Saturday, 26 May 2018

Time Flies

It’s been too long since my last post. Time flies when you’re having fun, so the saying goes. But I don’t think I’m alone in the belief that time is passing faster and faster and that life is busier and busier.

My current work in progress is developing well if at a pace that is a little more sedate than I would prefer. So when I read a twitter feed about how long it takes to write a category romance book, I was intrigued. A category romance is approximately 50,000 to 55,000 words and you can see the complete thread from author MaiseyYates on Twitter here.

I write a lot! I HAVE written a lot for the past eight years. And here are some of the ways I manage that schedule.
When I sit down to write a book I count out how many days I have to write it. Then I subtract weekends. Birthdays. Days I know I have a hair appointment and will be too busy to actually get words, etc.
Then I take my word count and divide it up by the number of days I have to work on the book. On the calendar, I may have 45 days. But if only 30 of them are writing days, I go with the 30.
Another thing I do is I pad my daily count. If I have to write 1667 words to write 50K in 30 days, then I might make my daily count 1800. This helps me stay ahead for when things happen. When edits hit, when life is just hard, when my book isn’t cooperating.

So that’s 30 days to write the first draft of a book. NaNoWriMo is based on exactly that premise. But that time frame doesn’t begin to take account of planning, plotting, rewrites, revisions, or edits. What happens when life gets in the way, the writing slows or, heaven forbid, the characters start keeping secrets? Deadlines loom and stress levels rise which is a great way to kill creativity.

Some writers will sit down at the keyboard and write until they’ve hit their daily word count.

But what about the pantser? That writer who may have to delete thousands of words when the story goes astray. I class myself as a half breed, part plotter, part pantser. The unwelcome realisation that a story is going astray is swiftly followed by a sinking feeling knowing that delete button will be getting some heavy use.

So what’s the answer?
In my view, pacing. Both in terms of writing and time at the keyboard.

Writing a novel is definitely not a sprint but more like a marathon. A writer needs stamina to finish a book and persistence, talent and a fair degree of luck.

Knowing what I want to say has always been and will only ever be half the battle.

How do you plan your writing?


  1. Hi Sarah, great post! I love your analogy of writing a book being more of a marathon than a sprint - it certainly feels that way sometimes! Hope your current WIP is going well and looking forward to catching up at the conference xx

  2. Hi Melissa. Thanks for stopping by. I'm trying to get organised for the conference. As you know, I'm going off piste in a bit of an experiment at the moment. Interesting, scary and fun. A rollercoaster at my desk! Looking forward to seeing you at the conference. xx