Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Secret to a Giant Word Count

If you follow me on any of my social media platforms, you know that one of my goals for the new year is 10K Thursdays. No, I'm not running 10K (a lot of my non-writerly friends thought this was the case and quickly asked if I'd lost my mind ;) ), but I'm getting ten thousand words out every Thursday... or at least trying to ;)

I read an article a while back about getting those words out on the page because every time I sat down it was pulling teeth just to get 200 written. 10K? Don't even think about it! I could barely get 1000 in a week. I read the article with a lot of skepticism, but figured what did I have to lose? I was on a deadline and needed something written, so I followed the "instructions" even though I really didn't feel like it.

PS... this method, WORKS.

If you haven't read it, here's the gist of what I'll be focusing on: write what you're going to write before you write it. In other words, use those cute and fancy notebooks I know you've got lying around the house because writers go crazy at back to school sales. Write all sorts of gibberish in it. Doesn't have to be anything specific, but set the scene. For example, the scene I'm going to write as soon as I'm done writing this blog post:

Chapter Twenty Something, I forget what one I'm on... 

Goal for G: Gets over fear of people seeing her in dress
Goal to move the story forward: G takes an active role in saving Coach's job. 

Homecoming... G confronts those stupid boys about the rumors going around, says they can make it up to her at the school board meeting. Have some Ollie time. G comes up with her plan to save Coach's job. 

That's all I have in my notebook. It doesn't make sense to anyone but me, I'm sure. And most likely things will change while I'm writing. But the thing is I now know what my goals for the chapter are and how they'll get achieved. I can sit and write without any pauses. This small summary will get me about 2-3 thousand words. It will take me two hours at most (if I turn off the internet ;) ). Which brings me to my next point.

Turn off your distractions. 

I change up how I do this every time. Sometimes it's a half an hour of no Internet. Sometimes it's until I finish a scene. A chapter. A page. Something. Because when I'd write before, I'd get a sentence out, or a paragraph, then hit alt tab and scroll through my feed for twenty minutes. Not exactly productive ;)

For those of you with kids, trust me, I feel you. I've got three of them. My youngest is currently twirling in circles pressing the buttons on her Frozen Barbies so that I'm serenaded by an ongoing loop of For the First Time in Forever. I have to change bums and get up at screams and kiss invisible boo-boos. It's distracting, and can completely pull me from the story if I let it. I wish that I had a magical solution for this particular distraction, but I don't. All I can say is that I've trained myself to work through it.

Thought I was exaggerating, didn't you? ;) 

Use earplugs if you can and if you prefer silence. I have to listen to music, so at least one earbud is tucked into my ear.

Take advantage of writing time. 

I can't write every day. During my husband's days off, there is no chance of me sitting with my characters. So I allow myself to take two days off a week, too. I also run this publishing services business, I have edits and marketing and I'm on a conference committee that takes up a large chunk of my time. It took a long time to tell myself to calm down and not stress out if I didn't get anything written on the WIP that day. So I've rearranged my schedule so that there are writing days, all dedicated to that WIP and nothing else. (Hence the 10K Thursdays.)

Because I know it's the only day I have for the WIP, I use it. I sink myself into it. I don't worry about anything else but that particular world, and it's so freeing. So the words come easier.

I'll be doing this all year (one of those resolutions), and if you want to join in on a 10K day with me, please do. There is strength in numbers, after all ;)


Rachel Schieffelbein said...

Great post! I'd love to do some sprinting with you tomorrow, but I don't think I'll have time for a full 10k. ;-)

Young@Heart said...

This is a great post! Keep up the great work!


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