Word Count 5

April 24, 2009

Numbers are down for the second week in a row. 2654 total; high of 696.

I’m tempted to say “woof” again and call it done, but there is some good news. I gave myself a new schedule this week. I have some time set aside for fiction every day. On the days that I missed a fiction slot, I canceled something else to make it up. Even if I only managed a couple paragraphs each day, that added up to more fiction than I wrote last week, or the week before.

It’s too early for analysis (by one week), but, as you may have noticed, I really like doing it.

Maybe I jumped the gun a little bit. The original plan was to focus on word count this month, see how I did, and possibly add new requirements in May. Now, with one week to go in April, I’m trying for word count, type-of-writing restrictions, and scheduled time slots for everything.

Achieving all of these goals by the end of April would certainly be good for my new career. However, it would be hubristic of me to claim that I will. It might be silly to think that I can… at least, not by the deadline I have given myself. I’m starting to wonder if 1500/day was a reasonable starting point. That’s almost NaNo territory, and NaNo advertises its insanity.

I asked a writer’s group what they thought about it. As it turns out, none of the respondents measure progress this way. The most detailed reply suggested dropping the count to 1000, or ignoring word count altogether and writing one scene per day.

If nothing else, I’ve learned that changing (and adding new) goals mid-month is not wise. It takes about a month to form a new habit, and it helps if you don’t try to form too many at once. I’m going to spend some time next week thinking about which writing habit should be given highest priority. Adherence to a schedule? Dedication to the mastery of… plotting, dialogue, etc.? Word count again, with the caveat that I should also learn to stick to one habit for the entire month?¬† I’ll include whatever it turns out to be with the last word count report.

Thank you for following my progress so far. If there are any writers out there with insight, or questions a relative newbie like me might answer, feel free to chime in!


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