MOPNoWriMo Day 2: Planning And Wordcounts (31/1/2012)

Day two: Target wordcount: 5700 (making up for yesterday). Words written: 5800

Actually a bit surprised to catch up today, but when the muse is in the zone, the muse is in the zone. I take these days when they come and am grateful for them, since there are also days when the muse is all hungover and surly from staying up too late and drinking too much at some all-night muse party and no amount of being flogged with a dead haddock will make her get of her lazy ass and inspire anything more than an intense need for chocolate.

Two full chapters today, a half-chapter and the start of yet another. Less talking, more fighting. Maybe that’s why. Also I like the bit where I threw someone off a cliff.

A bit about wordcounts then. Being a slave to wordcounts is a dangerous thing. It’s like being on a diet and then being a slave to the scales and waking up in the morning every single day and getting on the scales and seeing that OH MY GOD I PUT ON ANOTHER SIX GRAMS OVERNIGHT HOW IS THIS HAPPINING OH MY GOD MY LIFE IS AT AN END I AM SUCH A TOTAL FAILURE I MIGHT AS WELL EAT ENOUGH CHOCOLATE TO KILL AN ELEPHANT AND… er, I mean it’s easy to get disappointed and depressed and lose motivation. And stuff. Because like what the scales say each morning, the muse can be cultivated and directed but also fluctuates from day to day in a way that is completely out of your control and you might as well get used to it.

However, if you’re going to try and write a novel in a month or do the NaNoWriMo thing then you have a deadline and as soon as you have that, you have a wordcount target whether you like it or not, and as soon as you have that, seems to me you might as well pay some attention to how feasible it is. Especially when that count’s a big one. If you don’t know how fast you can write, it’s probably a good idea to find out. If it takes you six hours to write a thousand words, that’s how long it takes and there’s no point imagining you’re going to write five thousand in a day unless you have some very advanced ideas about space-time. Be realistic about how much time you actually have in a day for writing too. You might have thought I’ve done this sort of thing enough times not to cock up, but I’ve given myself five hours a day for Chromium which it turns out I don’t quite actually have, because there were various basic things like eating food and staring vacantly into space that I forgot to consider. I could, on a really good day, get done in three. On bad day, I’d need a time machine. I’m going for something that experience tells me I ought to manage, most days, to hit. Note also Mark’s comment on the yesterday’s entry. Write words at a rate that suits you, not the one that someone else said might be a good idea or the one that’s necessary to meet some ephemeral target in the three minutes of free time you have every day. If you don’t know what rate that is and you want to set yourself targets, I suggest finding out. Targets are there to help, to motivate, maybe for a bit of goading and definitely for a bit of feelgood when they get hit, not to stress, taunt and demoralise because they’re always out of reach. Choose them with care. Give yourself a day off now and then, too. These are important. They are for playing Skyrim (none today. I was good).

This really is shockingly like diet advice.


2 Responses to “MOPNoWriMo Day 2: Planning And Wordcounts (31/1/2012)”

  1. Anne Lyle says:

    I feel your pain, having just finished a two-month edit marathon in order to hit my deadline. I think I’ve found a pace that’s workable even with everything that winter can throw at me :)

    What I found useful was setting regular milestones rather than daily targets – there were some weeks when I really struggled and others when I flew, but overall I hit the pace pretty well spot on.

    Now, if only I could get the dieting to run so smoothly…

  2. Stephen Deas says:

    Not exactly pain, Anne, but I want to see how it works out for a variety of reasons. I think I might expand on that in a future day’s post.

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