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.
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.