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Posts Tagged ‘burn through the words’

Burn through the Words is a series of posts suggesting strategies you can use to hit your writing goals. Feel free to use, abuse, or disregard entirely; writing is a strange and personal beast and all advice herein should be taken on the rocks with a nice rim of salt.

I mentioned in my last post that I have to write 714 words a day to hit my goal of 30,000 words for Clarion. But do I write 714 words a day?

No. I do not.

714 words is my rock-bottom limit.  I usually write a little over 1,000 words a day. Why do I do more than what I need to?

Because you never know what life is going to throw at you. There have already been two days since the write-a-thon began that I couldn’t make it to the keyboard. I’m sure there will be more. So I write ahead, so I don’t have the guilt and pressure of trying to play catch-up later.

Sure, I can get way behind and beg my family to give me a Saturday off so I can lock myself in the office and indulge in a marathon, but having done one Nanowrimo, I’m not all that eager to do another. For one thing, I don’t have a lot of fun that way, for another thing, most of what I write during those grim dashes is not very useful; often it’s just words for wordcount’s sake.

Do you want to write six stories, or six good stories you might sell somewhere? Set the bite-sized goals you’ve created as the bottom end of your expectations. Plan ahead, and when the race is over and the dust clears, you’ll have some writing to be proud of, rather than … some writing. Which, don’t get me wrong, is miles better than nothing at all, but why not try to do it right the first time, rather than making more work for yourself later?

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Burn through the Words is a series of posts suggesting strategies you can use to hit your writing goals. Feel free to use, abuse, or disregard entirely; writing is a strange and personal beast and all advice herein should be taken on the rocks with a nice rim of salt.

This tip is fairly common-sensical, I think, but it bears repeating, just in case you’ve fallen prey to a terrible case of procrastination.

You’ve set your big goal, and now it looms over you like K2. If you want to summit that goal and raise as much money as possible for Clarion, you’ve got to break your mountain into a series of small, manageable molehills.

This is pretty easy with word count — for example, I’ve got a goal of 30,000 words. This breaks down to 714 words a day. I know that whatever else I do today, I’ve got to write at least 714 words. It’s a heck of a lot easier to wrap my brain around than writing 30,000 words, and then the end result is the same. 

If you’ve chosen a certain amount of short stories, then for goodness sake, don’t wait until week five for inspiration to strike.

Saturday is your deadline: if you haven’t got your week’s story done, get it done, and use the pressure of the deadline to squeeze those words out. If you’re in a group, have them hold you accountable, and deliver those stories to them by uploading them to the forum every Saturday night. If you’re not in a group, deliver those stories to a supportive friend or family member instead. They don’t have to critique them, they just need to receive them.

Break it down and you’ll see success.

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