Like many writers, I read Stephen King’s nonfiction book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. When I first learned that he wrote 3,000 words a day, everyday it seemed like a lot. Now, many years after reading his advice, it the ideal seems either daunting or totally doable, depending on the day. I work full time, and according to contract, that means forty two and a half hours before I am eligible to put in for overtime. I also work two side jobs.
There are days when three thousands newly created words is more of a challenge.
And what about editing? How do writers who are attempting to get consistent word counts everyday deal with writing. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I am editing a large project, it isn’t uncommon to go into negative word production (which is another King axiom; cut ten percent during the edit).
We will get to some methods of addressing that particular issue in a moment. For now, there are a few other word count productivity questions I want to throw out, because admit it, this is exciting stuff. #writinggeek
Should I count blogging?
It might sound crazy to even worry about these details, but generating three thousand words a day is the same as writing 1,095,000 words a year.
The Words I Track
1) New words: these can include story summaries that will be expanded into regular narrative, outlines material, and story beats (for fans of the Self Publishing Podcast crew). Story building can be counted, but it isn’t wrong to forbid yourself from logging this category. I know a very good writer that will probably never finish a novel, but will have an entire universe created to the smallest detail — so writer beware.
2) Blogging: I say count it, but set limits. Even though I awoke this mrning with ideas for several different blog articles (a rare occurrence) I am limiting myself to five hundred words. (Because I have a novel to finish, Hello Moon!)
3) Email words: no, this is like an Olympic sprinter bragging about how she walked to the mail box every day — not something that will bring home a gold medal.
4) Social Media: if the raw number of words spent on social media make a great novelist, then I am in trouble. This should probably be subtracted from the daily goal. (Look at me mom, I wrote eight thousand words on Facebook! Ah, no. There are so many reasons not to do this.)
Summary: Today, I start adding the words I blog to my daily log. The reason is simple; I don’t blog consistently and it is something that can help aspiring novelists.
Bonus: The best way to meet word count goals is to join, or start, an accountability group. Josh Hayes, Scott McGlasson, and Roy Upton have allowed me to be part of their word count team. So far, 2016 is looking to be a good year.
Results: I have not made 3k a day, but I have done better than 1k so far.
Here are some good books on writing productivity:
2k to 10k (by Rachel Aaron)
5,000 Words Per Hour (by Chris Fox)
Writing in Overdrive: Write Faster, Write Freely, Write Brilliantly (by Jim Denney)
During the last several months I have been extremely inspired and entertained by the Self Publishing Podcast of Sean Platt, David Wright, and Johnny B. Truant. Writers who are not afraid to work hard might give it a try.
I subscribe to Audible.com because I enjoy getting credits for new audio books each month. A couple of days ago, my phone alerted me that I had two credits and I started shopping. There are several novels ready to go on my phone, so I browsed nonfiction.
Which exposed me to Fiction Unboxed by Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt. Fiction Unboxed, though interesting, tasted like an appetiser to me. So today I started on Write-Publish-Repeat. I had heard of these guys from a friend of mine who listens to their podcasts and I had also downloaded the free "loss-leader" to their Unicorn Western series. (So far that series is fun, but I have not read the entire book, yet.)
Similarly, I have not finished WPR. This is not a book review, but a moment I wanted to share just in case anyone is listening.
I have read a lot of books on writing, marketing, and everything in between. I have a Master's Degree in Public Administration, which familiarized me with the Pareto Principle and the 80/20 rule. The concept of "1,000 true fans" is not unknown to me, but rather something I dream about and flounder toward in reality with my marginal marketing efforts (and more marginal budget of time and money).
So far I am very familiar with the message Truant and Platt are sharing, yet I am also really enjoying the book and feel as though they may bring it all together for an ah-hah moment. I have always believed that hard work matters, and that is a key message told often and early in their book.
I will continue to listen to the WPR audio book. I have already recomended it to one my closest most talented writing friends, and he bought it. If everything goes as I hope it will, I may even write a review when I am done listening and post it. (Lately I have not been writing as many reviews. My life revolves around familiy, work, and writing with sporadic trips to the gym.)
I hope your day is going well and getting better.
Life is an adventure. I read to expand my horizons and write because I must.
- The Craft of Writing: 7 Magnificent Books
- Use of Force Myths
- A Really Useful Tool
- Project Rotation