So last summer, I decided to stop tracking my daily writing word count. There were a lot of reasons for this, mostly having to do with the way it led me to focus on the wrong things and beat myself up in ways that were ultimately counterproductive.
The trouble is, I’d structured almost my whole writing life around keeping track of word counts. Without an easy way to measure my daily progress, it was really hard to know whether I was being productive or not. As a consequence, I didn’t push myself as hard as I could have, and ended up bouncing around between projects without really finishing anything.
Well, I think I’ve figured out a solution to that. Instead of tracking daily word count, I’m going to use a countdown timer to make sure I spend at least X number of hours each day writing new words. Whenever I take a break to do something else, even if it’s writing related, I’ll pause the timer, then start it up again when I get back to writing.
I tried it out last week, using a program called TimeLeft. It worked out pretty well, I think. Definitely gave me a lot more insight into my writing process. I think it will help me to get some good habits back, like writing in the morning and staying focused for longer. It will also help to have something I can accomplish each day. It doesn’t matter how much I write, just that I spend the time actually writing.
To start out, I’m going to shoot for four hours of daily writing time. It might not sound like a lot, and without a day job perhaps it isn’t, but I think it’s a good starting point. Then again, if the guys at Writing Excuses are right, I might end up scaling back a bit. Either way, I’ll probably end up adjusting that goal over the next few weeks.
Other writing stuff I’d like to figure out this year:
- How to juggle two projects at the same time. I’m kind of doing it now with The Sword Keeper and Star Wanderers: Benefactor, but it’s tough to keep one of them from getting the short end of the stick.
- How to go for a week without checking my ebook sales. Kris Rusch had a really good post on this last week. I’ve tried it before, but I always end up breaking down and checking. Well, no longer!
- How to write good short stories. I think I’ve put it off for too long. Yes, novels and short stories are different arts, but they’re both writing, and I’m a writer. Time to learn.
That’s just about it for now. Hopefully, it will turn out well.