ACWC Writers Blog

Stay on Track with a Writing Schedule - Assignment 3
1/13/2019 7:35:00 PM by: Larry Leech

By Larry J. Leech II

Can you imagine undertaking a major home renovation without a schedule or plan? Probably not. So why then do writers often work on a project without a writing schedule? No wonder many need a mad dash to finish. Or, worse, don’t finish.

Here’s an illustration I use to help a writer set up their schedule:

I start with, “Let’s say you want to write a 60,000-word book and need six months to write. That would come out to 10,000 words a month.”

Every time, the person will nod at this point.

Then I ask, “How many weeks in a month?”

“Four.”

“How many words a week is that?”

Some fire back with an answer right away. Others scrunch their mouth and look toward the heavens. No matter the look or how quick the answer comes, the answer is always the same: 2,500. The nod gets a little bigger.

Then I ask my next-to-last question: “With five writings day in a week, how many words a day is that?” Before the person can answer, I strongly encourage them to not write more than five days a week. I remind them that most professional writers do not write seven days a week. Then I ask again: “With five writing days, how many words a day is that?”

“Five hundred.”

And the light goes on. The smile widens. The nod goes almost to the chin.

Now, to them, the 60,000-word manuscript has become much more manageable. Moreso than trying to write seven hours every Saturday. Most new writers don’t have the discipline to write for seven hours straight.

By establishing and keeping to a schedule, you will gain momentum because the project will never be far from your mind. At first, writing 500 words may take 60-90 minutes. That’s okay. About the third week, you will see a decrease in the time. At the six-week mark, you will need less time to write 500 words.

In this scenario, when do you edit? I’m a firm believer of writing first and editing later. Others write a little bit, edit that, write more, edit that, and so on and so on. You have to find what works best for you. However, in my experience, new writers will edit and edit and edit to the point that they do not move forward on the project. That is one reason I suggest finish the project before tackling the beast of editing. If you want tips on editing, check out Anna Floit’s workshop on self-editing.

An important aspect of a writing schedule is incorporating celebrations. When you hit pre-determined marks—first-week goal, one-month goal, etc.—celebrate! Yes, treat yourself to something. Could be a hot beverage at a local coffee shop. Could be dinner out with the family. Whatever it is—celebrate.

This writing stuff is not an easy gig. Enjoy the journey by sticking to your schedule and celebrating along the way.

 

Your assignment: The illustration above will work for any word count and length of time. This week, determine the number of words for your project (you may already know) and how much time you need to write it. Use the illustration above to figure how many words you need to write each day. Be realistic. More than 750 a day for a new writer might be tough. And don’t forget to celebrate when you hit your marks!


Comments

Patricia From Bondurant At 1/14/2019 11:52:47 PM

How brilliant? Math. Simple numbers and a plan emerges beneath the piles of papers! Very timely. Thanks.

Previous Posts

It's Not What You Know; It's Who You Know - Assignment 4
1/20/2019 5:44:00 PM  by: Bob Hostetler

Stay on Track with a Writing Schedule - Assignment 3
1/13/2019 7:35:00 PM  by: Larry Leech

Assignment 2 - Finding Speaker Topics
1/5/2019 7:38:00 PM  by: Beth Fortune

IMAGERY–WHEN THIS IS LIKE THAT
12/30/2018 9:00:00 PM  by: By Ann Tatlock

Asheville Christian Writers Conference Privacy Policy
6/4/2018 8:00:00 PM  by: Cindy Sproles

2018 Writers Charge
2/18/2018 10:20:00 PM  by: Cindy

Last Chance - Assignment 7
2/11/2018 7:00:00 PM  by: Cindy Sproles

An Adjective Safari - Assignment 6
2/4/2018 7:30:00 PM  by: Denise Loock

Get in the Mood to Write - Assignment 5
1/28/2018 7:10:00 PM  by: Larry J. Leech II

Getting Rid of “I” Disease - Assignment 3
1/14/2018 9:37:00 PM  by: Andrea Merrell

Curb Your Adverb Addiction - Assignment 2
1/7/2018 7:30:00 PM  by: Denise Loock

Appropriate Emails - [email protected] - Assignment 1
1/1/2018 7:47:00 PM  by: Cindy Sproles

WHO ARE YOU? - Writing Your Bio
11/17/2017 7:30:00 AM  by: Cindy Sproles

WRITING IN A PICKLE
11/13/2017 9:45:00 AM  by: Cindy Sproles

THE NaNoWriMo CHALLENGE
11/10/2017 11:30:00 AM  by: Cindy Sproles

BRINGING YOUR CHARACTERS TO LIFE
2/12/2017 3:35:00 PM  by: By Andrea Merrell

DON’T LET SPEAKER BEATS RUIN YOUR MANUSCRIPT
2/5/2017 3:43:00 PM  by: By Andrea Merrell

HOW TO CRAFT GREAT DIALOGUE
1/30/2017 3:49:00 PM  by: By Andrea Merrell

AVOID REPETITION AND WRITE TIGHT
1/20/2017 3:55:00 PM  by: By Andrea Merrell

THE QUOTATION QUOTA – ASSIGNMENT 2
1/13/2017 3:38:00 PM  by: By Andrea Merrell

ELIMINATE THE EXCLAMATION POINTS – ASSIGNMENT 1
1/7/2017 3:43:00 PM  by: By Andrea Merrell

WRITING ADVICE FROM MARK TWAIN: WRITE WITHOUT PAY UNTIL SOMEBODY OFFERS TO PAY
12/22/2016 3:48:00 PM  by: By Sandra Merville Hart

WHEN THE STORY STALLS IN THE MIDDLE
12/20/2016 3:51:00 PM  by: by Sandra Merville Hart

WHO REALLY SELLS YOUR BOOKS ?
9/20/2016 3:53:00 PM  by: by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR 15-MINUTE APPOINTMENTS
9/16/2016 3:56:00 PM  by: by Cindy Sproles

ARRRGH! ANOTHER REJECTION – CINDY SPROLES
9/12/2016 3:59:00 PM  by: by Cindy Sproles

FROZEN IN PLACE – ICEY SELF-TALK TO FREEZE YOUR WRITING
9/8/2016 3:15:00 PM  by: By Cindy Sproles

THE BIO – THE FRAGRANCE OF WHO YOU ARE
9/3/2016 3:21:00 PM  by: by Cindy Sproles

THE PAIN OF UNSOLICITED
8/29/2016 3:24:00 PM  by: by Cindy Sproles

REDUNDANCY: AN EXCESSIVE, OPPRESSIVE, PERVASIVE DISEASE
8/26/2016 3:31:00 PM  by: By Denise Loock

7 THINGS TO DO NOW TO BE READY WHEN WRITING INSPIRATION STRIKES – EDIE MELSON
8/23/2016 3:33:00 PM  by: by Edie Melson

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR 15-MINUTE CONFERENCE APPOINTMENTS
8/20/2016 3:36:00 PM  by: by Cindy Sproles

WHY SHOULD I ATTEND THE ASHEVILLE CHRISTIAN WRITERS’ CONFERENCE?
8/17/2016 3:47:00 PM  by: by Cindy Sproles

YOU NEED A PLATFORM – LIVING A STORY- ASSIGNMENT 3
1/20/2016 3:49:00 PM  by: By La-tan Murphy

THE ONE SHEET
1/8/2016 3:51:00 PM  by: by Cindy Sproles

OVER-EDIT?
11/4/2015 3:54:00 PM  by: By Steven James