Yesterday I decided that I should aim to top 10,000 words because I’m in a word war and I have been struggling with the story just to meet the minimum 1,667 words a day. Actually that’s not quite right, but I’ve gotten off to slow start with this story and it’s just dragging along. It feels more difficult than it did last year, but I also think it’s because I have other things I must work on and I just haven’t gotten into the fun part of the story. Last night I finished out the evening’s work session with 11,041 words.
So this morning I was thinking about how to motivate myself. How do you write a novel? One word at a time, of course. No, that’s not a revelation, nor is it anything new. But it’s true. You can focus on the word count too much and cause yourself to freeze when you think of how many words you’re going to put on the page.
But the reverse is to think about one, or two, or ten words at a time. A sentence can easily top 20 words, depending on your writing style, but at even 10 words you can write just a few sentences and end up with another hundred words toward the 50K-goal.
Word sprints really have been working for me. Last night I had half an hour after dinner before Mythbusters came on. So I ran up to my office and decided to write for 20-25 minutes. I wanted to write about 300 words, and I managed about 700 words. Yes, a lot of it is fluff, and no doubt a lot of what I’ve been writing these last four days I’m going to edit out. But it’s words on the page.
I haven’t set a goal for today yet, but I’m aiming for a total of 80K words by the end of November, so that gives me 2,667 words per day to meet that goal. I’ll plug that in for my goal and try to finish the chapter I’m working on. At some point I need to do some outlining and character sketches.