Monday, April 23, 2007

Ask the Authors: Monday

Welcome back to "Ask the Authors" week. If you have a question you'd like our panel to answer, send it to Enjoy!
Do you write to a daily quota? If “yes,” why? And if “no,” then how do you pace yourself and get a book done on time?

Yes, I have a daily quota. But do I always meet it? No. And then my daily quota has to increase in order to meet deadlines. Why do I have one? Because writing is how I support myself. If I don't produce, I don't pay the mortgage or buy groceries. -- Robin Lee Hatcher

Absolutely. What Robin said. --Angela Hunt

I have a loose daily quota while I'm directly engaged in a project. If I fall short, I redo the math and my quota goes up a bit. If I have a fabulous day, however, I still keep the quota the same so I'm ahead of schedule. --lisa samson

I usually start a book 6-9 months before deadlines and work at a 1000-words-a-day pace. Some days I’m spending more time researching than writing, so that fluctuates greatly. When I get to 2 months before deadline, then I’m starting to feel a little panicky: must-hit-1000-words-five-days-a-week. At about 4 weeks to countdown, I’m writing 7 days a week, 8-10 hours a day, hitting 2-3000 words a day and WISHING I wasn’t such a terrible procrastinator. But this just seems to be the way I work. –Deborah Raney

I write a weekly quota, breaking it down into 6 day chunks (taking Sunday off). If I miss a day, I know I can make it up on another. Currently I try to do 7200 words a week.This is the single most valuable lesson I ever learned about writing. Produce the words. Don't put in time. You can sit for hours at the keyboard thinking about writing or stressing over a sentence. Write the words first, get them down, then you can go back later and fix them. I start my daily writing stint by re-reading the words I wrote the previous day, fixing them as needed, then get on with my quota. I've also found that when I write first thing, the rest of the day goes a lot more smoothly. - James Scott Bell

I try to write a daily quota of half a chapter. Some days it works fine, others I fall short. I've learned to schedule two chapters per week Monday-Friday. That gives me one day to fill in when I fall short of my daily goal. Lori Copeland

No, I don't have a daily quota. I work with a fairly
detailed outline, so I know what I need to do and how
long I have to do it. Just from that I can usually
pace myself pretty accurately. --Ann Tatlock

I try, but I confess I don't often meet it. Daily quotas intimidate rather than motivate me. So lately I've just been telling myself "Write the scene, Karen. Let the word count take care of itself." That's helping. --Karen Ball

No. I write what I can as long as I can. I work mostly by scene. -BJ Hoff

I used to try for a daily quota, but it stressed me out too much. So I just make sure I write every evening--or at least I try. That makes for a very stressful deadline time with every book, but at least it's only for a week or two, not for the duration of the story. --Hannah Alexander

I don't use a daily quota. That often means as the deadline grows closer I am having to spend extra time writing. For me, though, to set myself a word limit is not very practical because I have to write in very defined times. Once the kids are home from school, my writing day is over. If I had a quota I hadn't met, I'd be stressed about trying to figure out how to finish it up. Instead, I really work month to month. I know about how much progress I should be making in the month. If I'm behind, the kids get to stay a day or so with grandma! -- Rene Gutteridge


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