How I write so darned fast – Part 4

While this is part 4 of this series, please don’t look at this as writing advice. I’ve sort of sworn myself off the writing advice bit and all I’m doing is tell you how I do what I do vs how you should do what you do. There is a difference. I used to think there was a one-size-fits-all solution to writing (and programming for that matter), but there isn’t. There really isn’t one way to do things and that’s one thing that a writer needs to understand. Yes, there are some basic rules to writing, but those apply to structure, grammar, and things like that.

At any rate, as I said, this is just how I do the things I do. Take it for what’s it’s worth. All I wanted to point out is that this process allows me to sit and write with great speed. Not nearly as fast as some of my heroes like Dean Wesley Smith (who can rack up around 100,000 words a month) but I’m doing the best I can with the time I have.

Check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 if you haven’t been following along at home.

Let’s talk about resolutions and goals.

I no longer set resolutions. I used to. Every year I’d resolve to do something (quit smoking, lose weight,  eat better, write more, etc) but those were always vague things that don’t give me a path to accomplish what I want to accomplish. They never worked for me.  Ever. Quitting smoking came when I just flat out said, “enough” and stopped one day. I’d have an occasional cigarette or cigar, but for the most part I was done.

Losing weight, eating right? I’m still working on those, but I’ve got a goal and a plan. The goal is to get back down to 200 pounds (at least) and I’ll be doing that by doing a juice cleanse and then eating a nearly vegan diet (not vegetarian, VEGAN! Raw vegan at that). I’ll be having 2 meals per week of whatever I want, but mostly it’ll be fresh fruits and veggies.  Extreme? Hell yes. But that’s how I managed to quit smoking. It was abrupt and extreme. I’ll also start walking and build back up to running.

Write more. That I’ve also done. I started in 2011 going into 2012. I wanted to write more so I started blogging more regularly. The blogging would get my brain into writing mode and once I was done, I’d flip to the latest novel I was working on. During that year, between blog posts and fiction, I’d written over 490,000 words of my 450,000 word goal. It was amazing. Sadly, only 267,000 of those words were new fiction, but I’d hit a grove with my writing and I was happy. So 2013 I was going to try and up my fiction count by cutting back on the blogging and get to work on the fiction.

Well, 2013 fell apart on me. I didn’t hit my goal of 365,000 words. Life happens, as it has a tendency to do, and I needed to come into 2014 more focused with all the stress of 2013 left behind.  I did, however, manage 172,000 words in the 5 months I did actually write and I can’t be sad with that result. Yes, it wasn’t where I wanted to be, but hey, I did make words happens and completed a few projects.

Now we’re into 2014. I’m still setting goals and what I’d like to do. For 2014 I plan on averaging 1100 words per day. Yes, I upped my word count goal from 2013 (1000 words per day average) so I’ll push myself a little bit more.

Let me explain first off what I’ve done. I’ve gone on and on about numbers, but none of that means anything to you, right? Well those numbers are my goals. 2012 was 450,000 words, a combination of new fiction and blog posts. 2013 was 365,000 words of new fiction. 2014 is 401,500 words of new fiction. 2015 is 438,000 words of new fiction.

Let’s break those numbers down because they’re pretty high. I’ll skip 2012 because it’s a blend. But 2013 I wanted to write 1,000 words per day. That’s an average, but obviously if I had been able to stick to a schedule, I probably would have hit or surpassed that goal. 1,000 words really isn’t that much. It’s just a matter of hitting a rhythm and a good streak of days strung together. Add a few good days in there and it gets even better, right?

Well, that was the plan. As I said, I only got 5 months of writing out of 2013 due to an unexpected move and the fact that the company did away with my job. Both of these sucked out my soul and made focusing on writing impossible.

Now look at 2014. I upped my goal from last year. I increased my goal by only 100 words per day. 100 words is nothing. That’s less than 5 minutes of typing. It’s a snap. Upping from 1000 to 1100 seemed logical to me because it’s not that much of an increase. Yes, I looked at 2013, but on the days I actually wrote, I hit a much higher word count. So I knew setting my goal a little bit higher would push me to actually write.

Then 2015, yes, I’m planning for the future, I want to write 1200 words per day. This is also a small increase and it might change.  I don’t know yet. It was a 10% increase from 2013 to 2014, why not a 10% increase from 2014-2015? Should I shoot for 1210 words per day? We’ll rethink that when 2015 gets closer and I see how I did over 2014.

What I’ve done over the past few years is to plan how much I want to write. I set that goal, then I break it down into much smaller chunks and work on one chunk at a time. I don’t look at it as I need to write 100,000 words to make a book. I look at it as I need to write so many words per day to get to that goal in a certain amount of time.  Looking at the smaller bits makes that HUGE, overwhelming goal look all the more manageable.

Next time I’ll talk about tracking and how I keep myself inline with the goals I’ve set. No, I don’t use the Magic Spreadsheet. I have my own spreadsheet. It’s taken me years to set up, but it keeps me on track.

Until Next Time!

WOO WOO!

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Posted on February 25, 2014, in Blog Post and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Focus on what you want to finish and the words will add up to meet your goals.  Writing words for numbers is fine if that is your goal…but if your goal is to write a certain number of books…then get at them.  I read for the quality and enjoyment…not because you write 1200 words per day.   You are a kick as writer…like you said a few times in your blogs…Life Happens…well…time to change it even more by saying GOOD writing happens! Always enjoy your books…keep it up!

    Sent via the Samsung GALAXY S®4 Active™, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

    • Thank you Curt! I do try and fill my books with awesome. Hopefully it happens. Make words happen is my goal, good or not is up to the reader to decide. :-) I aim to please.

  1. Pingback: How I write do darned fast – Part 5 | J.R. Murdock

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