Book Writing, A Numbers Game

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How many hours a day do you write? How long on average does it take you to write a book?

When I saw this week’s Open Book Blog Hop prompt, I laughed because it coincides with some realities I have had to face while participating in NaNoWriMo this month. The month-long writing challenge is meant to get writers to sit themselves down and finish a set goal during November.

Although I signed up for NaNoWriMo years ago, I had not participated. Why? That’s for another blog post. This year, someone encouraged to consider using NaNoWriMo as a tool to complete book four in the Brothers in Law romance series. Brandon and Hawwah want their story out there,  so I agreed.  I am half-way through the challenge and only have a little over 4k of my 50k goal achieved. I have been writing but not just the manuscript.

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I write a lot of hours every day but not solely stories. I have layers of personal and professional writing demands, so averaging how much time I spend writing one of many stories swimming in my head varies. Finding time to focus on finishing the next book is a big challenge. Sometimes I have to make tough decisions about which writing I will center for the time at my avail.

The Writer

As much as I love my stories and hearing about readers enjoying them, they do not pay the bills, yet. While crafting a story, I am also contributing a range of articles to online publications. They offer me the opportunity to earn a stable income and maintain the voice I have built outside of my authorship.

I did consider my professional writing obligations before NaNoWriMo. I asked editors to give me assignments for November during October so I could finish them and devote the month to my book. Ask me how that worked out. Go ahead.  I got hit up a few times, which was fine. Even if my books hit it big (every author’s dream), I will still want to write articles. I have developed great relationships with my editors and readers that I value.

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 The Author

I am not achieving the daily NaNoWriMo goals for my book, and don’t expect to be able to, because there are layers to authoring books. Like some of the other authors on this blog hop, I manage multiple writing projects. My creative writing involves different Works In Progress. In addition to book four in my romance series, I have a novella series as well as one anthology contribution along with a couple of calls for submissions.

Authors must also dedicate time to drafting book blurbs, media kits, interview responses, promotional content and blog posts like this one. It is all writing that cuts into time and the focus it takes to complete the next story.  Right now, this post is coming close to five-hundred words that could have been dedicated to a story but it can’t be. Authors have to create and expand their platforms, which means writing more than books.

We all only have twenty-four hours in a day and obligations that take us away from writing. I am typing like a demon before my little ones get up and I shift into mommy gear.

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So, chalk up an hour to writing so far. There will be others. I have an article deadline. I need to finish a scene in a short story, add a chapter to book three and start another for the next novella. Anything else? Oh, yeah, my woman’s group needs my help with drafting a fundraising narrative, and I have to work on a guest blog post.

Huh? Yeah, yeah, NaNoWriMo.

My answer to the question “How many hours a day do you write?” is a frigging lot, which is why I usually publish one novel a year along with multiple shorter works. I am considering new writing strategies for 2020, which may include using NaNoWriMo in a less traditional way. The one book linear focus approach is not real for me.

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5 thoughts on “Book Writing, A Numbers Game

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  1. I love writing and can’t imagine not doing that at least a bit most every day, but I have a life other than writing – a life that often inspires my writing. So I don’t apologize for not being a writing machine because I don’t think machines write good stories anyway.

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  2. I agree with what Richard said. The idea is to get words on paper, and if they happen to be for different projects, they should still count. Have you ever stopped to count up the words you do in one month across all your projects? (Including the blogs?) I bet it’s an impressive total.

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