Thursday, May 05, 2011

My Novel's Journey: Focus and Word Count

The thing about being an accomplished writer isn't so much about being able to write huge amounts of text, but about being consistent.

My first novel, which will be published in September as Mind Over Mind, was written with a single vow: one sentence before bed each day. Sometimes, I got on a roll and did a few paragraphs, rarely more than a page. However, most of the time, I only got that sentence done--and since I was homeschooling two kids and had a toddler and a baby, it was a sentence done half-asleep at that.

Now, of course, the kids are all in public school, and I have several hours to myself, so I am managing, I'd guess, probably 8,000-10,000 words a day. Trouble is, those words aren't all toward my books. I write blogs, facebook posts, e-mails, and waaaay too much marketing stuff. Before that, I did a lot of posts on Yahoo groups. I also write things for the Catholic Writers' Guild and various websites.

Lately, I've been re-evaluating my writing, and have come to the conclusion that a lot of the writing I'm doing isn't giving me the joy I am working toward. Thus, I need to refocus on what I really want. Which is to write stories.

In order to do that, I'm resetting my goals, and building up. Last week, the goal was 1000 words a day, five days a week, just on the novel. The plan is to work to 3000 a day. To accomplish this, I need to set a few things aside, or to give them their rightful place--break times and after the main writing is done.

What's helping me to do that? I post my writing word accomplishment on Facebook. Yeah, it's kind of a silly "Look at me!" thing, but it helps me feel accountable. Second, I have a new writing buddy. Nancy needed someone to be accountable to as well, so she and I meet on IM in the mornings and keep each other on track. Finally, I simply discipline myself. Some days that means turning off my internet access, less I be tempted.

This week's goal is 1200 words a day, five days a week. I'm certain I can make that, and that by the end of the year, I'll be going strong at 3K a day. If Life doesn't toss a curveball at me.

BTW, one thing I plan to do to minimize my marketing efforts is concentrate on my newsletter. I invite bloggers as well as readers to join in. Each time a book comes out, I'll be sending information that you are welcome to post. Register here.

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