How to Write 100k Words in a Month

It’s the start of Week 3 of 2016 and as far as my writing goes, it’s better than ever. I’ve hit 49,600 words for the month so far, just short of 400 words for that 50k NaNoWriMO comparison, so I’ve hit a point where I could have written something novel length in only 2 weeks. I’m splitting my time between multiple titles of various lengths. I do intend to have one full length novel completed (1st draft only) by the 31st.

100k Words in a 31 days requires: ~3,226 words a day, every day. If you do that for a year, you’ve written 1,200,000 words.

So how do you plan for success, to hit 100k words in a single month? Here is how I’m doing it.

My three factors are: Writing Speed, Writing Time, and Planning.

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Writing Speed

On several of my writing days, I easily achieved writing speeds of over 2k words per hour. On other days, I was into some sticky scenes requiring more thought, and I dropped down to 1500 words per hour. Overall I averaged 1,790 words per hour. If I were only focusing on a novel in a month, I would know that I would only have to dedicate 1 hour a day to completing it.

To maintain a decent speed, I know ahead of time what scenes I am writing and what needs to happen. I am also driven by my timer to do nothing but focus on writing for 25 minute bursts, so I do my best to stay in the zone and let the words spill out to tell the story.

What to do: Find your writing speed. Write solidly for a length of time (again, I do 25 minute bursts) and figure out how many words you are actually writing per hour. That will be important to decide how much time you need to set aside every day to write.

Writing Time

More than speed, writing time has been the most influential factor to word count so far. I’ve had days where I’ve only gotten in half an hour, but on free days (i.e. not needing to spend my day anywhere else) I shoot for two to three hours of writing. At my current writing speed, that amounts to 3500 to 5300 words in a day, which is right in line for achieving at least 100k for the month. What a great motivator to write! Think of what you can do with that as a writer! 1-2 novels, 5 20k novellas (perfect for serials), 10 10k short stories (serials! Hell yeah!), and for you short-short story writers, a freaking potential of 20 5k length stories. I’m doing a little bit of all of it.

What to do: Take your writing speed and multiply it by the number of days in the month to see what you will accomplish. If you aren’t going to write every day, take that into account. Knowing what you can accomplish if you make the time is a great motivator to getting started on those days you don’t want to. But we’re chasing 100k words, right? You need to average that 3,200 words a day. How long is that going to take you?

Planning

I put planning last, though you need to know your projects before you even start. I have it last because my Writing Speed and Time decide what I’m going to accomplish for the month. Planning also takes into account your goals. I use loose outlines that track my scenes. I have a list of projects I want to release within a certain time frame, plus lots of other projects I’ve started that I’d eventually like to get back to.

With the word count I know I can achieve at my current speed and the time I make to accomplish it (let’s say I know I will hit 100k for the month) I can choose which of my projects I want to apply those words to. In my example, I want Hungry Gods 3 written and I want Spilling Blood 11 complete. For these books, I set aside 65k words for the desired lengths of those titles. I have 35k worth of words left over. Since I also sometimes write under pen names (romance stuff that has nothing to do with G.S. Wright’s chosen genres), I choose to give them a bit of a writing push too. I would probably otherwise ignore my pen names in a month like this because of my focus, but I know the words are there, so it’s either use them or lose them.

What to do: Take a look at how many words you think you will write, what you’re going to write for the month. This will help you maintain the momentum after you finish a project.

Even if you aren’t going to chase after 100k, using the above can at least give you an idea of what your potential is. So what do you think? What word count and projects are you chasing? Leave a comment below. 🙂

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