Review: From 2k to 10k by Rachel Aaron

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2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love

I read this book a couple of weeks ago.

Rachel Aaron is a fantasy author who’s written a series, of fairly hefty books, and is a full time writer. This book is based on a blog post in which she explores how she went from writing 2000 words a day, as a professional full-time writer, to writing 10k a day. She’s expanded it, added some more reflective ideas, and there’s a whole second half about how she plans in detail. 

Planning is where it’s at for Rachel Aaron. That, really, is the ‘secret’ to her success – which I think is impressive. To sustain that word count day in ay out is impressive. She goes into great practical detail about how she plans her world, characters and plot. About how she plans a scene at a time before starting to write. Aaron’s really open about the numbers, which I appreciate – it’s why I liked James Scott Bell’s book as well – because she’s clear about how her word count fluctuates, but she’s proving what she’s talking about. And while she says she’s improved, she’s also honest that actually the biggest change to improve her writing life is by writing eery day, not just some days or even most days. The way to do that is simple: enjoy what you write so much that you can’t wait to get back to it. Sometimes you read a book in which everything seems obvious – but you read it at the right time and it just crystallises. There are some down sides – to be honest I don’t know how good her writing is, as I’ve not read her novels, but she’s maintaining a full time career, so she must be fairly decent. Second, there were some irritating typos that really should have been caught in the proofing.

It’s mostly the first part of the book I’ve been focusing on so far – I have an idea for a series that I’m really excited about, and sat down thinking how i could use what I’d learned in this book so far. So, I’ve been giving it a go for a week now.

In March, I wrote 5000 words. I wrote a few times a week, mostly Sunday-Tuesday, and tracked my words. I was ok, but let’s face it, at that rate it’s going to take a hell of a long time to write a novel, never mind finish the revisions.

This week, writing an hour or less a day, I’ve written 6500 words. My previous hourly rate was about 200-400 on a good day; this week I’ve regularly hit 700 in less than an hour. Whether I would be able to sustain that if I was writing for more time, I can’t say, but I think writing is like building muscles – you have to keep practicing, stretching.

That’s much better. More than that, I’m really excited about it, thinking about it all the time,a nd can’t wait to get back to writing some more.

It’s a great short book, the right note of entertaining and inspiring when you need a push in the right direction.

4/5

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9 thoughts on “Review: From 2k to 10k by Rachel Aaron

  1. J.R. Hall

    Great post! As a new writer I find the secret to better writing — just like you said — is to keep writing. Write everyday, write when you don’t feel like it, write when the muse is off playing some place else. The key though is to write.

    When pen hits paper, or fingers the keyboard, the world comes alive again and that is exciting.

  2. I’ve been reading this book on-and-off lately, for similar reasons that you read it: I’ve had a neat idea for a novel and am hoping to blitz out the first draft over the summer. I guess I’ll know how useful this book was when I actually get started.

    I usually hit around a thousand words once a writing session has gotten properly moving; my problem always seems to be getting the first hundred-or-so onto the page. 700 words an hour is very good; I must admit to being a touch envious.

    I wish you the best of luck with your series.

    • I have to say I agree with her comment that the most productive thing you can do for your writing is to increase the days you ARE writing, and THEN work on your word count – being greedy, my monthly goal is to do both!

      • Agreed. I’ve been writing on most days lately – just not always fiction. Final-year university projects tend to do that :)

        I think the most useful advice I’ve read in this book so far is to make sure you’re genuinely enthused about any given scene before you start writing it – in addition to speeding you up, if you can’t do it then you know the scene probably needs a rethink.

      • I think I’m trying to make sure I write something fiction-related, whether that’s word count, planning or something about writing fiction, so counting my blog in there,to get into good habits and as I progress I’ll change that balance. Agreed, finding the time is hard alongside a full time job, but it’s worth it!

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