Author Topic: What daily word count should a full time writer hit?  (Read 2831 times)  

Offline DIAMONDSINTHESKY

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Re: What daily word count should a full time writer hit?
« Reply #50 on: March 20, 2018, 09:13:12 AM »
I aim to complete certain scenes or chapters within a time frame, I never worry about the word count until it comes to the rewriting process and editing.

Offline kw3000

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Re: What daily word count should a full time writer hit?
« Reply #51 on: March 20, 2018, 02:50:52 PM »
LOL. You forgot the .5. It should be 18,937.5 words a day.
But seriously, I have no min word count a day (unless there's a deadline). I work a a scene basis. It focuses your mind on that particular part of the story and the results could surprising- letting you explore other possible angles. Destroys your carefully structured plot though.

Actually, it's 18,937.46601 words per day which I suppose you could round up to .5.  :P

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Offline Jack Krenneck

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Re: What daily word count should a full time writer hit?
« Reply #52 on: March 20, 2018, 05:24:14 PM »
It's interesting (but not unexpected) that there are so many takes on the subject. For myself, there are a few standout points.

1. It's best to work backward from the business model you've established. For instance, X number of books per year of Y length.

2. If you're writing as a hobby you can do anything you want. If you're writing to support yourself, you need to understand which business model is going to achieve that.

3. The general consensus in the indie world is that about four books a year gives the greatest chance of success. This is precisely my personal experience. Those years that I've managed four books have been very good indeed. Those years that I haven't weren't so good. As my backlist grew, it's gone a long way to mitigating the bad years. Obviously, there are exceptions to all this. There's no rule that you have to publish four books a year to earn a good income. It's also a given that volume by itself isn't enough. Quality has to be there too, and not just in the fiction but in the packaging and promotion.

4. Cementing habits is a great way to achieve regular output.

5. Writing to a minimum word count enables you to ensure you're on target to fulfill your business model. On those days when it flows and you write more...that's a bonus. It also acts as a buffer for those times when life gets in the way and you can't write.

That's what I've got out of the discussion, anyway. I appreciate everyone's replies. 

Offline Justin Jordan

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Re: What daily word count should a full time writer hit?
« Reply #53 on: March 20, 2018, 05:43:59 PM »
As many words as it takes to remain a full time writer

Offline Wayne Stinnett

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Re: What daily word count should a full time writer hit?
« Reply #54 on: March 21, 2018, 06:56:58 AM »
Assuming that your income from writing has surpassed your day job, when you go full time, there's a paradigm shift. It no longer becomes a matter of what you want to do, what you can do, what you'd like to do, or what others do. It becomes a matter of what you MUST do.

What you must do, starts with the bottom line. How much money do you need to make to pay your bills, have a little fun, and set some aside for a rainy day. A good clue to that would be what you earned at your last job. Most likely, you've been earning that for a while and your lifestyle is built around that income. That's gonna be your new take home pay. Use last year's total take home pay. Not last week's or last month's. I'll explain why in a second.

Your income from your writing will need to be much more than your take home pay. You have to set aside money for taxes, advertising, production, growth, and so on. Yes, you need to make a budget. And a plan.

Start your budget backwards. Don't begin with all your expenses. You want to know what you're going to need to make in gross revenue to arrive at a satisfactory take home pay. And your gross will not be the same every month, so get that out of your head. So far this fiscal year, my lowest revenue month was less than a third of what the best month was. You have to move away from that "steady weekly pay" mindset and create an annual budget and start thinking long term.

So, start with your take home pay at the top of your budget. Be generous, allow for a slight raise. Hell, I incorporated and have a regular monthly salary with payroll deductions. After your take home pay comes taxes, then production, advertising, and so on. You want to remain full time, right? So, your take home has to be at the top of the list. If you fail to pay yourself enough, you could end up going back to a J. O. B. Being full time and off the IRS radar puts them second. Now you have an idea of what your gross pay will be and can figure out how many book sales you'll need to achieve it. This will give you a whole lot better picture of how many books you have to release per year. That's where setting aside money in your budget for production.

