Woe Is My Word Count
So here we are. You, me, and Labor Day weekend. Most of you are probably celebrating the end of summer. Which I’m not hesitant at all to say, I’ll be glad to see go. It’s been butt-ass hot here in TX, and I’ve had enough.
That said, my next three weekends, with only an occasional break for dinner with a few of my gal-pals, is going to be spent writing to meet my deadline because I’ve fallen woefully behind. Why have you fallen woefully behind, Dakota, you ask?
Worry and the world at large.
I learned something about my writing process a couple of weeks ago when I was super stressed over a life dilemma I was having—I can’t write when my emotional state’s gone awry.
I know some writers find solace in their writing when life gets to be too much. They escape to the world they’ve created and find respite in their characters. I so admire that.
Me? Not so much. I can’t make the funny if something’s bothering me. In fact, I can’t make the words—at all. My word count suffers and I plummet from 8-10K a day to more like 3-4. Now, I’m the kind of writer who vomits whatever’s in her head, which accounts for the higher word count, but I also delete probably half of that 8-10K because it’s all just shit. Well, it’s all just shit anyway, but you know what I mean. :)
So for about a month, I was only working with 1-2K a day. Thus, getting me absolutely nowhere in terms of reaching the desired goal of 90-100K. And it sucked, folks. Sucked ass. Despite the jokes I make about what I write, I take the mission itself, the work ethic involved, seriously. It’s my job. Period. If I have a deadline, I make it—no matter what. I don’t ask for extensions at the last minute. I don’t put it off. If nothing else, I continue to beat my head against the word count wall in order to get ‘er done.
But being in this office for a solid flippin’ month with dribs and drabs and no direction was driving me insane—especially for someone like me who has a high word count goal. Naturally, I went through assloads of self-flagellation. “It’s over. I’m word dry. I’m washed up.”
But then I realized, I was washed up to begin with—so this particular dilemma was no excuse. :) And I’m a subscriber to the “suck it up and shut up” school of thought, so I couldn’t very well sit around and whine. Not out loud anyway.
Then quite suddenly, I found an answer (sort of) to my life dilemma and the words started to flow again, but allowing my environment and stress to dictate my creativity is unacceptable. My creativity is what pays the bills right now, and it pissed me the hell off to have it thwarted. So I mapped out on a calendar exactly how many words per day I’d need to make deadline by October 30, got busy, and the structure actually helped get me over the hump of wordlessness. The words were less likely to end up deleted because I knew they had to mean something or I’d miss word count.
So now I’d like to hear from you. What in life thwarts your creativity or keeps you from moving forward—like stops you cold and makes you force yourself to find a way around your problem? And I’d love to hear your solutions. Because seriously, who knows if I might need to borrow one of yours? :)