Tuesday, June 10, 2014

When Good Intentions Backfire: The Truth About My Wordcount Goals

It wasn’t too long ago that I wrote a whole blog post on my system for accountability in my writing. In case you thought I was really together, think again. Turns out that my goals were keeping me from writing, or at least from writing well.

I can’t even remember how long it’s been since I started doing daily word count goals. I’m thinking a minimum of six years. I remember putting them all out on a calendar and being so happy thinking about how I would finish my book in a month/six weeks/three weeks/ two weeks/you get the picture. As you may have guessed I was a little *cough* overzealous with my word count goals. Given, I am a fast writer and when I’m really going I can get 5-8 K in a day. Sadly those days aren't the norm, especially when I have weeks of poor health. The pressure of a high word count goal on top of dizziness and exhaustion really stifled my creative drive.

So a few weeks ago I stopped. Just like that. I was addicted to the adrenaline rush that came from a goal I just had to complete. Somewhere along the way it went too far. I was exhausted by the struggle, not exhilarated. I’m still using my calendar idea but instead of setting certain expectations I just put a sticker on the day if I've managed to write.

It’s not just lowered expectations that I’ve benefited from. Since word count goals were so important my world building was really weak. In the first week away from word count goals I found myself going deep into the fabric of my world. Considering it’s a first novel in what I hope will be a long series it’s important for me to build a foundation. Sadly even a month ago I wouldn’t have bothered. I just couldn’t take the time away from new words to figure out what the house looked like, what the history was, or even how long my characters had known each other for.

I don’t know how long this is going to last for. I like being organized and having goals. Hopefully if my health improves or I sell a book I can find a way to set reasonable goals that I’m likely to complete. For now it’s just about writing.

1 comment:

  1. I think that's a good place to be. I could never write that much in a day. If I hit 500, it's a good day ;)