Being retired now affords me more time to write. I want to do this full time. But, to be honest, I struggle with turning an avocation into a vocation. In other words, I have a hard time writing on a regular schedule.
Several years ago I read a “how to” book on writing and the author insisted you set a daily goal of at least three type written pages per day. Based in that schedule, you’d have a 270 page manuscript in about 90 days. A fairly decent sized book.
Sounds pretty doable, doesn’t it? And, I’ve, for the most part, followed the advice. Even when I would get stuck on a chapter I’ve just found another chapter to write. Some scene I know would need to be included to advance the story.
So, how do the greats do it? Let’s say Stephen King, for example. He writes 2000 words or six pages a day between 8 or 8:30 am and 11:30 to 1:30 pm. This is seven days a week without fail, by the way. He stated that at that pace you’d have a complete first draft within about three months.
Lee Child, the creator of the hulking, take-no-prisoners character Jack Reacher, writes 1500 words per day.
The late Robert Parker, the author of novels about the wise cracking private detective Spencer, wrote about ten pages per day.
What about the great literary giants of the past? Mark Twain wrote about 1400 to 1800 words per day. The Ulysses author, James Joyce, wrote only 90 words per day. And, Nobel Prize winner Ernest Hemingway wrote 500 words per day.
What all these great authors had in common was and is consistency. I guess the lesson for me is to find the time to get in my three pages per day. So, excuse me, I’ve got a few more manuscript pages to get in.