How Long Can You Write A Book With Me?

I’ve had several folk apologize for showing up late, and more ask me if there was some way I could keep this going after I wrapped The Book That I’m STILL Calling Dreaming The Dead (GOT to come up with a real title for that).

I thought maybe giving you a look at my planned schedule would let you stop worrying.

I’m planning the book for 300,000 words. I have about 250,000 words plotted (estimated), and I ALWAYS write longer than my plot, because I add things. Currently, I’m adding scenes to my outline at a rate of about one new plot card for every two existing plot cards (which, if this continues, would bring the book in at around 333,000 words.

But first draft, let’s say I actually keep it to the already wildly insane length of 300,000 words.

I’m writing five days a week at 250-500 words most days. Let’s say I lean more toward 500 than 250, and so have two 500-word days for every day that I fall asleep at 250. 500 + 500 + 250 = 1250 ÷ 3 = 417 (roughly).

So, on average, I’m plugging through this thing at 417 words per day, five days a week. That’s 2085 words per week, which comes pretty close to what I wrote this week.

There are 52 weeks in a year, but I’m probably not going to be writing Christmas week. Or doing much of anything else. Gotta have a vacation sometime.

So figure 51 working weeks, and assume that I never get sick and never miss a planned writing night (which, considering the small number of words I’m doing, is a possibility) and realize that in one year, I’ll have done 106,335 words of the first draft. In two years, I will have done 212,670 words of the first draft. I already have 24,000 words done, so in Year Three, I’ll still have 63,330 words to go. Divide by 417, my average number of words per day, and you’ll get 152 work days remaining. Remember that those days will be worked out at five, not seven, days per week, and discover that I have about eight months of writing to do in Year Three to finish the first draft.

After the first draft will come revision. Not sure how I’ll run that.

But…

Nearly three years. That’s what I’ve set aside to write the first draft of this book the way I want it. Barring unforeseen circumstances and desperate situations, I’m going to be chugging along on this for a good long time.

So if you aren’t ready to start yet, not a problem. If you have a friend who wants to do this, but wants to rebuild the engine on his ’79 Camaro first… odds are pretty good he’ll have time.

Will I keep doing this after I finish DTD? I don’t know. That’s several years off, and things change. Let’s see where we all are then.

In the meantime, however, I’m done for the week. Around 10 tonight, I’ll post the Friday Night Write With Me post, and around 10 PM Saturday night, I’ll put up the Saturday post. And I’ll be back to work Sunday night.

Have a great weekend. See you Sunday.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

8 comments… add one
  • Tamara Jul 13, 2009 @ 13:16

    Holly,
    I am curious about why you want to change your working title. As a person who wanders through bookstores and picks up books based off of a desire to know what the title means, Dreaming the Dead would grab my attention. I get images of zombies, immortals searching for death, researchers studying/reviving dead, etc. I would read the back to see what is the real driver of the title is and if I wanted to know more.

    Obviously, I’m looking at your title from a purely reader perspective. I am quite interested to understand the writer perspective with regard to working versus final titles. Is it saleability related? Thanks.
    Tamara

  • Sarah Collins Jul 11, 2009 @ 15:51

    Wow. Guess we’ll all be great friends by the time this is over with! (Or you’ll figure out a way to block me, LOL).

  • Talina Jul 10, 2009 @ 22:08

    I have missed three days due to an extreme clean up on my house. It went as far as needing that honey-do dumpster Holly mention when she moved. When my house is in order I can concentrate better and feel better…sigh.

    Now it is time to tackle my work again with a clear mind.

    Thanks for showing those numbers Holly. I feel better knowing you and the group will be around for quite some time yet.

    I am going to rework my plot and add some scenes I came up with while cleaning.

    Happy writing!!!

  • Tori Jul 10, 2009 @ 17:35

    This makes me feel much better knowing that I can actually plan the novel I decide to write and still write it with you. I’m only in Month One in Thinking Sideways and I want to use these tools to finish a novel. So I won’t be starting for awhile.

  • Rabia Jul 10, 2009 @ 14:30

    Holly, thanks so much for doing the math for us. It’s nice to know that that I can come back in the fall and this will still be going on.

  • Cora Zane Jul 10, 2009 @ 12:51

    Regardless of how long it takes to write DTD, Holly, I hope you’ll create a new thread when you start on revisions. Give us an idea of what is going on in that process.

    I’ve got a current word goal of 90k at the moment, and as of this morning I’m sitting at roughly 77k. I should finish the draft in the next few weeks, and then I’ll tuck the wip away for about a week. After that, the deconstruction begins.

    For me that’s the most fearful part of pulling a story together – the second draft. What if I print it all up and realize it’s awful and I can’t salvage it? *_*

    Whew, okay, I’m making myself nervous so I’m going to stop now. Please consider a revisions thread, though, when the time comes.

  • Jamie D. Jul 10, 2009 @ 12:03

    And here I was lamenting missing a couple weeks due to an abnormal stress situation, trying to decide whether to jump back in or not.

    Jumping back in…since apparently I have plenty of time…

    Thanks! 🙂

  • Belle Jul 10, 2009 @ 11:54

    Thanks for doing the math on this. I hope I will have at least one book done by the time you need to re-think this. It is interesting how much this is helping me write. Just the right amount of contact to keep me going.

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