photo by K.B. Owen, WANA Commons
photo by K.B. Owen, WANA Commons

If writing is a marathon, we need to train, to build our writing muscles so that we can write faster and more efficiently. After all, we only have so much time and energy.

What if we want to increase our daily or weekly word counts? I think the best answer lies in this analogy: It’s a lot like fitness. We start small and work our way up to our goal.

Since I’ve been writing full time, I’ve wanted to increase my daily word counts while avoiding burnout at the same time. Every writer works at a different pace and has his/her own process. I’m a big believer in doing what works for you and avoiding one-size-fits-all advice. But I suspect the concept of endurance works for us all.

Think back to when you started writing. I don’t mean novels. I mean when you first had to write a report or an essay. I bet writing 500 words, three pages, whatever the assignment length was, seemed daunting. Today, I can write 500 words pretty quickly because I’ve trained myself to do so. I can even write 1K pretty quickly.

It’s sort of like training for marathon: We don’t start out running five miles. We start out running one mile, and we’re about to collapse after the first quarter-mile, depending on the shape we’re in. We work up to five miles or whatever distance we want to run.

Writing is the same way. If we want to write 10K/week—or whatever number suits you—we have to build up our writing muscles. For me, my natural pace is about 1,000 to 1,500/day. I can write that pretty easily. But I’m thinking of challenging myself to write 2K/day in two writing sprints. That sounds reasonable with my schedule as it is.

If you’re trying to write more, my suggestion is not to do it all at once. Set your goal and gradually increase to that number. Figure out your natural writing pace and work from there. Maybe try to reach your new goal one or two days per week at first, or break it into writing sprints instead of doing it all in one sitting. Give yourself time to reach that goal. If it’s too much, don’t feel guilty about scaling back. Just don’t stop. Only you know what goals work best for you.

ROW80 midweek check-in

1.) Writing: Wrote 1,310 words in WIP, currently untitled. I’m tentatively calling it Goblins and Glamours. It’s a short work, one that I’m hoping to finish before May 1 so I can move on to editing and revising Good, Old-Fashioned Magic.

2.) Read four books on writing. Still reading Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Favorite quotes so far:

“When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. … When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the parts that are not the story.”

“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.”

3.) Social media:

  • Check in on Twitter daily. On track so far.
  • Comment on 3-5 blogs per day, Monday-Thursday. On track so far.
  • Blog 2 times per week. On track so far.

What about you? What’s your daily or weekly writing goal? How did you choose this number? What’s your natural writing pace or schedule?

And how are your goals for the week coming along?

A Round of Words in 80 Days is the writing challenge that knows you have a life. It’s also a blog hop!

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