The first year I tried NaNoWriMo, I wrote about 700 words and then stopped completely. (I still count that as a year that I tried though—I'm masochistic like that!) But I think one of the reasons that year failed so spectacularly was that I had no idea how many words per day 50,000 words worked out to be. I could've picked up a calculator, but the thought to do so just didn't occur to me.
The following year, I'd bought Chris Baty's No Plot? No Problem! which had a handy-dandy little chart breaking down each day's writing requirement: day 1, 1667, day 2, 3334, day 3, 5001, and so on and so on. (This was in the days before all the fancy metrics on the NaNoWriMo site itself).
And I finished.
Turns out, having the daily goal right there was part of the key.
Many authors swear by writing a set number of words each day. In On Writing, Stephen King recommends 1,000 words. Nora Roberts is said to sit at her desk and write 9-5, 50 weeks a year just like any other working stiff. One of the first novel writing books I ever read, How to Write & Sell Your First Novel recommended 750 words per day.
But whatever the quota is, there seems to be little doubt that the quota helps. Gives you something to keep track of, and keeps you moving forward as you see yourself inching toward you goal.
Right now, I'm using 750words.com to help me reach my 750-words a day quota. Do you have a daily (or weekly) writing quota? How do you track it? Do you find it helpful?
This month I'm participating in the A-Z blog challenge. My theme is "writer hacks," or 26 shortcuts you can do as a writer to get the most out of writing and the journey toward and through publication. Find out more about it at a-to-zchallenge.com, and hop around to read the other cool blogs that are part of the challenge!
Jessica S. Schley was once a pusher of very important papers for a small commercial nonfiction house. Nowadays, she divides her time between bookselling, being a grad student, and writing contemporary fiction for young adults.
- Get to Know You
- Wrangle Story Research With Zotero
- Use X-Ray to Improve Your Structure
- Take Word to the Max
- Edit Better by Switching Views
- Get Started Easily with Unfinished Work
- Mind the Time
- Using Scrivener to Straighten Out Your Novel
- Format Pretty and Share Like Crazy with Rich Text ...
- Give Yourself a Quota
- Make Creative Playlists -- Post 100!
- Use OmmWriter to Write Your Zen
- Make Writing a Sport with NaNoWriMo
- Foster Pavlovian Creativity with Music
- Let Your Library Work For You
- Speed Up Your Keyboard
- Tsjuz Your Blog With Jump Breaks
- Instant Inspiration with iTunes
- Cancel Noise With Headphones
- Shelve for Your Purposes on Goodreads
- Get "Freedom" From Distraction
- Capture Ideas with Evernote
- Make Your Desk Environment Work
- Use Children's Nonfiction for Research
- 7 Things a Writer Should Do at The Bookstore
- Use Amazon to Find Great Comp Titles
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