Some writers write every day. Some do not. Some write only a few hundred words a day. Others crank out thousands upon thousands of words. What about you?
A few years ago when my career as a newspaper editor came to a grinding halt (thank you, oh, precious economy), I looked around for other jobs and applied to many, but like thousands of others out there I could hardly land an interview, let alone a new job.
Eventually I decided to start writing at home. At first it was simply to give me something to do. Then I began to make a little money, which was nice because it helped pay the bills. Still, I never thought I would be able to make it my full-time job.
Now, three years later, writing is paying my bills. I’m not rich, but each month I make little more than I did the month before. Those bills are getting paid, and I’m no longer having to hunt for work.
I got lucky, in many ways, but I also have my own perseverance to be thankful for.
But thinking about my writing, I got to wondering how much I write every day.
I started keeping track a few months back, and I was surprised.
I average about 4,000 words a day.
Now that average is kind of quirky because I don’t have regular working or writing habits. I write most days, but not every day. Some days, like yesterday, I only wrote about 500 words. Today I’ve already written about 3,000 words, and that’s not including this post. And who knows what tomorrow will bring?
I admit to not having good work habits, despite the fact I work every day. It seems a lot of things take up my time other than my writing. It seems I’m always having to run to the store or do a favor for someone or go to a doctor’s appointment or something. Precious few are the days in which all I have to do is write, and even on those days I’ve usually got some graphic design work to do and I have to feed and walk the dog, do small chores around the house, etc.
But still, I think 4,000 words per day is pretty good. I’d like to get to the point where I’m averaging 10,000 words a day. I don’t think that’s impossible, but I do think it could be a while before I get there, if I ever do.
If word counts are something that baffle you, think of it this way: The typical modern novel is about 100,000 words, give or take. I admit I’m throwing out an average off the top of my head, but I think it’s a good one. Some novels are as short as 60,000 words, others are 300,000 words or longer, but 100,000 is a middle ground, one which accomplish the majority of novels out there, in my opinion. If you disagree with me numbers, I have no qualms with that, but I’m not trying to be exact here but to strive for a ballpark figure. Thus I’ll stick with my 100,000 words.
So, at 100,000 words, if I write every day at my average of 4,000 words, I could push out the first draft of a novel in a month. That’s just writing, no editing or backtracking for rewriting or anything. But I think that’s a decent writing habit, even if I often feel like I’m floundering around and never getting anything accomplished.
No matter how much I write, there always seems to be more to do.
What about you? How much do you write every day?