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How many words to write a day?

The idea for this blog has come as I sit at the back of my son’s after school karate class. One of the huge upsides of working for myself is I get to see more of my boy during the week, although having to volunteer (or more specifically being volunteered) to be the parent helper at his clubs is less attractive.

You see, working for an institution or a company gives a structure to your day that one might often resent, even if it does allow you the excuse to opt out of having to listen to a load of seven year olds inadvertently break wind whilst completing their warm up stretches, but it’s something you have to replicate if you want to be successful.

Having waved my family off in the morning the temptation to take my MacBook back to bed, under the guise of starting my work, was strong, especially on the dark winter mornings. And before I knew it midday would arrive and all that would be in my Word document would be a load of gobbledegook that I had inadvertently typed with my chin as I had dropped back off to sleep.

So for me daily word targets were the key. Substantial enough so that I would resist relocating my office to the bedroom but not so aspirational that it didn’t give me the motivation to get stuck in, hoping I may get the opportunity to knock off early.

A slight caveat to this was that some days it’s easier to get into the zone than others. But whilst I had to accept the truth of this, at the same time I couldn’t allow it to become an excuse for just plain laziness. In much the same way as it’s hard to get out of a meeting with your boss just because you feel a little tired and, generally, aren’t that up for it, sometimes with writing you just have to get on with regardless.

So what is a fair daily total? Well for me it’s 4000 words. Substantial enough to see me avoid the lure of going back to bed, but not so large that I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel when I first boot up my MacBook.

And, sadly, it also means I can’t avoid helping supervise my son’s flatulent karate class.

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I’m an independent author trying to chart my own course in the vast sea of self-published works. My novels cover a variety of genres but one thing links them all: concerns with humanity. Whether it’s the greed of individuals, happy to risk what they have in the pursuit of more, or people’s indifference to the ills that blight society, so long as they are not directly affected themselves, each of my books has a dark undertone. I don’t write to change the world but perhaps my work serves to shine a spotlight on those aspects which trouble me the most. What I really seek to do is to entertain and engross. Literature finds itself with ever more competition with the different ways people can fill their leisure time, and yet no other media can spark the imagination in quite the same way. A good plot can only become compelling if the characters are rich and varied. My books are always written from their perspective and whether you find yourself rooting for them or not, you will care what happens. They are, similarly, single greatest thing that keeps me writing. I may have created these people but they take on a life of their own and often surprise me with the directions they choose. If you are a voracious reader who can’t get through the day without picking up a book, or just someone seeking a dose of fiction to accompany them beside the pool on holiday, there is much to find and enjoy in my work.

1 Comment

  1. This made me laugh haha. I like the word count goal. I started with non fiction which is generally a shorter genre. My first word count goals were 1000 words a day, about a half hours worth of work. Granted, I had never written more than in my journal before, and SEO articles, 400 words or so. I also had a 6 month old baby so I wrote at night.

    I like that goal though. I need to get back to even the 1000 word goal and this is motivating thanks 🙂

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