How did I write a 70,000 word novel in a month?

I am a fairly prolific author.  There is one book that I wrote beginning to end inside a month but that isn’t at all my norm.  Rough drafts are easy.  Editing takes me ages.  Eternity took me 2+months…  I really should get in the habit of at least running a spell check.  lol.

I am able to do so much because I have a supportive family and career.  I make writing a priority and I stay out of my own way.  Athousand words an hour isn’t a problem as long as I can stay focused and don’t fuss over things like spell check.  I’d say the average book takes me around 100 hrs to write. I sneak in 20 minute maybe hour spurts throughout the day.  Tuesday nights I write for at least 6 hrs.  Almost every night I have an hour or two to write after kids go to bed (my hubby is normally doing school work at that time so he doesn’t mind.)

If you’re looking to increase your volume, do what I did.  Find your base line.  I can write x amount of words an hour.  Find your novel length.  Mine are usually around 70.  Give yourself some wiggle room for times you struggle, time for outlines, and rewriting for major plot changes.  That is why I say it probably takes me a hundred hours.

The next step is picking a goal.  Lets say 100 days.  (that would be three novels a year!  Plus…  even more wiggle room!)  For me that would mean dedicating one hour a day to writing.  Maybe now you can see how I can write a novel in 50 days.  That is two hours a day.  It isn’t always sit down time, where I can focus solely on my writing.  We are talking 20 minutes here and there, usually with a ton of distractions.

When you look at it this way it seems easy, but more than that, it should show you that to be a prolific author you need to show up, put you Butt In Chair and knock it out.  I do this day after day, month after month.  I am prolific.  You may not be able to do 1000 words and hour, but the more you show up the more prolific you can become!  Its getting out of your own way and slapping words down!

Editing is an entirely different game for me.  It is where I struggle, and it chews up my time.  I have difficulties with transitions.  I can spend an hour working on one transition.  The nagging monster fights me every step of the way.  The more I write (and the more novels I complete) the more those transitions are naturally inlaid.  Someday hopefully it won’t be a struggle, but in the mean time it chews up quite a bit of my writing time.

Mostly I trust myself to let that first draft be a rough draft.  the more I write the more I trust my characters to lead and direct me.  Only recently have I started outlining.  I find that it helps when I get stuck.  If I know what comes next, I can normally plug in enough transitions to get me there.  I don’t do anything that others can’t do.  The only difference is I really do it.

You can too 😉


4 comments on “How did I write a 70,000 word novel in a month?

  1. “I don’t do anything that others can’t do. The only difference is I really do it.”
    That’s golden, Elizabeth! Add to that “Never give up” and you’re invincible.

    My own productivity took a nose dive when I began to market “Enchantment.” I was never a prolific as you are (1K/hr. WOW!) But I consistently knocked off 2,000 to 3,000 words a day. When it dropped to 600, I knew I needed to do something different.

    I’m not a multi-tasker so I should have known better, but I was trying to write with my browser open so I could interact with my Twitter friends and work on “Finding Valor” at the same time. It takes me a good twenty minutes to really get into the zone, so small chunks of time don’t work as well for me. It’s better than not writing at all, but there’s no reason to sabotage the process when I have the luxury of eight hours a day to devote to writing and marketing.

    My solution (which worked until today when I checked my email and found you’d written a new post that I HAD to read immediately!) is to stay offline until after I meet my word count goals.

    Thank you for writing such an inspiring and motivating post. Now, back to work!

    • Hi Charlotte! I always enjoy hearing from you. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post.

      “Never give up” and I’m invincible huh. I like the sound of that. I have been writing with the intention of being a published author for two years now. I have completed three novels, began many others, and hope to have six of them done by the end of the year.

      I do struggle with the whole wanting to give up. Not as a whole, but on individual projects. I have more half finished novels than completed ones. If you know any tricks to “never give up” let me know. I’ll be glad to host your response!

  2. Thanks Elizabeth, I will definitely work on a “Never Give Up” response and would be honored to have it hosted on your blog.

    I’m participating in the Indie Book Blowout sale this weekend and just found out that “Enchantment” is being featured tomorrow so I have an excuse to go play on Twitter for the rest of the night. 😉 At least I’ve already met my word count goal for the day so no guilt!

  3. Great advice–I’m working on my first novel and just about finished. So many sites online kept throwing out the 80k mark for a novel, but I’m hovering at 70k. I don’t want to throw in 10k of fluff to stretch it out. You have had success at that amount? Thank you for your time!

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