2. Make a routine. Make it small. You can always build up. I have teenagers in the house. I have a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder that makes me want to clean and organize all the time, and I mean all the time. I work a full-time job. Sometimes, in the late evening, I just want to go to my nice, warm bed with my three or four favorite blankets and read. A couple of years ago, I set a goal for myself of writing 500 words a day. I consider that rather low, but it is truly a good number for me so I accept it as mine. Some days, when the creative muses are being kind to me, I bypass that number in hardly any time at all and will triple or quadruple my word count for the day. Other days, I am watching the word count, happy to reach 500, happy with myself for sticking to the routine, and happy I can now grab a book to read and relax, or watch one of my favorite movies for the millionth time.
3. Set a time. Try to have a set time to write. It's not always easy. Finding the time can be a work in progress all in itself. Currently, my work schedule is 10 a.m. until 12 noon and then 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. That leaves me with a writing time after I finish work, before my movie/book time. Luckily, there is not really a computer game on the market that my husband or I truly feel the need to play right now, or I don't really know what I would do.
4. Make it your own. Your writing place should be your own! Most who know me know I have my own corner of the computer room that is most affectionately known as Chelle's Corner. Lots of blue. Lots of sparkly things. It makes me happy. I refer to it most commonly as my Happy Place and it truly is. Just walking into the room and seeing my corner makes me smile. The idea is that the place where you go to write should be special, should put your state of mind in a good place so you are ready to sit down and write.
5. Set a word count. It's okay if it changes. Actually, it more than likely will change, but having a set word count gives you a beginning goal and goals are good (truly, they are.)
Average word lengths by genre (Remember, these are just a guideline)
Children/picture books 500 to 600 words, 32 pages
Memoir 80,000 to 90,000 words
Young Adult - 55,000 to 90,000 words
Middle Grade - 20,000 to 55,000 words
Adult novels - 80,000 to 100,000 words
Fantasy/Science Fiction tends to be a bit longer 100,000 - 115,000 words
New Adult novels - similar to adult, aim for 90,000 words average
Nonfiction typical - 40,000 to 70,000 words
Romance novels - 85,000 to 100,000 words
6. Deadlines are your friend. Set yourself weekly deadlines. Now this may seem silly to some. The earlier you learn to meet deadlines, the happier you will be. Setting your own deadlines can be relatively simple too - a certain word count for the week, 500 words a day, writing for 5 days would be a weekly word count of 2000 words.
7. Critiquing is good. Have a critiquing partner or join a critiquing group. I do not know much about critiquing groups but I do have friends that are members and absolutely swear by them.
8. Finish it! No matter what happens, try as hard as you can to finish your book once you begin it. Just so you can know you finished it! That's a progress all of its own, one that many, many people never accomplish. Then, write another!
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