Writing a book requires the “writing” part

That headline is a head-scratcher, isn’t it? I mean, of COURSE writing a book requires the “writing” part, but that must be little-kn0wn fact if you’re to read many of the emails and “words of encouragement” being distributed by NaNoWriMo; and they’ve been doing this long enough to have some meaningful statistics.  They must know that the percentage of people who participate in NaNoWriMo each year is drastically different from the number of participants who win NaNoWriMo each year (and by “win” they mean writing 50,000 words in 30 days).

We experience the same phenomenon at Outskirts Press. We offer a free “Author’s Center“, which includes three free e-books, to whomever wants to sign-up without obligation.  Of course, since we are a business, we do that in the hopes that someday, those writers will be ready to publish a book and they will value all the free information and encouragement we have sent them over the months (or years), and choose Outskirts Press for their publishing and marketing needs.  But just like NaNoWriMo, we have more sign-ups than publishing authors.  I think almost everyone likes the idea of writing a book, but actually doing it requires commitment and discipline — something NaNoWriMo makes no secret of tackling head-on.

In order to write 50,000 words in 30 days, I’ve encouraged all the participants to at least write “something” every day. In fact, I’ve been more specific and encouraged everyone to write at least 1,000 words.

Well, yesterday, I was unable to do that.  I knew it was going to be a hard day to write (because it was election day), and I was only able to produce 827 new words to my novel, Idle Hands.   So I thought it would be interesting to compare my Day 3 Stats with my Day 4 Stats in order to see the exact affect it has on daily averages when you don’t produce at least 1000 words a day.

First, these Day 3 stats again, which are a repeat from yesterday.

Average Per Day 1989
Words Written Today 1459
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 5967
Words Remaining 44,033
Current Day 3
Days Remaining 28
At this rate, you’ll finish November 26
Words/Day to finish on time 1,573

And now the new Day 4 Stats, incorporating 827 new words (by the way, am I the only one that experiences 404 Not Found “crashing” errors on the NaNoWriMo site when updating my word count from the top menu bar?)

Average Per Day 1698
Words Written Today 827
Target Word Count 50,000
Target ~ Words/Day 1,667
Total Words Written 6794
Words Remaining 43,206
Current Day 4
Days Remaining 27
At this rate, you’ll finish November 30
Words/Day to finish on time 1,601

The most telling statistics are the last two. The “At this rate, you’ll finish” date changed from November 26th to November 30th (from 4 days early to just-in-the-nick-of-time), and the word requirement per day also increased by 28 words. Now I have to write more each day AND I’m still scheduled to finish 4 days later than I was! Ouch!  Talk about a double-whammy!

THAT’s the danger of writing a low word count in a day. Imagine skipping a day entirely!

I know I was going to write about one of our recent Outskirts Press authors who has done an amazing job leveraging social media for success, but this low word count day offered a good opportunity to do a comparison, so I’ll do that other posting tomorrow (and hopefully I’ll write way more tomorrow, too!).