500 Words A Day

wordsThat’s my goal. To keep pace and meet my deadline of late November, I need to write 500 words a day to reach 95,000 words and finish my novel. Have I done that? No. I’ve averaged more like 300 something, but I don’t feel bad about it.

Some days there is just too much going on and I can’t sit long enough. Other days my brain just has trouble carrying out simple tasks and I discover it’s 2PM and I haven’t brushed my teeth and have unintentionally soaked up my daylight hours in a pants-optional environment.

What seems to be most important is that I am comfortable taking some time off but discomforted by taking too much time off. I have taken four or five consecutive days away from the novel when we went on family vacation. I didn’t even think on it much. Other than that I have put some time in every day.

I strongly recommend writing every day. Not only does it keep you in the story but it makes you a better writer.

On days like today I exceed my goal, but there have been times where I removed more words than I created. (I’ll talk about editing in another blog.) Writing every day though is so important. It keeps my head in the story and with the characters, and it takes less time to “get in the zone.”

A friend asked me how long does it take to complete my 500 words. It was a great question but hard to know for sure. Sometimes I write for 10 minute sprints. I don’t have set writing times, which would be ideal. Sometimes I have to research something that takes an hour. Today I had a scene with Native Americans who were speaking in their natural language so I had to go through my reference guide to cobble a sentence.

The scene also needed to consider the cultures and time period when talking about celebrating a child’s birthday. Did the Germans or Indians have birthday parties in 1806? (This is a flashback scene if you’re keeping up with my story taking place in 1812.) My German characters are German Baptists. What did they do for birthdays? I confess I didn’t find a lot of specifics here but I feel what I have is good enough.

Overall, with research and no editing, I reached my goal in 2 and a half hours. Is that too slow? I don’t know, and I don’t think it matters. I made my goal.

Goals, with all things in life, are how we get anywhere or know we’ve accomplished anything. If you’re writing a novel then set your goals: total word count, completion date, and words per day. Then get to it!

How many words per day is your goal? Do you set different goals?

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