Author Topic: Who basically writes a book a month and how?  (Read 61959 times)  

Offline Heather Hamilton-Senter

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1843
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Who basically writes a book a month and how?
« on: September 02, 2015, 08:53:01 am »
I was just reading Elle Casey's recent blog post and it got me thinking about this concept of a book a month. I know a lot of people here write fast - Amanda, I'm looking at you! I know there are a lot of threads about writing faster, scheduling our days etc, but I would like to hear from those who specifically aim at a book a month give or take a few days, and who consistently do this through the year. And by a book, I mean somewhere in the novel range - 50,000 words and up. I'm not dissing novellas, but I'm not writing novellas, so I'm looking for advice on novels.

I'm a fast writer and this is my full time gig, but I procrastinate, I lose confidence, I get distracted by life. I also get sidelined by book cover work, but I love it and the extra income is great.

For book a monthers, how do you stay sane? How do you switch your brain from one series to another or book to another? How do you let go of a book - I'm forever tinkering. How do you have the confidence in yourself to feel a book can really be finished in a month (I know it can, but I don't feel it can)? How do you make a plan for your year and actually get yourself to stick to it ?!  ;D Does it ever feel like a drag? Is switching between series or genres the answer to keeping it fresh?

How do you handle books that require a bit more research? Give them more time or just up your productivity each day?

How do you mentally give yourself permission to be this prolific? I still have a lot of inner voices telling me that this writing thing is just a sideline - even though I've made more doing this than anything else in my life (but I've always worked in the Arts so the bar wasn't that high  :D) -  and I can't put it front and center when there are so many other important things in life to take care of.

I worry about letting readers down - is a pen name the answer for tackling other projects? For feeling less judged and freer to experiment? But what are the marketing consequences of that for those who have?

And of course, scheduling, writing faster etc if there's anything not covered in other threads or even just a repeat here for those of us who specifically want to get to the book a month or so stage.

Book a monthers, help!

Heather Hamilton-Senter | Book Cover Artistry

KBoards.com

  • Advertisement
  • ***

    Offline lostagain

    • Status: Lewis Carroll
    • **
    • Posts: 208
      • View Profile
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #1 on: September 02, 2015, 08:55:51 am »
    I'm kind of a book a monther. That's how long it takes me to write my contemporary novels.  While now I'm writing serials, I write about 18K a week. I'm all about word count goals. I force myself to hit 1K by lunch time. Another 1K by dinner and then 1K before bed. That usually motivates me to get the words done by dinner time while leaving me the out of evenings for days like today when I'm pretending to write while I get my car's oil changed.

    Offline 69959

    • Status: Dostoevsky
    • ******
    • Posts: 3936
      • View Profile
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #2 on: September 02, 2015, 09:16:14 am »
    That's a loaded question! :) I write a book a month and homeschool my kids. The short answer is that writing is like a muscle, and like any other, using it makes it stronger.

    Start with goals you can achieve and raise the bar often to keep from growing stagnant. Have big picture goals and tiny, little ones. In fact, I would highly recommend delving into personal development (if you haven't already) since so much of this is about mindset. Listen to personal growth podcasts, read books, blogs, whatever you can get your hands on. SJ Scott, Hal Elrod, and Jeff Sanders are good places to start. Also, spend time listening to writing podcasts. There are a ton of great ones. Self Publishing Podcast, Sell More Books Show, Author Strong, Author Biz, Rocking Self Publishing, Creative Penn, and lots more.

    I write at the same time every day - starting around 4:30am. It's such a habit that even when I'm really tired, it comes naturally. Well, as long as I've done my job outlining and writing beats beforehand. It's tricky and challenging without that. I also do switch genres, going between three different ones. It does keep things interesting and fresh.

