Daily Writing Goals

Hey, everybody! I wanted to jump in here really quick and answer a question from Kelly A. Varner from Facebook! She asks: “Can you talk about your daily writing goals? Certain number of hours? Words?

Answer: Hi, Kelly! I’m luckily a pretty fast writer, so I aim for time spent writing rather than word count.

I usually have between half-an-hour to 2 hours to write while my kid is at school and Jaime is busy reading or doing something wonderfully arty. Those blocks of time are usually pretty intense, and I can get lost fairly easily if I don’t set an alarm of some sort, usually on my phone. Of course, I also have to set my phone on the other side of the room, out of reach, so I don’t get distracted with emails or Facebook or whatever. In those blocks of time I can get between 500 and 3000 words down in the manuscript, depending on how locked into the story I am. If I’ve outlined beforehand then most of it is salvageable, but if I’m trying to discover the story as I go I know that at least half those words will be scrapped in editing, either when I sit down to write the next day or after I show Jaime.

My most significant “daily writing goal” is to “write daily.” One scene, one page, one paragraph. Get something down every day, even if the only time you have is on a lunch break at work. You can’t rewrite beautifully if you don’t have anything written in the first place. Remember, too, that first drafts can be awful, ugly things–nobody is going to see them but you! This realization really freed me up!

Thanks for the question, Kelly!



I’ll be signing at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on Saturday, April 22 at 3PM! Come find me at Booth 135 Galaxy Press, where I’ll be signing copies of L. Ron Hubbard Presents the Writers of the Future Volume 33!

Very exciting times in Marleyland!



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