How To Write More And Create A Daily Writing Habit

In the last 3 years, I’ve written 3 novels. On one hand, this is fantastic and I am celebrating my achievements. But on the other hand, it just isn’t good enough if I want to make it as a successful fiction author.

have you made artNY Times bestselling author CJ Lyons is writing 4 books this year. Joe Konrath, Bob Mayer, Dean Wesley Smith and Kris Rusch all put out more than that. Nora Roberts / J.D. Robb produces a book every 45 days and shifts 10 million books per year (romance books are shorter but that’s still impressive!).

Before you all start shouting, check out this post on the myth that writing fast means skimping on quality.

Also consider the list of the most prolific authors. Isaac Asimov wrote over 500 books in his life, Enid Blyton 600+. I’d better get cracking if I want to join them :)

Now watch the video below, or here on YouTube, about how I have increased my writing output.

In the video I discuss:

  • How I’ve always been more of a binge writer, prefering batches of bigger word count and days set aside for fiction and other days for marketing, speaking and the rest of the entrepreneurial stuff. But this doesn’t cut it if I want to focus on fiction as my primary income (it’s about 50% right now and I am NOT earning like Nora!)
  • It’s important to learn from the pros who are actually doing this, so when I read a post by Dean Wesley Smith on production schedules, I listened up! Dean and his wife, author Kris Rusch have some fantastic advices on their sites so I absolutely recommend you go check them out.
  • Basically you need to decide how much you want to write e.g. 3 x 80,000 word books in a year = 240,000 words
. Obviously there’s an editing cycle but the first thing is to get the rough draft done and Dean advocates a regular amount of new fiction writing in order to meet production schedules – so to meet that, I need to write ~666 words per day, every day of the year. That’s not actually too much as it takes me about 30-45 mins to write 500 words (if I know what I want to write about).
  • Then decide how you will accomplish that word count e.g. weekly or daily goals. I decided to break out of binge writing and make writing a daily habit, and through that to up my monthly output of words. But I have never managed this – until now!
  • Word count chart See my behavioral chart for January 2013 right. It works! It’s like the star chart you do for your kids to modify behaviour and adults can use it too! I only missed a couple of days due to traveling and being ‘present’ with my husband on a trip to Italy and then speaking in Zurich. But I want that pink tick every day and I want to see the word count and I want it to be at least 1000 words per day. 
In January I wrote 36,556 words on Hunterian, my current WIP, the best writing month I have ever had. So watch this space for whether I can keep it going all year!
  • Yes, it is really hard every day to get this done and I don’t think writing gets any easier, but I definitely feel the need to do it every day now. I also have a sign by my desk “Have you made art today?” which challenges me. Read The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin and you will get your ass kicked too! 
Stop watching TV and write something!

Do you write every day? Or do you have weekly writing goals? What kinds of writing habits do you have? Please do share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Comments

  1. Isaac says

    But––many of Asmiov’s books were mediocre or even bad, and MOST of Enid Blyton’s books were pretty bad. So were most of Agatha Christie’s.

  2. says

    I have lacked the commitment to set a goal and write a certain amount everyday. I had originally set that I would at least write everyday for at least an hour. It just doesn’t happen. I’m even scared to indicate a set number of words each day, but I’m going to going to set a goal (possibly a bit small) and see how that works for me for a month. Then I’ll increase it the next month and so forth.

    Reading (and listening to!) posts like this are very motivating. Thanks for sharing the information, tips and resources.

  3. says

    I prefer the project goal, like writing one scene a day, and then totaling up the word count at the end of the week and going, “Wow! You’ve written a lot!” I’ve actually always despised word count goals. It’s to easy to write for the sake of the word count goal and not have good material. A scene goal takes that away because the scene can be 800 words of 1500 words, and the story is still getting done. Plus, I also have a very bad history when it comes to word counts. I’ve historically tended to run too short (I understand why now and am working on that), so it’s terribly demoralizing to watch a lack of a word count and feel like no progress is being made.

  4. Alistair Birch says

    Hi Joanna, very helpful stuff – now that you’re a year down the line, how’s this new regime working out in practice after that great first month?

    Linda, thanks for the scene goal idea too :)

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