Aside from making lunch, I realized that my to-do list for the day was complete. That’s both a good and odd feeling, because there are still items on my to-do list. It’s just that I can’t do any of them on a weekend. Stuff like visit the bank or call the State Teachers’ Retirement Board to handle a question about Mom’s paperwork…
So… with nothing immediately pressing to do while my pizza bakes… I figured I’d write up a quick discussion of my writing goals. Long-term. Mid-term. And Short-term.
I’ve mentioned before that I have a wish or dream or [insert desired/appropriate noun here] of having a stockpile of ready-to-publish novels. Start every January with the pre-order for Book 1 of a new series going live with the rest of the series spread out in pre-orders across the rest of the year.
The bottom line is that every book that gets published would actually have been written anywhere from one to three years prior to its publication. But! Unlike traditional publishing, the entire series would go live over the course of a year.
So how do I do that?
Well… by writing a crap-ton of stories each year. More than I’ve written and published so far in my career combined.
This goes hand-in-hand with the other guiding wish/dream/whatever that I have. When I die, I want to have a minimum of one thousand titles (novels or novellas) under my name. I can do it in 30 years if I write 35 stories per year. I could even achieve this by writing 34 stories per year.
And keep in mind… for me… a story is a novel or novella.
Novellas–again for me–will probably follow the “industry” definition: 20,000 – 40,000 words. Novels, on the other hand… well… I can’t see ever writing anything shorter than a 75,000-word novel.
For the same reason I don’t like short stories. I like a big canvas. One of my favorite authors–David Eddings–once said in an interview, “It takes me 100 pages just to clear my throat,” and I totally understand what he meant.
Now, I’m sure you’re sitting there thinking, “Holy shit… that’s a lot of stories. There’s no way he can do that.”
I honestly don’t blame you. Those are some pretty big numbers. But let’s look at the math.
To achieve 1,000 titles in 30 years, I’d have to write a minimum of 33 and one-third stories per year. So for the sake of math and this conversation, let’s round that up to 34 stories per year.
Right, then. A good writing pace for me is 1,500 words per hour if I type. If I write for six hours each day, that’s 9,000 words per day… 63,000 words per week… and 3,287,250 words per year.
Which equates to 34.153 when divided by 96,250 words (my current target word-count for novels).
If I average 1,500 words per hour and write for seven hours each day, that gives me 39.845 stories every year.
And none of this takes into account what those become if I force myself to learn how to dictate my stories…
The average pace an audiobook narrator aims for is 9,200 words per hour.
That changes the numbers quite a bit.
But it’s all well and good to talk about grand goals and ideas and plans, but making them happen is something else entirely.
My personal best writing day is something like five and a half hours, and I want to say that was back in early ’21. Which means that I need to train myself up to writing for six or seven hours each day.
And if I do manage to teach myself dictation, that will bump up my daily words and give me a little bit of a cushion for those days when I’m sick or when I need to go help my friend wire and plumb and outbuilding or what have you.
Which brings us to the title of this post: My 2022 Q4 Challenge.
Starting tomorrow (16 October), there will only be 11 months left in the year. My goal is to write 25,000 words each of those weeks. That’s 3,572 words per day or a minimum of 2.8 hours per day if I average 1,275 words per hour.
I will post daily and weekly updates here.
The best goals and challenges are those that a just a little bit beyond what we’re currently comfortable with. I have always wanted to write each and every day, but it has been something that I have thus far not achieved… for a variety of reasons.
So, I’m starting with an 11-week challenge. And I’ll work my way through 2023 with three 10-week challenges and two 11-week challenges. By the time we reach 2024, I want to be used to writing for six hours each day, and those hours will be a mix of typing and dictation.
Why am I doing this?
It’s simple. Like every writer I’ve ever heard of, I have far, far more story ideas than I’ll ever write. Some of them good. Some of them bad. Some of them awesome, and some of them outright horrid.
I love them all. And I want to write as many of them as I can across my life.
So, why not write as many of them as I can?