Who here has made the decision to finish a book this year?
How have you done so far?
I can tell you that I’ve had a rough first three week of the year when it comes to writing. I have an exciting plot, wonderful characters, and interesting interactions, but no progress on transferring them from my mind and notes to life on the page. I haven’t been able to move.
Any of you ever been in this situation?
I needed to get my act together and finish my sequel. So… I took a little inventory of my writing habits and here’s what I found I was doing wrong. The last book I wrote started with the completion of NaNoWriMo. Now, I’m sure you’ve all heard of NaNoWriMo or NaNo as my writing buddies call it. If not, follow this link. It’s a great tool but definitely not the only way to write a book. My problem started with this last year’s NaNo.
Last year, I just didn’t have the time to complete NaNo by writing a whole book in a month; first draft or not. I’ve been working a lot of overtime, sometimes putting in as much as 65 hours a week. There just wasn’t time in the day to come home and write after a long, tiring day. And the time I did have was used working on a writing contest I was entering. So why am I bring this up? That was a month and a half ago and I still haven’t made much progress on my book.
I realized something today. I have been using NaNo as a crutch. I write my book in that one month and then take my time to edit and rewrite.
I didn’t have a writing plan or schedule, but just wrote when I felt like it after NaNo. And what happened? It took forever for me to get the final product.
This year, since I didn’t complete NaNo, I completely lost my focus. I have a habit of concentrating on how much I have to do overall and getting overwhelmed. I need to break it down and make it manageable.
So… here’s what I did. I know I’m planning on about 80,000 words in the next novel. That may change, but I’m starting with that. It’s historical fiction so this means there is research work involved too. A lot of that has been done, but I always find I need more.
I want the book completed and ready to send to my editor by the end of Nov. If I finish the first draft by the beginning of Oct, I’ll have two months to read and edit before I send the completed manuscript off to her.
This gives me 32 weeks of actual writing time.
If I divide that 80,000 words by those 32 weeks, I only have 2,500 words that need to be written in a week.
If I want to bring that down, even more, I can divide that by the days of the week I want to write.
I, personally, like to write four days a week on my book. I spend another day working on my blog. That gives me two days off.
So, how many words does that mean I need to write a day?
And if I write more in a day I can either have a little more time off or just get the manuscript completed earlier.
When I break it down like this I don’t get overwhelmed. I’m in control.
If you haven’t done this yet, I highly suggest it; even if you are very good at keeping a writing schedule and have your time divided up by hours in a day. Just knowing that magic number seems to take a weight off and frees your mind to focus on what needs to get done and not on “am I going fast enough.”
Try it, and let me know how it works for you. Also, if you have any other tips that work for you, leave a comment and let me know.