    Offline A Woman's Place Is In The Rebellion

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 887
    • Gender: Female
    • Peace out.
      • View Profile
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #3 on: September 02, 2015, 09:29:19 am »
    My name is Augusta (sometimes) and I am a book-a-monther.  I write while my kids are in school.  One of my 'tricks' is to leave non-writing work for a separate non-writing time.  For example, if there are things I need to research, I make a note in the text and highlight it for later.  Then I do the research during my non-writing time, usually in the evening.  I skip anything that slows down the writing itself, make a note, and go back to it when it's convenient.  That keeps the work flowing. I also plan out my schedule in advance.  Today I've already hit my daily word count because I need to go out and do annoying life things (we just moved) so I made sure that the words were finished early.  Now I'm going to finish this reply and go out to get an EZPass, among other things.  Good times.  Anyway, compartmentalizing really helps me get the work done.  And lists.  I am the queen of lists.       

    Offline lostagain

    • Status: Lewis Carroll
    • **
    • Posts: 208
      • View Profile
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #4 on: September 02, 2015, 09:31:51 am »
    I'm reading this thread and it's clear I don't think enough, lol. I just do. I send off my first draft to the development editor and move on to the next one while I wait.

    Offline Jim Johnson

    • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
    • *******
    • Posts: 6478
    • Gender: Male
    • Alexandria, VA
    • Storyteller and Cat Minion
      • View Profile
      • Ineti Press
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #5 on: September 02, 2015, 09:37:32 am »
    Might be worthwhile to read this article on fear in publishing and writing. Dean also has a very useful hour+ long lecture on the topic that helped me out a lot earlier on.

    Dare to be bad, have fun, and write!

    Offline Heather Hamilton-Senter

    • Status: Scheherazade
    • *****
    • Posts: 1843
    • Gender: Female
      • View Profile
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #6 on: September 02, 2015, 09:39:39 am »
    Heather, you're asking everything I'm feeling. Not how to do it... I imagine it's just B-I-C (butt in chair). But emotionally, how do you do it? Because this:


    Thanks all. I love all the practical suggestions - and just the insight into the mind of someone who is doing what I want to do - so keep 'em coming.

    But Megan, this is exactly it. The real difficulty is likely in my brain LOL. I think it's a lot like trying to lose weight. If you focus on the end goal, it becomes overwhelming and you quit. I suppose it means focusing on the smaller goals then, but then you can also feel you're not really getting anywhere.

    Augusta, that might be part of my problem. My kids are in school too, but I don't seem to have writing and non-writing time - it all blends together. I'm often writing late, late into the night and I feel burnt out in the day -which is actually when I have the uninterrupted time. I'm a night owl, so I write better at night, but I'm not getting enough sleep and am writing when people are around to distract me for part of the time.

    Thanks Jim, I've gone to look at that link.

    Violet, I think I do overthink. I think more about writing than actually doing it!

    I think aiming to be part of the book a month club takes a very specific mind set. I want to be capable of it, I believe I'm capable of it, so I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing 'wrong' that I'm not making it.

    I'm sooooooo impressed by those who do.

    Heather Hamilton-Senter | Book Cover Artistry

    Offline Briteka

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke
    • *****
    • Posts: 2050
      • View Profile
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #7 on: September 02, 2015, 09:49:15 am »
    The last two months I've written and published four novels and plan on doing two novels a month from here on out.

    I've always been prolific, publishing 8-10 10k erom shorts a month for three years. With the changes to KU, I decided it was finally time to move into novels, and I have focused on my two most successful pen names, abandoning the rest. One pen name was my gay romance pen name, and the other was my paranormal romance pen name.

    The writing part is the easiest bit, believe it or not. I spend ten hours a day writing 10k words. This happens usually between 2 and 10, and I just set my target word count tool in Scrivener to 1000 and do not move until that 1000 is written. It usually takes me about half an hour to write that 1000 words, and I spend the other half an hour browsing the internet, going outside to have a vape or playing with my cats.

    This schedule usually gets me a novel within a week, as my novels usually fall between 60k and 70k words. The next week is spent editing and creating a cover for the book just written.