If you have to release four books a year, you'll need to pay for editing, cover, formatting, and so on four times in the coming year. Add up what it costs to produce a single book, multiply that by four and add ten percent. Production goes on your budget after taxes as the third most important. How much did you spend in advertising last year? Add twenty percent and include that in your budget.

Creating a budget and a plan will tell you how many books you will need to release and knowing how many books, will tell you how many words a year to write. Then, and only then, can your wants come into play. Personally, I want weekends off, so I don't divide my annual word count by 365 days. I also want to take time off during the summer, Christmas, and my daughter's spring break. I want to write only 226 days a year. My annual word count goal for 2018 is 219,000 words. Divided by 226 writing days, I have to write a minimum of 969 words per writing day.

That's a pretty easy goal to achieve. But then life happens. Kids get sick, the car breaks down leaving you stranded at the mechanic's all day. Your in-laws drop in for an unannounced week-long stay. So, I add 25% to my daily word count so my work schedule doesn't eat into my time off. That gives me a realistic target of 1211 words per writing day. My target on my written schedule is 1200 words. You can see it unfold and evolve in my 5K Words Per Week thread.

Since we all have different monetary needs and wants, there is no one size fits all. So, we each have to run the numbers to find our individual targets, then create a written plan to achieve those goals.
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Online RScott

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Re: What daily word count should a full time writer hit?
« Reply #55 on: March 21, 2018, 07:08:23 AM »
Assuming that your income from writing has surpassed your day job, when you go full time, there's a paradigm shift. It no longer becomes a matter of what you want to do, what you can do, what you'd like to do, or what others do. It becomes a matter of what you MUST do.

What you must do, starts with the bottom line. How much money do you need to make to pay your bills, have a little fun, and set some aside for a rainy day. A good clue to that would be what you earned at your last job. Most likely, you've been earning that for a while and your lifestyle is built around that income. That's gonna be your new take home pay. Use last year's total take home pay. Not last week's or last month's. I'll explain why in a second.

Your income from your writing will need to be much more than your take home pay. You have to set aside money for taxes, advertising, production, growth, and so on. Yes, you need to make a budget. And a plan.

Start your budget backwards. Don't begin with all your expenses. You want to know what you're going to need to make in gross revenue to arrive at a satisfactory take home pay. And your gross will not be the same every month, so get that out of your head. So far this fiscal year, my lowest revenue month was less than a third of what the best month was. You have to move away from that "steady weekly pay" mindset and create an annual budget and start thinking long term.

So, start with your take home pay at the top of your budget. Be generous, allow for a slight raise. Hell, I incorporated and have a regular monthly salary with payroll deductions. After your take home pay comes taxes, then production, advertising, and so on. You want to remain full time, right? So, your take home has to be at the top of the list. If you fail to pay yourself enough, you could end up going back to a J. O. B. Being full time and off the IRS radar puts them second. Now you have an idea of what your gross pay will be and can figure out how many book sales you'll need to achieve it. This will give you a whole lot better picture of how many books you have to release per year. That's where setting aside money in your budget for production.

If you have to release four books a year, you'll need to pay for editing, cover, formatting, and so on four times in the coming year. Add up what it costs to produce a single book, multiply that by four and add ten percent. Production goes on your budget after taxes as the third most important. How much did you spend in advertising last year? Add twenty percent and include that in your budget.

Creating a budget and a plan will tell you how many books you will need to release and knowing how many books, will tell you how many words a year to write. Then, and only then, can your wants come into play. Personally, I want weekends off, so I don't divide my annual word count by 365 days. I also want to take time off during the summer, Christmas, and my daughter's spring break. I want to write only 226 days a year. My annual word count goal for 2018 is 219,000 words. Divided by 226 writing days, I have to write a minimum of 969 words per writing day.

That's a pretty easy goal to achieve. But then life happens. Kids get sick, the car breaks down leaving you stranded at the mechanic's all day. Your in-laws drop in for an unannounced week-long stay. So, I add 25% to my daily word count so my work schedule doesn't eat into my time off. That gives me a realistic target of 1211 words per writing day. My target on my written schedule is 1200 words. You can see it unfold and evolve in my 5K Words Per Week thread.

