Realistic expectations for my writing goals this year based on what I learned in 2014 about my own writing process and self-publishing in general.
I finished the rough draft of my first novel recently, and I thought it would be educational to both myself and other writers if I shared the data I gathered during the process, and what I learned along the way.
1,000 words a day
The one thing that helped me get started—and helped me follow through with—writing this book was the realization that writing a book was a simple equation. Effort over time equals words.
Yes, it’s that simple.
I realized that if I wrote 1,000 words a day, after 30 days I’d have a novel (or a novella, if you want to split hairs.)
From there, it was simple math. I expected my story to be 30,000 – 50,000 words, so it would take me 30-50 days of work.
That took the fear out of it. It made the prospect of writing the story—not just the story, but the novel—much less daunting. Not that I expected it to be easy (and it certainly hasn’t been), but it suddenly seemed achievable.
Keeping track of my word count
To make sure I kept the one-thousand-words-a-day promise to myself, I decided before I began that I would keep track.
Here’s how it works:
It takes me about 2-3 hours of focused effort to write 1,000 words (sometimes less, often more). At the end of each writing session, I write the date and word count in my notebook, with occasional notes (you can see some of the notes below). Some days, I put in multiple sessions of varying lengths. I might write 237 words in the morning and 744 in the afternoon. Not ideal, but they still add up the same.
At the end of the process, I had a bunch of data. Here’s a graph of my progress (click to enlarge):
My scifi adventure short story, Stolen Choices, is now available on Kindle as an ebook. Will Commissioner Ming do his job? Or do what's right?
The cover is clean, powerful, simple—everything I wanted. I'm very happy and I want to say a public thanks to Jonathan Kurten for the awesome work (and for putting up with me changing my mind about almost everything).
Why do people make resolutions if they're just going to quit when it looks like, to reach their goals, they'll actually have to take a beating?