Friday, November 02, 2007

Creepy, Crawly Little Writer

Stephanie Rowe, multipublished author of the Rita-nominated He Loves Me, He Loves Me Hot, the newly released Sex and the Immortal Bad Boy, Must Love Dragons, and Date Me Baby, One More Time, is guesting today over at the Manuscript Mavens blog and, I have to confess, reading her daily page count goal put me pretty much to shame. She shoots for 12 pages per day, 7 days a week. She usually gets more like 18.

And she does it as the mother of a toddler!

My God, when I was the mother of a toddler (actually, I was sometimes the mother of multiple toddlers, but let's forget that whine for the moment), I could scarcely form coherent sentences half the time, much less coherent characters and plots. And I certainly couldn't have written anything sexy, since my idea of bliss at the time was climbing into bed and going to sleep! (Oh, my poor husband. Truly, I feel for him now!)

Even now that my kids are all in school six hours per day and I get an average of eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, I still only manage to average about 2 pages per day, 5 days per week. Good Lord, at that pace, I'll finish my first full-length book about the time I'm eligible to collect Social Security (which is coming much faster than I'd like to think!).

True, that "average" over 5 days per week includes days when I don't write anything at all for one reason or another. I do have a full-time job, of course, I'm actively involved in my older son's Cub Scout Pack and my daughter's Brownie troop, I have a house to keep in a minimal state of cleanliness between the housekeeper's weekly visits, and I have a husband and kids who perversely want my attention (and also like it if I feed them regularly). So I have good excuses for my low page count.

But ultimately, they are just excuses. I should be able to write considerably more in the roughly two hours I have each weekday to devote to writing. There's no excuse for writing at the ridiculously slow pace of a page per hour!

As if to create a perfect storm of making me feel utterly inadequate, yesterday saw the beginning of NaNoWriMo. My friend and fellow Cobblestone author, Yolanda Sfetsos, is "playing" and in two days, she wrote over 10,000 words. (A couple of days before that, she finished a 15K word story in two days, picking it up from 1,500 words.)

How is this possible? Are these writers robots? Ultra-caffeinated word-producing ninjas? Inquiring minds want to know!

So, how about you? How many words/pages do you write per day on average? How much time do you devote to writing each day? Do you give yourself a daily goal (whether it's a specific page/word count or a scene count)? If you do, do you usually meet/exceed it, or fall short? (I confess to mostly falling short.) What techniques have you found for helping you meet your daily goal?


Jennifer Linforth said...

Well, now I am terrified.

My daughter just took her first steps... bless her heart, the little drunk muppet. My biggest fear is that life--will change. I am am worried about managing editors and writing while having a toddler around.(and I work full time too) Infants--don't go anywhere. Toddlers... toddle.

Right now I write when she sleeps. I start at 6pm (Hubby does dinner) break for that then continue until 9pm. Every night. I think we must get in some sort of habit. Thankfully there is daycare and on my days off she is there (more so because she LOVES it) but that gives me quiet time to write.

I don't bother with word counts. I just tap away until the scene is purged from my head. But I really fear the changes that will come as my daughter explores her independence. Sounds selfish... makes me feel bad to think that way.


Anonymous said...

I just realized that after I finish a novel, I need a little bit of a break (approx 2 weeks) before I can get serious about writing regularly again. When I'm on a schedule I usually fall slightly short of my ideal words per day goal. But only slightly. Revising usually takes me longer than I thought.

Jackie Barbosa said...

Hi Jennifer! Thanks for stopping by.

I'd say that if you can write with an infant, you can probably write with a toddler. I was just as brain-ead with babies as toddlers (and I had both at the same time more than once, so I was REALLY braindead!).

The thing that made my experience of infancy and toddlerhood difficult and mind-numbing was that all three of my children were very poor sleepers. None of them made it reliably through the night before reaching about two years old. As a result, I was perpetually sleep-deprived. I also breastfed all of them for a hippie-ish length of time which I probably had best not divulge and that had a profound effect on my libido. If I'd been writing at all then, it certainly wouldn't have been romance, since I thought nothing was anywhere near as romantic as sleep.

And Beverley, I think downtime between projects is good. I was just thinking about you and wondering how your queries and projects are going. Since you're now blogless, I feel completely out of the loop! Do tell!

lacey kaye said...

Great blog. Alas, I must hide from this question...

Tessa Dare said...

I have two toddlers. I need some of whatever Stephanie Rowe is slipping in her morning coffee.

I feel really, really good if I average 5-7K words a week, when I'm really putting my nose to the grindstone. Lately, the nose has been buried in books and work and the Internet and a million other diversions, though... But that all changes this week! Back to work!

Anonymous said...

What Beverley said. *g

Jody W. and Meankitty said...

If I have time, I can write a lot. But that's not happening right now so my wordcount is zip. I just have 1 toddler, but I also get zero breaks from her (to match my wordcount) -- no mom's day outs or anything like that. Pretty much what I do all day is deal with her and sometimes spare a wish that I was writing.

Oh, and of course, I spare some slavish obedients to Meankitty every day, too! That may pay off sooner *heh*

Jody W.