Writing Routines

by RS on January 9, 2012

A recent discussion on the Internet Writing Workshop surfaced about writing routines and an IWW member passed along the following link, “How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day”  by Rachel Aaron.

Aaron is a science-fiction and fantasy writer. She admits to a geeky side and wanted to figure how she could increase her daily word count. She came up with a three-pronged method that involved time, enthusiasm and knowledge. For time, she kept track of the time she wrote without distractions and evaluated how she could use her time more effectively to write. Enthusiasm consisted of the material she was excited to write about. Scenes that were boring to her (and ultimately to readers) had a tendency to slow her down. But the one that intrigued me the most was knowledge and that essentially was to know her material so well that she could write a good chunk of it in a long writing session. To prepare for this, she gave herself five minutes and started writing notes to herself of what she wanted to accomplish in a particular chapter. In essence, it’s a long outlining method instead of a couple of bullet points or sentences. After those five minutes, she had  three or four pages that gave her a broad view of her chapter. During her writing sessions, she filled in the sections that needed more description and transitions, but the core of the scene was already worked out when she sat down to write it all out. Using this process enabled her to meet her deadlines early and to be ahead of her writing schedule.

Since taking on this new rewrite for Julius, I’ve been trying to write when I know I won’t get interrupted and that appears to be either very early in the morning–about 5:00 am or  in the evenings around 7:00 pm when dogs have had their last walk and have settled down. I’ve been writing a consistent 1500 words per day since the start of the new year. I’ve been relying more and more on outlining scenes/chapters and although I was pretty much converted that outlining was the best approach, now I’m 100 percent certain that I will always outline any story I want to tell. Now I also see the value of having a more detailed one instead of generalizations or a few bullet points. I don’t need to write 10,000 words a day, but it would be nice to be able to sit down for four hours and get in a good 2500 or 3000 words daily and to see the story move along. I’ll try Aron’s method and see how it works.

What’s your writing routine and how many words per day do you try to write?

 

 

 

4 comments
Sharon S Schlesinger
Sharon S Schlesinger

When I'm writing, WC is all over the map. But now I'm revising Layla Bunch and I find it slow going. When you're in editing mode, what kind of goals do you set for yourself. I find that after a few hours I'm exhausted. Do you set goals in terms of hours spent, words reviewed, chapters revised?

Sharon

rhonda kay
rhonda kay

Your dogs' last walk is at 7:00? Aren't you lucky! My dogs go at 7:00, at midnight, at 3 a.m.--pretty much every three or four hours. Yeah. It's a round-the-clock routine. I can't remember the last time I slept all night with no interruptions. But at least I never have to clean up messes in the house. Ever. They're very good about that. So I'd better not complain too much, eh?

Speaking of routines, I find that I'm most productive early in the morning. Not only are there less distractions for me, my mind is definitely sharper. By four or five in the afternoon, not only is my brain sludge, but my hubby is home, too, and I have to switch into attentive-wife mode. Still, I can't imagine writing 10,000 words a day. I wonder how many of those she ends up editing away?

RebecaSchiller
RebecaSchiller moderator

@Sharon S Schlesinger When I'm editing, I try to keep it with within the original word count parameters. Sometimes, I'm under or over 100 words. I don't set time goals, but I do set chapter goals where I might review two chapters a day. Typically before I start writing a new chapter, I'll read the previous chapters to make sure I don't repeat myself. I caught one repetition the other day (a minor one), and i had to fix it in a later chapter.

RebecaSchiller
RebecaSchiller moderator

@rhonda kay My dogs are late sleepers too! So I am blessed to have it quiet for a while, but after they're up it's the constant demands of feeding two times a day and going out several times during the day. Plus the constant vigil at the window to bark at squirrels and whatever they see out the window.

Previous post:

Next post: