August 6, 2013

Writer Math

Let’s do some simple writer math. If you write 1,500 words on a daily basis, that adds up to 10,500 words weekly. On a 30 day month, you’ll clock in at 45,000 words.

In two months you have your 90,000 word novel. Or rather, you have the manuscript for the first draft.

Photo by M. Valdes (CC)
Photo by M. Valdes (CC)

How long does writing 1,500 words take? That depends on who you ask, for me it’s less than an hour most days. There are times when it’ll take longer, days when the writing’s hard. We all have those days.

What does this simple math teach us? It’s pretty obvious, but I’ll spell it out anyway: Write every day, preferably at least 1,500 words.

This math is dangerous, because it’ll tempt you to consider what 2,000 words daily would mean (14,000 words weekly, 60,000 words monthly, just a month and a half until you reach the 90,000 words mark mentioned above). Or maybe 3,000 words (21,000 words weekly, 90,000 words monthly), some of us could crank that out on a daily basis right? These are tempting, yet dangerous, numbers. It’s all too easy to get lost there.

My advice: Pick a sensible daily word count, cut it down to 70%, and achieve it every day.

It’s as simple, and as hard, as that.

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.