Friday, 1 May 2015

Getting into gear

I was following a thread on a Facebook page for authors the other day and the discussion was about daily word count. Several people aim for a number of words each day - 1000 seems a popular number. Others don't count words at all but aim to write for an hour. One day this might produce a paragraph, other days a chapter.  When they've done their allocated word count, or time, they might carry on to exceed it, or do something else, but it's a measurable, organised way of ensuring that forward progress is made regularly.

I like organised. I like forward progress as well.

What's my method? What do I do?


I need to do some thinking about this, especially as I have such limited time to write. I have two days a week that I try to protect for writing, and that's just the hours between school runs, say, 9.30am until 2.30pm.  Some days I find that I can get down to things straight away and manage a blog post, a couple of scenes from the book, and still have time to surf Facebook and check out the headlines. These days are rare.

More common are the days where I start with the surfing (bad idea), try to appease the irritable Blog Monster and then find that I can't get my story into my head at all. I am distracted, and distracted by the most ridiculous things, like the need to clean windows, or check whether I should put out the black bin or the green one for the bin-men in the morning. I make endless cups of coffee before deciding that there is insufficient time left for actually...ahem...writing. Too late.

Then I sit in the car waiting outside school berating myself for wasting such wonderful empty hours with trivia when I want to get this thing written.

I'm told this is not uncommon, but I need to get over it. It's not going to write itself, and I am determined that I'm not going to give up on it. I need to be more disciplined. Maybe the 1000 words a day would do. One thousand words each day and I'd have a 90,000 word first draft in three months.

May, June, July. In time for the summer holiday, I'd have a draft to begin working on.

Except that there's no way of writing every day. There simply isn't time, or peace. I so envy those people with lots of space and time to spend on their work in progress, but at this point in my life I have school runs and a husband who is only home at weekends and more than enough swimming practices to deliver my children to every weekday evening and Saturday and Sunday too.

One thousand words twice a week when I do have the opportunity, and it'll take the best part of a year.

What I do know is that when I get in the right frame of mind, in the zone, I can write 3,000 words in a couple of hours. So I have hope.

Well, it's like this. I'm revving in neutral. I'm not getting anywhere. Time to get into gear.


  1. I know the feeling. I don't think I have touched my WIP for a month. Should I really have started another blog?
    We both need to ration the surfing and use it as a reward for writing. Sue

    1. I know! I wonder - should I abandon the blog and spend that time on the WIP? Seems such a shame after four years... but some weeks it's all I can do to feed the Blog Monster and there's no time left for anything else... what's the answer?