Steve Berry
Steve Berry asked Steven James:

Describe any rules or regiment you stick to when writing?

Steven James You know, some authors go for a certain word count each day—1000 words, 2000, or some crazy prolific authors shoot for even more than that. I find that when I do that I end up frustrated.

One week last year I set a word count goal and hit 6000 in one day, and then 1 the next. Yes. One word, in ten hours of writing. That’s because I end up rewriting, editing, deleting what I’ve worked on even as I move forward.

So, I’ve started timing myself instead. I use a stopwatch and as I work on my manuscript I let it run. Get up for a cup of coffee—stop it. Check email—stop it. Pet the cat—stop it. That way, at the end of the day I can say, “Cool. I’m eight hours closer to finishing this book than I was this morning.” I call them Actual Manuscript Hours, or AMH. It helps me stay on track.

I like to shoot for five AMH by one o’clock. Man, whenever I can pull that off it’s a great start to my writing day.

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