Can you really write a novel in 8 weeks? And why would you?! The questions (and answers) aren’t as crazy as you might think.
The short answers are…
Yes, and why not?
The longer, better, less black and white answer is this…
If 1) you have many stories in your head tapping a figurative foot for you to get moving already, 2) your long term goal is to have an extensive body of work out into the universe 3) you plan on making writing your career… You might want to buckle down and make a doable plan. (No, it doesn’t mean write a new book every eight weeks.)
Here She Goes Again About Word Count Goals…
I’ve written and spoken many times about word count and word count goals, so if you need clarity, check out this post. Personally, I set my WCG at 2000 words per writing session. I typically write five days a week. Therefore, at this pace, I will have about 10,000 words at the end of each week. Basic math (the extent of my skills) says that in eight weeks, I’ll have 80,000 words… ie: a novel. See? Not impossible!
*The average novel is between 65,000 words and 85,000 words, and count varies by genre.
Mind you, I rarely push myself that intensely, and complete rough drafts in about four months. In the case of Rosabelle’s Way (book two in Welcome to Chance) I did complete it in 8 weeks since I wanted it released by a certain date and proximity to the release of book one. The rest of the series released four months apart. In any case, this was how I discovered I could write a novel in 8 weeks.
This end of eight weeks manuscript is far from ready to publish. It’s a first draft. It will go through rounds of self edits before a proofer or beta reader ever see it (let alone an editor). It’s also relevant to note that I’m not writing the next War and Peace.
To state the obvious, this takes commitment, perseverance, and dedication. It also takes a well-thought out plan of action. If you’re willing to put the time and effort in, you absolutely can get there. If you can let go of the self critiquing, doubting, and second guessing and permit yourself to just write the damn story (good, bad, indifferent be damned)… You can absolutely get there.
Here are the steps of completing a WIP within a time constraint.
- Determine a completion date & final word count goal
- Calculate number of words per day to accomplish goal
- Designate time and place for writing
- Stick to the plan
- Oh, and write!
*This process may come easier to pansters (those who simply sit down and write) than plotters (those who outline & research prior to writing).
Now, this isn’t some kind of rule or common expectation. Many well-established (and well-known) authors write anywhere from one to four novels a year. Many have only written one or two in a lifetime. There is no right or wrong. In my case, the goal was to be a prolific author, with a large body of work. My long game plan is to have published 100 books within ten years. Why? No idea. I guess I just like goal setting, maybe?
It is totally okay and perfectly normal to take months and years to complete your manuscript (check out this guided writing journal by our own Liz Delton HERE). Particularly if your genre is literary, science, or historical fiction. The only thing that’s not okay, is putting off your dream for fear/doubt, lack of confidence, or procrastination. Remember, your first draft is never, ever perfect. So, stop expecting or hoping for it to be!
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Elsa Kurt is a multi-genre, traditionally & self-published author of over twenty-five books. She is also a speaker and creator of Path To Authorship, coaching for new and aspiring authors. Thanks to her fabulous ADHD, she also designs several apparel lines, took up roller skating, and is pressuring her long-suffering husband for a fourth dog. For more tips, insights, and observations on the author’s life, visit Elsa HERE. For all of Elsa’s links, visit HERE.
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