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Saturday, April 25, 2020

How I Wrote 96,000 words in 19 Days

If you've been following me on Facebook, you've seen that I've been writing quite a bit lately, and a lot of people have asked me what my secret is or how I can write when the world is on fire. Well, with an extended stay-at-home order in place in my state, I really don't have much else to do, so I've decided to look at this situation as a blessing--an opportunity--to maximize my time and be as productive as possible. Now, before I get into the how, let me give you some stats...

So far this year, I've written two and a half full-length novels for a total of  270,506 words. I'm averaging about 6,000 words per day, give or take a couple hundred. Let me be clear that this is not normal for me. Typically, I only write ~150K in an entire year, and that includes blogging!

How am I doing it? 

Settle in. This is going to take a few minutes...  Back in 2014, I started a book that I considered a "me project"--a young adult paranormal romance that combines everything I loved about Twilight and The Vampire Diaries. This book was something just for me that I could work on for fun when I was stuck on other projects. I had never planned to share it, but then I finished it in 2018, so yes, it took me 4 years to write it. I shared it with a couple close writing friends who really enjoyed it. I then decided to start querying, which was a bust. I didn't get an agent, but I did get a lot of positive feedback. This led to me making a decision that I feel kicked off this whole thing...

I created FireChicken Press, which is my own self-publishing company. I love my book, and I know there are readers out there who will love it, too, so I made the firm decision to get it into the world on my own. Of course, in order to do that, I needed to finish writing the series. Originally, it was only supposed to be a trilogy, but then in the midst of writing book 2, I was hit hard with an idea that just fit the story so incredibly well, and I knew I needed to explore it. So, three books became four. Then, I was nearing the end of book four, and a twist popped up that I hadn't planned, and now four books has become five. (I swear, I am stopping at five!)

Looking back now, I can easily see how all of this unfolded, and so here's my secret: Repetition. 

But what does that mean??

I used to be terrible about focusing on a single project. I would start something, then get distracted by a shiny new idea, abandon my current project, start the new one, and the cycle would continue. I rarely finished anything. So, while I may suck at staying focused, I thrive on schedules and deadlines and doing the same thing day after day... REPETITION!

This is what my typical day looks like:

6:00 am -- Wake up, feed the cats, take my Fibro medication

6:30 am -- Sit at my computer, open my playlist, put in my earbuds (very important so I can block out distractions), and then I write for the entirety of my playlist, which is just over an hour long. And I mean I just write. I don't reread anything I'd written previously. I don't go back and edit. I don't go back and search for small details or names; I'll use a placeholder so I can keep going.

7:40 am -- Stop writing! I don't care if I'm in the middle of a sentence, when my playlist stops, so do I. Doing this makes it that much easier to jump back in later. I then get out of my chair, move around, and drink some water.

8:00 am -- Work out. This isn't something I can skip simply because of my Fibro, but the exercise helps so much with my creativity.

9:45 am -- Sit at my computer, open my playlist, put in my earbuds, and write.

10:50 am -- Stop writing. Get up, move around, drink some water.

11:00 am -- Answer Anaiah emails, read submissions, check in with Eden.

12: 00 pm -- Eat lunch, take my Fibro medication, chat with my husband and make sure my kids are still alive.

12:40 pm -- Work on edits for my Anaiah authors.

1:50 pm -- Get up, move around, get some water.

2:00 pm -- Sit at my computer, open my playlist, put in my earbuds, and write.

3:10 pm -- Stop writing. Get up, move around, drink some water.

3:30 pm -- Work on more edits for my Anaiah authors, answer more emails, work on personal promotional stuff... basically anything that needs my attention.

5:00 pm -- Sign off for the day. Make dinner. Spend time with my family.


Do you see the repetition? The pattern? I work in one hour blocks throughout the day, which keeps me focused and on task, and I give myself small breaks so I don't go crazy. When I first started doing this, I averaged about 1200 words in an hour. Then, I began to average 1600 words an hour. Then 1800 words. Now, I'm slightly over 2000 words an hour. Three writing blocks a day = 6,000 words a day, sometimes less; sometimes more.

There are some days when this schedule gets messed up--life still happens--and when it does, I adjust as needed, but I guard my writing time at all costs. The more consistent I am with writing every day, the easier it is. So, there it is---my secret to writing so much so fast. Your mileage may vary :)


6 comments:

  1. I've been waiting for this post and I'm not disappointed. It sounds like you're in a groove right now which took some discipline while finding a process that works for you. A lot of writers listen to music when they work, but I can't if the music has words. Is that weird?

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    1. Hi, Sean! Glad I didn't disappoint you ;) No, that's not weird at all. I actually know quite a few people who can't do that. I can easily tune out the words while I'm writing--after years of practice from tuning out my kids. LOL. (I promise I'm not a bad parent.)

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  2. I’ve also heard this called power blocks. Mine are basically on the weekends- thanks for the information and encouragement. Much needed!

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    1. Hi, Jennifer! You're welcome :) I tend to get a lot more done on the weekends because I don't necessarily work on Anaiah stuff.

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  3. I love that you've found a method that works for you! As soon as I have some free time (whatever that is) I plan to sit down and devour this series.

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    1. Thanks, Karen! I hope you love these books as much as I do ;) I'm planning to start releasing them within the next few months.

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