Scheduling My Writing

I have been a full-time writer since 1999. This was long before I was published in any of the genres I’ve been pubished in. My husband offered me a chance to follow my dreams and I took it. Quickly, I realized that while the idea of “writing all day” was awesome, the actual act of it was a bit different. It was so easy to roam off to watch something on television or do a load of laundry or whatever, especially when I was stuck on a tough part of a story.

Ultimately, my solution to that was to set goals for myself for how many pages I needed to write every day. The great side benefit of that goal setting was that I slowly increased my output from a few pages a day to five to ultimately my current page output, which is ten pages a day, five days a week. I can write more and often do, but most of the time my goal for each day is that ten pages. This means I can complete a book in 6-8 weeks and that means I can write abotu five books a year with time for editing and breaks. Great since I write multiple books under multiple names and I like being prolific.

That goal-setting also played a big part for me once I was a published author. Since I knew how long it took me to write a book, that meant I could set correct deadlines, take on additional projects when they were needed and fill in spots for my publishers. Now that comes in very handy since I’m writing for multiple publishers and still self-publishing and pursuing even more potential stories that haven’t been sold or scheduled yet. So when I sit down with my scheduled books for next year, it’s easy for me to set an actual schedule for myself that works in vacations and family events and that sort of thing.

I know many of you are writers, so I thought I’d give you a peek at my writing schedule for next year. If you have questions about anything, feel free to post them here and I’ll try to answer.

January – Proposals for Pocket (snarky urban fantasy)
Contracted Erotic Historical Romance as Jess Michaels (Releasing July 2):

January 2-4 – 25 pgs (1-25)
January 7-11 – 50 pgs (25-75)
January 14-18 – 50 pgs (75-125)
Sign up for Tucson RWA BIAW Jan 19
January 19-January 25 – 100 pgs (125-225)
January 28-February 1 — 50 pgs (225-275)
February 4-February 8 – ?? pgs (275 – end)
February 11-15 – OFF
February 18-21 – edit, turn in February 21
Due March 1

OPEN SPACE for Snarky UF or special project (400 pg opening)

March 4-8
March 11-15
March 18-22
March 25-29
April 1-5
April 8-12
April 15-19
April 22-26
April 29-May 3

Contracted Erotic Historical Romance as Jess Michaels (Releasing November 19):

May 6-10 – 50 pgs (1-50)
May 13-17 – 50 pgs (50-100)
Sign up Tucson RWA BIAW May 18
May 18-May 24 – 100 pgs (100-200)
May 27-May 31 – 50 pgs (200-250)
June 3-June 7 – ?? pgs (250-end)
June 10-14 – OFF
June 17-21 – edit, turn in June 21
Due July 1

July – Proposals for additional erotic historical romance

OPEN SPACE for Snarky UF or special project (350 pg opening)

July 8-12
July 15-19
July 20-July 26
July 29-August 2
August 5-8
August 12-16
August 19-23
August 26-30

Erotic historical romance potential MARCH 2014 BOOK:

September 2-6 – 50pgs (1-50)
September 9-13 – 50 pgs (50-100)
September 16-20 – 50 pgs (100-150)
September 23-27 – 50 pgs (150-200)
September 30-October 4 – OFF RELAY
October 7-11 – 50 pgs (200-250)
October 14-18 – ?? pgs (250-END)
October 21-25 – OFF
October 28-November 1 – edit Samhain #6, turn in November 1
Due November 1

Could potentially start one more project in November/December 2013 OR take holiday off.

  • Thank you for sharing, Jesse. That’s quite an aggressive– to me– schedule and it’s extra impressive that the quality of your work doesn’t suffer for it. It’s always so clean and reads so well. I’m in awe.

    Your writing schedule seems to be fairly close to this writing challenge I found recently (http://aroundofwordsin80days.wordpress.com/), which I think I might try instead of the various NaNoWriMo offshoots throughout the year.

    My question about your schedule is, how long did it take you to working up to 10+ pages a day? What was your starting point that worked up to 5 pages from?

  • I wrote full-time so that helped me work up to the pace I set now every day. I would guess it probably took a year or two to find the right balance between too much and too little. At the beginning I didn’t schedule at all, so I could have written a page in a day or five, I don’t really remember. I think I may have started around five when I really started counting.

    The thing is, the ten page thing works for me based on schedule. For some people, that might be WAY too much. My suggestion is always to track your writing. Take a week and just write as you usually would and see how many pages you’re doing in a day. Then take a week and really push your writing and see how many pages you could get done if you locked yourself down. Somewhere between “whatever” and “oh my God, kill me now” is probably the right rate. And that might be two pages or twenty pages. Every writer is different and there is no right way. 🙂

  • Greg Lang

    Thanks for this post. 2013 is my year to finally pursue writing full-time and this definitely motivates me to make it work. Like you I have a supportive spouse, so that really makes things a lot easier. Being a huge fan of the zombie genre, your Married With Zombies books were actually a huge motivation for me to write my own zombie humor/horror book. I’m also working on a YA title. I just wanted to say that your writing style and your accessibility as an author have made me a big fan. You are an inspiration.

    Keep up the awesome work!

  • Jesse Petersen

    Aw, well good luck, Greg! 2013 is a great time to start. After all, the year will go by no matter what, might as well make a go of it. 🙂 We all start from the same place (with an idea and no clue what to do with it).

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