How Long Can You Write A Book With Me?

By Holly Lisle

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.


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.

Contents¬†© Holly Lisle. All Rights Reserved