is finished. I can usually finish a 50-70k first draft in under a month. If you don't have the hyperfocus issue/advantage, some authors like to set daily word count goals or similar to keep them moving along. But the point is: write the story. Keep going until it's finished. Don't get hung up on revisions and editing.

Again, this is what works for me. Some authors have success editing as they write. If you're an aspiring author, you'll have to experiment to see what works for you. Be open to different methods, and keep trying until you figure out what you need to be successful with your goals. However you choose to accomplish it: life is short, so just write the damn story!