I’ve been feeling a mixture of pride and frustration over the last few weeks because I’ve either met my daily target or been unable to get anywhere near it. This is for all sorts of reasons, but the main ones are fatigue because of my op, or plans for my boys to go elsewhere for a couple of hours falling through.
But is my focus in the wrong place? Does it matter how many words I produce, so long as I produce some? And shouldn’t I worry far more about the quality of those words, rather than the quantity? Surely the later editing process will be a lot quicker if I don’t have a bunch of junk to trawl through when I get there.
A while ago I was chatting with Brian W. Taylor about first drafts. If you want to see the post, check out this because it forced me to slightly rethink the way I draft things.
I want to get words down. That’s a big goal for me; seeing my word count creep up every day is a massive motivator and I aim to do 2,000 words every day. It may sound like a lot to some people, but with the gift of being able to touch type, that’s well within my capabilities. I often do more. Sometimes it only takes me an hour, especially if I know where I’m going. But should that be my focus? And are those 2,000 words any good when I’m bashing them out every single day?
The answer to most of these questions is ‘I don’t know.’
We all have to write in a manner that works in harmony with the rest of our lives. Some of us get up at 4am to write before the kids consume our day, others of us cram it in after a day of work with a strict plan to ensure daily/weekly/monthly targets are met. However we do it, we’ll all doing the same thing.
There is not right or wrong way, that’s what I’m coming to learn. There’s a way that works for you.
The main purpose of this post is to say ‘take heart!’ If you’re stuck or unable to produce as much as you hoped or can’t find the time, I’ll bet part of the reason you’re struggling is because you’re measuring yourself against other people. That was certainly my problem. I remember the days I’d feel low and crappy because some of my Twitter buddies had spent an entire day on their latest project. I felt jealous because I just didn’t have the time or space to do the same. But some of those people would only produce 500 words in that day. But me…? If I spent one hour or two on my latest project, I’d probably crack out at least 1000 words.
When I realised that, I stopped measuring myself against my peers. I measured myself against me instead. Not only did that ease the pressure on my shoulders, but it became a game. It’s now fun to see if I can hit my personal best and exceed it. And while I’m doing that I’m still producing the words, whether it’s 209 (Monday) or 4859 (yesterday).
What’s your ‘write way’? How do you organise your day to ensure that you do the best you can in a manner that works for you? Have you not found the best way yet? I’d love make note of all the different tricks you guys use. You never know, we may all find something cool out of chatting with each other. 🙂