Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hitting that Word Count. Every. Single. Day.

Word count

Possibly the most two hated words in all of the writing profession for those days when the words... Just. Are. Not. Flowing!

Every word feels like having a finger nail pulled, a stitch tightened in your skin without pain killer, wisdom teeth being extracted while being WIDE AWAKE. Ahhhh!

Save me from word count!

90,000 words, that was the goal for the recent WIP that I finished just last month. There were times when I would look at my counter and go, "3,200 MORE?? It was 3,2001 just a few minutes ago!"

Word Processor can be your greatest asset or your worst enemy and I think we all have those days.

Below are 10 tips to help you conquer that writer's block of word count. These are proven (for me), they work (for me) and I wouldn't have gotten my novel done without them

10: Pray over your words. Most won't be kept, you might delete them moments after writing them, but they are words. God will give you the inspiration, you just have to believe and trust that He will.

9: I want you to not for one second think that this novel will never make it. Tell yourself it will be the next #1 New York Times Bestseller. I did. And who knows, it just might be. The point it, don't dwell on what needs to be changed, just enjoy the flow of words. It will help immensely.

8: I know many of  you are working writers or stay at home with your kids. But have you ever noticed how quickly 100 words can be written? If you single space your pages, it is only about one paragraph. Do you know how fast 100 words adds up? You would only have to carve 10 spaces out of your day to write 1,000 words.  While the kids nap, during your lunch break. While supper is cooking, while your mother in law rants on the other end of the line about her next door neighbor's howling cat. It is faster than you think and I bet in the few minutes you find, you will get more than a 100 words written.

7: Carrots, lots and lots of carrots! I am serious, it is my think food. For those days that the words are locked up tighter than a drum, rejoice over every 100 word count. Reward yourself, read a chapter in that book you can't stop thinking about. Stand up, stretch, grab a carrot stick, spend just a minute or two away from the screen. Then go back and write another 100.

6: Format your page. When I wrote my last novel, I did everything in single spaces. For some reason it just helped me feel like I was writing more. I wasn't concerned about page count, just words. I loved seeing those single spaces of nothing but words filling those pages.

5: If at all possible try to find a quiet place to write. With summer upon us, that might be easier than during the school year. And just enjoy the words. If you aren't what is the point of writing, I mean really?

4: I would suggest not reading any writing books during this time. It will just make you think of everything you need to change, instead focus on the words. Who cares if you have to go back and delete? Who cares if those words never see the light of publication? If God gave you this story idea, than write it! Anything else is a disservice.

3: Unplug the Internet and move far, far, far away from that deadly temptation. It will steal your writing time and suck away all enthusiasm and desire to write. When I get ready to write, I bundle my laptop and move to my bunkhouse outside, away from all electronics. It does wonders for my word count.

2: If music helps you enter your story world, than by all means plug some in and let it sooth your writer's mind. The inspiration to write my novel was a few select songs by Sara Evans. I listened to those six songs over and over again. And it put me in the mindset to think about my heroine and her situation.

1: Set a deadline for yourself. My deadline was to be done my birthday which is the middle of July. As that deadline loomed closer and closer, all I could think about is, what if I didn't make it? It pushed me to write more, to have creativity flow and (that along with prayer) worked wonders for hitting that deadline. In fact I got it down by the middle of June. : ) But I also say that don't stress if you don't hit that deadline. Summer is still a time to enjoy, so enjoy it and don't worry if that word count isn't hit. You want your family to love your writing, not resent the angst it throttles around your loved ones.
That is my strategy for hitting your word count. It works for me and hopefully something will give you insight to help you as well. I would love to hear what you do to help hit that word count.

Also, I am away on vacation right now, so I won't be here to reply to your comments, but the other lovely ladies will be. I will be sure and read them when I get back, I look forward to hearing your thoughts!


Mia said...

Loved the tips, Casey! Turning off the internet is a must for me and getting somewhere quiet (not always possible) helps me be more productive. For my latest book, I made my own personal deadline, as well. It was for July 7Th, but my story is going to be around 10K more than I planned, so I added another week. No sense in stressing over high daily word counts, right?

If you use Twitter, I just discovered a hash tag (#1k1hr) that also motivates me to meet my word count. The goal is to write for one hour and to write at least 1K. You can find other writers to join in, and it's motivating to know you're not alone :) I did #1k1hr for the first time last night with two other writers, and got over 2, 000 words written. Yay! :)

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Great post, Casey! Some days I struggle...especially when I am in edit mode. I have never tried carrots though! I usually do the chocolate thing. ;)

Mia, I've never heard of the #1k1hr on Twitter! Thanks for the tip!

Jennifer Shirk said...

wonderful tips!

Krista Phillips said...

GREAT tips... except for the carrots one! LOL. Bring on the chocolate bon-bons y'all!

Sidney W. Frost said...

Thanks, Casey. Your tips for keeping the words flowing are helpful. I'm glad you mentioned that many words would eventually be cut. That's a reality many new writers don't think about. But we still need goals to get enough words to edit.

I prayed each day before writing the way you recommended. I didn't pray for word count, but for the right words.

I also found it easier to write while away from home. No one seemed to understand that, but I could get more done in a noisy coffee shop than I could at home. Not sure why. Perhaps at home we see other things to do or we take too many breaks.

Mary Vee Writer said...

I agree with Sidney about the coffee shop. I was at a coffe shop last night. First thought: quick check emails, FB, twitter. My computer wouldn't connect to the internet for some reason. Hmmmm..a God thing? Words started to bubble in my head for a stalled project. As a result, I finished the work. God is so good. He knows our true getting busy with the real work:)

Jan Marie said...

Thanks for all the great tips. This post is one I am going to save for future reference!

Sweet Peripety said...

Oh my word! CARROTS!!!! I eat those to write, TOO!!!! I can go through an entire package of Sweet Petites in a single day. LOL. BTW, I am a new reader to this blog...really appreciate the info on it. I've completed my first novel, and am working on edits, and more edits!! :) I just couldn't believe someone else eats carrots to write. I'm a bit crazy about them. Just ask my DH! ~AMY