250 per ~ My Magic Word Count
I love writing. If I could spend all day doing it and still have the income level I have now in order to support my family I would switch to being a full time author right now, faster than a heartbeat. It would be me in cammies then *blink* me in pajamas behind a keyboard working on my next novel. But unfortunately that is simply not how it works for me right now. Besides the entire fact that I literally couldn’t just “quit” the military in a blink, there is also the case of instant change in income source. While that could happen if the correct celestial bodies were to align and such, it isn’t likely. So until then I am stuck doing both a full time job and writing. And that means finding that balance between both when it comes to time management and realistic expectations. I say that because in the real world it is important to have both lofty high reaching goals and lower more realistic ones. To paraphrase the Tao, while it is impossible to move a mountain it is easy to move a pebble. Every mountain is just a collection of pebbles as it were. Every novel just a collection of words.
Recently I have decided to change the way I approached my writing. The first thing that I did is to decide on a small word count per day that I could achieve with only a small amount of focused effort, namely 250 words. This was something that if I did everyday consistently and without missing a day I would have have a novel length story(91,250 words) in a year. That is if I did the bare minimum everyday. And I knew that this would be impossible. Not that writing 250 words everyday was impossible but that I would write just 250 words and stop. That is the key to this trick of the mind, the inability to stop writing once started. By setting a goal that I have no excuses good enough not to hit everyday I have made it nearly impossible not to press forward and exceed it. It is like riding a motorcycle, or at least my motorcycle. It is darn near impossible to ride that thing going under 8 miles an hour without falling over, which hurts a lot. It is so much easier to give it a bit more gas and shift up a gear to second. So when I am writing it is much easier to finish the paragraph I am working on or the scene or the chapter than it is to stop right on the 250 mark. To make this approach that much sweeter I am working on more than one project right now. Two are being actively written right now and a third is in spit balling mode. How does this sweeten this predicament that I put myself into? My most important project is my revisions of the Max Bear Detective story to get it from a first draft to second draft. And before I work on anything else I have to hit my word count for that first. No matter how much I want to work on my newer or shinier projects I must do my work on my revisions first. I hate to admit it but I do get distracted by shiny new projects and ideas and stories. This helps me by forcing me to do the work on the older project before I get to play with the new project. It also forces me to keep on projects before starting yet another one.
How well does this all work? For the last couple of weeks I have been pumping out 300-500 words a day on both of my active projects and written four or five beginnings for my spit ball idea. And that just makes me smile with satisfaction. It might not be earth shattering numbers but it is consistent and constant. Considering I am in this for the long haul I would rather be the tortoise than the hare in this marathon.