Friday, January 27, 2012

Discipline


I read an article in which a woman claimed that she writes 1,000 words every morning before getting her children ready for school. After that, she might write another 2,500 on some days, nothing on others, but each day she knew that she had 1,000 words under her belt.

I did a quick calculation. My children's books are usually about 15,000 words long. At that rate, I could complete writing two books each month (except February). What am I doing with my life?

I am not sure if this woman is typical of successful writers or not, but the article really brought home a single thought. You need talent to be a great writer, but it takes discipline to become a successful writer.

What are your targets for your writing? Are you meeting them?

9 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I think it's pretty 'easy' to do a thousand words a day, or more. The hard part is doing a thousand 'good' words. A lot of what I see that is 'fast' writing just isn't worth reading. Discipline is certainly a start. If you get set into a routine, as this woman does, I think it makes it easier to start writing good words.

Stephen Tremp said...

Writing books is easier and faster each time around. I think I can do two novels a year. Just have to sacrifice sleep to get it done.

William Doonan said...

I try to work several different projects at once. Each week, 3,000 words on one, 1,000 words on the other, and one new short story every month. We'll see how the year goes.

William Doonan
www.themummiesofblogspace9.com

Vanessa Morgan said...

Writing a first draft is always easy and quick. Rewriting is the most difficult part, because it's so damn hard to be perfect :)

Jess said...

I ask myself the same question: what am I doing with my life?! Well... I'm teaching, critiquing, mentoring, judging contests, trying to write on my own stuff, reviewing, participating in blog tours. Sheesh! I just figured out that I can't focus on more than one or two things at a time. :)

I agree with whoever said rewriting is the hard part. Unfortunately, alot of fast writers fail to do that.

Lynn Emery said...

My daily goal is 5 pages a day. I'm not as compulsive about it as I used to be. I mean, there was a time that I felt guilty and incomplete if I didn't finish those pages. Not to mention I can get very impatient with anything that stands in the way of writing when I'm in that driven mode. But mostly I stick pretty close to that daily target.

Liane Spicer said...

There's a long answer, and there's a short one. I'll take the succinct route...

No. I'm not yet meeting them. I've got way too many balls in the air right now and the writing is one that gets dropped when it comes to the crunch. The balancing act is a work in progress for me.

Carol Mitchell said...

I am also having difficulty balancing my many daily commitments. I seem to leave writing for last.

William, I am interested in knowing how you manage several writing projects simultaneously.

KeVin K. said...

I also multitask writing projects. I can NOT write two things at once. But I can balance my time and energy if the projects are at different points in the process.

For example: I'm currently writing a military science fiction novella for an online market. The plot is laid out, the characters are 3D, and everything from equipment on up is clear in my mind. At 2000 words a day it will be finished by this time next week. I am also working on a romantic suspense novel that takes place in Miami, Marseilles, and a fictitious African nation on the Bight of Benin. At this point the plot is roughly storyboarded (I use index cards and graph paper to organize narrative flow); I'm researching the conflict diamonds trade; gathering information on and images of my real world locations; and working out the geography, culture(s), economics, and politics of my fictive African nation where the bulk of the action takes place. (By the way, expect some emails from me soon.) And I'm reading mystery fiction published by a market I'm aiming to break into.

Weekends are free form and family-centered, but I try to maintain a routine during the week. On the ideal weekday, I take my wife to work, get my 2k words written at Port City Java, spend an hour at Planet Fitness trying to approximate muscle tone, have lunch, and go to the University library for research. Then I shop for dinner, pick up Valerie, cook dinner, and read while my wife watches TV. These ideal days happen once a month or so. Most days I skip either the research or the reading to handle errands and chores.
But my 2k good words happens every day.