One of my biggest challenges has always been finding a system of consistent writing that works. And, despite it only being Day 9 of my new system, I think it might actually work.
1,500 words a day.
That's about an hour of writing flat out. Actually, if I still type 60 wpm (and I truly have no idea if I do), that would be around 25 minutes of solid typing from start to finish. But writing isn't that easy. I'm not simply transcribing the thoughts in my head. There are adjustments, pauses, and when it is all said and done, it can take up to around two hours per day.
I imagine I could improve that speed with time, effort, and consistency as well, but right now, it takes at least two hours to get to that magic number - 1,500 words.
Why 1,500 words? Well, first, let me give credit where credit is due. I got the idea on the Six Figure Authors podcast when they interviewed Shawn Inmon, who I've since followed on Facebook. He mentioned that his productivity, and corresponding income, took off when he "stopped lying to [himself]." He went on to say that every day he was writing, when he fell short of his 2,000 word goal, he would say to himself, "I'll make it up to tomorrow." But the next day was the same. And the next, and the next.
Boy, did that ring true for me. Sometimes, it is harder than you might believe to write. I have a family, with a teen and a soon-to-be kindergartener. I have a busy life, that includes a big house and large yard and two Airbnb properties to manage. Just this morning I woke up to three different requests from prospective guests!
It was the draw (and distraction) of my Airbnb properties that got me to set up automatic emails, which saves me far more than just a few seconds a day. After all, the more I go to Airbnb, the more distracted I become. Before long I'm calculating income, inputting my daily rentals to compare them to last month or last year, and trying to figure out how I can make more money come out of the properties. If I'm not careful, an hour or two has gone by with the writing no closer to completion. Heck, today I found myself searching for another Airstream. I told myself, "I'll just take a couple of minutes to check Facebook Marketplace." Half an hour later, I hadn't found what I was looking for, but I had completely forgotten about what I was doing - writing a post here.
It is easy to get distracted!
So, why a 1,500 word per day goal? Well, at the moment, a 2,000 word per day goal, at least one that I do EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK sounds onerous. For some reason, 1,500 words strikes me as doable. And also because, when you multiply 1,500 words by 365 days in a year, you get 547,500. Divide that by my average novel length of 90,000 words, and you end up with 6.08. So, six books a year, or one book every other month.
p.s. And if I wanted to just shoot for six 100k word count books, the total words per day I would need to write is 1,644 words.
I don't have a lot of wasted words when I write. If anything, I end up adding more on when I edit.
I started last Monday. It wasn't easy. There were plenty of days where I managed a few hundred words in the morning before putzing out, but I found a way to complete the day, every day, with at least 1,500 words, and usually more than that.
And I have found that every day it feels like a lot when I'm doing it, but when I'm done, I look at it and think, "That's nothing, really. Nothing that will turn into six huge somethings by the end of a year of doing this."
Choosing a goal of 1,500 words encourages me to stick to writing that amount every day while also allowing me to do plenty of other things. It's a manageable amount. And with practice, it will become routine. What is it they say - after 21 days it becomes habit?
Today is Day 9. In another ten days we leave on vacation and yes, I'm bringing my laptop. I plan on writing while on vacation, if only so I don't have to re-establish the habit upon my return.
Wish me luck!
p.s. G581: Earth should be done and run through its first edits by the time I leave on vacation. If so, I expect it will be available for sale on September 1st. This is the 3rd book in the Gliese 581 series.
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