    As for research, I don't really write things that require research. I might need to look up something about the city the book is placed in or bring up a photo so I can accurately describe something that I don't have a clear image of in my head, but these are all things that can be done in seconds with Google.

    There's always been times when I've procrastinated and produced less than I planned. My solution? Shrug it off and get back to writing. I don't feel guilty about it. I don't dwell on it. I just shrug it off. I think that helps me not get burnt out. If I need to take the day off, I don't guilt myself about it. I just take the day off and get back to work the next day.

    Offline ElHawk

    • Status: Dostoevsky
    • ******
    • Posts: 3911
    • Gender: Female
    • San Juan Islands, WA
      • View Profile
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #8 on: September 02, 2015, 09:52:49 am »
    Hi, Heather. I stupidly didn't hit "quote" before I started writing, and I'm on my tablet which makes copying and pasting difficult when I'm sitting here with muffin crumbs on my hands and a cup of coffee beside me. So bear with this wall-o-text reply.

    What I do:

    I write 100,000 to 120,000 words per four weeks. Whether that equates to a single novel or four novellas depends on the month. (I have my main pen name, and currently two smaller pen names I'm experimenting with, to see whether I have the potential to break out in other genres, so each pen name currently gets four months per year for production. I rotate months, so it goes Pen name 1, Pen name 2, Pen name 3, 1, 2, 3, etc. throughout the calendar year.)

    Obviously, being able to do this full-time is key. It took me about two years of writing as a second job to get to that point.

    How I avoid procrastination

    The book business is also the sole income for my husband and me. He recently quit his job, too, to take over portions of my business (and it has been very, very helpful!) so the fact that if I don't produce my 100K words per month we might not be able to pay our bills really keeps me focused. Now I have the opposite problem to you: I get too tempted to work all the time and have to focus on taking enough days off that I don't burn out and/or go totally crazy. We are stable, but any self-employment gig comes with a fair amount of unpredictability, so the small but constant threat of losing our shirts keeps me working hard.

    How to not nitpick forever

    How do I let go of a book? I guess I've never had that problem before, so I'm not sure i have any good advice there. The fact that I find typos and awkward sentences in works by authors I admire like crazy (Nabokov, Dillard, Mantel, etc.) keeps me real about this: my books will never be perfect. If Vlad's and Annie's and Hilary's aren't perfect, Libbie can't expect herself to be perfect.

    I am careful to work with good editors, whether they're the freelancers I use for my indie stuff or the dev editors at my publisher, and I trust the majority of their suggestions. I do one draft on my own, and one with the book's editor, and I call it good. (Though my publisher puts their books through more types of edits--copy, proof, advance read, etc.) It does help that all my editors have commented on how "clean" I tend to write, so the fact that I usually have fairly coherent sentences, tight story structure, and minimal typos speeds up the process all around.

    My out-of-control confidence

    Confidence has also never been an issue for me--at least, not where my writing is concerned. I know I'm a strong writer with a good grasp of many aspects of craft. I know I produce books people want to read. I don't get the jitters about my books; I have a sound process for developing a story before I begin to write it; I've tested it through 15 novels; I know it works reliably. I trust my method and my own skills.

    As for how you can know that you'll finish a book a month--well, if you write five days a week, seven hours a day (eight-hour workday with an hour for lunch), that's only 714 words per hour. It feels downright LAZY when you break it down to that level. And it kind of is. If writing is your only gig, and you don't have health issues or whatever that prevent you from just DOING IT, you should be able to exceed 100K in a month without breaking too much of a sweat. :) 100K per month is quite manageable.

    Drag

    Is it a drag sometimes? Hell yes. Any job is a drag at least once in a while. Sometimes I just need to finish a few books because they're under contract or readers are expecting that sequel or whatever, and it's 100% NOT what I'm excited about writing right now. But it's on the agenda, and I can't move on until it's done, so I just have to haul my ass through it. The ONLY book I've been excited about writing since November 2014 is still ahead of me--I don't get to start it until November 1, 2015. You can bet I'm counting the days until I hit that book. And I think all the passion I have for it will make it my best book ever. Meanwhile, I'll have written 10 books I wasn't passionate about, but they're making readers happy and earning me money, so I can't complain. :D But I'm really looking forward to November.

    For me, being able to switch between pen names, genres, and even series within those pen names has been great. I like knowing that each month I'll be in a different head space, writing with a different voice, etc. It makes things less monotonous than I think they would be if I were just doing one brand all the time.

    How I manage research

    A lot of my books require a ton of research, because historical fiction is my primary brand and it's tricky that way. It's lucky for me that I love to read history nonfiction anyway; I spend most of my free reading time getting lost in history books about subjects I find fascinating. So I soak up a lot of research about my chosen topics at my leisure, then do supplemental research (looking up specific dates, finding out how crinolines work, etc.) "on the fly" as I'm writing. Good old Google.

    For example, I told my trad publisher I want to pitch a book about Calamity Jane this spring. Started reading biographies about her in July, and will keep reading about Calamity through the winter just because the topic has grabbed me. By the time I actually sit down to write that book, most of what I need to know should be in my head already.

    Just Do It

    How do I mentally give myself permission? I wish I could offer some advice to you there, too. I've never had that problem. My identity has been "professional writer" since I was a child. Everybody around me knew that I intended to become a full-time writer when I grew up. Even my bosses at my various jobs knew that I was a writer first and foremost, and only did those jobs because I had to. It meant I never had a long-term career before writing, but I didn't care: writing was always my long-term career, and I just hadn't landed there yet.

    In addition, I come from a family of professional artists, so creative careers were par for the course in my experience. That is unusual, though. Most people don't get to grow up with "painter" or "yarn spinner/weaver" (which my sister does) or "actor" or "opera singer" or "writer" as perfectly valid career options. Most people are raised to believe that creative pursuits can't pay the bills and must be hobbies. I'm sure it's very difficult to break out of that mindset, if you've grown up with a family/community that expects you to put a "real job" first and creative production last.

    But I think you do it this way: it's considered very normal (in the USA, at least) to put your career front and center. This is your job. Everybody has to get up in the morning and get dressed and go do their job until the workday is over. Just because your job is writing books doesn't make it any less jobby. You still have to do it. Every day. You still have to hit 100K words per month (or whatever your goal is.)

    Pen names

    I love working with pen names. I think you should use them for branding purposes, not necessarily for concealing your identity--mostly because it's just not that hard to figure out who's really behind a pen name. But for branding, they're great. Use them where you don't expect much crossover between audiences.

    Currently, I have a pen name for historical and literary fiction (those genres see plenty of crossover between audiences, so no need to separate those brands, though I do indicate whether a book is more commercial or more literary with its cover. My beautifully illustrated covers below are obviously more commercial, as they hearken to classic fantasy and sci-fi novels, but with a distinct historical feel. The more esoteric Baptism for the Dead has a cover that feels less commercial.)

    I also have a pen name for paranormal and contemporary romance--which Paul and I begin promoting/attempting to break out on October 1, yay! There isn't a lot of crossover between HF and lit fic, and the romance genres. Therefore, a new pen name was needed.

    The third current pen name launches in February 2016 and is focused on young adult sport stories: mostly equestrian sports (i.e. HORSEY GIRLS!!!) but I'm also planning a series based around a summer camp. Obviously there wouldn't be a lot of shared interest between teens' horse/summer camp stories and steamy paranormal romance, or literary fiction. (I'm super excited about this pen name, because I've wanted to write books about horses since I was a wee child.)

    As for marketing consequences of different pen names--it's a lot of balls to keep in the air, for sure. Having an assistant has helped TREMENDOUSLY with this. But I had two pen names before Paul came to work for me, so it's manageable without an assistant--you just have to be a little more organized and focused. Being aware of what promotional efforts actually work well, and which aren't giving high enough ROI (whether your investment is money or time) helps a lot. Then you can cut out all time-wasting efforts and streamline your promo hours so you're only putting effort into what works.

    You can't be afraid of letting readers down. You WILL let some of them down. It's not a reflection on you; it's just that you and that reader didn't make a love match. You haven't loved every author you've ever read, right? Same will hold true for readers of your works.

    What has worked the best for me

    Outlining. Specifically, outlining the way I outline, which puts a sharp psychological hook into the reader from the first chapter and pulls them inexorably along to the end of the book (or better yet, the end of the multi-book series.) Outlining before I write saves me a ton of time, so I never enter the dick-around phase, where I fiddle with the plot and characters and have to go back and delete days' worth of work because I wrote off in the wrong direction.

    I go over all that in Take Off Your Pants. If you do want to increase your speed, it might be a good book for you to check out.

    Peace out!


    Take Off Your Pants and see what everybody is talking about!
    Libbie Hawker | Site + Blog | Mailing List | Twitter

    Offline elizabethsade

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 451
    • Gender: Female
      • View Profile
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #9 on: September 02, 2015, 10:09:32 am »
    Thanks all. I love all the practical suggestions - and just the insight into the mind of someone who is doing what I want to do - so keep 'em coming.

    But Megan, this is exactly it. The real difficulty is likely in my brain LOL. I think it's a lot like trying to lose weight. If you focus on the end goal, it becomes overwhelming and you quit. I suppose it means focusing on the smaller goals then, but then you can also feel you're not really getting anywhere.

    Augusta, that might be part of my problem. My kids are in school too, but I don't seem to have writing and non-writing time - it all blends together. I'm often writing late, late into the night and I feel burnt out in the day -which is actually when I have the uninterrupted time. I'm a night owl, so I write better at night, but I'm not getting enough sleep and am writing when people are around to distract me for part of the time.

    Thanks Jim, I've gone to look at that link.

    Violet, I think I do overthink. I think more about writing than actually doing it!

    I think aiming to be part of the book a month club takes a very specific mind set. I want to be capable of it, I believe I'm capable of it, so I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing 'wrong' that I'm not making it.

    I'm sooooooo impressed by those who do.

    I don't know if I technically count because I'm not published yet, but I do write in the realms of one book a month. Probably could include editing, if I was writing full time (silly day job). But on average I dictate 5k-6k a day throughout the day, and then spend more time cleaning it up. Depending on whether or not I take days off, that can be 1-2 novels a month.

    Since I haven't published yet (and gotten that crucial external validation) I run into a lot of self-doubt and confidence issues. Somedays it's hard, some days it means I don't start writing until the evening (my normal writing time is scheduled in the morning). It's basically been a long progress over the past year of starting to trust myself as a writer. I've also been 'banned' from evaluating my writing by my writer friends, because I can't objectively assess it. Well. By that I mean, I focus on all of the negatives. Instead of the positives.

    I don't focus on how many words I write in a month - honestly, that would terrify me. Instead I focus on each day's list, each day's goals. I get those done, and then I focus on the next day. It is very similar to weight loss (good for me, I'm doing both). If you focus on, say, writing 3k-4k a day (or whatever you need to hit a novel a month), that might help get you over that mental barrier.

    I don't procrastinate (much...) because if I want to make this my job, I have to slot it in around the day job. And I very, very much want to leave my day job in May. (Due to reasons, that's when I'd be leaving anyway. So it's either make writing work, or get a new job.)

    I do find getting started for the day to be the hardest part. Sometimes it requires kicking myself off the internet and settling down on the couch with my digital recorder (I use Dragon, especially now since I have tendonitis) and recording what I need to. By the end of the hour, sometimes I don't want to stop. But I do, because I don't want to risk burnout.

    Good luck. :) I hope it works out for you.

    Offline 75845

    • Status: Dostoevsky
    • ******
    • Posts: 3602
      • View Profile
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #10 on: September 02, 2015, 10:32:23 am »
    Hi, Heather. I stupidly didn't hit "quote" before I started writing, and I'm on my tablet which makes copying and pasting difficult when I'm sitting here with muffin crumbs on my hands and a cup of coffee beside me. So bear with this wall-o-text reply.

    You can hit quote on any comment written on the last page of the thread and it will add the quote wherever your cursor is sitting. Of course that means that if this thread had gone to a 2nd page you could not quote the OP, but in this case you could have done. To do this just swipe down to the appropriate comment and tap Insert Quote.

    Offline vrabinec

    • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
    • *******
    • Posts: 5262
      • View Profile
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #11 on: September 02, 2015, 10:53:15 am »
    I should try writing a book in a month and post it here, just to give you guys a laugh.

    Bedrich Pasek VIII | Website

    Offline valeriec80

    • Status: Dostoevsky
    • ******
    • Posts: 3683
    • Gender: Female
      • View Profile
      • V. J. Chambers, author
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #12 on: September 02, 2015, 11:06:28 am »
    I'm more a book every two months since the birth of my son last December, but before that, I managed a book a month, and if I can ever get my dictating to be accurate enough not to take forevah to clean up then I might be able to get back there.

    For book a monthers, how do you stay sane? How do you switch your brain from one series to another or book to another? How do you let go of a book - I'm forever tinkering. How do you have the confidence in yourself to feel a book can really be finished in a month (I know it can, but I don't feel it can)? How do you make a plan for your year and actually get yourself to stick to it ?!  ;D Does it ever feel like a drag? Is switching between series or genres the answer to keeping it fresh?

    How do you handle books that require a bit more research? Give them more time or just up your productivity each day?

    How do you mentally give yourself permission to be this prolific? I still have a lot of inner voices telling me that this writing thing is just a sideline - even though I've made more doing this than anything else in my life (but I've always worked in the Arts so the bar wasn't that high  :D) -  and I can't put it front and center when there are so many other important things in life to take care of.

    I worry about letting readers down - is a pen name the answer for tackling other projects? For feeling less judged and freer to experiment? But what are the marketing consequences of that for those who have?

    -The brain switching business? For me, it's about immersion. I have certain books that I read and shows that I watch when I'm writing a certain book, and I often see stuff that I want to read/watch and tell myself, "No, that will just make you want to write X. So, wait until you're working on that book, and then you can binge that."

    -Letting go of a book isn't a real issue for me. I'm so damned sick of it after my three-times-through editing process that I'm happy to never look at it again, lolo.

    -I think the confidence comes with practice and time. (And saying stuff to yourself like, "Elle Casey does it, why not me?") After you've got four months down and four books, you feel pretty okay about yourself, you know?

    -I don't make plans for myself other than, "You will write X number of books." If I tell myself that I *must* write X, then my brain will rebel. I'm doing better at this, because it's obviously better to put out your series books one after another, but sometimes thinking of writing another book is this same universe makes me pouty.

    -Yes, it sometimes feels like a drag. But it felt like a drag sometimes when I was only doing 2K a day in the evening after my day job. And it felt like a drag when I was only writing one hour a day during the first trimester of my pregnancy. The drag thing has less to do with output and more to do with attitude, in my opinion. It's really mind over matter. You have to learn some tricks that will make you fall in love with your WIP all over again--it's kind of like a relationship, I guess. Sometimes, you need to put on some sexy lingerie or have a date night (i.e. go back to the well that inspired you in the first place.)

    -Dealing with the inner voices is its own thing. I've got mine, and they don't always shut up when I want them to either. :(

    Offline KL_Phelps

    • Status: Scheherazade
    • *****
    • Posts: 1923
      • View Profile
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #13 on: September 02, 2015, 11:14:23 am »
    A book a month would be great.

