Someone emailed me this morning and asked if I really have conversations with my characters. The answer is no. I don’t sit down during the day and talk to them like I’d talk to an actual human being. 😛 So now that I’ve set many minds at ease in regards to my mental sanity, I’ll get on with today’s post.
One of the search terms someone or some people have used to find this blog was a request to learn more about word count goals authors use. So I thought I’d share my tips. A quick background for anyone who doesn’t know… I’m a stay-at-home mom and a mother of four boys ages 5-8. My husband is currently deployed in South Korea. So how do I find time to write?
It all has to do with word count goals. That’s it. I often write in ten to fifteen minute chunks during the day when the kids aren’t in school. If they are in school, I tend to stay up late at night to sit down and write in one or two hour chunks and nap while they are in school. When the weather is nice, I take them to the park and sit down to write on my laptop. This is why laptops are the only computers I use, and it’s why people will see that strange lady sitting in the shade typing on her laptop instead of pushing her kids on the swing. Hey, I figure at their ages, they’re better off playing without mom.
The best times to sit and write are between meals. Usually in the early part of the day, I do stuff like this. I blog, update my website, catch up on emails pertaining to my blogs, and I check out any interesting links that pop up in the writing/publishing/book promotion arena. So mornings are when I do the business side of my life.
After lunch, things wind down, and I’ll try to work on Kate Page’s stuff. I will also catch up on proofreading, covers, tweaking on my books, publishing books, etc. This is still a business time with time dedicated to my pen name. After five, I don’t do anything else with my pen name.
Then there’s dinner. This is the busiest time of the day, which is why I hate it as much as I do. I’m not only making another meal, but I’m putting clean laundry away (I do one to two loads a day), take out trash, chat with husband on Skype, break up fights, clean up the kitchen after dinner, and do dishes.
Then when everyone is settled down, I start in on my stuff as Ruth. Depending on where I am in my writing, the word count goals will vary. For first draft, it’s 1000-2000 words a day. Like right now, I’m doing a marathon writing month over on my first draft blog, so I try for 2000 words a day. My lowest goal is 500 and my highest is 3000. I usually make about 2000 words. I like doing marathon writing months because they get the story finished faster, and I see the progress immediately. I do have the 500 word posts from time to time, but those take longer. I’m starting to veer more toward taking a month or two off of my blog and then going in for a marathon writing month and hitting it hard for a month and a half, which is how long it takes for me to write a book (on average).
That’s not to say I won’t go back to doing 500 words a day. I know I will. I currently do for Kate Page’s blog. But if anything has to be dropped, it’s Kate’s stuff. My main focus is on Ruth, so Ruth’s stuff will get done before Kate’s. For example, Kate will publish two books this year. One is already published, actually. But Ruth is looking at having five books out. Ruth currently has one book published in Feb., another due out in May, another due out in June, one planned for August or September, and another due out in October. These are realistic goals since May and June’s books are already done but getting polished up. I’m writing Bride of Second Chances right now and will be finished in mid-May. Then it will be published in August or Sept. Just Good Friends will be written shortly after that. I’m thinking of starting this as soon as I finish Bride of Second Chances so I can have it done by July. Kate’s next book will be out sometime between July to September. I plan to take a couple months off of Kate’s blog. I’ll probably return to it around NaNo month in November. I know. Not a smart move to make for Kate, but it’s a smart move to make for Ruth. There’s only so much even I can do each day.
No, I do not really think of myself in the third person, so please don’t panic. 😀 I was separating out the books and names I publish them under.
But that is the secret. It’s all about word count goals because when you write in ten to fifteen minute chunks, it doesn’t feel like you’re accomplishing anything. But when you set down a word count goal every day and then take a step back to see how much you can get written and published in a year, it adds up. For people who can’t handle going away from their work and coming back to it, my suggestion is to set aside one to two hours blocks each day (whehter it’s early morning or late at night or having your spouse watch the kids) and dedicating that to nothing else but writing. No surfing the net or browsing through a book on a nearby shelf. I know how easy it is to get distracted. 😀