word count

Now I KNOW I Can Do It

on November 1, 2011

Not long ago I figured out my average monthly word count is 15K words. At that rate, a rough draft would take five to six months to write, which isn’t good when you think of the months of revision to follow. I lamented on an earlier blog I would have to pick up the pace if I intended to make a go of this writing thing, though at the time had no idea if I could do it.

With the Golden Heart entry date looming, the word count on my Work In Progress (WIP) on September 1 was not looking good. I could see the precipice, but the hill was steep, covered by a Slip-n-Slide and littered with thorny cacti. What was a writer to do?

Step it up, of course.

In September I wrote twenty-seven thousand words. Now, that is no NaNo number (that being 50K in a month) but for me, a number to celebrate. I will make the Golden Heart deadline, provided writing the synopsis and re-writing the first 50 pages doesn’t kill me.

But more importantly, I now KNOW I can do this. I can hit a deadline. I can turn out words. I can build a story and trust the characters (and myself) to get it on the page. Revising it is another story. Or rather, another blog.

Have you stepped up to a challenge (like NaNo?) Surprised yourself? Got any tricks for synopsis writing? Participating in NaNoWriMo again this year?

Need To Pick Up The Pace

on September 9, 2011

Writing journey I’ve been on this writing journey for just over four years. It took me two years to realize the first attempted WIP was never going to work, but I learned something from those pages and went into a new WIP with much enthusiasm. After five months of plodding along, I gave myself a deadline, dug deep, set a daily goal, and made it happen. Three years in, I had a completed rough draft.

Today that book is nowhere near done. *sigh* Revisions are HARD.

Because my writing has been so sporadic, thrown in with a full-time job, single-motherhood, and at one time a part-time college schedule (not to mention planning a conference and coaching a softball team) I’ve never been able to gauge my productivity.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not under the false hope I’m a fast writer yearning to break free of the trials and tribulations of everyday life. I’m a little saner than that. But I wasn’t sure what I could do with steady, uninterrupted work. And by uninterrupted I mean no classes, coaching, and kiddo for the summer. The day job has to stay.

Slika-Panic As with most writers, there’s a constant panicked voice in the back of my mind worrying the WIP will be lost. Something will happen. The file will become corrupt overnight. Or what if my laptop spontaneously combusts?!

To appease this voice, I back up to an external source, but I also email the file from my personal email to my work email every night. This way I not only have a backup copy readily available, I can write at work if the option arises. (It never does but a girl can dream.)

Using the files I’ve been emailing, I tracked my word count by date and determined I write an average of 10-12K words a month. What a letdown.

I’m proud of the 36K-some odd words I’ve managed to write since May, but in the grand scheme of things, and considering the months of revisions ahead, this number just isn’t going to cut it. I fully intend to have deadlines someday. Contractual obligations. And since I’m sure the day job will still exist even when the deadlines come into play, I have got to pick up the pace.

Bouncy Ball Losing sleep is not an option so this clearly comes down to better time management. And discipline. Less email and Twitter. Less channel surfing on weekends. More Butt on Ball, Fingers On Keyboard. (I bought an exercise ball to use as a chair at my desk. I need to whittle down the abs as I bulk up the WIP.)

I know many published writers turn out two (usually more) books a year while running a household, herding children, and bringing home a day job paycheck. HOW do they make this happen? Is there a fairy dust I don’t know about? Is cloning involved? And how long is the norm for writing/revising a book start to finish?