Increasing My Daily Wordcount
You need to understand two things about me:
A. I used to be a slow writer. I liked to take the time to read and re-read what I had written, revising as I went. On a good day, I would write 1000 words. Not bad, but I wasn't reaching that milestone every day.
B. My goal is to be a productive writer. Writing isn’t a hobby for me, it’s my full-time job. So I need to keep producing stories.
Do you see my problem?
A doesn't lead to B.
If I wanted B, then I needed to up my game. I needed to change my writing habits. I needed to not only increase my daily word count, but make it a regular, every day thing.
I’ve been working on that this year. It’s been a slow process, but the change is happening.
It’s a lot like climbing a mountain.
When I start on a book project, I have the story in my head. Not complete, but the big picture. The long view.
I'm learning how to achieve my goal of several thousand words per week. But to get to that goal, I need to use some tricks and tools.
Call it an outline, or a storyline. Sometimes it looks like a stack of index cards. Sometimes it looks like a story board. Whatever method I use, the story goes a lot better when I know the beginning, middle, and end before I begin writing.
Not every chapter will flow easily. I know that. I also know I’ll be revising these first few chapters several times before the end of the book. But writing these opening chapters quickly, even before my story plan is complete, gives my characters a chance to stretch a little bit and let me get to know their voices.
They require me to navigate their Lies, their Greatest Dreams, and their Dark Moment Stories. Sometimes I must investigate every nook and cranny of their lives before they reveal their secrets. Sometimes they don’t reveal their inner selves to me until we’re negotiating a particularly difficult part of the story and they let something slip out.
But do I let that slow me down? No! The story must go on. When this happens, I make notes (I keep a pad of paper by my computer to jot these items down,) but I keep on writing. I know I can come back to incorporate the stunning secret that the heroine just revealed!
4. Sometimes, even with all my story planning and plotting, I come up against a stone wall.
I have to try one way, and then another to get back on the trail. But just like this tree sending out roots, I persist until I find that way and continue on. One step at a time.
Am I heading in the direction I thought I would at the beginning? Do I need to make some adjustments? This evaluation is satisfying – even if the only landmark in front of me is the half-way point.
What will my character do now? Where is the bad guy? Is the baby awake or asleep (a big problem if one of your characters has a young child!) Did anyone feed the dog? A quick look at the map and a few steps along the trail solves the problem!
By the way, the best way for me to get past a writer’s block like this is to WRITE! I let my characters go, and they usually find their way back to the story.
But the end of the trail is only a new start. It’s time to retrace my steps, revising and editing the story. However, going down the mountain is a lot easier than the climb up. There are still some tricky spots to negotiate, but the big job - the first draft - is done.