In a recent post, I admitted to being all over the idea of increasing my daily word count. I lamented about how lo-ong it takes to write a novel unless you’re churning out 3,000+ words per day.
So I discovered that if I don’t edit while I type, I can type 900 words every thirty minutes. I tried that for three days, blocking out four thirty-minute periods. Here’s what happened.
First, I couldn’t reach that word count in every thirty minute period that I sat down to write. But I’d convinced myself that if I was going to be a career novelist, I needed to buckle down and spend whatever time was necessary cranking out 3600 words a day. Thus, the “whatever time was necessary” often meant spending more than four thirty-minute periods to write – or sitting down for more than thirty minutes at a time.
Have I ever told you I can’t stand sitting? Not for long periods of time, anyway.
By the end of the third day, I was burned out. Burned out on my latest project, burned out on writing in general.
Here’s the other thing that happened. Because I wasn’t editing as I was going, I was spending an extra hour a day (or more) to fix the millions of mistakes I’d made. I had almost no leisure time left, no time to do housework.
After that third day, had to ask myself this question: Who are you racing?
I was racing the self-published authors who can crank out a book a month because they pay someone to do their editing and proofreading (I do my own, with help from J). I was racing them because supposedly, if you publish frequently your name gets out more often and you make more money.
I was racing my attitude of “slow is boring.” My mindset that “I hate writing a novel if it takes longer than three weeks.”
I was racing, racing, racing…and I fell down, exhausted, before I’d barely passed the starting line.
So, I extricated myself from the rat race of self-publishing, deciding that if I couldn’t have fun writing, I wouldn’t do it.
I’ve gone back to aiming for 600 words per half hour. Edited and revised. Because when I type “THE END”, I want to be at least 75% through to a final draft.
And I’m not tied to sitting down four times a day for thirty minutes. Usually, my first two writing periods are each thirty minutes long, but often, the rest of the word count comes in fifteen to twenty minute bursts.
My goal now is an easy 2400 words per day, and I hit it almost every day. On days when I don’t have much non-writing work to do, and my creative energy keeps flowing, I can get another three to six hundred words in. Edited words, edited. Meaning, some days I can write 3,000 good words without feeling like I’m killing myself.
I have plenty of leisure time, I’m having fun writing, and the burn-out is a distant memory.
I even have time to resume blogging.