Welcome! It’s been a looooong time since I wrote a craft post but this is important in my writing life, so I thought I’d share some simple numbers that will boggle the mind–or maybe that ‘s just me– and make you say, “Pshh-I can do that!” even when you’ve just spent the day staring at the blank page and telling yourself you can’t do it, not again. I’m not going to tell you how to write a best seller, or a seller at any level. I’m not going to reveal some big, hidden secret to writing the book you want to write. I’m not going to offer a brilliant formula to finishing your book.
Heck, I’m not even going to tell you anything about writing, in actuality.
Now you’re asking what I am going to tell you. Well, here it is.
When you sit down at that blank page I know all the fears and doubts that begin to circle over and through you. Believe me, I KNOW. In fact, that’s sort of what made me decide to write this post. I’ve been struggling for five years to finish a new book and I’m still struggling. Why? Excuses. Life. Stress. Doubt. Frustration. Procrastination. Take your pick.
Words just haven’t been coming to me. It’s depressing at times, but it’s also overwhelming; the thought of writing 50-100K word ms and make them make sense. At times I ask why I ever wanted to become a writer. Other times I ask myself what makes me think I am a writer.
Then something like today happens and it all suddenly makes sense again, my world is right side up once more.
Today I was catching up on email (yes, instead of writing) and came across an interesting article from one of the many craft blogs I follow. The post asked, How long should a book be? We’ve all been told what is not enough words or is too many words at some point in our career. Length is loosely explained in this interesting article by BLAKE ATWOOD.
Ok, yes, we already know how to break words down per day. I have multiple worksheets for plotting word count. But for some reason, probably having something to do with my inability to finish a manuscript, his words struck me as an AhHa moment. So I did some calculating myself and as I write this I’m wondering why I haven’t been able to write several mss in the last five years.
First off, for you math whiz kids, I know this may not be by exact numbers, but for my purpose it’s close enough to make my point, and I’m nopt a math whiz. I’m not even a math crawl. I avoid numbers whenever possible. 🙂
Anyhoo– Without knowing exact numbers Blake uses, my total word count is divided by 255 days per year– subtracting 52 weekends from 365 days– and gives a reachable word count per 8 hour work day. NaNoWriMo uses a similar break down, that I have used in the past and it worked for me. I know this, yet some days even that small per day number seems daunting to me. But really…
That breaks down even further to a much less formidable number, regardless of your ending word count goal. I know you’re aware of that, but sometimes it helps to see, rather than hear something. I am sure the visualization will help anyone manage to finish a ms, no matter how long it is.
Let’s have some fun, since you’re here with me procrastinating, instead of hammering out that incredibly mind boggling daily wc. 😆 Yeah, I know why you’re really here so, while you are let’s begin.
50K in 255- 8 hour days (some are rounded to the nearest approx. whole number, so you might get a slightly different number than I do). That’s just 196 words per day, only 24.5 words per hour, 12.25 per 30 minutes, or a measly 6.125 words per quarter hour.
Now, I don’t type as fast as others, and some type four or more times that number per MINUTE (yep, that thought just made my head spin). Some of us can manage 500 words per hour, some struggle to get that number, but even I can manage 24 words in 60 minutes! That a mere .4 words per minute!
60K= 235 pd, 29 phr, 14.5 p 1/2 hr, 7 words pqtr hr
70K= 274.5 pd, 34 phr, 17 p1/2 hr, 8.5 pqtr hr
80K= 324 pd, 39.25 phr, 20 p1/2 hr, 10 pqtr hr
90K= 535 pd, 44 phr, 22 p1/2 hr, 11 pqtr hr
100K= 392 pd, 49 phr, 24.5 p1/2 hr, 12.25 pqtr hr
So who’s with me? Can we write 7, 8, 10, 11 or 12 words–in the next fifteen minutes? What? Seriously? All we have to do is BICHOK: Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard, and count that word count down.
Well, there you have it. Ramblings on ways to trick my muse into cooperating long enough to finish a ms. Thanks for tagging along and I sincerely hope this will help someone even a tidbit. If not, I hope you get a giggle at least. 😉