Steve Chatterton
Will Write for Food
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350: Banking Words

January 26th, 2016 by Steve

350

The 350 philosophy helps developing writers get into a routine of writing on a regular basis. With consistency comes consistent quality. But since you’re not making any money writing yet, chances are you have other things you have to do as well. The things you must do to hold down a job and keep your spouse from walking out on you.

That’s where the concept of banking hours comes in. What if you have one of those days where everything falls apart? Those days where you’re the only one that can fix stuff, leaving you no time to write? That’s when you start averaging things out.

Your weekly goal is 1,750 words. If you can’t make every day, maybe you can put in a little bit extra every other day that week. Spread over four days, 437.5 words a day hits the same target, which isn’t asking for too much more. Once you get rolling, you might find it takes only a few extra minutes to hit that goal.

It’s not uncommon to hit your target and keep going. “Just let me finish this one thought,” you’ll say. Or, “Just let me finish this scene.” Or, more often than not, you’ll have a What if? moment and just start writing it through to see where it goes. Whatever the motivation, it’s easy to run over my goal when I get carried away. When this happens, I bank away the extra words and put them toward finishing early or taking a little break. It’s one of the perks of setting a reasonable daily target.

Now let’s assume that like most folks you like to get away every once in a while. Go on vacation. Forget everything for a while. Including your novel in progress. Here’s what you do: change your daily goal. The 91,000 word per annum target assumes 52 weeks of work. If you holiday for two weeks, you can make up for that by averaging out those ten days over the rest of the year. It’ll only cost you an extra 14 words per day. Come on, you can do that standing on your head.

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