Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Has it Really Been a Month?

Apparently. Since my last post was on September 29th. Time flies.
I am sorry that I have been neglecting all of you, my dear readers. I've really been struggling with my writing lately and I've even broke my own rule of "just write something." Until last weekend (or was it the weekend before...yes, that's it), I hadn't opened my laptop in two months. Ouch.

But for whatever reason, the muse descended and I totally eschewed all of my research on real life historical characters in favor of Rebellion. I wrote twenty pages in two days. And then promptly put away said laptop again. I hate when that happens.
So I've been mulling over the last few days--how many writers set daily goals for themselves? I've never been one to adhere to a strict schedule because I always found that it limited my creativity. When I'm not in the mood to write, the result is pretty terrible. And so I've always been afraid to make myself write. But given that I'm doing one more edit of The Enemy Within (now entitled Rebel Heart) before sending it out to the last twenty five agents on my list (and then potentially shelving it for a time), I'm looking to hold myself to higher standards. I don't want to take another ten years to write my next novel, nor do I want to turn out a poor quality work. The idea that some authors can churn out a whole novel in under three months (and sometimes as little as one month) completely blows my mind. Perhaps "slow and steady wins the race" should be my new goal? Or maybe I'm not setting the bar high enough?

So I want to know: do you hold yourself to a daily goal and if so, do you find that your writing suffers as a result? Do you decide to just make substantive revisions at a later date to compensate? What's your goal and do you find it easy to achieve?


  1. Ok, I make some daily goals, but not according to word count, and not every day. Today my goal was to work on chapter one. Some days the words flow so well, while other days not so much.

    With that said, I plan on trying NaNo this year, so I may in fact make daily word count goals, which I'm not at all used to. I guess we'll see how that goes.

  2. I tend to write similarly to you (or what it sounds like from reading this post) where I really only write when I feel like it.

    BUT, last year I promised my writing group I'd have the completed version of my story written and handed to them by a certain date... which meant I had 10 days to write 35,000 words.

    ...and I did it.

    Sure, some of the characters kinda... disappeared and the ending was fast and crappy, but I proved to myself that I can write under pressure, even when I normally only write when I *know* what happens next.

    I think having that confidence has really made a difference in my writing where normally I would close the file and move on, I can now push myself to write that extra 500 words (or whatever).

    You never know what you can do until you give yourself a deadline you can NOT miss ;)

    NaNo is a great way to try that out ;)

  3. Great post! I do make it a point to write something every day, even if it's just a few sentences or a plot note. For me, it's because I'm not at all confident in my ability to query successfully, and if I abandon my story for even one day, I'm afraid I'll abandon it altogether.

    Sounds like you've found what works for you. Good luck!

  4. I've never kept to a strict writing schedule, preferring for it to come when it comes, though I always try and keep the momentum up. If I leave a scene for too long, I have heaps of trouble finishing it. However, my final high school exams are finished in less than a week, followed by about 4 months holiday, in which I hope to get my first draft completed. As I haven't been getting a lot of writing done between all the study, I can see myself having a bit of a schedule over the next months so i can get all the ideas in my head down on paper

  5. I can't set goals for myself, with anything. This is probably why I am supposed to be working on a paper that is due in an hour and half.
    With my wip I can always tell when I make myself write. It sounds forced and unnatural in comparison to what I wrote when I was "in the mood". When I set goals for myself I keep thinking about all the time I have until the deadline is there and I have nothing done, which is when I begin to panic. I do a lot better without goals, which isn't to say my writing isn't important, I just like to have the freedom to write what I want when I want.

  6. My goal is an hour a day. I haven't been hitting it lately I sometimes end up with seven or more hours a week but that's not the same. When you write every day, you get in a habit and end up with more written. That's my theory anyway.

  7. I have a hard time with daily goals. Mostly--I work full time, and do a ton of other volunteer work and stuff. So sometimes a daily goal is realistic and sometimes it would only add stress. I try to stay flexible but hold myself accountable. Weekly goals/expectations work better--that, for instance, I will have two short and one long writing session this week or whatnot.

  8. Your story, REBEL HEARTS, was 98k while mine was only 75k. I think it would have taken me more than the 3 months if THE TORY’S DAUGHTER was as long as your work. Also, I typically write 1,000 words a day, sometimes even more.

    It took me three months to write the first draft of my story, but I know it’ll take at least a year before I’m ready to query. I am also contemplating about adding more scenes and taking stuff out. I know I will need to find some more beta readers which will take awhile, and will need to reread it at least two more times.

    What blows my mind is the people who do the NaNo and write their novel within a month. To me, that’s crazy.

  9. Meant to add:

    I try to write something everyday. Whether it's the query, edits, or working on my latest draft. I recently posted on my own blog about getting "back in the saddle". I've been having difficulty starting my new story, but hopefully *fingers crossed* I may be ready to ride again. :)