03 August 2010
Tuesday is our writing blog, so I thought we'd start with a little math.
What? Are you insane?
Quite insane, but it will grow on you. Erm... maybe. Are you ready?
So you START with a goal of a 90,000 word book (this is long for some genres, short for others, but acceptable for most, and conveniently calculable by months).
Now 5000 words a day is RECORD writing for all but the most insane people. Certainly an impossible pace to keep up if you have a job, family or LIFE.
3000 is something I've beat maybe a dozen times... on the weekend...
1500 is generally my goal, but only recently... I am writing book 7, so it is (for me) 90 minutes when things are flowing, and if I have a PLAN, generally I can hit smooth through maybe 60-70% of the book. 1000 is reasonable for MOST who have a book under their belt (not all, and not self-editors, but most)
500 though... or 250... ANYBODY can do that, if they just COMMIT!
Now lets try a DIFFERENT kind of math.
Let's say you are a writer who really likes to just write when inspired. Let's say in 3 days you can write 10,000 words. Lets say this happens maybe every 4 months... because let's face it—muses are fickle. In fact honestly, I think we are all sharing the same one... at least if yours is a man in skimpy clothing dancing around you—that would be MY MUSE visiting YOU. So if he has shown up, swat his bottom and send him HOME!
10,000 words X 3 = 30,000 words a YEAR. (3 years to write the novel)
Let's say (new scenario here... don't mean to jar you)—you are a BUSY MOM, who is occasionally INSPIRED but can't find 10 minutes in a given day to actually SIT (erm... other than to read a couple blogs, because those of you with no time to read blogs surely aren't reading). One day a week your sister or mom takes the kids and you get an afternoon. In that afternoon, your ideas are so ripe you can write 2000 words...
2000 X 4 weeks = 8000 words a month = 72,000 words a year. (1.25 years to a novel)
Okay, guess what now... say it with me... ANOTHER SCENARIO... Let's say you're a spurts and stops person... maybe you have five days a month that you can write well... maybe hit 1500 words a day...
1500 X 5 days = 7500 words a month and 90,000 words a year. (exactly a year to a novel)
HA! I have one! Usually I do.
My POINT is that if you write EVERY DAY, then as little as ONE PAGE a day can get you done in the time it takes for those bursts to get you there.
Writing is MORE a matter of persistence and habit than inspiration. Writing a page a day can take anywhere between minutes and hours, but for MOST people, it is less than an hour. And for pretty much ALL people, writing daily is a more efficient way to get through a project than writing sporadically.
So how do you get in the habit?
I learned this with exercise, but there is no reason whatsoever it won't apply to writing. If you MAKE YOURSELF do something every day for 21 days, you have established a habit that becomes pretty easy to maintain. And you can do pretty much ANYTHING if you only make yourself commit for only 21 days initially.
So what can YOU do for 21 days that you want to establish as a habit—writing or otherwise?