The Versatile Blogger Award yesterday. YAY! I feel like I just won an Oscar. I’d like to thank the Academy…
Kidding! On a more serious note, I’ll be passing it along myself later in the week to three fantastic bloggers. So more on that later!
Now on to the main attraction.
Many of those who’ve never written a novel like to think that those who have must have all day to just sit around and write. “How nice,” they think. “I wish I had the time to sit down and write a book.”
Truth is, we don’t have any more time than anyone else. As much as we’d like it, writers aren’t gifted with the ability to cram more hours into the day (though if anyone figures that one out, totally let me know).
This is no secret to us writers. Finding the time to get words on paper isn’t an easy task. If you’re a student, it means writing before (and sometimes during) class. If you’re working full-time, it means getting up early to get some words in that WIP, or staying up late in the night to finish that chapter. When your friends are going out for the weekend, sometimes it means staying home to edit yesterday’s writing.
Fact of the matter is, we all have lives. We have friends and family and work and school and a million other responsibilities that compete with the time we have for writing. Some days it’s impossible to get anything in, and that’s ok.
The best writing advice I ever read was simple: make a writing quota and stick to it.
For me, it’s writing 1,500 words a day or 10,500 words a week. If I miss a day, which happens, it’s fine because I know I can make it up another day. As long as I make 10,500 words a week, I’m happy. And if I don’t? That’s ok too; I can make it up the next week.
The daily/weekly writing quota has helped me finish many a manuscript. It keeps me honest, and it saves me from the guilt of wondering whether or not I wrote enough that day.
Even more recently however, I discovered something that changed the way I approach writing completely. There used to be a time when I’d sit down and write until I met my quota. This was painful. Some days it’d be easy and I’d be done in no time. Other times I’d sit at the computer for hours, checking every five minutes to see how many words I’d written. This led to screaming in frustration when after an hour I only wrote 500 words (or on really rough days, even less *shudder*).
It turns out, you DON’T have to write it all at once. Whoa.
Let me say that again: you DON’T have to write your quota all in one sitting.
My new method was stemmed from a little beauteous Twitter hashtag known as #wordmongering. I intend to write a full post on this later (because it’s just THAT amazing), but it’s basically a thread where writers get together at the beginning of every hour and write for a half hour, then compare word counts. We cheer each other on and there’s virtual confetti.
Ok, a LOT of virtual confetti. Like an ocean of virtual multicolored strips of paper. Though that may be partially (read: completely) my fault.
Anyway, its effectiveness blew me away. Writing in spurts, it turns out, is much less stressful than trying to get it done at once. With just a few half-hour rounds a day, I’ve been able to get my word goal down without a problem.
So. If you haven’t assigned yourself a word count, I challenge you to do it. Try it for a week. It could be a 100 words a day or 5,000 words a week or 15,000 words a week. Whatever it is, stick to your guns and get it done.
You just might be surprised by how rewarding it is.
So let’s see it! What are YOUR word count goals this week?