Following Jeff Ambrose’s post on his word count goals, I’ve been looking at what I’m keen to achieve in 2012. Similar to Jeff, I can write around 1000 words an hour, though with a full-time job, and a part-time job (which I may or may not have again 2012), I’m pretty committed time-wise. Add in family time and so on I figure I can manage to write like this:
1000 words a day. Some days it will be 2000, some days – as when I get to take a retreat – it might be 8000), but say an average of 1000 words a day. That’s finished, polished, ready to publish words. I’ve been thinking about some of the things Dean Wesley Smith has to say about too much rewriting and revising, and realize that many of my stories are strongest in their first-draft version and that too much polishing might strengthen the writing, but weaken the story. I’m going with story and will trust my writing to be coherent. I will still have readers, do proof-reading and spell-checking. This does contradict what I said in an interview with Shells Walter, but I guess I’m coming from a new place now.
365 days in the year. Tutoring takes four blocks of three weeks. I write a little bit during these periods, but not enough to count on. So that leaves 280 writing days.
280,000 words then. Okay, I’m going to make that 300,000 – a bit more of an even number to shoot for. For twenty days I’m going to have to write 2000, rather than 1000 words. In some ways it sounds kind of low – 1000 words is easy, but I liked the thoughtful way that Jeff was very practical about his goals, figuring in a little bit of life as well.
300,000 words. How will I spend that?
If I write two novels at 75,000 words, that’s 150,000. A couple of short novels at 25,000 words – novellas, I guess – so that’s another 50,000. Say five long stories at 10,000 and ten short stories at 5,000. That’s 300,000. Some of the stories will be shorter, some perhaps longer. Maybe one of the full novels will be 60,000 words. I’ll keep at that target of 300,000, adding in some stories as I go.
I know some of the stories I want to write. Three for short story contests in New Zealand (actually all have word limits around 3,000 so there is a little space for more stories). Four stories for international competitions. Stories to sent to the pro mags, and some to put up with Triple V Publishing.
I have ideas for the novels, enough to write an outline and get underway. Once I have a start point, and an end in mind I’ll just go.
I guess I should do monthly progress reports too.
Anyway, thanks Jeff and Dean, for helping to point the way.