Last week I started and completed ch.1. I felt as though as though things were coming along but I wasn’t completely satisfied with my output. I was putting in the hours but I wasn’t happy with the number of words I was producing each day. It varied from a couple of hundred to just under a thousand. I toyed around with the idea of committing to a word target – a lot of writers seem to use 1000 as a goal – but I spent most of the week making excuses. I write slow, as long as I’m putting down something then it’s okay, it is just a first draft…
Yesterday I came across this article, and it really got me thinking. A variety of authors were asked to pen their ten rules for writing fiction, their version of Elmore Leonards top 10.
Most influential on me was Sarah Waters (one of my favourite authors):
3. Treat writing as a job. Be disciplined. Lots of writers get a bit OCD-ish about this. Graham Greene famously wrote 500 words a day. Jean Plaidy managed 5,000 before lunch, then spent the afternoon answering fan mail. My minimum is 1,000 words a day – which is sometimes easy to achieve, and is sometimes, frankly, like sh$@#ng a brick, but I will make myself stay at my desk until I’ve got there, because I know that by doing that I am inching the book forward. Those 1,000 words might well be rubbish – they often are. But then, it is always easier to return to rubbish words at a later date and make them better.
So I have decided to adopt 1,000 as my minimum limit too. I started today and found it helped me push past the initial pfaffing around stage I seem to go through. In fact, I ended up having one of those great days where the writing comes easy and I did about 1,600 words. I am sure I will have plenty of the ‘sh$@#ng a brick’ kind of days – but whatever happens I’m not writing less than 1,000 words.