    Offline J.A. Cipriano

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 386
      • View Profile
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #14 on: September 02, 2015, 11:18:48 am »
    I tell myself one simple truth. I can't sell a book that doesn't exist.

    I also have about 40 books outlines right now. I need to write even faster if I want to write all of them because at this rate, I'll have 40 more by the time I finish these ones.

    I don't really have a problem switching characters and stuff in my head. Usually by the time I finish one book, I'm ready for the next one.

    I let go because I have to get to market. This probably stems from my history in production. Also I think all my books are terrible. This feeling grows with each revision, so I let them go before they wind up in a drawer.

    J.A. Cipriano | Blog | Facebook

    Offline Seneca77

    • Status: Dr. Seuss
    • *
    • Posts: 42
    • Gender: Male
    • Tampa Bay, Florida
      • View Profile
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #15 on: September 02, 2015, 11:31:44 am »
    A book a month would be great.

    I'd be happy with a book a year.
    R.W. Harrison
    Author of "The Onyx Seed"
    A supernatural thriller set in upstate New York just after World War II


    Offline ChristinaGarner

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 906
      • View Profile
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #16 on: September 02, 2015, 11:35:27 am »
    I'm enjoying this thread very much. Thanks to everyone who's taken the time to go over their process.

    I find that I can write drafts fairly quickly, (60k in a month) however a few things slow down my actual output:

    I need time off between drafts. I generally take 2 weeks while my editor is reviewing my MS. I need to come back with fresh eyes. Ideally, I would be working on a different MS while I let the other rest, but that isn't the way it works out. I tend to take a few days to do nothing and then the rest of the time I'm catching up on the life stuff and doing promo work. (Tweaking ads, interacting with my street team, booking promos, creating copy)

    I also rewrite--A LOT. I've been known to throw out 50% of my first draft as the story evolves. I think my stories are better served by doing so and I'm willing to take that time. So if I do 3 drafts and a polish with time off in between the drafts, I'm looking at 4-5 months. Definitely not the same output as some of you!! But I'd honestly be pleased with that if I stuck to it. I often end up taking a show (I work freelance in film) and then I'm working 60-70 hours a week and not writing much at all! I'm taking the next 6 months off and plan to get one novel published, another at least 2 drafts in, and a series of 6 shorts.

    My plan is to tweak my schedule so that it's sustainable and I get more efficient as I go.


    Offline over and out

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 309
      • View Profile
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #17 on: September 02, 2015, 12:22:09 pm »
    Definitely check out Libbie'sbook. It's got great advice in addition to what she's posted in this thread.  It has helped me immensely. Thank you Libbie!


    Offline SA_Soule

    • Status: Scheherazade
    • *****
    • Posts: 1484
    • Gender: Female
    • Northern CA
    • Author, Creativity Coach, & Avid Reader
      • View Profile
      • Amazon Author Profile
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #18 on: September 02, 2015, 12:26:08 pm »
    I go over all that in Take Off Your Pants. If you do want to increase your speed, it might be a good book for you to check out.

    That book changed my writing life forever!!! It helped me plot out a novel in less than a week.

    PLEASE get a copy and read it. Absorb it. Live it! I cannot recommend it highly enough. I've read a ton of great books on plotting, but this one just "clicked" with me and did speed up my writing process.

    Once the plot outline is completed based on Libbie's guidebook, I write out a chapter-by-chapter outline to fill-in more details about each scene. That took about a week. Then I set a goal of writing one chapter a day (about 2,000 words) and by month's end, I have 30 chapters and a complete first draft.

