#atozchallenge Y is for 2Years2aBook [Infographic]

2 Years to a Book. That’s what I realised I could accomplish – on top of my normal writing projects and goals during the year. For others who don’t have the luxury of so many free hours to write, as I do, the program also allows for a book draft completed during that first year.

Other Numbers Games for Writers

There are many similar number games for writers.

  • Chuck Wendig’s Big 350 (caution, swearing in post) was one of the main inspirations for my own program here.  For those unable to write 500 words extra a day, writing 350 may be more realizable.
  • The Million Word Challenge has participants attempting to write a minimum of 2,740 words a day for the entire year. That would feasibly give them 1Mil and several novels. Other word challenges suggest 500 or 1000 words a day – every day.
  • Only recently, Dean Wesley Smith dealt with the writing fast = poor quality myth, and in the post ‘Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: Writing Fast’ pointed out that writing one page a day equals 15 minutes equals 250 words, arriving at a 90,000 word novel within a year. He also asks those writers who do produce one novel in a year what they did with the remaining 23 hours and 45 minutes each day.

I don’t write everyday, I already take the weekends off from routine writing, for my family. But even at five days a week, over the course of a year, that adds up.

Caveat: in all the programs listed above, we are talking about the simple act of writing a first draft, nothing else. All writers know that that’s only the start, that there is an even larger chunk of work necessary to get that first rough draft shaped into something else.

My Program – 2Years2aBook

For me, this program is IN ADDITION to my normal writing work. Over the course of this year, I have goals to revise and publish at least one novel in my series. I have been working on that for several months now, and like many other writers I know, I also have commitments to other work within my writing life.

On top of these working goals, I realised I could find a spare 500 words a day (2 pages worth) without drastically affecting my current and main goals in writing. I could, effectively, get another novel ready over the year. I am a verbose and fast drafter, but other writers may only be able to cover this program alone, as their main writing project – 500 words is doable for many. And this writing – of another project – can mean that other writer’s lose focus on their main projects.

Juggling multiple projects at once is something I would like to tackle, however. And something I am prepared to attempt once I am assured I will not lose the main focus.

Year 1

The 2.Years.2.a.Book Program (I had to call it something) factors in my need for breaks on the weekend, and preparation time (or writing marathon time for another writing project). During the year, this program only runs over 10 months, allowing for two full months (eight weeks) plus weekends off – you can use this time as you please.

As an example my own free months are spent in prepping, outlining for a novel, or for a writing marathon like NaNoWriMo, or family holiday time. I tend not to write on weekends, but when in the midst of a marathon or heavily in a task, I can be found using weekend time writing in the flow also. It feels good to have the freedom of choice.

So, that leaves 10 months for writing 500 words a day, 5 days a week. At four weeks per month (bonuses for the five week months), that’s a total of 200 days writing @ 500 words = 100,000 words in a draft at the end of the year. Ample for most fiction genres, and possibly enough for two non-fiction book drafts.

Year 2

The second year is for revision and rewrites, and the submission/query or self-publishing process. This is another key point to the plan – there’s no point spending all that time writing a draft, without taking it to completion. Either take the average time you spent on writing those 500 words each week day (1/2 an hour? an hour?) and use that time for this revision work in the second year (while finding additional time for other projects), or recreate the Program’s Year One for another project / book, and use the spare months and weekends for revision on  the first draft.

Wash and repeat.

One Word of warning – writing is hard work. Coming up with 500 words five times a week can sometimes be a struggle. Make sure you really want this first: commitment and focus.

The 2.Years.2.a.Book Infographic.

Feel free to share this as you please.


AtoZ2013 _thumb

A-to-Z-Core-Habits3-_thumb.jpgThis blog post participated in April 2013’s Blogging from A to Z Challenge, along with many other blogs on subjects as diverse as writing, foodie blogs or mummy blogs.

This blog post is part of a themed series or pack on Writer’s Core Habits. I acronym this as WCH or WCHP © . Do a search for these tags, and you will find more in the series.

No affiliate links are used in these posts.

25 thoughts on “#atozchallenge Y is for 2Years2aBook [Infographic]

  1. You make it sound so easy! But persistence and consistency pays off. I will start writing down my word count for each day. I like the two-year plan. It’s doable. Thanks.

    1. Thanks Cate. I wanted something a little lighter and quirkier for the end of the A-Z Round, and something that might work for others also.

  2. When broken down, these kind of challenges always look so achievable, but whenever I try them I always fall behind and end up never catching up. My life is just far too unpredictable to commit to a daily word count (or am I just too disorganised?)

    1. As I haven’t fully completed my own writing projects, I’m hardly at a place to say myself. But I know I’ve been there – when a fulltime worker and mother – hasn’t everyone when trying to find time for something for ourselves?

      But then, I realised that if I could commit to turning up at an office for eight/nine hours in a day, just for some money, if I wanted to take my own writing dream to it’s full extent, I needed to commit to finding that time for my writing.

      My problem at that point a few years ago, was making that time I did eventually find, STICK. As a habit, like going to work, or going to exercise (not a great example, given my body shape right now.) She shirks away to take the dog for a walk….

