Historical and Contemporary Romance Author

Writing Progress: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

As I mentioned earlier this month, I’ve never been able to write at a NaNo-style pace (which, I should like to clarify, I don’t even think is particularly fast for many writers–it only works out to about 1,700 words per day if you write seven days a week, which is eminently doable). For me, though, somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 words a day, five-days-a-week is the most I can muster. Still, if I can do that steadily, I can finish a short story in a month to six weeks, a novella in twice that time, and a full-length novel in around four months.

Or at least, that’s what the math says.

But lately, I have to confess, slow and steady has not described my writing. I’m having terrible trouble maintaining any consistency. Every manuscript I pick up with great excitement, I have to set aside a few thousand words later because I’ve run into a roadblock of one kind or another.

The result of my writing in fits and starts like this for practically the entire year is that I will only have completed two manuscripts this year–both of them 15,000 word short stories for Spice Briefs. That’s a pretty horrific track record for an entire year. I can do better than that and I should do better.

So what’s holding me back? Honestly, I don’t know. But I do know I have to make myself accountable in some way that’s a little more public for completing something. Obviously, the internal honor system isn’t working for me.

To that end, Beverley Kendall and I made a “bet” that we would each finish a manuscript targeted at Harlequin’s Presents line by the end of January. Our “punishment” for failure is to donate $25 to a political cause we both despise. That’s definitely a motivator, but I’m now sitting at just shy of 1,400 words on this manuscript and at the rate I’ve been going, I won’t finish until January of 2012. I’m determined to get to the 10k mark by the end of this week because next week I’m going on a 9-day vacation, which means I need to get myself a good, solid head start before I leave.

So, starting this week, I’m going to post my word count goal and then update my progress every day. My progress bar or “WIP Meter,” because I hope it whips me into shape, looks like this:

Promised to the Prince
1,000/50,000 words (1%)

My goal for this week, represented on the bar in dark blue, is to add 9,600 words, which is the 20% mark. Gulp. I’d better get cracking!


  • Carolyn Crane November 15, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I write at this pace, too. I just think, it’s not so bad. But, in the interests of not donating to a cause you hate, I hope you knock it out of the park with that wordcount!!!

  • Jackie Barbosa November 15, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Hi Carolyn. Thanks for dropping by.

    Normally, 1k per day is a FINE pace for me. Unfortunately, I haven’t even been managing that lately. I’ve been lucky to get 1k per week and then, when I do better than that, it’s because I’m WIP-hopping.

    The only reason I’m flogging myself this week is to give myself some breathing room in January, when I will inevitably encounter SOME sort of block and slow down dramatically.

    And thanks for the encouragement.


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