Gasp! I Am Not A Daily Writer, After All
Daily writing goals are alluring. They keep the writing brain in shape. They keep the writer satisfied: “Hey, look at me, I’m writing!”, keep the writer with the story. They feed the muse.
It’s easy to feel productive that way — and to be productive, too.
WHY IT’S NOT FOR EVERYONE (i.e. why it’s not for me)
Some people are not superheroes. Sigh.
After trying it out repeatedly over the years, over and over, I have found that daily writing works. Until it doesn’t. Until it dries me up.
The danger of daily writing goals is: it can become all about the word count. The 1K a day, or even 500 words a day can become too much of a marker, encouraging an “are we there yet?” mentality.
I have found that with daily writing goals, more often than not my word count would become my cap for the day.
MY NEW TUNE
I still have to keep track of the pages for my VCFA packets, which still requires goals on deadline, which still might be a great good thing. But within those goals, I have loosened, allowing for both marathon go-go-go writing days and occasional days of no writing whatsoever. I love the marathon days, when word count ceases to matter, when the only thing that counts is getting lost in the storyworld. I equally love just being in the world once in a while. Looking around with my eyes wide open and just breathing.
In a way it is easier to stick with a word count goal, this external thing, to keep from drifting, to stay in line. But I have discovered recently, that drifting, floating, crossing lines, can be another important part of the writing life.
I am aware that thousands of writers are on Week One of the beautiful national madness that is NaNoWriMo (The National Novel Writing Month). You all are running a marathon. You’re ALL about the word count right now.
If it’s been working for you, just keep going. I am cheering you on!
But if — come next week – you find yourself dry-heaving and dizzy and a little bit lost, if you keep your eyes too closely on those numbers, if you notice you start doing more counting and less wording, then try something brave and dangerous — try taking a break. Try a little breather. So you can come back to the work fresher and stronger and more committed than ever before.
In the end, we each must find our own style. Writer and former literary agent Nathan Bransford discussed it on his blog last week so well.
What’s your style? What’s your tune? Are you a daily writer? A word count champion? What have you tried? What have you discovered?
If you are still figuring it out, look no further than your own page. What’s the quality of your writing like with daily goals — and what’s it like without? Sometimes the quality doesn’t matter. Other times, it tells you something.
On the other hand, are you able to produce enough without the external push of word count goals?
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