It is the thirtieth of November and the end of NaNoWriMo. I decided I would challenge myself to finish MIND MATTERS in the month of November as part of that group. Each day I would track my word count so that each evening I could record my progress on the website. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
To be fair, I did learn quite a bit from the NaNoWriMo challenge. I learned I am not able to force my writing. I write what is flowing at the time and no matter how I try if I force myself to continue when I’ve reached my end I write crap. They tell us on the website not to edit, it is a form of procrastination. This is a challenge to reach fifty thousand words in a month. That may sound off-putting, but my first novel totaled 103,459 words before my professional editor, the wonderful and kind, John Hudspith, removed supercilious fluff and repetition. We are not quite done with LIGHTED WINDOWS my first novel, but I can tell you the word count is in the mid-90s. Yes, I am most repetitious. 🙂
I did manage to reach forty thousand words in MIND MATTERS by the end of November and while it may seem I gave up too soon, I think I also learned that trying to hit a word count causes me to dither. Now, I can dither without a deadline as my one hundred thousand word first book will attest, but when merely reaching a required number of words per day is the aim, I tend to “over-egg it” as Mr. Hudspith would say. Let’s face it I was in sales and I can keep talking until you are blue in the face and will say yes to just about anything just to get me to shut the hell up! My mother was Irish and while she disliked me in general, she did give me the gift of gab. But just because I can write lots of words does not mean the words are worth reading.
The final lesson I took for NaNoWriMo, well, maybe one of the last lessons, is that word count is all well and good, especially if you are getting paid per word, but quality must not suffer on the altar of numbers. I would write some days even when the story seemed to be drifting. I used to focus on a page count. I felt five or more pages a day was a good target. I was shocked and saddened to find five pages is about eleven hundred words. Wow, just a little over a thousand! And I used to think I was really churning it out. So the lesson here is humility. While I can write lots of words, much of what I write is of no consequence. If I cannot write from the heart, I simply can’t write worth a damn.
Thank you for reading my drivel, kind and gentle friends. Please pardon the profanity. As you can tell, I took this all very hard, well hard-ish :>
Love Light Laughter and darlings I wish you Chocolate!