Set A Quota, Meet The Quota

04 Feb


Let’s be honest, I wouldn’t know what to kick start this year of blogging with if not for Zoey’s comment. Aside from my writing journey, Zoey has also asked about my writing process and how my average writing day looks like. Thank you for asking, Zoey! I’m more than happy to answer.

So, let me get right to it. When it comes to book projects, I go by the practice of ‘Set a quota, meet the quota‘. This is how I complete books within a set time frame. How do I go about it exactly? There are two ways.

The first is, A Book In A Month.

When I graduated from university, I spent the first month after graduation writing The Slave Prince. I told myself I would get a job after I was done. I gave myself 20 days to complete the book, and I did so by meeting the quota of one chapter a day.

My chapters for novels are a minimum of 2,500 words (more is welcomed, less is not). Without fail, I sat down in front of my laptop around 10pm every night and wrote until I met the word count. I didn’t go to sleep until I was done. I didn’t give myself an excuse to skip a day (unless it’s the weekend). And there was no such thing as a writer’s block, because I pushed through them. If I had to write a sucky chapter, I did it anyway – I knew I could edit it later. In 20 days, the novel was done.

These days, since having a day job, this isn’t something I can do unless I’m writing something short of a novel. My novellas and novelettes usually follow this A Book In A Month practice because of a shorter word quota, but not my novels. Which brings me to the second route: Two Chapters A Week.

Two Chapters A Week is exactly that. I write two chapters a week, usually on Tuesday and Friday. On Monday, I rough edit the chapter I wrote on the previous Friday. And on Thursday, I rough edit the chapter I wrote on Tuesday. Wednesday is kept empty just in case I haven’t prepped anything for this blog – sort of a last minute thing.

I would set the quota of 2,500 words or more and complete it before I go to bed. This was how I got Trails of the Wind (book one of my work-in-progress trilogy) done. I wrote Trails of the Wind between August to October last year, with a holiday break in Japan in between. Two Chapters A Week gets a novel done in around 3 months.

Again, there’s no such thing as a writer’s block. I MUST write on Tuesdays and Fridays. No excuses – fix horrible chapters later – just keep writing. I know that if I break my pattern, I risk never finishing the book, and that is something I will not do. It’s against my character to start something and not finish it. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t dropped books before – most of the time a result of not having a chapter list.

“What’s a chapter list?” you ask.

As a standard procedure prior to writing any book, no matter which direction I go, I spend a day or two mind-mapping and drafting out a chapter list (a.k.a a skeleton). I create a timeline where I write a few short sentences to describe each chapter. Most of the time, when I start writing, I deviate from the original plan. But I still create a chapter list, because it helps me to keep going. Should I feel lost in the middle of my writing, I can always look back at the chapter list and see if I should incorporate some of the ideas to push the story in the right direction. Since I impose no rule in following the chapter list by heart, it is simply there to keep me accountable – to help me finish the book. And there is no doubt that those short lines have been of great help.

So, there you have it! My writing process and how I go about it.

If you’re curious as to whether I participate in NaNoWriMo, my answer is ‘no’. My writing schedule always happens shortly before or after NaNoWriMo. With all the planning and writing, jumping on board would be too taxing. I also don’t want to hold on to an idea just for the sake of participating in NaNoWriMo. I prefer to write while inspiration is still fresh. Perhaps one day, my schedule will align and I’ll get to participate.

Now how about you? What is writing process like? Is your practice similar or do you have a different procedure? If you don’t have one, feel free to give my ‘Set a quota, meet the quota‘ a shot. It might work for you too 🙂


I hope this post has been helpful. If there is something you would like me to write about, leave a comment below or send me an email. I’m not a writing prodigy nor do I have ample of experience, but I’m happy to share whatever niblets I own 🙂

Thank you for reading dear reader, and have a wonderful weekend. Oh, and to all who celebrates the Chinese (lunar) New Year, 新年快乐!


Posted by on February 4, 2016 in Writing Journey


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22 responses to “Set A Quota, Meet The Quota

  1. KoolGist

    February 4, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    I’d really liked it if I could get a your full stories as a single book. Download it as PDF. Or send me the link to get it as PDF. Thanks.

    • Jeyna Grace

      February 4, 2016 at 2:17 pm

      You mean my short stories? I don’t compile them because they don’t really fit into the same theme. Short story collections tend to have a theme, but my stories are too random to put together.

      As for my novelettes, novellas, and novels, you can get them in pdf. Just visit the bookstore page 🙂

  2. Colourstorm Designs

    February 4, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    It’s great how organized you seem to be. Keep it up and good luck with your writing!

  3. Victoria

    February 5, 2016 at 2:26 am

    There’s some good advice in this post. I find it difficult to keep myself regimented when taking on writing projects, but I think I’ll have to try these methods out–sometimes it takes a bit of forcing oneself to just do it before we can do it! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Jeyna Grace

      February 5, 2016 at 9:10 am

      That’s true. You’ve got to push yourself to form a routine. I hope they work for you 🙂 And you’re welcome! I’m really glad this post has been helpful.

  4. virtualgirl08

    February 9, 2016 at 1:32 am

    I’m really glad you made that post because that has inspired me to finish that book I was writing and putting off.

    • Jeyna Grace

      February 9, 2016 at 2:01 pm

      I’m glad my post has inspired you 🙂 I do hope to see that book on bookshelves one day!

  5. KattStrike

    February 9, 2016 at 10:39 am

    I enjoyed reading this Jeyna 🙂 I’ve always wanted to attempt to write a book in about a month, but I’ve never thought about how to actually approach it! This has given me some ideas though! Thank you!

    • Jeyna Grace

      February 9, 2016 at 2:04 pm

      You’re most welcome 🙂 I’m glad you found this post helpful. I’m sure with discipline and passion, your book will be done in no time 🙂

  6. live60

    February 11, 2016 at 6:32 am

    Hi Jeyna. My method is not exactly the same as yours, but very close. I set a goal of ten pages per day. If I do more one day, I do less the next. And, I think a book a month is very achievable since I’ve done it before.

    • Jeyna Grace

      February 11, 2016 at 10:30 am

      It’s close enough 🙂 Oh yes, it is. It simply takes discipline.

  7. La Vie Est Belle

    February 15, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Definitely enjoyed reading this Jeyna, very insightful!

    • Jeyna Grace

      February 15, 2016 at 4:45 pm

      Thank you! I’m glad you did 🙂

  8. lazboy073

    February 26, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    I wish i was this focused. Its pretty cool to read about how you go about your writing process

    • Jeyna Grace

      February 26, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      It takes a lot of ‘forcing’. Haha! Thank you for reading, Nick 🙂

      • lazboy073

        February 26, 2016 at 4:02 pm

        Im slowly working on forcing myself lol

        • Jeyna Grace

          February 26, 2016 at 4:07 pm

          It definitely takes time, haha! But once you’re there, you’re there.

  9. zoey808

    April 28, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    Another wonderful and extremely helpful post. I just wish I could stay focused on one story long enough to finish it as a novel (;-; ) Working hard on it though! Thanks again for answering my questions 🙂 You’re a real inspiration, Jeyna! ❤

    • Jeyna Grace

      April 30, 2016 at 10:48 pm

      You’re most welcome, Zoey! And I’m sure you can be focused enough. Keep at it! I hope to hear great news from you soon 😀


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