accumulating words

Wet Feather

I took the above photo over a month ago, when we still had lush grass, and rainfall was gentle, not violent.

We had a bad storm yesterday, which has left me with poor Internet access and no television reception (I get it from satellite, and the dish appears to have become mis-aligned from the winds). My Internet connection will not be restored properly until Monday, and the engineer will not be here until Thursday to fix the telly.

All of this bodes well for my novel writing, but not so great for my sanity, since I live a rather hermit-like existence on weekdays anyway. I’ve already been strict about cutting back on distractions for the past two weeks, but I guess I’m going to find out how easy it is to throttle back even further.

It’s day twelve of NaNoWriMo, and as of yesterday I was at the 20k+ mark. I’m doing quite well, considering I’ve had to skip one day entirely, and at least two days I was under target. Generally, I’ve been aiming to write over target every day to give myself wiggle room on off days. Making writing a prioritised habit is the most important thing, it seems to me.

Here’s an example of how simple it is to accumulate words on a project when you decide to make it a regular practice: today on twitter I noticed that I was edging up to 5,000 tweets. I ran a quick calculation. If I divide 140 characters by 5 I’m getting a rough average of 28 words per tweet. If I multiply that by 4,888 (as it stood at the time, it’s already higher) I end up with a word count of 136,864.

That is approximately a novel and a half, or about two young adult novels. All of that written without stress or pressure, but just faffing about on the Internet.

The point I’m coming to is much of the difficulty of writing is the attitude you bring to the process. Turning the knob away from ‘GAH!” to ‘YAY!’ even by a couple of notches can result in a lot more words.

I’m not making any comment on quality of course, but jumping that first hurdle of writing a large quantity of words is not as difficult as it seems when you break it down.

Starting your project with something to say and knowing (approximately) how you want to say it, is another matter, however.

One Comment

  • Sam

    Hypergraphia means never having to worry about the quantity. I have no problems with quanity, as you know. The real problem I have is being utterly unable to direct it.

    I’d love to be able to complete a NaNoWriMo, but I’ve failed every year. Not because I can’t produce the requisite number of words — I do that as a matter of course. I just can’t produce the requisite number of words for the desired project.

    I haven’t figured out how to manage this problem. Maybe one day I will.

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