Thursday, April 26, 2012


A month ago I posted my Put Up or Shut Up blog entry. In it I basically said that I need to get writing, or shut up about being a writer.

Good news: I'm writing. Not only that, but I'm blowing away my minimum daily word count.

Here's something I'm using to keep myself motivated...

My trusty spreadsheet:

Every night I start writing between 8:30  and 9 PM. It is the one part of my day when I have no distractions. For the next two hours I write as much as I can. Child of the Knight is thoroughly outlined and I spend at least some time during the day mentally preparing myself for the scenes I want to write.

I write between 500 and 1,000 words per hour. It really depends on how thoroughly I have imagined the scenes ahead of time. 500 words per hour means that I am spending a lot of time working through a scene as I am writing it. It could also mean that I am tired. Around 10:15 to 10:30 productivity really slows down. On several occasions I have nodded off while writing a scene. And, no, it's not because it was a slow scene! It could happen with an arrow mid-flight.

I love the times when I hit 1000 words an hour. The thoughts fly right through my fingers and onto the screen. This most often happens during dramatic scenes (action or other). Tonight the words are going to fly. I am about to write a scene I've been anticipating for a long time. I can't wait!

The spreadsheet does some pretty easy calculations and wasn't hard to set up. All I have to do is enter my starting and ending word counts and it does the rest. Average is the average number of words I write a day, whether I write or not. You can see what a day of not writing does to my average. I hate zeros! Days until finished takes the total predicted length of the novel (100,000 words), subtracts the amount already written, and divides by my average words per day. The completion date simply adds the "days until finished" to today's date. I'd love to get it down to June 15th, but that's going to take some big writing days.

The big "guess" in the whole chart is that the book will come out to 100,000 words. Eternal Knight was 115,000 but I am predicting this one will be shorter. My one concern is that my story won't support a 100,000 word length. I am really hoping not to find myself short and digging to find more length. Too early to tell (but not to early to worry about).

And just because spreadsheets aren't fun enough... I turned the data into a graph!

And because someone asked, I'll mention the two August days. They were simply an abortive attempt to get myself going. My daughter and I were at the shore, and with her asleep and no distractions (tv or internet), I made a go at starting Child of the Knight. It didn't "stick". It doesn't mean I've done nothing since then. There's been a lot of outlining and plotting, but no writing.

Things are different now. I'm ON A ROLL!


  1. That is one fantastic spreadsheet. Glad you're writing again!

  2. I know some people hate word counts at goals. But I love them. It really keeps me motivated.

  3. A bit off topic but did you ever make that card game you talked about years ago when i was in your class? Just curious, I just recently discovered your twitter account and your book while randomly looking at Google+. Congratulations might be a bit late.