Sunday, January 1, 2012

Can you write one page a day?

Ah, the New Year. The time when we make our annual resolutions to lose weight, be better people, to finish writing our novels. Depending on our individual willpower and strength of character, those resolutions might last a week or a month, or maybe they will stick.

There are two ways to combat this annual frustration. Of course, we can declare that "I'm as good as I'll get, take me or leave me. I've reached my pinnacle. If it's my destiny to write a novel, an angel will visit me one night and fill my head with inspiration."

The other approach is to be realistic but persistent. We can walk a little more, eat a little less, perform an extra kindness now and again until we see it doesn't have to be hard. Pick the manageable and the doable, and both your confidence and success will grow.

Which brings me back to writing. If you can write several pages a day and the words just pour out, that's wonderful. But maybe you don't have a lot of time, and writing is a luxury you have to squeeze in when and if you can. Or maybe, like me, you are a slow writer. (To be clear, I mean a person who writes slowly, not a slow person who writes.) That's perfectly okay. Can you write one page a day on most days? If so, that means you can finish a draft of a complete novel in a year. In my case, I'm working on a mystery with a target of 70,000 words--50,000 done, 20,000 to go, and the project is momentarily stalled. But let's take out a calculator and do the math: 20,000 words divided by 365 days equals 55 words a day. Holy microchips! Who can't write more than that?

There've been times when my heart or head wasn't in my writing, and when I sat down to write, only a sentence or a paragraph came out. But ninety percent of the time, I'll plunk my butt in the chair and write my page or two. The lessons are to set achievable writing goals and then sit down at the keyboard.

To see what I've managed to finish, please visit


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Yes, that is the way to really get a book written--I have to do a little more, though some days it may be less--since I'm now writing two series a year. Whew!


Anonymous said...

Very wise post. I'm taking your advice. 500 words a day is my goal.

Morgan Mandel said...

Good practice, but I'm afraid I can't follow it. For now, example, I'm doing a Blog Book Tour, also have some books to put on CreateSpace. When I write, I like to stay very focused on what I'm writing. Maybe because I'm older, maybe because of technology, my mind flits around a lot. I have to really apply myself and actually think when I write.

Morgan Mandel

Bob Sanchez said...

You're right, Morgan. My point isn't that you necessarily should do it the way I suggested, but that there's more than one way to get a novel written. Find what works for you, and do it.

Mark Troy said...

I page a day is good advice. It reminds me of the method of a friend of mine. She set a goal of writing 5 minutes a day. No matter how full her day, even if she was dead tired, she squeezed in five minutes before bed time. What happened, though, was that those five minutes often stretched into 10, 15 or 30.

Helen Ginger said...

Quite inspirational Bob. It's Day 2 of 2012 and I haven't written a word on my manuscript. If I skip dinner and write, I kill two birds with one pen.