6/3/19 Word Count: 2380
I’m learning that developing as a writer involves a good bit of work on myself. Leveraging my strengths. Dealing with my bad habits. Making mistakes and learning how to fix them. Discovering my style.
Yesterday was a clue-by-4 over the head in the Writing Style category.
Twitter sometimes makes me crazy with the word counts people report. It’s the writer equivalent of weigh-in day at Weight Watchers. Except for writers, higher numbers equal celebration instead of shame.
I’m a meticulous writer. I put one word after the other. I fuss a good bit over the right word because I want to paint the exact picture I see in my head. I want to do it in as few words as possible, which means I restructure sentences until they disappear into the experience of the tale. It takes time.
I wrote 2300+ words yesterday. That’s about what I need to keep cranking out daily to get to my goal on time. And, for me anyway, that’s a daunting task.
A good day for me runs between 500-1000 words. But they’re good words. They’re cleanly structured, pithy, illustrative, necessary words. I do lose some when I go back and edit, but by that point, things are already so tight, it’s like a Saw movie in my study — me deciding what to amputate next before my time runs out.
So, having a word count goal this high is intimidating. I’m not going to go so far as to say it’s impossible just yet because of several things that have yet to play out.
For one, I work full time, so those words are cranked out in the time I have in the evening. If I come up short, I have the weekends where I am beholden to none and can usually make up some of what I failed to churn out during the week.
I’ve got my total word counts broken down by weekly chunks. It’s like a reverse diet — if I don’t make my goal on one day, I just stay on the wagon and over-write if I can and aim for a weekly total where I want it to be.
I have a feeling that the more I force myself to be creative on command, the easier this will get and my word counts will improve. Hey, it’s a theory. Runners get faster the more they train, so why not writers?
The moral of this story? Writer, know thyself. Don’t just write. Take some time to review how you write. If you’re a 1000-words-a-day kind of writer and you’re comfortable with that, it’s important to be aware of that. It will allow you to set more accurate goals when it comes to deadlines. It will help you let your publishers know how much milk this cow is going to produce and how often.
It will keep you from going through the intimidation and self-doubt I’m currently experiencing staring down the barrel of a significant challenge of my writing skills.
In the end, the only word counts that matter are the final ones. The finished products. And those are made up in smaller chunks — doesn’t matter if those chunks are dainty 500 word hors d’oeuvres or 3000 word porterhouses. They still all add up to a full novel in the end.
Also, I’m going to start a section in my update posts for the cool shit that happens in the process of that writing session. Partially so I can learn from it and get better at working with my Muse. Partially so you can see what happens when I write — I’m sure some of it will be LOL funny.
6/3/19 Muse Magic:
Was finishing a scene in which we first meet Styx. I’m not sure how I feel about her. She suffers no fools, that’s for sure. I love the character reveals here, teasing out her motives and showing what role she has played behind the scenes. I love this line I wrote in particular:
She paused to admire her night-blooming garden of long-stemmed pain.
It should come as no surprise to me or anyone else that my brain lives in places the light has never seen. Some of the stuff I wrote today is the darkest I’ve written. If someone makes a movie of my books one day, the Styx scenes will net it an R rating without even breathing hard.
I am extremely pleased with two things that came out of nowhere. One was a minor plot augment that worked so well I’m still smiling. The other was the on-the-spot creation of a character that I hope someone, someday will cosplay for me. The day I’m at a Con signing a book and I see someone walk up to me as a Stygian nymph, I will probably be able to die happy.
And scared. But happy first.