15 October 2022 – the Q4 Challenge

by | Oct 15, 2022 | 2022 Writing Challenge, Writing | 4 comments

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.

Uh oh…

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?


  1. Tracy Crabtree

    May good fortune be your personal aid in this task/wish. I look forward to reading many of them as age and purse allow!

    • Rob

      Hi, Tracy,

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, and thank you for your well wishes.

      Regarding your purse, it is my goal that no one will never pay more than $4.99 USD for one of my stories… unless the purchaser prefers print, audio, or the omnibus editions I’ll be eventually releasing (what used to be boxsets in the mass market paperback era).

      To my mind, eBooks are the modern mass market paperback that I loved in my childhood. I still remember saving my allowance until I had $60 or $70 and spending it all on mass market paperbacks in WaldenBooks. At the time, I didn’t understand what ‘mass market paperback’ meant; I just thought they were books. And this was before the internet (yes… I am that old 😜).

      I myself refuse to pay over $9.99 for an eBook unless it’s someone I really, really want to read. I will pay more than that for The Choice, which will be Nora Roberts’s latest story. It’s the final installment in the trilogy started with The Becoming, and she tells a damn-good story. I know she’s known as a Romance writer, but this trilogy–along with several others of hers–strike me more as Fantasy with Romance elements.

      But I digress…

      Thanks again for your well wishes, and I hope the days treat you and yours well.


  2. Mark Robeson

    You really tugged on the heart strings with mentioning David Eddings, I grew up reading the first Belgariad book as a sophomore, then the rest of his books. Waldenbooks… I spent many hours and dollars in Waldenbooks, B. Dalton, Borders Books and Crown Books.

    I wouldn’t mind paying a little bit more, $6.99 or so for your books when they’re new then see you drop the price after a few months, I WANT to support you, not necessarily make you a millionaire but to keep you comfortable and writing full time so you put out more books. So if a couple dollars more for a new book is needed then so be it.


    • Rob

      Hi, Mark,

      I resisted switching to eBooks for a long time. What finally tipped me over the edge was wanting to re-read a series but I could only find two or three books out of five or six. Can’t remember now the precise details, but with eBooks, I don’t have that problem.

      A couple years ago, a data analyst (and shade-tree economist) did a price analysis for eBooks. The person reached a number of conclusions, the first being that eBooks are very price-inelastic. Which means that the price people will pay for them doesn’t fluctuate as much according to the supply/demand cycle. Another conclusion was a pricing scheme based on word count:

      > 70,000+ words: $5.99
      > 50,000 – 70,000 words: $4.99
      > 30,000 – 50,000 words: $3.99
      > 30,000 words or less: $2.99

      When I saw that post in an indie author group, I decided to use the following pricing scheme for my stories.

      > 50,000+ words: $4.99
      > 30,000 – 50,000 words: $3.99
      > Under 30,000 words: $2.99

      Basically, I like the idea of an eBook being $5 (US).

      But there’s another issue when discussing pricing and the idea of setting a slightly elevated price at release and then lowering it two or three months later.

      I’d forget to lower it. Whoops…

      It’s a lot easier for me to set the price based on the word count right at publication and go on my merry way than worry about adjusting the price every two, three, or six months.

      Beyond that, and not to sound preachy, I try to treat people like I want to be treated. It would tick me off if I paid X dollars for a book on Day 1 and realized I could’ve waited a couple months and bought it for a dollar or two less. So, there’s that aspect as well.


      I hope the days treat you and yours well.



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