The Secret to Writing Fast and Furious (plus a sneak peek at my latest novel)

recorderOver the past three days, I wrote 25,000 words. By far the most I’ve ever written in so short a span.

I think there were three factors that allowed me to do it:

First, I needed the distraction.

I’ve been obsessing over something non-writing related in my life as of late and I needed to get out of my head. Nothing allows that like jumping into a story.

Second, I was nearing the end of my novel.

I don’t know about you, but every time I get to the end of a manuscript, it sort of writes itself. The plodding, muddy middle is a thing of the past and the end rushes out like a flood.

Last, but certainly not least, I used a voice recorder.

When it comes to producing a massive output of words, this is my secret weapon.


Because I find the blank page incredibly intimidating. It is so hard for me to sit at the computer and create something out of nothing.

Walking on the treadmill and talking into a voice recorder, however, is easy-peasy.

So that’s how I started each day.

I spoke the scenes.

The beautiful thing about this method is that it completely silences the dreaded internal editor.

There’s no back space. There’s no flashing cursor. There’s no blank page. There’s no critical little man sitting on your shoulder, reading each sentence while tutting and shaking his head.

There’s just a red record button.

Once I finished, I would sit at the computer, play my voice, and type as fast as my fingers would allow. Stopping occasionally to flesh out some details.

On Friday, I racked up 8k words. On Saturday, 7.5k, and on Sunday, I finished my seventh novel with 9.5k words.

Making a total of 25k in three days.

Which means, my seventh novel is complete and I feel giddy.

So giddy I want to tell you about it.

Remember me talking about that paranormal, supernatural, dystopian-esque young adult story idea that kick-started my creativity a few months back? The one that is nothing at all like my usual fare? Yep, this was it. I have no idea what I’ll do with it once I’m finished editing. I’m just grateful it entertained me so thoroughly during a season of waiting in my life.

Here it is, my latest distraction:

In a world where mental illness and belief in the supernatural are not tolerated, Tess Ekhart has a lot to hide. For as long as she can remember, she’s seen things nobody else can see, felt things nobody else can feel. Then the incident happens–one involving a Ouija board and a high school party. Her complete freak out and subsequent breakdown lead her family across country, next to a private facility for the mentally ill.

Tess is determined to make the most of the move. To have a fresh start. To be normal. To hide the fact that she is seeing a therapist at the Edward Brooks facility. But for Tess, fitting in has always been difficult. Sheโ€™s used to whispers and stares, but when it comes to Luka Williams, a reluctantly popular boy at her new school, sheโ€™s unused to a stare that intense. And he wonโ€™t stop. Neither will her headaches or the increasingly prophetic visions that haunt her at night. As Tess tries harder and harder to hide her abnormality, she becomes more convinced than ever that Luka knows something. That Luka might even be responsible.

But what if sheโ€™s wrong? What if Luka Williams is the only thing protecting her from a darkness more terrifying than anyone could fathom?

See, I told you. Nothing at all like my usual. Which might be one of the reasons writing it was so fun!

Let’s Talk: What’s a trick you’ve learned recently? It doesn’t have to be writing-related!

26 thoughts on “The Secret to Writing Fast and Furious (plus a sneak peek at my latest novel)

  1. Jennifer Shirk

    OK. I’m sold! LOL
    Awesome that this works so well for you!!!

  2. I say, you could pay an assistant to transcribe your audio. Then you will have a lot more time with the recorder, and finish the first draft in less time.
    Anyway, your idea it’s a great idea.

  3. Tracy Morris

    If I get a block with my writing then I jump in the car and drive 5 miles to my favourite headland. I park up and watch the waves crashing on the rocks which never fails to calm and inspire me. A mobile phone is great because I can capture my thoughts and ideas wherever I am on the voice recorder.
    Great blog!

  4. Wow, way to go! Your book sounds intriguing and I LOVE the idea of using a recorder! I’ll have to try that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I love the suggestions. I struggle with getting my word counts in everyday. I think I will check into getting a recorder. Thanks for the idea! I would love to have a few 8k days. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Your new book sounds different and very interesting. I would love to read it! I hope you find a home for it soon.

