Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year's Resolution for 2014: Write, write, and write some more

Trying to be a writer and being a writer are two different things. 
Trying to me seems to imply failure and attempts, where as stating "I am thus and such," puts a definitive mark on who and what you are, or what you're doing, and becomes your label. You are that.

Well, I have unfortunately not been very good at holding to that. In point of fact, I have never held to that, except for that one nine month period where I pounded out 80k words, and haven't touched it since. As a writer, I am definitely not good at holding fast to a quota.
Which is where I introduce the Word Count Calendar, as blogged about by Laini Taylor, currently my favorite author and go-to inspiration when I need writing advice but don't expect an answer. Her blog is a hotbed for practical and creative insight into writing that has many a time made me stop scratching my head and march forward, banners waving and sword drawn to tackle the beast of my text.

But back to the point.
My New Year's Resolution list consists of two three things:

  1. Edit the book I wrote (and mentioned above)
  2. Start the process of getting it published
  3. Work on my new novel/get it finished. 
Now I started up this word count calendar, as seen below:

November only yielded 5k words.
In my mind, checking out other people's word count calendars - i.e. Laini Taylor and the people who inspired her - and seeing mine, it's a bit pathetic. 
Which is a cardinal sin in writing. Do not compare yourself to other people. You can't really qualify - whereas you can quantify word count - work as it pertains to another's style, voice, substance. I will never write like E.L. James, Stephen King, Robert Browning, Daniel Silva, or anyone else. I can admire and learn from their skills, but I will not ever be them.
As a writer - and as I've never had fiction published perhaps I shouldn't be talking - you should have your own voice and style. How other people like it is a matter of opinion. But directly copying doesn't seem like it's going to work out.
I could set myself a standard for what to put out at the end of a month - say 25k per month, times 12 would be 300k at the end of a year, and that might be a bit much for most novels. 
But two things I've learned about writing anything:

  1. If you sit there and procrastinate about doing it, it will never get done. Just sitting down to do the deed and starting it eliminates a good bit of apprehension about the completion of said thing.
  2. Just quit whining and be done with it all ready.
My New Years resolution is to be consistent and try for a minimum of 10 stickers a month. Not too little, not too much, and plenty of room for being the over-achiever that I am and making it work.

The way the word count calendar works is by setting a numerical value for each sticker of how many words you shall write. For me, every sticker is worth 1000 words. If I don't write exactly 1000 words or more, I don't get my sticker. Not 845, not 997, 1000. By having that goal motivator, that exact number staring at you, it gives you more incentive to get that little sticker. You can try cute little smiley face stickers or bear stickers, or whatever pleases you. 

I found these in Target and purchased them specifically for the WCC
As long as you keep to your quota and stick with it, you may come up with something. It may not be a great something, but keeping your skills sharp is an important part of a writer's trade. Like any other skill or craft, you have to keep it up to stay in shape, relevant, and interested in what you do.

So with that, have a Happy New Year in 2014!

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