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Monday, August 12, 2013

A Writing Schedule

This one is for the writers out there.

Someone asked me how I scheduled my writing or how I went out picking which project to work on next. For me it's a strange alchemy of deadlines, desires, and fulfilling the wishes of my fans. I cringe anytime someone writes me an email begging to know when the next book in a series is coming out and I don't have an answer.

This is my answer to that chaos and confusion, shall I translate it for you?

This is a daily writing chart for the year 2015. Each color represents a project. On the far left, that's December 2014 (notice the time off for good behavior and holidays). The white blanks are Sundays, when I don't work.The far left hand column has days of the month (1-31) the black blocks are blocking out days when the month doesn't have a full 31 days (can you spot the error in my calendar?).

So each week becomes a color block of project time. I alternate writing a new project with editing, and as each project hits a certain number of edits it's either shelved or queried depending on how much I hate it by the end of editing. Hopefully most these projects will be queried and published.

How much time I need to write and edit a project is determined by length.

Novels... Range from 75-90k in word count and at 2k a day 8 weeks seems fair. Some days I know I won't hit word count. Some days I'll write well over 2k. And I know my rough drafts tend to be skimpy. If you've never written a novel before I recommend either blasting through during NaNoWriMo in November or allotting yourself a full 12 weeks to write (which is 1k a day).

Novellas... Can't be any longer than 50k for most publishers that handle novellas (small presses are your friend here) and 3 weeks is usually enough for me to get a rough draft done.

Short Stories... I write and edit shorts within a week. I know people who write and edit them in a day. I'm not an expert in short fiction and don't usually plan on writing short stories. They just happen.

Editing takes longer for novels, much longer. I haven't perfected the process in any way, shape, or form. Novellas I edit in two passes. A once over to flesh it out, hand it to betas, and then address their issues. Then it goes to my editor looking like a Real Book(TM) and she makes me tweak things until it's ready to be published.

Honestly, I'd rather have my beta readers scream at me for a dumb plot hole than have an editor think I'm an idiot. The editor is there to do a final polish, not to do a deep edit on a book with serious problems.

And looking at my calendar I'm supposed to be finishing the first draft of LADY OF THE LAKE today while MOVIES is back with my editor (release date coming soon!). So I better get writing.

Stay sweet!


  1. Please do! It'll save me more time for writing. (I love spreadsheets!)

  2. Since you asked...

    February seems to have gained a few extra days :)

    So what exactly is Bussiness Week?

    *chuckles* Good to see you're so organized that you've got plans for two years down the road. I tend not to make plans since something will always disrupt them.

    1. Business week is a week to setup everything, make sure I'm on track, make sure promotional stuff is lined up, all of that. Having books for sale means taking time to do the mundane office work, it's not just editing and writing.

    2. *chuckles* Okay, guess you still didn't catch it: B-u-S-S-i-n-e-s-s

    3. Oh! Sorry. No. I miss typos in excel. :P