Friday, July 13, 2007

Mounting Word Counts

Many of The Tribe (to steal Rhi's collective) are doing the Allison Kent's 70 Days of Sweat writing challenge and I've enjoyed reading their blogs for daily updates, word counts, road blocks and success tidbits. I love cheering them on -- sort of self gratifying to stand on the sidelines and wave my virtual pompoms in the air.

What I find fascinating is how many words these ladies can crank out in a day. These writer-gals are seriously smokin'!!

On a good day - one which offers me 2-3 uninterrupted writing hours (these are rare!), I'm lucky to come out 800-1,200 words ahead. Yes, much of this is my internal editor, wasting precious moments on discovering 'the perfect word', but I've also come to the conclusion that I'm just a slow writer. I plod. I pause. I sip tea.
This is not a woe-is-me actualization, but rather a heads-up -- a warning of sorts -- that I should never get tangled up in a Novel-in-a-Week, NaNoWriMo, or any other type of marathon writing session because I'm doomed to fail. And there is nothing worse than overcoming my inner critic when I've not lived up to his expectations (yes, my inner critic is male).

So although I may have been a bit envious of The Tribe's Sweat, a bit resentful of the fact that I don't have the time to devote, I've concluded that better this little fraction of self-discovery now than the feelings of failure I'd have to overcome later. (Failure is a motivation killer, wouldn't you agree?)

That said, all these mounting word counts are indeed having a motivational effect on me -- so just for fun, I'm going to put a word counter up on my sidebar so I can visually see my wip progress. Trouble is, I seriously don't know how many words I'm aiming for! How lame is that? Let's say 30,000.


Anonymous said...

Cool post -- yes, we're all wired differently, and I sure do hear you about the inner editor. As you know I've been tangling with mine something fierce for this 70 Days of Sweat Challenge! Mine's a woman, though. Interesting that yours is a fellow! :)

Wow, you're closing in on the home stretch of Elements of Attraction -- how exciting! I can't wait to read it! :)

shelley said...

Ah, but a few words every day add up to lots of words over the course of a year. That's what I tell myself!

Wylie Kinson said...

Hi TL -- yes, I'm on the homestretch, but it's only the rough 1st draft, so I've LOTS of work to do yet.

Shelley - It's 3:30am where I am. Nice to know there are other nite owls :) And you're correct - those words do add up. And they eventually turn into something -- hopefully storylike! :D

Amy Ruttan said...

What's so lame about 30K I say go for it. If gets what you need to get done, done then well I see that as a great accomplishment. I'm a procrastinator too Wylie, and I'm a kook (as you know). When I do a good word count day of 3 or 4k it takes me at least 8hrs.

So, it may seem like a lot of words but it sucks my whole day up, because I surf the web, watch tv play with the chillins, procrastinate, watch Gene Simmons ... yada yada. I don't think this is making sense anymore. I better go to bed. See, total kook.

Wylie Kinson said...

Amy -- you may be a kook, but it's the secret to your charm :x

The 30K part wasn't lame -- the fact that I don't have a clue how long it will be is the lame part. It could be 25K, it could be 85K. Point is, I have NO IDEA how to figure out a word-count goal. I just write until the story is done. How do categories writers come withing that 5,000 word window??

Susan Helene Gottfried said...


I'm envious, feeling left out, and all sorts of other bad things. Yes, I feel like a loser, dammit. I want to write! Damn the kids, let me write!

Oh, if I only were that kind of mom...

Christine d'Abo said...

I'm more than a kook, Wylie. I write at work on my breaks, at lunch, when my oldest and husband watch Star Trek together. I ususally have no idea where my story is going, I just see where it will take me.

But I'm a feast of famine girl. I'm either writing like crazy or I can't get a single word out. :(