Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I made my word count goal two days in a row!!
Count 'em. TWO!


Don't laugh, with the way things have been going for me lately, this is an event. I'm ecstatic. It shouldn't feel this good to write a measely 1,000 words a day, but I admit that it does. To celebrate, I'm giving myself another 1,000 word goal for today. But the sad thing is that even given my success so far this week, I'm worried that I won't make it.

I didn't use to have these kinds of problems when I first started writing. Words, sentences, paragraphs, pages...they all flowed from my fingers through the keyboard like rich, fine wine. I never worried about echoes, or using words like "that", "was", or the pesky ones ending in "-ly". I didn't care about syntax, grammar, and devices. I simply wrote the story that was in my head and worried about fixing it later.

Why can't I do that any longer? Why do I have to overthink every word? Does it mean that I'm becoming a better writer, or just more neurotic and obsessive compulsive?

Any thoughts?

11 comments:

Maggie Robinson said...

1000 words a day is great, you know. And I think everything is cyclical. Sometimes writing bursts forth---other times you're extracting with a tweezer. Probably the more accomplished you are (and you are)the fussier you get.

I did an 'ly' search once. Wasn't pretty. But you know what? I still love my adverbs. Not killing all the darlings. Sorry, Stephen King.

Maria Zannini said...

If you were describing me, I'd say I was compulsive, but in your case you're probably a better writer because you're more aware of what you're writing.

In short...you've lost your innocence. *g*

J.K. Coi said...

Thanks Maggie and Maria. Don’t get me wrong. I am totally an obsessive compulsive personality. But in this case I do think that part of it is a “loss of innocence”. I’m too aware of what I’m writing to get completely lost in it anymore. There’s a certain sadness in that, I think. But also a sense of accomplishment. I will admit that my last book needed way less revisions and editing when all was said and done than the first book I wrote. Even if it did take me just as long to write.

Shelley Munro said...

JK - have you tried setting a timer and writing in half hour bursts or something like that? that usually helps me.

Whenever I get to the overthinking stage and there's no writing happening, it's usually because I'm trying to force the plot the wrong way or I've taken a wrong turning. Maybe that's your problem?

Anyhow, I hope you get back in the writing groove and blast out another 1000 words today.

Delle Jacobs said...

It's harder now, just plain harder. When we first started, we didn't know what we were doing. We were so sure we could write, and our stories were the most thrilling ever written. We didn't even know how much we didn't know.

Then everything we learn started to pile up and intimidate us. Now we think of a sentence, then think of all the things wrong with saying it that way.

I'm getting past that now. I just write, knowing I'll have to fix it, and when I get to the second draft, I usually find it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was. First draft, get the ideas down. Second and third drafts are for the word-smithing. I write more, more easily, this way.

I just judged a contest entry that reminded me of being a beginner, and that, yes, I really am a far better writer today than when I began. That spurred me to over 1,000 words in a session at Starbuck's.

J.K. Coi said...

Shelley, just giving myself that straightforward goal of 1000 words seems to have been the kick in the butt I needed. Maybe because I know it's very attainable. I won't have to break my back and lose my eyesight to get it done in an evening, even after a long day at work.

I'm still not writing more than the 1000 words. Not yet. I'm going to give myself at least a week before I up the ante. :)

J.K. Coi said...

Delle! How nice of you to drop by! It's very true. I judged a few contests this year and thought much the same thing looking at some of the entries.

I wish I could write at Starbucks, but I can't afford to spend that much money on lattes. I do write over my lunch hour at Tim Horton's though, and while it gets pretty noisy, at least they don't have the wireless internet connection. One less distraction!

Ann Lory said...

I think it depends on the story. At least for me it does. I find some characters are more cooperative than others, though they nag just as much as the others to have their story. It's like, "If you want your story so bad the least you could do is help me a bit." Know what I mean?

I feel your pain. It's been happening to me and I'm ready to put this story to bed and move on to the next.

Congrats on hitting your goals.

J.K. Coi said...

Ann, I wish I could nag my characters into behaving with my muse. But one or the other of them always seems to be acting up.

But I made the word count goal again today!! With time left over to spend with hubby!

Tiffany Chalmers said...

OMG That is the cutest picture EVER! LOL

1000 words a day is really good.

and you have written this book relatively fast so far! So don't be so hard on yourself.

Wylie Kinson said...

I'm definitely going with the better writer argument. We grow, we learn, we notice more, ... so of course we're harder on ourselves. We're supposed to be, otherwise we'd never improve!