Each writer has a different approach to his craft/skills. And no one’s right. And no one’s wrong. But I work better when I give myself goals. One of my friends at Scribes–my writers’ group–believes that a writer should give a book however long that story takes to grow into itself and be the best that he/she can make it. He says that a writer who writes less, writes better. And that works for him, but it’s not necessarily true for me. If I dilly-dally over a story too long, I tend to rewrite it for no good reason, and I don’t always improve it. I do better when I think out a story BEFORE I start writing and then make it the best that I can while I pound on the keyboard.
I do believe that a writer can rush a story, to the novel’s detriment. Or to the writer’s. I’ve seen people do it. They burn out. But I also believe that a writer can play with a story over and over again without making it better. I’ve seen people do that, too. This year, I am going to push myself, but I think that my goals are do-able. This year, I want to write the third book in each of the series that I’ve started. That means that I’ll have to write three novels in twelve months.
Like I said: do-able. I’ve never tried the nanowrimo month of pounding out words. 50,000 words in one month would leave me with so many re-writes, it wouldn’t be worth it. My brain doesn’t function that fast. It would take me longer to fix the holes in my story, play with transitions, and smooth out the wrinkles of a plot on speed that I’d spend more time polishing than doing it my usual way–plodding along. I won’t even mention how much work it would take to flesh out my characters. I usually have to do that anyway. In a hurry? The reader might learn what color hair and eyes they have.
But when I plop my fanny in a chair and get serious, I can usually produce 5 to 10 pages a day. I never work on weekends–except for writing my blog, and that doesn’t count. It’s “talking” to friends, not writing. And I never write on Scribes’ days, because I think and talk writing so much, I can’t write when I get home. But even with those days scratched from use, I should still end up with twenty, good, writing days a month. That’s 100 to 200 pages, probably somewhere in the middle. In 2 months, I should have a rough draft. Give me another month, and I might have a finished draft. If I’m lucky. That means, if nothing jostles me off track–and I am well aware that Life happens, best laid plans, and all that–but if nothing goes seriously awry, I should be able to write a book in three months. That gives me time to think and plan about the next book before I have to start writing it. And if I finish THAT book in three months, I have a month to do character circles and plot points before I sit down to write the third book.
It all looks good on paper. It could work. So why not give it a shot? If it doesn’t happen, I won’t hang my head in shame. I might bang my head against a wall, but that usually improves my thinking:) Anyway, hopefully, by the end of 2014, I’ll have three books in each of my three series.
I don’t know what your writing goals are for 2014, but good luck with them! It never hurts to plan (and maybe dream) ahead. Here’s wishing you all the best!