Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Word Count

When I did NaNo, I managed 2000 words a day. OK, it was messy and disorganised and I haven't managed to edit what I wrote into anything passable. Since 12 April the most I have managed in any one day is 871 and I rarely manage more than 500. That's on days that I actually write. I have averaged 126 words a day. I hate to think how long it would take to finish a novel at this rate. Writing is hard!

I've sent myself back to re-read Tim's Writer's Resources and I think I really do need to print out and put on my desk this word of wisdom:
The enemy is not the badly written page; it is the empty page.

If there’s one rule you should write on a card and tape over your desk, this is it. A bad page does a lot of good things: it advances the story, it gives you a chance to work with your characters, it demands that you write all or part of a scene, it challenges you to describe your setting – on and on and on. (It even makes the stack of pages look a little thicker, which can give you a psychological lift.) So what if it does some of these things badly? You’ve learned one way not to handle that particular piece of material.

But the great advantage of a badly written page is that it can be rewritten. It can be improved. A blank page is zero. In fact, it’s worse than zero, because it represents territory you’re afraid, unwilling, or too lazy to explore. Avoid exploring this territory long enough, and you’ll abandon your book.

I've written 284 words today and now I have to go and get dinner. Maybe later I can make it up to 500. I wonder what a reasonable daily target would be.


Sylvia said...

One that you can achieve. You can always up it from there. Or that's my opinion anyway :)

I used to be part of a message board where the goal was simply 50 words a day, every day.

fairyhedgehog said...

Fifty words a day sounds so little and yet at the moment it might be the only goal that would get me writing every day.

I might try that. As you say, I can always up it later.

Thank you!

Sylvia said...

Exactly - it's getting into the habit. I've been toying with working on some new fiction and I might start on the same basis.

Anonymous said...

50 words! I can do 50 words too.

I'm always in such a rush to get things done that I set up these impossibly high goals which paralyze me. Then it's no words, or pounds lost or boxes cleaned out.

Starting today, it's 50 words.

Yes, the 6 word philosophy of life is easier to write in 5 words or 7. I kept changing my mind as to what it is. I guess from this post, it could be: "Simply write 50 words a day."

fairyhedgehog said...

Fifty words is manageable. I decided I'd start today and wrote just over 300. So thanks to Sylvia I've made a good start!

My seven word motto would be: "I'm not ready to give up, yet." Or at five: "Shit happens. Life goes on." Six somehow eludes me but I like your suggestion.

Sylvia said...

I think that I'm willing to "make room for" 50 words on any subject whereas 500 might take half the day!

I have a small notebook with hearts all over it that my other bought me. I was going to use it as a "food diary" to accompany my theoretical diet that I'm trying to start. But I'm thinking I might combine the 50 words concept with Gaiman's novel-in-a-notebook comment and write a page-a-day of a romance that is sort of in my head but not really something I want to commit to.

Bonus that I have an answer to the 6-words meme ! :D

fairyhedgehog said...

Sylvia, you're full of good ideas! I love the idea of a romance novel written in hear-covered notebook.

Now, you can't tease me by telling me you've got your 6-word meme and not say what it is! I suppose I'll just have to wait till it shows up on your blog.

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