By the time I boarded the plane for Minneapolis and the 2008 American Christian Fiction Writers Conference, I had been writing for eight frustrating years. My writing came in spurts--I’d start my novel, the words pouring out of me and I’d think, ‘this is wonderful. I’m going to do this!’ Then I hit a brick wall. The words would dry up faster than a mud puddle on a summer day. I was within days giving up on my dreams of getting published.
I know, I know--how could I have been writing for THAT long and not known something as simple as daily word counts. Well, maybe I did. What writer hasn’t heard the whole ‘put your backside in a chair and write’ speak at one time or another? And isn’t that what NaNoWrites is all about, putting your story down on paper?
And then I learned about daily word counts.
|Keep track of daily word counts!|
But setting a daily word count not only gave me a goal(which is HUGE for a goal-oriented person like me,) it also held me accountable.
First, decide what publishing house you’re targeting to set your total word count then divide that number by the number of days in which you want to finish the project. For example, my next book for Heartsong/Harlequin has a total count of 45 to 50 thousand words and I’d like to finish it by the end of November. I already have 15 thousand words so;
35,000 words divided by 30 days(that is writing 6 days a week) = 1166 words a day.
That’s a little over 4 1/2 typed pages a day! Or if you’re me and you write your first draft longhand, 4 pages. If I were writing a Love Inspired HIstorical which run 75K, I generally give myself three months or 78 days(six days a week) so that would be:
75,000 words divided by 78 days = 961 words a day.
If you don’t have a deadline, you can still set a daily word count. Think of it this way--if you only write 250 words a day, 5 days a week, you’ll have 65,250 words. That’s a typed page a day!
Next, set down with your calendar, study your schedule and see where you can crave out your writing time because that’s what you’ve got to do if you’re serious about writing. I find my best writing time early in the morning when I’m fresh and alert but others find writing in late in the evening once everyone is settled a big plus. Do what works best for you, and before you know it, you’ll be typing those two lovely words writers love: