Blogger: Mary Keeley
It’s good to be back in the office and conversing with you, our blog community, again. Always when we travel, we look for news and tips we can pass along to you. Today I have sage advice from author Robert Benson that I think you’ll find helpful for your writing life.
I often hear writers ask for advice on how to balance building their platform and audience while also writing their book and do both well. Robert Benson, the keynote speaker at the Florida Christian Writers Conference, gave some sage advice. The theme for his keynotes came from his book, Dancing on the Head of a Pen. If you’ve read it, you’ll be able to visualize the applications for yourself, because he offers a view of the writer’s life from his personal experience. The book is altogether transparent, humorous, realistic, and thus memorable. I recalled my shoulder muscles relaxing and writer angst disappearing when I had read it. It you haven’t added this book to your writing resource library, I encourage you to do so.
600 words a day
Robert’s advice is to write 600 hundred words on your first draft every day except Sundays and holidays, without fail. Go into your writing space, close the door, and eliminate every distraction. Write something, anything, to get started until your brain kicks into gear and the words begin to flow from deep within. When you’ve written 600 words, stop writing for the day. Period. Whether you are in the middle of a scene, a paragraph, even a sentence. The mere thought might go against your writer sensibilities, but listen to his reasoning.
- When you stop in the middle of a thought, you know exactly where to pick up the next day. No time is wasted staring at a blank page, wondering what to write next. You might have heard me give this advice in the past, but Robert explained the reasoning further.
- Using a monthly average of 26 days, you will end up with 15,600 words at the end of a month writing only 600 words per day. If you do this each month, you’ll have written 93,600 words at the end of six months.
- Six hundred words per day gives you time to refresh and begin the next day with a clear head.
It’s about discipline.
Robert spends a year writing and polishing a manuscript. Many authors, such as those of you who write for Love Inspired and other category fiction, produce more than one book per year. Even so, the general principle can apply for you as well. Discipline. Calculate how many words you need to write per day for 26 days per month, allowing time before your deadline for editing and polishing.
Robert Benson’s approach provides one possible solution to the writer’s dilemma about balancing both the business and writing segments of your writing life. At the end of your undistracted, disciplined time writing 600 words, you are free to spend whatever time you have left each day working on building your platform.
How long has it taken you to write your first draft of a manuscript?
Do you think Robert Benson’s approach would work for balancing both areas of your writing life?
How do you balance building your platform and audience while writing and editing your book? What sage advice can you offer?
The writing life requires discipline to balance platform building and writing. Here is one approach. Click to Tweet.