It’s a question I’ve been asking myself lately. Perhaps you have been too. I am quickly learning that before you can address how much writing you want to produce, you need to look at what you’re currently writing (if anything) and if there are any hurdles blocking your path.
The first hurdle to overcome, the biggest threat to your writing productivity, is yourself. By that I mean your ability to resist (or cave in to) distractions. Distractions take all forms from external (internet, family, obligations) to internal (our personal battles and fears about writing). For me, lately the big distraction has been external.
When you’re attempting to write for an hour (or two, or three…) it’s best to ignore that pesky button that is Internet Explorer/Safari/ Firefox. Yes, that’s right, your internet browser. No cheating and saying you’re browsing for ‘songs’ or doing ‘research’ or looking for ‘inspirational pictures’. Nothing can drive you further from the goal of writing as ‘taking a break’ and browsing the internet. I am an accomplished level 15, 30, 60-something in several different games over the years by TAKING A BREAK from my writing! And yes, I’m ashamed to admit I’ve paid real dollars for some of these games too.
Once you’re comfortable with your weaknesses and strengths as a writer, you’re in a much better position to look at word counts. Since I was in the same boat only recently, I can now talk with some experience about how many words a day you should write.
The answer is that it’s completely up to you!
Yes, it’s that simple. Personally, I’ve discovered that I write comfortably about 750-1,000 words an hour (when I know what I’m writing about) without thinking twice. Past that, I’m retraining my brain not to stop when I’ve met that minimum but to keep going.
Jack London wrote 1,000-1,500 words a day on average.
Stephen King writes 2,000 words a day, every day (so they say).
How much will you write?
Some days, you may find you can write several pages and it just zooms past you, others, perhaps none. Something a writer friend told me once is that it’s a good idea to always be thinking about what you’re writing, even when you’re not writing. When you do that, it makes it so much easier when you actually sit down to write. Because then, you sit down at your page and discover that now you have things you want to write, stories you want to tell, and that’s not all that bad.
My personal goal right now is to get back on track writing 5-6 days a week (steady) and shoot for my current word count (same). This is just to get me back into the swing of writing as a discipline, before I move my goal to a higher word count. Once I’ve accomplished this, I’ll work on moving my word counts per day up to Stephen King’s marks. Oh happy day!
How will you decide how much to write? Tell me about it.
Keep reaching higher,