Friday, August 31, 2012

Hitting that Word Count...No. Matter. What.

**reposting of an earlier post**

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.

**I'll see ya'll when I get home from work tonight!!**


Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Great tips here! And carrots??? You are so healthy...chocolate is my weakness. ;)

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Love this - great ideas!!! Especially your point about the 100 words. That was a real lightbulb moment for me. It actually sounds doable.

Unknown said...

Great ideas, Casey! What really helps me is to tell someone else my goal--my crit partner or others around me. If I know someone else knows what I'm supposed to be doing, I'm more likely to get it done. I think it's the competitive spirit in me--I don't want to tell the other person I didn't hit my goal. Haha!

Jeanne T said...

Casey, great ideas. :) I love the 100 word thoughts. One paragraph. Super!

I like deadlines. I set one earlier this year, and I wrote 94K words in 5 1/2 weeks. Telling people about it, even online (especially online!) held me accountable. And it felt so good to write, "The End."

Lindsay Harrel said...

I have a goal of finishing my current WIP in 9 weeks (end of October). If I write 10,000 words a week, and write 5 days a week, that's only 2,000 words a day....which sounds like a lot, but I can write about 1,000 words per hour. So really, only 2 hours a day.

For me, having those smaller chunked goals in my mind helps!

Julia M. Reffner said...

Wow, Casey. This is your fastest one yet, right? And with edits to boot! Out of the park my friend!

"The point it, don't dwell on what needs to be changed, just enjoy the flow of words. It will help immensely."

Love it! yes, yes, yes. SO blessed by your encouragement!!

Becky Doughty said...


Great reminders to keep the beast in check. Lindsay, I'm with you. I broke it all down so that the bites were smaller. A couple hours a day (or night?) That I can handle.

Thanks for the encouragement.


Joanne Sher said...

This is FABULOUS advice - and I know I will need it VERY soon.
Thank you.

Casey said...

Sherrinda, Hahahahaha! You should have seen what I ate tonight. Shrimp...chocolate cake....pasta....meatballs...not so very healthy. ;-)

Casey said...

KAREN, doesn't it? Nothing hard or difficult about a hundred words. Each one stacks on top of the other to make a complete novel!

Casey said...

Melissa, that is so me as well! Jordyn Redwood and I have been doing that for our weekly goals and let me tell you, that's a kick in the pants!

Casey said...

Jeanne, ARE. YOU. SERIOUS?? You're my new hero! Way to go! And I agree, the online community is a huge supportive front.

Casey said...

Lindsay, you and I write a lot alike I think. I used to be able to do 10K in 4 days and have a three day weekend, but that was before I got my job. 1k a day for me is totally doable, I can even do that on my lunch break. :)

Casey said...

Julia, well this is a reposting of a older post, so I'm not sure if I had edits when I was finishing up this novel. Can't remember right now. Ha! My writing flow as really sloooooowed way down. It's discouraging!

Casey said...

Becky, it's definitely a beast, I'll agree 100% with you on that one!

Casey said...

Joanne, keep on keeping on! I'll have to do a post sometime talking about our WIPS and give each other encouragement in finishing them. :)

Jordan Klien said...

You need to reach your word count before your article will be published. This is something that writers should always think about.

Unknown said...

Thanks Casey - a excellent reminder where the words come from and that they are worthy of prayer time.

Not reading writing books is a great tip. I tend to read them slot when the writing is stuck - and yet they only tend to highlight how your writing doesn't measure up. A fatal blow at drafting stage.

Thanks for posting!