Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Then word count is probably on your mind right now. One of the main traits of a successful indie/hybrid author is the ability to write prolifically. Most research shows that indie authors don’t start making decent money until they have at least three books out (and usually a series). In most cases, it’s suggested to have the first three books out within a six month time period. This feeds the Amazon algorithms, therefore sparking more sales and more discoverability for your books.
There are secrets to meeting word count that don’t involve sitting in an office for 10 hours a day. Believe me. I work a full-time day job and I have a two year old. Translation: I don’t write full-time. Not even close. But between my trade contracts and my indie books I’ll have had four books release in 2014 and I’m looking at closer to six next year. Madness, right?
How does someone write that much?
I used to really struggle with the fact that I don’t have huge chunks of devoted time to write. When my daughter was born I lost my weekends which I used to depend upon in order to work on my manuscripts, and yet, since her birth I’ve written more books (and blogs and magazine articles) than I ever did in all the years prior. The thought that pushes me forward is that while thinking about a book and plotting a book is great, those things don’t get words on the screen, so they don’t count.
Here are a few tricks I use to get my word count up. First though, you’ll need to buy a good laptop bag because it’s going to become your new best friend.
This is planned time during the week that I spend writing. I treat these as business hours that are not to be disturbed for any reason. For me, this dedicated time falls after my daughter is asleep four nights a week for 2-3 hours before bed. When 8pm (my start time) hits, I stop whatever I’m doing and head to my office. No more dishes. No more checking Facebook. I put down my phone, turn off the WiFi on my computer, and lock myself away in my office.
If you set up dedicated writing time, make sure everyone in your family understands that you're not to be interrupted during those hours. Make a sign and hang it on he door to the room if you must. Unplug from everything else and get lost in your story. Don't shrug off this dedicated time for any reason. If this goes, your manuscript will get far off track very quickly.
This is the big one for me. Stolen time allows me to write the amount of books I do. Remember when I told you to buy a new laptop bag? That’s for stolen time.
I carry my laptop with me everywhere. To my day job, to the doctor’s office, to my car’s oil change, to the grocery store—everywhere. The second I have ten minutes of spare time, I fire up my laptop and get in as many words written as I can. My commute in the morning can be anywhere from forty-five minutes to an hour an fifteen minutes. I build in a travel cushion and usually arrive at work twenty minutes early, and you guessed it—I write in the parking lot until it’s time to go in to work. I write on my thirty minute lunch. Any chance I find, I get in another 50-500 words.
Do you cook dinner? Meal prep time is a great way to get some words in. Put your laptop on the counter and while the chili is bubbling away: start typing. Waiting for water to boil? Stand there and write. I can get 100-200 words done before a pot starts boiling for pasta. It all adds up.
Don’t want to lug around a laptop? No problem. If you have a smartphone then you have a notes function on it. Write in your notes app and then email it to yourself each day. Authors DawnCrandall and Kristy Cambron both wrote and edited their books almost entirely on their iPhones. Isn’t that incredible?
No smartphone? A pad of paper and/or a voice recorder still work wonders. Often on my hour long commute I’ll bring along a voice recorder and dictate dialogue to copy down later.
This is planned time away from normal life either alone or with other writers for the sole purpose of writing as much as possible. When I’m under a tight deadline I’ve been known to rent a hotel room for an evening and write for 20+ hours in a weekend. This method requires a supportive spouse and a free weekend.
Remember, if you shoot for just 1,000 words a day—every day—that’s 365,000 words a year which breaks into four long novels or six short novels. That adds up to a ton of progress with only an hour or so of work a day.Are you doing NaNoWriMo? What’s your biggest obstacle to meeting word count each day? Where can you find small pieces of time squeeze some words in? Any suggestions I might have missed?
Participating in #NaNoWriMo - here are three easy ways to reach your word count. -via @AuthorKeller (Click to Tweet)
Want to write 4+ books a year? Follow these tricks for high word counts #indiepub #publishing #NaNoWriMo @AuthorKeller (Click to Tweet)
Jessica Keller holds degrees in both Communications and Biblical Studies. She is multi-published in both Young Adult Fiction and Inspirational Romance and has 100+ magazine and newspaper articles to her name. Her latest indie release is Searching for Home. She also has a speaking ministry and loves to talk books. Jessica lives in the Midwest with her amazing husband and their very giggly daughter.
Connect with Jessica through her Website, blog, Facebook, Amazon Page, and on Twitter.