  3. It sounds like a lot…500 words, 5 times a week but then I didn’t think I’d be able to complete one blog a day for 26 days. I find if you push yourself,you can do just about anything. 🙂

    1. I think that’s the key, Trish. Full on passion for what you choose to do. If only it were that easy to maintain a few months down the line.

  4. Reblogged this on "CommuniCATE" Resources for Writers and commented:
    When Hunter first put this post out, I shared this infographic on Twitter etc showing how to write a book in two years. The whole post is worth a proper reblog as there is so much gold in here! Thank you Hunter: particularly from someone who hates long term projects and likes things done and dusted. This is a good reminder to pace myself.

    1. Thanks so much for reblogging this Cate. I am honoured to make it onto your own blog, which I stalk anyway, lol.

      1. Thanks Hunter. I was going to put up the Blogathon punishment post too – then I read all the details and decided no days off and forget quality were words that weren’t going to do much for people’s mental health or professionalism.

        You’re right, it’s punishment! Is it just me, or is this all way out of hand?

      2. Read this the wrong way around regarding the sequence of your comments.

        The Wordcount Blogathon came before the A to Z Blogging Challenge, and I think there are so many bloggers out there, that they are finding different challenge themes or months to fit their requirements. Because I had previously done the Wordcount Blogathon, when I first encountered the A to Z Blogging Challenge a year ago, I decided it was actually the challenge I was after. As in a real challenge – blogging with an alphabetical theme put a real slant on it.

        But others, I’m sure, are simply after the challenge to blog every day, or with a motivation of prizes at the end, or the chance to tell the world about themselves (along with a community to share it in).

        Unlike the A to Z Blogging Challenge, both of these that I discussed don’t have such a large onus on having to visit, follow and read all the other participants. This could make them a little easier for the newer and older bloggers alike – where even coming up with a post a day can be a real challenge.Having read a few more of the A to Z’ers, several have expressed their disappointment that they didn’t manage to finish April’s blogging. They could get a little out of one of the many other blogathons out there.

        Then again, I would consider something smaller – like a blog hop, rather than a full month’s blogathon. I differentiate the term bloghop as meaning signing up for a certain day or period of time of themed blogging. Like the Whip It Good bloghop I did signup for scheduled for May 31st.

        So many options. But I still maintain – as a writer, blogging is not taking precedence over my fiction writing work. But occasionally, it’s nice to blog as a writing challenge. All kinds of things enter my mind as I’m writing those posts.

      3. I loved the idea of the A -Z challenge, and would love to do it but… The time demands are impossible!

        There is a ‘culture’ or thought pattern which seems to be based on the search engine’s desire for frequent updates to sites or you lose ranking and are harder to find: that being that you have to write every day or else! If the A-Z was over two months or a letter a week, I’d be in. I try and promote as many of these challenges as I can, but recently it’s become, NOT ANOTHER ONE! April-May have seen 5 or more, another comes in June. People are getting flooded.

        This is why I like ROW80. You have all year, the pressure is non existent and you set your own goals.

        Sorry for the massive over-rant. It’s Monday. 🙂

        Best wishes Hunter.

      4. You might be onto something there. I, too, love the idea of something like A-Z, perhaps over a two week interval, taking it out for a year. But of course, you’re right about the SEO look at more regular postings. Although that wasn’t the aim of my own A to Z posts, I noticed my blog hit Google high up a couple of times over the month.

        Regarding the burnout suggestion, I think a lot of bloggers in A to Z are still recovering, having not (as a commenter just here said) not blogged at all in May. I gave up ROW80 for this quarter, knowing I wouldn’t find the energy to do that, plus A-Z, but will be returning to it when Round 3 commences – it’s one of my favourites due to the smaller community of bloggers.

        Don’t apologise about the Monday rant – I like the fact that wordpress blogs can open up discussions like this. And Now I really must refind my motivation to get back into revision. I, too, am suffering some burnout, and can’t promise a lot of blog posts this month. I’m pretty much out of ideas.

      5. The brain is like a muscle : sometimes you just need to rest it, or you can strain it. I go through periods where I write a lot, schedule posts ahead and then go away and do something different. It seems to work. Mind mapping all the ideas you would love helps to – include the crazy ideas, they can be gold.

        Wishing you a speedy creative recovery. 🙂

  5. This is pretty much how I have written my first two novels. I thought I was doing it wrong because it takes me two years to write a book so it is extremely gratifying to realise I’m doing something right!

    1. Chuck Wendig, who’s Big 350 was partially used to model my own 2Years2aBook, has recently come out with another approach towards fast writing. No approach is ever going to fit any singular writer, I’m sure. But I pull things apart and use what works for me at the time.

      My taking from all of this is that there’s no right or wrong approach to writing a novel – of course there’s not! – some of us are faster, some slower. Things may change if you’ve got a publishing contract with deadlines, and also with experience. Things definitely change for me when I’m trying to do things over school holidays, or push myself when I’m burnt out. I hope my system at least gives some flexibility when I need it.

      The good thing about your approach is that you’ve actually written a book or two. There are so many people who never finish – or start.

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