Know what has two thumbs and had a thousand-word day yesterday?
I sort of hate to spend time talking about a productive writing day or writing in any way about my daily word count. Such things are interesting only to a really tiny sliver of whatever readership my blarg might have. (Maybe only to me!) But it feels like an accomplishment, and I’ve become a real firm believer in claiming your accomplishments of late (after all, if you don’t crow about the things you’ve done, who’s going to do it for you?).
1000 words in a session might not seem like a lot, and in fact, it might objectively not be a lot. Browse some writers’ sites on the net and you’ll see that lots of them like to get in 2000 words before breakfast. Which is well and good for them. But a lot of them are paid writers, which I am not (yet), and several of them are even full-time writers, which I am definitely not (yet). Which means they have the time in their day to devote to such things.
Me, I’ve been subsisting on about 500 words a day over the past few months working on my current novel. That, hacked out in thirty-minute sessions at the beginning of my work morning before the day properly gets started. It ain’t much, but those 500 words are mine, and I defend them pretty stridently, even if the force I’m most often defending them from is myself. There are always other things I could be doing, maybe even should be doing, with those thirty minutes. But I also know that a week of 500 words a day turns into 2500 words a week. And a month of 2500 words a week turns into 10,000 words a month. And the math from there is pretty easy: 10,000 words a month turns into a full 80-90,000 word novel in eight or nine months, and I’m pretty much on schedule for that, notwithstanding the loss of about twenty thousand words a month or so ago.
So needless to say, a 1000-word day is a not-insignificant drop in the not-insignificant bucket.
(Oh yeah, after my 1000 word session, I was a good little soldier and backed up my work. Won’t be making that mistake again.)
Even still, consistent or not, the 500 words a day still feels like a struggle a lot of mornings. More than a few mornings a week, I spend about half of that time staring at the screen, wondering just what the hell these characters are supposed to be doing, just how the hell they’re going to solve the dilemmas they’ve found themselves in, just where the hell the whole crazy train is going.
But every once in a while, I don’t struggle.
Every once in a while, the right idea floats past my neurons, makes its way down to my fingertips and crackles like static lightning out onto the page.
When that happens, the whole “writing” thing feels less like creating a story and more like transcribing it; less like building the thing from scratch and spare parts and more like just watching it happen and making a record of it.
And in that way, you get a thousand-word morning in the same space of time that it usually takes to get a five hundred-word morning.
Of course, there are caveats. Most of these words are probably crap, and will need massive rewrites when it’s time to revise. I have a sneaking suspicion that the big mini-climax I’m writing now, coming in at the 2/3 point of the novel, actually belongs at the 1/3 point of the novel, with much of the first third of the novel going on the scrap heap.
But those, as I like to say, are problems for future me.
Right now, the novel is alive and kicking. The 500-word days pave the way for the occasional 1000-word day, and the 1000-word days keep me motivated to keep pushing the thing forward.
Even if “forward” carries it right off the edge of a cliff.
This weekly remotivational post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Every weekend, I use Linda G. Hill’s prompt to refocus my efforts and evaluate my process, sometimes with productive results.