Since we all have different monetary needs and wants, there is no one size fits all. So, we each have to run the numbers to find our individual targets, then create a written plan to achieve those goals.

Whoa man! This was amazing! Spot on! You should write a book on... oh... nevermind :D
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Offline kw3000

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Re: What daily word count should a full time writer hit?
« Reply #56 on: March 21, 2018, 01:44:53 PM »
Assuming that your income from writing has surpassed your day job, when you go full time, there's a paradigm shift. It no longer becomes a matter of what you want to do, what you can do, what you'd like to do, or what others do. It becomes a matter of what you MUST do.

What you must do, starts with the bottom line. How much money do you need to make to pay your bills, have a little fun, and set some aside for a rainy day. A good clue to that would be what you earned at your last job. Most likely, you've been earning that for a while and your lifestyle is built around that income. That's gonna be your new take home pay. Use last year's total take home pay. Not last week's or last month's. I'll explain why in a second.

Your income from your writing will need to be much more than your take home pay. You have to set aside money for taxes, advertising, production, growth, and so on. Yes, you need to make a budget. And a plan.

Start your budget backwards. Don't begin with all your expenses. You want to know what you're going to need to make in gross revenue to arrive at a satisfactory take home pay. And your gross will not be the same every month, so get that out of your head. So far this fiscal year, my lowest revenue month was less than a third of what the best month was. You have to move away from that "steady weekly pay" mindset and create an annual budget and start thinking long term.

So, start with your take home pay at the top of your budget. Be generous, allow for a slight raise. Hell, I incorporated and have a regular monthly salary with payroll deductions. After your take home pay comes taxes, then production, advertising, and so on. You want to remain full time, right? So, your take home has to be at the top of the list. If you fail to pay yourself enough, you could end up going back to a J. O. B. Being full time and off the IRS radar puts them second. Now you have an idea of what your gross pay will be and can figure out how many book sales you'll need to achieve it. This will give you a whole lot better picture of how many books you have to release per year. That's where setting aside money in your budget for production.

If you have to release four books a year, you'll need to pay for editing, cover, formatting, and so on four times in the coming year. Add up what it costs to produce a single book, multiply that by four and add ten percent. Production goes on your budget after taxes as the third most important. How much did you spend in advertising last year? Add twenty percent and include that in your budget.

Creating a budget and a plan will tell you how many books you will need to release and knowing how many books, will tell you how many words a year to write. Then, and only then, can your wants come into play. Personally, I want weekends off, so I don't divide my annual word count by 365 days. I also want to take time off during the summer, Christmas, and my daughter's spring break. I want to write only 226 days a year. My annual word count goal for 2018 is 219,000 words. Divided by 226 writing days, I have to write a minimum of 969 words per writing day.

That's a pretty easy goal to achieve. But then life happens. Kids get sick, the car breaks down leaving you stranded at the mechanic's all day. Your in-laws drop in for an unannounced week-long stay. So, I add 25% to my daily word count so my work schedule doesn't eat into my time off. That gives me a realistic target of 1211 words per writing day. My target on my written schedule is 1200 words. You can see it unfold and evolve in my 5K Words Per Week thread.

Since we all have different monetary needs and wants, there is no one size fits all. So, we each have to run the numbers to find our individual targets, then create a written plan to achieve those goals.

Wow! Love this post and your approach, Wayne. Thanks for sharing that.  8)

Ken Ward

Offline Jack Krenneck

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Re: What daily word count should a full time writer hit?
« Reply #57 on: March 21, 2018, 04:59:18 PM »
Assuming that your income from writing has surpassed your day job, when you go full time, there's a paradigm shift. It no longer becomes a matter of what you want to do, what you can do, what you'd like to do, or what others do. It becomes a matter of what you MUST do.

This is VERY true, and I've felt it.

Thank you for the rest of your comments too. You went to a lot of trouble to write an expansive and well-considered post. I appreciate it. There are lots of little nuggets in there for me to study, because you just can't beat actual first-hand experience.

Cheers!