Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mount Word Count

"A journey of a thousands miles,
 starts with a single step."   

I'm not what you would call tech-savvy.

I don't have a spiffy program to keep track of my writing like Jeffe does; I was pretty impressed with the details in her post this week. Like James, I've had 2k-6k word days but average around 3k. Like KAK, it takes me all day to do that.

Problem is, I don't often get to write more than 2 days a week. So NaNoWriteMo is not for me. I've never participated in it.

The day job, the kids, the house/yard/dog, band, friends who want some of my time, oh, and that whole sleep thing...yeah. There's not much left for writing. I steal time here and there where I can, but that turns into more of a 'planning to write' thing. I make notes. I make lists of evocative verbs I think will work well in the scene. Then when I do get to put in some serious writing time, I'm armed and all the ammunition is within reach.

And, I work in pieces. One chapter or scene at a time. I suspect that most of us do not work on multiple chapters/books at a time and that, like me, as things unfold, you jump back and modify earlier text as needed. It's better if I don't cheat on the chapter I'm currently seeing. :)

When I've had contracts to fulfill, I look at the allotted time. I know how much time I want at the end for polishing and subtract that from the date. What's left, I break down according to a projected word count of 90k words. 4 months? Ok. That means 22-23k words a month, or about 6k per week. Doable. I get ahead, I fall behind, I scurry and catch up. Part of that extra time at the end is a built in safeguard against long-lasting writer's block. I'd rather push through the first draft and have time to feel no pressure as I work over the subsequent drafts at the end.

I wish I could write ALL f**king DAY, EVERY f**cking DAY. Don't you? But there is no magical number, no quota, that marks my day as successful and anything short of it has dire repercussions. I just do what I can. The work has to be satisfying. But them I'm not exactly on deadline. Except for the chapter-per-week that I've been posting for the new Persephone Alcmedi book. Which, you can find at my personal blog. Chapter Three is now up.

So, to me--sans a contractual deadline which obviously takes precedence and needs a weekly/monthly set of goals to stay on track--actual word count isn't as important as forward progress.

If your novel is that mountain in the distance, that sharp summit you've always dreamed of climbing just to view the world from that accomplished height...start walking, my friends. The journey awaits.

1 comment:

  1. Amen to that! Life gets in the we just have to roll with it.