By the Numbers

Today, I did the math on the new beginning for Salvaged.

My average chapter is 3,500  words long. The shortest is 3,000. The longest is 6,500. The median is 4,612.  If I am shooting for three chapters in this range, we’re looking at a total of no fewer than 10,500 words… post-editing and revision.  Given that my idea of editing is cutting, not adding, I should probably shoot for a solid 15,000 if I want to have enough raw material to work with.

Right now, I have a paltry 1,710 words.

My uninterrupted sprint pace  is roughly 800-900 words every 30 minutes. Those are unedited, unrevised, often misspelled words. They require a lot of work. But they are building materials. If I apply that 800-word pace to the 15,000 word goal, we’re looking at 18.75 sprints, or 9.375 uninterrupted hours of writing. Minus the 1,710 words already down, we are at 8 hours, almost on the nose. One work day.

I can see how professional writers can do this as a full time job and crank out a lot of books in a year. Doesn’t that sound like fun!

I figure the regular assortment of activities would have to be divided among various aspects of the work:

  • Fresh writing new work
  • Revising / editing
  • Marketing and platform (networking, blogging, social, etc)
  • Reading / exploring
  • Business management (queries, negotiations, etc)

*shakes head*

Back to the matter at hand. That is my dream job, so right now, it’s essentially my second job.

We’re looking at very little free time to accomplish the fresh writing of this revision (I have no idea which category this falls under). By knowing it’s only eight hours of work, I feel like I should be able to knock it out quickly. There is a feeling of “I can do that.” It is possible. It’s not too huge.  Then I think about my actual writing habits and the time available and that feeling of possibility withers and shrinks.

I need to get on it.




9 thoughts on “By the Numbers

  1. You have no idea how nice it is to not be the only one with 4-5k chapters on average. Seriously, thank you. Feeling very comforted right now.

    And the way you describe writing as the second job that leaves very little free time so that you can get it all done? Yes, that’s my life these days. I don’t mind, because writing rarely feels like real work and I never dread doing it. Welcome to the club. Nice to have another member. 😉

    • Wait, how long is a normal chapter for everyone else? I never really looked at other people’s numbers. That’s just how long mine end up being when they feel done. Are we weirdos?

      The writing as a second job has been going on since I started the rough draft of Salvaged in January 2011. I had been writing before that, but not so regularly, and not to the exclusion of so much of the rest of life.

      • I think that chapter length varies I have seen others who write longer ones. I’ve also run into people who do 2k for a chapter. Ive even seen people as if a one page chapter is okay. I suspect it’s a style issue, so we’re not weirdos. So far as I can tell, there isn’t a right or wrong length. And I use the same measure, when they feel done.

    • I’m glad you find it comforting. You know, sometimes I put these posts out there and think “No one is going to care about this, you giant dork”. And then people actually appreciate it!

  2. Pingback: Sprinting for Words | A.K. Anderson | Science Fiction and Fantasy Author

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