Saturday, 21 May 2011


Well, so much for posting my plan before I start publishing.  Ah well!  Let's get started.  The first part of my plan was to create writing time.

Time is a precious commodity for a writer, especially when you have a full time job and a family.  I've read that there are writers that can grab 10 minutes here and there on the computer during the day to progress their writing, but that is something I can't do.  It's like spending only 10 minutes eating a really tasty meal.  You start enjoying the flavours and then you have to stop leaving you hungry and unsatisfied.  So here is how I carved out my writing time in the day.

In my job I work shift hours.  Some mornings I have to get up at 4:15am and others I don't need to get up until 8am.  When I'm on the early's I get home around 2:30pm and around 7pm on the late's.  When I am at home most of the time is spent on family stuff, (taking the kids to their after school clubs, helping with their homework, washing up, etc).  So, a pretty varied and full use of my time.  When I first started writing I used to do it on the train to and from work and also at lunchtimes.  I also cut out watching TV in the evenings, (but I never really replaced it with writing).  This was quite slow, but, as I thought at the time, it was the only way I could do it.

A couple of years ago I felt I needed to re-energise myself.  I was feeling quite listless during the day.  During my search for help in doing this I came across a book called The 7 Day Energy Surge by Jim Karas.  Amongst all of the useful tips there was a section on sleep.  What Jim suggested to help with energy was to get up at the same time every day and go to bed at the same time every day (or at least to be within 30 minutes of the times).  As long as you were getting the same amount of sleep every day that you felt you needed, (for me it was between 6 and 6 1/2 hours) it will help to keep your energy up.

Because of my shift work I had to set my times to be up for 4:15am - 4:45am and be in bed by 9:45pm -10:15pm.  I did this for the weekends as well.  I started noticing the difference after only a few days, but what it also gave me was extra time in the mornings when I was on the late shift.  Not only for writing, but also for swimming, which I've always wanted to do as a form of exercise.

So here is how my writing week breaks down:

Monday - Early shift - 2 hours before bed.
Tuesday - Late shift - 2 hours before work, 1 hour at lunch and 1 hour before bed.
Wednesday - Middle shift - 1 hour before work, 1 hour at lunch and 2 hours before bed.
Thursday - Late shift - 2 hours before work, 1 hour at lunch and 1 hour before bed.
Friday - Early shift - 2 hours before bed.
Saturday - 2 hours before anyone gets up, 2 hours while kids are playing computer games and 2 hours before bed.
Sunday - 2 hours before anyone gets up, 2 hours while kids are playing computer games and 2 hours before bed.

Total = 28 hours per week.

Now, I average my word count per hour at 500, so that gives me 14000 words per week.  Taking out 6 weeks for sickness and holidays, that's a possible 644000 words per year.  I'm not a long novel writer.  My books tend to get to between 60000 and 80000 words.  So with a book length of say 70000 words, that will take me 5 weeks to complete.  Add 1 week for planning.  Add another 4 weeks for editing, creating a cover and publishing and that takes the time for a book project to get from beginning to being published to 10 weeks.  That gives me a possible yearly catalogue of 4 novels and a number of short story's.

These projections have all been possible because I have been able to establish set writing times for each day of the week.  Something that I feel is very important for a writer.

The next part of the plan was to set up my publishing company which I will tell you about in a later post.  For now, I'm off to do some writing.      

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