  6. I have one of those recorders, but I felt so lame talking to myself in the van. That, and it’s illegal now. Kind of the “hands free” thing. And hubs works at home alot in the winter. Soooooo, yeah. ZERO privacy.

    Love the new stuff!

  7. Angie Arndt

    I start out the scene in longhand. Yes, I know it very Luddite, but I think of it as pre-writing. When I’m fully into the scene and can finally “see” it, then I start typing it into my program, correcting a little as I to.

    However, I like the idea of the digital recorder. Now if it would just transcribe, too …

  8. Nice! I’m sold. Can’t wait to read it.

    When you mentioned talking into a recorder while you’re on the treadmill, I was a bit skeptical in that, I write much more eloquently than I talk. But, if I’m just “sketching” out details of scenes, I might be able to try this. Congrats on your word count!

  9. heidi blankenship

    A 3 pack of yellow legal pads and a new pen totally gets me started. That blinking cursor is my nemisis.

  10. That is completely and totally! Way to go! I’ve thought of a voice recorder, but am not really an extroverted person. However I love the thought of no blinking curser. I might have to give it a shot just to see how it works for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Speaking the words. That is such a good idea, Katie! I’m going to have to see if I can figure out the Voice Memo app on my phone or track down a recorder for the next time I’m stuck.

    The book premise sounds intriguing!

  12. The story sounds great!

    I’ve been writing my novel longhand. Like you said, there is something intimidating about staring at a computer screen.

  13. Ooh, I am so hooked already. I want to read it!

    In December I went on a similar writing spurt…spend three days interruption-less and churned out a ton of words. It felt sooooo good. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Yay!! You got the distraction you needed AND finished your book! That’s a whole lotta words, lady!!

    The book sounds great too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for the tip! I have been toying with the idea of a voice-recorder to brainstorm my ideas on. I might have to give it a go. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Ooooh, I have a dystopian waiting for me on my hard drive too! Similar but not the same as yours. It’s the one that starts with the same line as your first book (basically). LOL

    Woohooo on the word count!!! That’s awesome. I have the same recorder but I never use it. Maybe I should. Ha! Have a great week!

  16. What a great idea to use a voice recorder! I’ll have to try that.

  17. Wow, you impress me!! That’s a lot of words! And that’s so awesome that you were able to write it so quickly and that it helped you through a tough time.

  18. Ooooohhhh…I wanna read it! And to add to the list to increase word count– babysitter. It’s a must have, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. First, if you need a beta reader for this, um…I’m in! Seriously.

    Second, I use the CATCH app on my iPad for plotting/ideas. I can add #tags so when I’m trying to find something particular it just pops up when I enter the tag I gave it. Cool, huh?

    I can’t do dictation for entire scenes. I wish I could. Just ideas and dialogue snippets. ๐Ÿ™‚ Way to get er done!

  20. My trick is an old stand by…pour it all in when I’m focused on it. With family–all in. Writing–all in.

    Go speedracer, go!
    ~ Wendy

  21. Wow! Great job. The recorder sounds like a wonderful idea. I might try that one day. And yes, the story sounds different but appealing!

    Tell the World

    1. Katie Ganshert

      Thanks, girl!

  22. I would read that book, Katie. It sounds like something I would like. I hope it gets published.

    A trick for writing I have used is writing the scenes I know. You know there are things you want to happen in your novel but sometimes I don’t know how get there. So I will write those key scenes and it often will open up the rest of the story for me.

    1. Katie Ganshert

      Love that trick, Melissa! I’ve had to do that too at times. It’s especially good whenever I’m in a funk and not motivated. Skipping to those fun-to-write scenes are always great!

  23. First of all, way to go! Wow, really impressive, writing that much in such a short time. And second: I for one would love to read this book, it sounds like a really intriguing story…so I hope it gets published!

    1. Katie Ganshert

      Thanks Rachel! It felt so good to write like that, especially since this past month, I’d been severely slacking in the word count department. I hope this story is available to readers at some point in the future too!


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