Good Morning. There are some people who say we must write every day. There are others who say write when the spirit strikes. Then there are those of us who write when we can.
Unless you're a million dollar author who employs outside help, or have no children, no friends, no life other than the one you imagine, writers have time limits on what they can and cannot do. Writing full time is a luxury. It will also kill you if you're not careful.
Numerous studies have shown that sitting in a chair staring at a computer screen for several hours a day, leads to eye strain, plantar fasciitis, obesity, poor blood circulation, shoulder and neck pain, and other various ailments. It has been suggested that we get up from our arses at least once an hour for at least ten minutes to improve the circulatory system.
I have maintained I'm a full-time writer. However, that's my job description for my IRS filing. I can't write 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. I have a child, I have laundry, I have housework, I have a life. So, I need to be able to fit writing in AROUND those other things. And sometimes writing has to take a back seat to life. Other times it's just the opposite.
Since August 16, 2013, I have been writing my latest Regency. I finished it on February 14, 2014. That's 6 months. I bemoaned the writing process throughout because in my head I thought it should have been finished sooner. I wrote every day, I edited as I went, (because that's the way I write), I ignored Thanksgiving, Christmas, school vacation to write. I gave up on all good things to write. I pushed and pushed and pushed through to finish this story.
And you know what...giving up my LIFE, didn't help my word count. I still got stuck in places, I got blocked, I had research to figure out before I could finish. There's only so much writing one can do in a 24 hour period.
I decided to do an experiment. I kept track of my word count for the latter half of this book. The results were enlightening. I'm not a full-time writer as I so proudly claim. I'm a spastic-write-when-I-can-get-as-much-in-as-time-will-allow kind of writer. However, what I took away from this exercise is that the book still got written. I'm a little disappointed that it took so long (because I thought it should have only taken me 3 months), but it's done and I'm satisfied with the end result.
I'm going to share those counts with you so you can see that you don't have to feel guilty about finding time to fit in your writing.
Here is just a sampling of my word counts for my latest book. (Because if I shared it all with you we could be here until next year.)
53,186 begin Sun 7:30 am
55,478 end 10:43 am Note I took breaks
55,734 end 11:22 am throughout the day
57,294 end 6:06 pm all day = 4000 words
57,375 begin Mon 10:10 Note the decreased word count
57,025 end 2:00 I obviously cut 300 words
57,382 begin 4:00 pm I rewrote those cut words
57,550 end 7:45 pm 3 hours = 200 words
57,550 begin Tues 10:12 am 1.25 hours = 500 words
58,010 end 11:48
58,017 begin Tues 2:00 pm 3.75 hours = 600 words
58,647 end Tues 5:45 pm
58,662 begin Weds 9:36 am
59,135 end 11:20 am 2 hours = 500 words
59,350 end 4:04 pm
59,350 begin 5:58 pm 2 hours = 200 words
59,574 end 7:58 pm
59,574 begin Thurs 5:35 pm 3 hours = 1,570 words
61,147 end 8:14 pm
61,147 begin Fri 12:00 pm
61,727 end Fri 1:49 pm 1.5 hours = 580 words
61,727 begin Fri 5:03 pm
62,667 end Fri 8:15 pm
62,753 end Fri 9:17 pm 4 hours = 1,025 words
62,753 begin Sat 9:00 am 5 hours = 1,016 words
63,769 end Sat 2:07 pm
64,636 end Sun 6:11 pm on and off all day
66,462 begin Mon 10:00 am
66,604 end Mon 1:17 pm 3 hours = 200 words
66,604 begin Mon 4:00 pm
66,863 end Mon 5:38 pm 1.5 hours = 260 words
Without bogging this post down with numbers, let's just notice how many time slots are filled with thousands of words in a sitting, and others I could barely make 200. Some two hour slots are better than others. Some all day slots barely moved the word count. Some after supper words counts were mind blowing, others I barely hit 200.
And as I said, I edit as I go (read what I previously wrote and edit before I begin another writing session.) This makes it easier for me when the book is finished. I'm not a proponent of just banging it out and fixing it at the end. NaNo writing doesn't work for me.
For the most part, what this post boils down to is, you don't have to chain yourself to a computer all day. During the school day I fit it in as I can. After school, after supper. I'm sure you have your sweet spots as well.
Tell me -- Do you keep track of your word counts? Do you have a set time to write? Do you have a sweet spot (time frame) when you blow your word counts out of the water? Do word counts really matter as long as the book finally reads THE END?
Anne Gallagher (c) 2014
PS I just found out that a good Blogger friend Roland Yeomans was operated on for cancer on Feb.19. If you pray, could you say a prayer that he recovers quickly. Roland is an amazing writer, blogger, friend. His posts are fantastic and if you don't know him, you should.