In fact, I'm so behind that I've had to push back the deadline on the first draft to the first week of August for sure. Eventually, I might even have to push the deadline back to the end of August, but that might be due to increasing the size of the book rather than a lack of progress. I'm a third of the way through the manuscript but only on the third day of the zombie outbreak, so I might need a high word limit in order to tell the story.
But back to this whole busting-ass thing. It's no secret that I've been tackling the book while screaming bloody murder. It got me wondering how I'm doing, how I'm really doing. To answer this, I went onto Twitter and posed a question to three writers I admire: Neil Gaiman, Chuck Wendig, and Rob Roberge. All three of them responded, even Gaiman, which gave me a fan-boy high for a few hours.
The question was simple: when you're working on the first draft of a novel, about how many words per day do you get through?
Here are their answers...
Gaiman: "1,500 to 2,000 if I can."
Wendig: "2,000, bare minimum."
Roberge: "Totally depends. can be anything from a paragraph to, on the really lucky ones, 20+ pages. A couple of 30 pages days. Some zeros."
This doesn't really surprise me. The general average I've heard from other writers has been a daily output of about two thousand words. Since starting Zombies, my daily average has been three to four thousand words. That's right. I've been working as hard as two Neil Gaiman's, as two Chuck Wendig's, and (just so he doesn't feel left out) as hard as Rob Roberge and his doppelganger from Dimension X.
Whenever I feel like I'm dragging my feet, like I'm not really making headway on the writing, I try to remind myself of that. I sometimes feel just enough pride in myself to keep going.