The alarm goes off and another day begins. I’d love to tell you I immediately get excited about what I’m going to do, but the only thing I’m really thinking is COFFEE. My day will be packed with promotion, writing, plotting and family stuff. I always, always want more hours to get things done.
You’ve heard it before—I’ve heard it a million times—we’re all busy and we all have the same 24 hours in each day. But did you ever notice some writers seem to get more done in their hours? A lot more?
As much as I try not to, I can’t help but compare myself sometimes. I have several friends who write jaw-droppingly high word counts each day. I’d love to tell you they have fewer responsibilities, but I would be lying. They have just as many, if not more, responsibilities as the rest of us.
I don’t know how anyone else does it, but here are some of the sneaky ways I write more each day, and I mean, write more of what counts each day.
Prioritize. If I have two hours, I devote it to my most important project. I don’t spend an hour writing a blog post for next week or exploring the idea that popped into my head last night. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the pages add up when you prioritize.
Set weekly goals. Every Monday I get out my calendar and quickly review the next seven days. I estimate what days I’ll be able to write and how many words I’ll get down during each session. Then I add them up. If the number seems low or high, I readjust if the goal isn’t realistic.
Set daily goals. The word count estimates I just made? I write them on the calendar. If I estimated 750 words on Monday, I do whatever it takes to actually write 750 words on Monday!
Use a timer. How many words can you typically write in 30 minutes? An hour? Set the timer. It forces you to GET TO IT. Do this for several writing sessions and you’ll get an idea of how many words you average in a set time. You can plan your week better with this knowledge.
Add a paragraph here and there. I have a smart phone. Typing on the tiny keypad isn’t ideal, but it allows me to work on projects at odd times. I use Google Docs, but you can get Microsoft Word or any app that works for you. I don’t add to my novels this way, but when I’m waiting for an appointment or at one of my kids’ practices, I’ll add to my nonfiction work-in-progress, or start a short story for my newsletter, I’ve even written a guest post for a blog. A few weeks ago, I wrote three paragraphs of a short story while waiting for a pizza!
Keep blank paper or a cheap notebook handy. After my writing session, I write a few notes about what should happen next. If I’m not sure what needs to happen next, I jot down two or three possibilities. This gets me in the groove faster the next time I write. When I get into the groove faster, I write more words. Go figure!
Be aware of where you’re at in the story. If I’m writing a 55,000 word novel, my proposed midpoint needs to happen around 27,000 words in. If I’m at 25,000 words and the midpoint is still several scenes away, I find a way to get the characters there quicker. I do not want to write scenes that will need to be cut. Deleting words is just as painful, if not more, than writing them in the first place.
It’s not the writing pace that counts; it’s the quantity of words I write. I used to write fast. I don’t anymore, but I write my novels in less time than when I wrote fast. How? I’m deliberate about each scene, and I spend more hours writing each day. When I take the time to verify the plot, characters and story arcs on track in the first draft, revisions don’t take as long.
The sneaky ways I add to my word count aren’t all that sneaky, but they work.
Prioritizing, setting goals, using a timer, writing notes for the next session, and being aware of where you’re at in the story will help you finish your book faster. For smaller projects, I really do recommend something portable, like a notebook or an app. The Google Docs app has changed my life. I used to think about all the short pieces I wanted to write, but I never had time to pursue them. By giving myself permission to add a paragraph or two at a time, I’ve finished two short stories, and outlined a future book. Nice!
How do you get your word count in? I’d love to hear your tips!
Leave a comment today for an an opportunity to win a copy of Unexpected Family. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.
His Surprise Daughter
After five years apart, Tom Sheffield is shocked to find his ex-wife, Stephanie, on his doorstep. The news that they share a child he's never met sends him reeling. Four-year-old Macy has his eyes, his mouth and, from their first encounter, his heart. Things with her mother are much more complicated. He doesn't understand what went wrong between them or why she kept their daughter a secret. And he's afraid of falling in love all over again. Yet he feels a glimmer of hope that somehow he can convince Macy and Stephanie to stay in Lake Endwell—and with him—for keeps.
Jill Kemerer writes contemporary romance novels with love, humor and faith. A full time writer, she relies on coffee and chocolate to keep up with her kids’ busy schedules. Besides spoiling her mini-dachshund, Jill adores magazines, M&Ms, fluffy animals and long nature walks. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Jill loves connecting with readers, so please visit her website, jillkemerer.com.
Seekerville has an extra give away for one commenter. A little timer to help you get in your daily word count. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.