I entered my daily word count in my tracking spreadsheet yesterday and discovered I’d hit 400,000 words for the year. I’m quite proud of that, I must say. My daily goal for this year has been a thousand words a day, so with a couple weeks left in the year, I can say that I’ve happily blown past that milestone. (Hit 365K on November 9th). It has truly been a year of living like a full time writer. Here’s hoping I can keep up this pace, or something close to it, for many years to come.
As I check my spreadsheet, I see that these totals include 124 complete short stories, ranging in length from a few hundred words to twelve thousand, plus quite a few unfinished pieces. Some are crap, some are salvageable, perhaps a few are good.
I’m planning to start on a novel at the beginning of next year, and I think the thousand word-a-day goal will work well for this. I don’t want to completely stop writing short stories, though, as I’m learning a lot still from that format, and I’m having a little success selling a few. So perhaps I’ll split up the week, and work perhaps four days a week on a novel, and spend the other three on shorts. Another way to do it might be to set a goal of a certain number of short stories per month. This was suggested by Gary Braunbeck, our writer-in-residence this summer at Odyssey. While he spends most of his time on Novels, he says he tries to write at least one short story a month, so he ends up with twelve a year. That’s not a bad goal, though I may try for a few more a month, since I’m writing a lot of flash fiction.
But if I keep up the thousand words a day, that should easily allow me to produce two or so ‘rough draft’ novels next year, and still have quite a bit of words left over for short fiction. Of course there is also the need to do revision, particularly for novels, so I’ll have to work that in somehow as well. I really haven’t done a great deal of revision this year, so I need to improve on that.
For now, though, since I’ve reached this milestone, I’m thinking of taking the rest of the year off from ‘serious writing’ and work on a little fun project for a change of pace (not that ‘serious writing’ isn’t fun as well). I’ll let you know what that is in the next post.