I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the speed at which I write. Since signing a contract with a small publisher for three books and a Christmas novella, I’ve been stressing about my writing a lot more than I’ve had to do since I went indie.

As an indie author, I can write whatever I want, publish whenever I want. There are no hard and fast deadlines except the ones I set myself and they’re not really all that hard and they’re certainly not fast. But with having to write for someone else to their deadlines, that’s a whole different thing. Not only that, but this publisher wants books of a certain length or I get paid less!

I write very concisely. I write tight. I’m not wordy and I only write what I think the reader will read; what absolutely needs to be in the book. I don’t go in for long explanations, pages of thought, or thorough descriptions. It’s just not my style. Short and sweet.

If I can get across my point in five words, why use ten?

Well, now I’ve got a reason to use ten! Because my books need to be 10,000 words longer than they would otherwise be! Which brings me back to writing speed.

The thing is, the more you write, the fast you can do so. Writing, as so many people have said, is like a muscle. The more you use it, build it, and work it, the stronger it gets, the fast you can write. This is one reason why so many writing coaches and teachers recommend that their clients/students write every day. It keeps you in the habit, and it makes you able to write faster.

Aside from when I actually need to take a break from writing (which I did for the first time in years this past summer), I write every day of the workweek and frequently on weekends as well (although I do try to take my weekends off to refill that creative well of mine). This makes it so much easier for me to write whenever I sit down to do so, which is great. I am a plotter so I know exactly what I’m going to write when I sit down as well, which also helps.

But just how many words can I write when I sit down? And for how long do I need to devote to my writing to get done all that I feel I need to do.

Well, I am happiest when I can write 2000 words a day. Does that mean that I write that much? Not always. Actually, to be completely honest, most days I write between 1500 and 1800 words… sometimes coming so close to that 2k word goal I sometimes get a little annoyed at myself. But when a scene is done, it’s done and I don’t usually go back and add another 200 words to it just to get it up to 2k. That’s not to say that I won’t go back and edit it later and possibly add those words, but more often than not when I edit I take out words which is not at all helpful when I need to get to a certain number of words. Argh!

On those 2000 words, I usually spend anywhere between an hour and two hours writing. Sometimes when I have to do some character analysis or I have to take another look at my plot and figure out what my characters are doing and why, I’ll work for three hours on my writing. But that’s it! The rest of my day is spent editing or formatting the work of others – you know, actually earning money!

But with someone waiting for me to turn in my work; something giving me absolute deadlines, I’m getting a little nervous here. I want to be writing faster. Whether I’ll ever be able to do so is a question. I may have to actually devote more time to my writing in order to get these books done in time which means not taking so many other editing jobs. I’ll have to see what I can do.

One thing is certain, however, no matter how fast or slow you write, what is most important is that you tell a good story and tell it well. The rest can be forgiven, a bad story won’t be. So, people, how fast do you write? Do you set yourself a daily word goal? Page goal? Do you, in fact, write every single day?