Just Try to Get One Day Ahead.

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Each day in National Novel Writing Month, you need to write 1,666 words. It’s the math: 50,000 words, 30 days, no excuses. The math seems simple: 50,000 / 30 = 1,666 and 2/3, so 1667 words will end you up with 50,010 words at the end of the month. So you may think you can get away with 1,667 words, or 1,666 with 20 words tossed in at the end.

It isn’t that simple.

As you can see from the graph, or from following this blog, some days you just can’t get 1,666 words done. You’re off your game, you’re off on a hike, or a distressed person shows up at your door in need of help. So, I prefer to say that you need to do more than you think you need to in a day – because you need to be caught up before you slip, or you’ll fall behind.

For 24 Hour Comic Day – a challenge to do 24 pages in 24 hours – I and my buddy Nathan at Blitz Comics recommend trying to finish each page in 45 minutes, so you can absorb the inevitable eating, drinking, bathroom breaks and pencil sharpening and still finish your pages on time.

For National Novel Writing Month, I recommend something simpler: just try to get one day ahead, as soon as you can. Work super hard to get that first day of buffer, and then, even if something happens to throw you off, you’re not behind.

So now, at lunch, I’ve finished my daily word count. I have a few errands to run – but tonight, I’ll try to add that second day’s worth of words, so that I’ll not just be ahead for the day, but ahead of the game.

-The Centaur