Guest Post – Word Count or Time Target

I ran into another author on the web *digital crash*. This time it’s Grace Elliot. I received a blurb for Eulogy’s Secret, so I’m pretty excited about the book myself. You can see the Jane Austen influence in the cover.

Want some advice on writing a novel? Here’s Grace:

Word count or time target – which is more productive?

The key to success (or one of them!) is getting the next book out there to build a loyal readership. In these days of instant gratification, when readers buy into your characters they want to know what happens next…and a year between books is too long. So as a writer with a day job and all the time pressures associated with family and running a house, how can you increase productivity?

Here are some suggestions that work for me. That’s not saying they’ll be perfect for you, if you’re a ‘seat of the pants’ writer, but what the heck, here I go.

If you’ve ever had to ditch 25,000 carefully crafted words because the plot had gone up a blind alley – you’ll be with me on this one!

Before I start writing I draw up a plot arc with a starting and finishing point for the H/h (hero / heroine). Within this arc I rough out the stumbling blocks to their HEA (happily ever after) and the conflicts that keep separating them. I also decide how the characters are going to grow and make compromises, as a result of these conflicts.

I’ve found it helps to write a ‘working blurb’ before starting the novel. In my mind it helps to crystallise what the story is about, so a warning light shines on those blind alleys, from the beginning.

Daily Time Target or Word Count?
I have a day job and write at night. As a fledgling writer the first hurdle was to discipline myself to write every day, hence I set a mental target of writing for a minimum of twenty minutes each evening. This seemed achievable and not so daunting as to stop me sitting down at the laptop, and what usually happened was I became so engrossed that low-and-behold, I’d look up to find two hours had passed. Great!

However, last year I had a ‘eureka’ moment when I took part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month.) This introduced a whole new discipline of achieving a daily word count of 1,670 words a day. This opened my eyes to how much procrastination and wasted time I was prone to, when I was convinced I was writing. It turns out, by setting a daily word count; I massively increase my productivity because I had a focus and needed something to show for each evenings work, rather than time that had disappeared.

So how about you? If you have any tips for increasing your productivity please share them here and leave a comment.

Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Grace works in a companion animal practice near London and is housekeeping staff to five moggies, two teenage sons and a guinea pig. She turned to writing as an antidote to the stress of modern life and believes intelligent people have the greatest need to read romance!

Grace Elliot’s Blog
Grace Elliot’s Website

Click the image to learn more about Eulogy’s Secret.

One thought on “Guest Post – Word Count or Time Target

  1. Writing a blurb is a good idea. Even if you adjust it at some point it is like tightening up the scope of a gun on its target. Start my making the blurb tight and tighten it up as you go. More what not to write than what to write.

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