I’m neither sentimental nor a pack rat; I don’t save a lot of notes or other ephemera regarding my books (rather, each gets one chaotic Word doc that serves as an all-purpose dumping ground for character sketches, plot ideas and the like).
However, for each novel I do save a document like the one you see here: a simple running count showing how many words I wrote on a given day. This one is for Purgatory Chasm, but I didn’t have that title when I started in August 2008 – hence the heading “CS3” for the third Conway Sax book.
My goal is always to write a thousand words a day, Monday through Thursday. Four thousand words a week equals 16,000 per month, which would give me an 80,000-word manuscript in five months. Of course, real life and work or a reasonable facsimile thereof intrude, but a man’s reach must exceed his grasp.
If you can read the individual entries in the photo, note that the first draft of Purgatory Chasm saw a two-month-plus interruption while I reworked the voice of both Dirty Pictures, the previous novel, and PC. Start to finish, the first draft of PC took just under eight months. Subtract that two-month hiatus and you get a presentable draft in six months. I’ll take it.