2 Years to a Book. That’s what I realised I could accomplish – on top of my normal writing projects and goals during the year. For others who don’t have the luxury of so many free hours to write, as I do, the program also allows for a book draft completed during that first year.
Other Numbers Games for Writers
There are many similar number games for writers.
- Chuck Wendig’s Big 350 (caution, swearing in post) was one of the main inspirations for my own program here. For those unable to write 500 words extra a day, writing 350 may be more realizable.
- The Million Word Challenge has participants attempting to write a minimum of 2,740 words a day for the entire year. That would feasibly give them 1Mil and several novels. Other word challenges suggest 500 or 1000 words a day – every day.
- Only recently, Dean Wesley Smith dealt with the writing fast = poor quality myth, and in the post ‘Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: Writing Fast’ pointed out that writing one page a day equals 15 minutes equals 250 words, arriving at a 90,000 word novel within a year. He also asks those writers who do produce one novel in a year what they did with the remaining 23 hours and 45 minutes each day.
I don’t write everyday, I already take the weekends off from routine writing, for my family. But even at five days a week, over the course of a year, that adds up.
Caveat: in all the programs listed above, we are talking about the simple act of writing a first draft, nothing else. All writers know that that’s only the start, that there is an even larger chunk of work necessary to get that first rough draft shaped into something else.
My Program – 2Years2aBook
For me, this program is IN ADDITION to my normal writing work. Over the course of this year, I have goals to revise and publish at least one novel in my series. I have been working on that for several months now, and like many other writers I know, I also have commitments to other work within my writing life.
On top of these working goals, I realised I could find a spare 500 words a day (2 pages worth) without drastically affecting my current and main goals in writing. I could, effectively, get another novel ready over the year. I am a verbose and fast drafter, but other writers may only be able to cover this program alone, as their main writing project – 500 words is doable for many. And this writing – of another project – can mean that other writer’s lose focus on their main projects.
Juggling multiple projects at once is something I would like to tackle, however. And something I am prepared to attempt once I am assured I will not lose the main focus.
The 2.Years.2.a.Book Program (I had to call it something) factors in my need for breaks on the weekend, and preparation time (or writing marathon time for another writing project). During the year, this program only runs over 10 months, allowing for two full months (eight weeks) plus weekends off – you can use this time as you please.
As an example my own free months are spent in prepping, outlining for a novel, or for a writing marathon like NaNoWriMo, or family holiday time. I tend not to write on weekends, but when in the midst of a marathon or heavily in a task, I can be found using weekend time writing in the flow also. It feels good to have the freedom of choice.
So, that leaves 10 months for writing 500 words a day, 5 days a week. At four weeks per month (bonuses for the five week months), that’s a total of 200 days writing @ 500 words = 100,000 words in a draft at the end of the year. Ample for most fiction genres, and possibly enough for two non-fiction book drafts.
The second year is for revision and rewrites, and the submission/query or self-publishing process. This is another key point to the plan – there’s no point spending all that time writing a draft, without taking it to completion. Either take the average time you spent on writing those 500 words each week day (1/2 an hour? an hour?) and use that time for this revision work in the second year (while finding additional time for other projects), or recreate the Program’s Year One for another project / book, and use the spare months and weekends for revision on the first draft.
Wash and repeat.
One Word of warning – writing is hard work. Coming up with 500 words five times a week can sometimes be a struggle. Make sure you really want this first: commitment and focus.
The 2.Years.2.a.Book Infographic.
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This blog post participated in April 2013’s Blogging from A to Z Challenge, along with many other blogs on subjects as diverse as writing, foodie blogs or mummy blogs.
This blog post is part of a themed series or pack on Writer’s Core Habits. I acronym this as WCH or WCHP © . Do a search for these tags, and you will find more in the series.
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