This past August 8, I got an idea that is, for me, a little out there: commit to a target word count per day. Every day (mostly; keep reading). On my WIP -- not blog posts, student letters, conference-session planning, or any other kind of writing. That stuff would be extra. Over and above. Same with writing-related tasks like research. And querying. That would be over and above.
This is hardly a new idea, but I've always been one to schedule writing time rather than a daily word quota. And had I been happy with my productivity lately? Well, not so much, to tell the truth. Hadn't I been wishing for awhile that I could write faster without losing quality? Very much so. And, I suspected, I could. In fact, I might gain quality if writing a daily quota, and therefore writing faster, kept me more constantly immersed in the story.
So, I came up with a plan.
- Write 750 words per day on the WIP, every day, for the rest of 2012, with days off as follows:
- 12 specific dates that include 2 holidays, 2 election days (I'm a pollworker and we have 14-hour days), 3 conference days, and 5 vacation days to visit our kids this fall.
- Calculating on August 8 the number of days left in 2012 gives 145. Subtracting 12 leaves 133. Multiply 133 x 750 and you get 99,750. That's the number of words I propose to write on my fiction between August 8 and December 31, inclusive!
What 100,000 words represents almost makes me giddy. When I began my challenge, I needed less than half this total to finish my current WIP. I love revision more than drafting, so once I get to the revision stage, I could and can do more than 750 words most days. Another way to look at it is that 100,000 words will give you roughly two complete MG novel drafts. Maybe close to three!
How's it been going? If you'd asked me on August 7 whether I'd be almost done with my draft by the end of September, I'd have said no way. Sometimes I think I'm more of a binge person than a steady, everyday one; and often it's a lot more realistic and constructive to evaluate progress by the week than by the day. Still: I am almost done. And it rocks.