I have written 6 novels, but all of them were written during National Novel Writing Months. In November, I have to keep a pace of about 2000 words per day (to give myself a few days off during the month) to make 50,000 words in 30 days. It’s a rush, and I’m proud of the books that have come out of that experience, but it’s not sustainable throughout the year. I’ve also written a bunch of short stories, and a LOT of flash fiction in the past couple of years, thanks to The Iron Writer Challenge (#TIWC). But these all come in bursts, either as inspiration strikes, or as a challenge arises, like an anthology theme.
I’ve started to work to change from writing in binges to a more constant routine.
What I’ve begun doing, since I write best with deadlines (I can be such a procrastinator), is to set myself a goal of 10,000 words per month, every month. I only managed 6,000 in December, but I wrote more than 10,000 in January, and have already written almost 5,000 this month. It’s not much compared to the frenzy of NaNoWriMo, but that’s 21,000 words I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
So instead of throwing all my spare time at a difficult goal, I take maybe an hour every other day, maybe more if I have the time and am on a roll. If I don’t get to it during the week, I write for 2 hours or so per day on the weekend. The relaxed pace means I feel more accomplished, since it’s easier to exceed my goals and not as difficult to catch up if I fall behind. At the same time, I feel enough pressure to get back to my WIP to keep to the 10K goal that it keeps me writing regularly.
If I can keep this up all year, I’ll likely skip NaNoWriMo this November, and just keep to my 10K schedule. After all, by then I should have doubled the 50K I would have written. Or who knows? Maybe I’ll get caught up in NaNo excitement and double or triple that number.