Training to Incrementally Increase Wordcount

These cholla cactus are terrible to touch and so lovely to see. Right now the desert is all pink and yellow with their blooms and fruit.

So, now that we all have the guilt out of our systems and we’re not worrying about trying to get 10K words a day, I want to talk a little about how I’ve worked myself up from 1K/Day to about 1750 words/day. That’s the schedule I mentioned yesterday. It lets you draft a 100K novel in two months, with a month to revise. Or to write and revise a 30-40K novella in a month.

This is just a general goal for me, because all of these then require layers of edits, which also take time. And usually have to be done right away.

So, working with this idea of being healthy and creating sustainable habits, I approached increasing my word count like I do my exercise program: incrementally.

For example, with weightlifting, I keep a record of how much weight I do on each machine each day. (Amusingly, I use my notebook from the 2010 RWA conference in Orlando, with the Harlequin “Honeymoon Mountain” cover. Heavens only know what the gym rats think – I’m such a girl.) After I finish on a machine, I note whether that weight was easy, good or if I need to repeat. Once it’s good or easy, I increase the weight next time, to build my muscle mass and strength.

Likewise, on the treadmill, I increase my speed by 0.1 mph at a time. Don’t snicker – I’m a weenie. I have to build the cardiovascular stuff really slowly. But I have. Over time I’ve increased speed so I’m running half a mile farther in the same amount of time as I could when I started.

I tried the same approach with writing – gradually increasing my word count goal over time. My morning blog writing is the warm-up and, for the last week or so, I’ve been hitting at least 1750 words/day. And I’m very happy with that.

Now – this last week was relatively perfect conditions. No work travel. Work is not frenzied. Not that much other stuff going on. We’re headed up to Denver this weekend to see the grandbabies and get our New Kitten. It will be a good test of whether I can get my wordcount all three days.

I’m really determined.

Wish me luck!

8 Replies to “Training to Incrementally Increase Wordcount”

      1. Meh. I subscribe to the Yoda school of increasing word count. “Do or do not. There is no try.” Though I suspect from a practical standpoint, in order to increase word count you have to have a few things. 1. A notion of where you’re headed. 2. Enthusiasm for the project as a whole and for the scenes you’re working in particular. 3. Basic knowledge of how to pull back when instinct whispers you took a wrong turn (and not let that pull back last for three weeks).

  1. Never thought to do that with my writing. I will try it. I’m still reeling over your statement, “Most writers can do about 1,000 words/hour. (Your mileage may vary.)” Feeling so inadequate because my mileage varies considerably. I’m like a 70s gas guzzler.

    1. LOL, Samantha! I should say that’s for writers who are really “in training.” It’s comparable to saying that most runners are comfortable running a mile in ten minutes. Now *I* can’t run 6 mph without blowing a gasket, but that’s because I’m a weenie. I know a lot of writers, too, who go more slowly than that. And others who go faster. But there’s a #1K1Hr hashtag for a reason.

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