I don’t actually write all that quickly. I think it just seems that way from the outside view. What I do instead is sort of what a bricklayer does when building a house: I lay down each level, brick by brick, until I can step back and say, “Wow, I actually constructed something pretty sizable here.”I can completely relate to this. In fact, if you scroll down to the comments you'll see mine, "Allison, I think you and I were separated at birth."
It's easy to get overwhelmed by the task of writing a novel. Or so I've heard. *grins*
Every novel I've completed has come about pretty much the same way: I can't stop writing in the middle of a scene. Just last night, I was forced to do that -- stop before the scene was done -- because of circumstances out of my control, and it totally threw off my mojo. But most of the time, I get the scene done, read through it a few times to check for major flaws (typos, pacing, total blah-ness, etc.), and then call it a day.
A scene can be anywhere from a couple pages to 10+ pages, but either way, I write scene by scene. Sometimes, one full scene is also a full chapter. Sometimes not. As the scenes pile up, the chapters fall into place, and within a few weeks or months, I've got a complete first draft of anywhere from 70K - 100K words, depending on the genre.
I haven't been paying much attention to word count in my current WIP, so I decided to look back on what I've written so far and add it up. I was shocked, to say the least, to find that I'm already at 20% of my goal. Now, granted, it's taken me twice as long to reach that 20% marker with this particular novel as it did for the last one I finished, but that doesn't really matter in the long run. What matters is that there is constant forward progress. And even at the slower rate I'm going now, I can safely say that the first draft will be done by the end of this year. Then I will have written four novels within two years, three of them within 14 months (even though the first draft of novel #1 was completed in 3 months, it took me a while to admit I needed to set aside the neverending revisions in favor of a new project).
All you're doing is piecing scenes together into chapters and chapters into books, and suddenly you realize your output has surpassed your expectations. In writerly circles, we are constantly updating each other on our WIPs, and other writers will notice your trend: you've always got something in the works, it's always further along than the last time you touched base, and you've always got something else ready to go once that one is complete
Then you get barraged with, "How do you do it?"
The number one reason a novel doesn't get finished? Easy. The author's progress halts or starts moving in the opposite direction -- backwards. We all work at different speeds but one thing should remain the same for everyone: Keep moving forward, even if you make mistakes along the way. As long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other, scene by scene, you'll reach the finish line, and before you know it, you'll have an entire shelf full of books written by YOU.