    But the hard part is staying focused and getting that word count done every day. *sigh*

    S. A. Soule

    Offline 84687

    • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
    • **
    • Posts: 64
      • View Profile
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #19 on: September 02, 2015, 12:36:30 pm »
    I write around 50k words a month, sometimes more, sometimes less. I suppose that works out at about one contemporary romance every six weeks or so as mine are around 60-70k. I know amongst my group of writing friends I'm considered fairly prolific, and I've written over 50 novels over the years. All the other advice on here is sound, especially knowing roughly what you're going to write before you sit at the keyboard - I plan out the next scene in my head when I'm not at the keyboard so I'm ready to go when I sit down. I try to write 2k a day and not go to bed until I've written that. Some days I don't make it because I'm busy so I just add the total to the next day, and I do the same if I've reached my 2k and write a bit more, I add the words to the next day - that way I've written words for that day before I start! That's a great motivator.

    Regarding giving yourself permission etc, I feel that the universe has giving me some small talent and it would be a sin NOT to use it! I just love writing so much that I want to do it all the time and I get irritable if I can't. I still work full time by the way, so it's definitely possible to write a book a month and work - I write in 15 minute batches, before I go to work, before dinner, after dinner etc. You need to find a genre you love and then just keep going! I do have pen names and also write racier novels and paranormal too, although I concentrate on contemporary, and I don't find it easy to keep switching. The key is to try to finish one book before you start another - not finishing is a big problem for many beginner writers. Good luck!

    Offline Vinny OHare

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 721
    • Gender: Male
    • New York City
      • View Profile
      • Awesomegang
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #20 on: September 02, 2015, 12:50:37 pm »
    I didn't know you can set a word count in Scrivener? How is this done?

    Offline 77071

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke
    • *****
    • Posts: 2113
      • View Profile
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #21 on: September 02, 2015, 01:04:35 pm »
    I generally release novellas, but I write about a novel's worth of words most months.  It's just not all on the same novel-length stories. 

    For me it's helpful to switch between stories, but I don't think you'd get a full length novel done every month if you did that. 

    For those who release a novel a month, I think it's fair to say many of them probably work ahead a bit, rather than rushing at the last second to get the story written, edited, and published all in a month.   :-X

    Offline goneaway

    • Status: Lewis Carroll
    • **
    • Posts: 120
      • View Profile
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #22 on: September 02, 2015, 01:08:18 pm »
    I didn't know you can set a word count in Scrivener? How is this done?

    Project-> Project Targets

    Session Target at the bottom of the box.  I think that's what they were referring to anyway!

    Offline Briteka

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke
    • *****
    • Posts: 2050
      • View Profile
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #23 on: September 02, 2015, 01:11:01 pm »
    I didn't know you can set a word count in Scrivener? How is this done?

    In the Windows version, it's under Project --> Project Targets. It brings up a box where you can set overall draft target count and session count. I like to write in fullscreen mode, so I slide the box over to the upper right, and there's just enough visibility to see it.

    That silly box basically controls my life. :p

    Offline Cheryl Douglas

    • Status: Scheherazade
    • *****
    • Posts: 1562
      • View Profile
      • www.cheryldouglasbooks.com
    Re: Who basically writes a book a month and how?
    « Reply #24 on: September 02, 2015, 01:16:54 pm »
    I do this full-time too and have been releasing a 65k word novel every month for three of the past four years. I do it by writing 6-7 days per week, 2500-3000 words per day, broken down into two writing sessions. I type about 40 words a minute and do very little self-editing. I leave that to the pros I hire. It takes me three hours a day at most, so I usually don't feel spent by the effort. I break up my sessions into morning and afternoon, whenever possible, leaving plenty of time in between for other activities.
    There was a brief period a couple of years ago when I was feeling a little burnt out, so I cut back to a book every other month. My income took a serious hit and I started feeling as though I was losing the momentum I'd worked so hard to build, so I increased my output again. I think the problem at the time is that I was trying to work on two series at once and I wasn't passionate about one of them, so it felt too much like work.
    Now I'm working on a series that I really love and 3k words a day is easy, for the most part. If I had one piece of advice based on my personal experience: if you want to be a prolific writer, make sure you're passionate about every project.

    KBoards.com

    • Advertisement
    • ***