A Word About Word Count–Inspiration Grab Bag #3

A Word About Word Count

But before I start, let me pause to swoon:

Dean Wesley Smith. There, it’s out. I’ve got a writer’s crush. Is it the cowboy hat? The prolificity? Or the fact that the man just wrote a 70,000 word novel in 10 DAYS?

(And to my husband, who I know is secretly worried: It’s the hat. You can buy one of those, and you’ll look awesome in it.)

DWS recently blogged about his experience. For anyone who has ever struggled with daily motivation to write, meeting word counts, or wondering if they have it in them to write a novel, these 11 blog entries (10 days of writing plus the day after) are eye-opening and well worth your time. If he can find the time to write them (and respond to all the comments!), you and I can find some time to read them, or at least write a few thousand words, or at least write my spy kitties out of that metaphorical hole I’ve gotten them into this time.

In one of my favorite “How to” books, The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them), by Jack M. Bickham, there is a marvelous piece of advice, so important that he places it at number one in his list: Don’t Make Excuses.

“At the end of each day, write down…the number of hours you spent…working on your fiction project, and …how many pages you produced. For those days when you don’t have anything in terms of work to report, type one double-spaced page of excuses.”

Today, I only managed about 160 words. Because….The kids are on summer break. I had a headache. I slept in because the kids slept in. My husband was working in the garage on a wood-working project and I had 12 cups of mashed strawberries that just had to be turned into jam. I thought I should finally cook dinner, for once. The laundry was piling up taller than we were. I secretly feel guilty when I ask my husband to do too much housework, even though he’s always cheerful about it and we have always shared parenting responsibilities (and sometimes he’s carried more of them). And when I did finally sit down to write, I chose to edit a short story (easy) than put more words on the blank pages of my novel (hard).

John Bickham is right: You’ll soon get sick of writing excuses. To write 7,000 words a day, there’s no time for them.

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