A few days ago, I had a random train of thought, a random writerly train of thought, and as such I was inspired to share.
I, Nicole DragonBeck, have been a member of the Ink Slingers Guild for over 5 years now.
ISG meets every second Wednesday, as a rule, from 7:30 – 9:30 pm, and we generally have one month off a year (which means one skipped meeting) in December for Christmas and New Year’s.
In those five years, I have missed only one meeting (I was camping and didn’t have wi-fi).
The largest part of the meeting is taken up with our exercising – no, we don’t do crunches and push-ups: 3 members each choose a word and we have 5 minutes to write whatever we can, or please, incorporating those three words. Sometimes we do 4 words and 8 minutes. Some of us, and by some of us I mean me, may ignore the timer, but not by that much. When the timer goes off, we go around the table, in no particular order, and read out what we’ve written. We do 2 to 4 exercises in a meeting.
This is a great way to get those writer’s synapses jumping and the creative juices flowing. Note: there is NO critiquing. By anyone. At All. Ever. And there is NO self-invalidation allowed, either. The point is to practice writing, not to demean, degrade, or discount your writing, or the writing of another.
Some members write long-hand, some type in Word. I type my ISG exercises in a text document. I have all of them, since the very first time.
Recently, I dumped it all into Scrivener (the writing program I use and highly recommend) so I could get a word count.
Ready for it?
That might not sound like much, but let me put it into perspective for you.
The word count of a novel varies depending on who you ask, and what genre you write.
For example, Wikipedia says:
Novel: over 40,000 words
Novella: 17,500 to 40,000 words
Novelette: 7,500 to 17,500 words
Short story: under 7,500 words
From another website, (www.novel-writing-help.com):
A novel is anything over 50,000 words
A novella is between 20,000 and 50,000 words
A short story has a word count of under 20,000 words
Writer’s Digest suggests (depending on the genre) 55,000 – 110,000.
55,000 words, per all the above, is a novel. That would only be the first draft, you understand, but a writer has to start somewhere, and that would be the first step.
Now, time for some maths (if you don’t like maths, don’t worry, I’ve done it for you): writing once every 2 weeks for about 20-30 minutes, for 5 years = 55,000 words = 1 novel.
If that doesn’t sound incredibly gratifying to you, we can double it: writing 1 evening a week, for about 20-30 minutes, for 5 years = 1 novel of 110,000 words (or 2 novels of 55,000 or 1 ½ novels of 85,000…you get the idea)
Double it again: writing 2 evenings a week, for about 20-30 minutes, for 5 years = 2 novels of 110,000 words, or 4 novels of 55,000, etc…
And double it once more: writing 4 evenings a week, for about 20-30 minutes, for 5 years = 4 novels of 110,000 words (or 8 novels of 55,000, or 6 novels of 85,000…).
That’s one novel written* per year. At about 2 hours a week.
Those are all very rough figures, and I’m sure someone could come up with a hundred reasons why it doesn’t work like that, but forget the maths. The point is, it all adds up. You don’t have to sit down for one weekend and pump out 250,000 words of the greatest American novel ever. Publishers wouldn’t even accept that, unless your name starts with Stephen and ends with King, or something like that. You don’t have to write your novel in a week or a month either, in 5-hour stretches every day, and 19 hours on Saturdays and Sundays.
Just spend half an hour in an evening, or in the morning, or on a lunch break, or whenever, three or four days a week. In a year, there’s the first draft of your novel written*.
And I don’t believe there’s any restriction on writing more, if one wanted to 😉
Food for thought, for anyone who may care to write a book 🙂
*Note I qualify the statement with “written”. There’s a lot more, and I mean A LOT more to getting it ready to publish, and then getting it published, but those are other stories 🙂