Princess of Stars Update #2– The Productivity Question

I am now over 8000 words on Princess of Stars. No immediate issues have yet become evident– I’ve tentatively dealt with the story logic problem revealed by my synopsis. My productivity is about the only question mark at the moment– I essentially added five thousand words in nine days, or about 550 words a day. That is not a blistering pace, but it is fairly typical for me.

I stand in awe of those writers who can do one thousand or two thousand words a day, day after day. In his autobiography Fred Pohl stated that he wrote 2000 words a day, every day, even when he was traveling or having dental surgery. Obviously, this was critical to making him, in his day, one of the most productive writers in science fiction.

For some reason– laziness? lack of intellectual staying power? poor self-esteem?– I rarely can achieve as much as 1000 words a day, and I can never sustain it. My natural daily word count seems to fall somewhere in the range of 500 to 700 words (tonight I did about 750, woo-hoo). If I am right about this novel running to around 150,000 words (a pure guess at this point), then that would mean the first draft of Princess of Stars will be complete sometime around the middle of August, 2016. That’s not so bad.

The awful part is that I know that target date is sure to slip, because many other factors reduce my effective daily word count– real-life distractions (flu shots and bills and forms to be taken to my daughter’s school), my lack of a personal work-space (I need a man-cave sooo bad), wasting time doodling on other projects, and so on. And then…then there is the time lost to those days– sometimes weeks with Princess of Fire— when the essential futility and wretchedness of my writing oppresses me and I lie in a puddle of self-pity, unable to lift my hands to the keyboard. I am not one of those authors who are breezily confident in their own writing. It’s too easy for me to see my own flaws, and note the (large) gap between conception and execution. Perhaps the miracle with Princess of Fire is that it only took twenty months to complete.

I’ve said it before– perseverance is one of the cardinal virtues of a writer. Fortunately, I am very stubborn person. And, come what may, I am on the road.

More reports to follow.

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3 thoughts on “Princess of Stars Update #2– The Productivity Question”

  1. I generally try to shoot for at least 1,000 words a day on a given project. I’ve increased as needed if I’m facing a deadline, and when the heat’s on I’ve hit 4 or 5,000+ in a day. My all-time record was something over 9,000, but it was an insane project from start to finish. On the one hand, it was nice to see I could do that if necessary, but on the other, I wanted to punt my laptop into traffic. 🙂

    1. I would like to figure out how to increase my daily word count to around a 1000, but in some ways it’s almost a physical issue– once I get 600 words it often seems to get geometrically more difficult with each sentence to keep typing. This probably marks me as the amateur I am.

      9000 words– woof– is that the source of that animation you use that I can’t watch because, well, ick?

      Thanks, Dayton.

      1. I wasn’t able to do that when I was working full time. 500-1k was about the best I could hope to manage during the week with everything else that was going on, and I tried to gain ground on weekends/holidays.

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