Doing It Write

angry green monster with teeth - from OpenClipArt

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.

WritingI 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. πŸ™‚
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About Ileandra Young

I'm a thirty-*mumbles* year old (purple loving, cheese worshipping) author of fantasy, juggling a pair of beautiful twin boys with my burning desire to make up stories and write them all down. When I get the chance, I play games, listen to music, and in days long past I even ran a radio show. Though I occasionally write non-fiction, my heart lives in fantasy and my debut novel, Silk Over Razor Blades is now available through Amazon along with part two of the trilogy, Walking The Razor's Edge.
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4 Responses to Doing It Write

  1. MishaBurnett says:

    I don’t have a word count goal. On a really good day, I might do a thousand words. Other days I might write one sentence. I also don’t do “drafts” in any conventional sense–I work it all out in my head first, and only type something into my manuscript when I feel it’s as polished as I can make it.

    So what actually gets written (aside from proofing) is pretty much my final manuscript. I don’t rewrite. It’s not a technique that I would recommend for others, but it seems to work for me. The reviews of my first two novels–both written this way–have been very positive.


    • That’s an interesting technique and I have to admit I’ve not come across anybody else who writes that way. I’m fascinated that it works for you though, but only because I know my brain couldn’t cope with it.

      Thanks for pitching in here today. I wonder if anybody else writes the same way you do….


  2. tracycembor says:

    I think you’re right that all words count, even if it is 200 instead of 2000. My son is 4 months old and I have returned to my full-time job, so I have to tell myself it’s okay that I only got a couple of paragraphs on the page. Ace’s sleep schedule isn’t consistent enough for me to give up sleeping time for writing time. Maybe in a few more months.

    On the other hand, I am learning that if you want to get to the end of a novel, you need to show up and write every day. That’s the only way it is going to happen. You do need to have a plan.


    • Wow! I didn’t (and still haven’t) gone back to full time work following the birth of my boys. Well done for pushing through when you’re no doubt knackered. πŸ™‚

      I’m certainly starting to agree with the ‘write every day’ mantra. Even if it’s only a small amount, it does count and I believe putting yourself into the mindset is part of the process.

      Thanks so much for chipping in; always lovely to hear from more writing mothers. ^_^


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