The first year I hit a wall at 25,000 word or thereabouts. I was a die-hard discovery writer (or 'pantser' even though I mostly wear shorts around the house). I just hit the wall at 25K and stayed there, stuck.
Last year I discovered the joy. Nope. That's not the right word. The necessity of plotting or at least having some sort of road map for my book. And I hit the goal. I think I wound up with six or seven-thousand words more than the 50K word goal. AND I had a finished first draft of a book. A book, by the way that I seriously need to go back and edit and finish because it's a damn good story and well, to be honest, I have people that will probably kill me or disown me if I don't. So, that's a thing.
The success last year coupled with the fact that I have had a novella released this year and have found my stride as an author led me to declare the somewhat insane goal of going for a 75K Month.
Seventy-five thousand words. In 30 days. That is, if you do the very simple math, two-thousand five-hundred words per day.
Now, if you are one of the people that follow me on any of the social medias (and you should, I'm funny as hell. Well, ok, I'm goofy. And in today's world, goofy is good and dorky is the new sexy. Or at least that's what I tell myself)...where was I?
OH. Right. Social media. If you have followed me on social media, I am totally kicking ass as this NaNo thing, right? I mean, I'm going here and smashing words. I'm doing this write in or that and just words words words words words. Kicking ass and taking names. Yeah?
Only I'm not. My word count is slightly below what I need per day to be hitting the NaNo goal of 50K and it's pretty much WAY the hell below the goal per day of the personal goal I'm going for.
Basically, I'm slacking, by all appearances.
And I'm here in the electronic confessional to come clean.
I'm not going to beat myself up over it. Trust me, there are other things in my life that deserve my self-flagellation much more than this.
Nope. This breakfasty blog is here to give myself a pep-talk, because it's only the 8th day of November. There is plenty of time to right this ship. And in the process, if you're sitting there, disappointed by your word counts, maybe this will help set you back on course, too.
I'm going to let you in on a secret. And I really hope the NaNo Black Ops team doesn't come after me for this, but here it is.
The word counts are a lie.
Yeah. So...here's the thing. The purpose. The point, if you will, of the word counts. They are a way to measure your progress, right? Wrong. They are the prestige. They are the thing the audience (in this case, the writer) is focusing on without really seeing what's going on.
If you hit an average word count goal every day, for thirty days straight, what have you done?
YOU HAVE WRITTEN FOR THIRTY DAYS STRAIGHT.
Sure, mathematically speaking, if you do 50,000 words in a month, you have a workable draft of a novel that's about 150 pages or thereabouts. And that's a decent sized drift of the average length novel. But even if all of your words aren't for the same thing, you still have written every day for thirty days in a row.
THAT is the point. While you were focused on word counts, you did something that you didn't even think you could. You wrote. Consistently. Daily (mostly).
Well done, you.
NaNoWriMo takes away your excuses.
- I can't write.
- I don't have time to write.
- I'm not good enough.
- I'll never be like (insert another author/friend name here).
It's actually pretty brilliant when you think about it. And I love participating.
Am I'm slacking on my goals this year?
Yes and no.
I'm behind on my word count. The word count which was the arbitrary brass ring I decided to reach for.
So, Todd, tell us-what HAVE you been doing?
I'm glad you asked. Here's some of the things I've been up to.
- Writing a flash fiction piece for a project that Jack Wallen heads up. I'm pretty proud of this piece and you can read it HERE.
- Finishing up the final edits and getting ready to send out beta-reader and advanced review copies of my next book, Ovid's Folly, which will be released on December 5th in the Legends and Lore collection (which you can pre-order HERE).
- A guest blog piece on the awesome Books By Violet Blog helmed by my good friend Violet Patterson (you should just make her blog part of your regular reading ritual. Check it out over HERE).
- Releasing a newsletter so you, my awesome friends, can stay abreast of my monthly pursuits and get updates direct to your inbox (and get some sneak peeks that you can't get anywhere else). Sign up here:
And I am currently juggling three works in progress around in my head.
I have the piece that I originally wanted to write for NaNo. It's a romance. I was originally getting hung up on the fact that the main character is a woman and that that was 'new' to me. But my editor recently pointed out that it was not new to me. I had a strong female character in Shadow Initiate. And the main character in Ovid's Folly is a woman. And I really need to shut up and stop saying I've never carried a whole story with a female MC. Point taken.
I have a short story that I'm batting around for an anthology that I'm going to submit for and try to get in. It's more of the dark magic train of thought. The problem I'm having here is that in my head it's really turning out to be more of a cross between Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the series, not the movie) and Hocus Pocus. So, like there's some seriously dark shit in there, but there's also this layer of a little bit of campiness so you don't see how dark the shit really is. I'm struggling with that. I think I need to just sit down and let all the words come out that want to come out and I can sort them out later.
And then, there's the second book in the Shadow Initiate series. This is Faye's story. She was a minor character in the first book, but she's a major character in Duane's life and in the whole Shadow vs. Light dichotomy. People have been asking for that sequel from the second they finished the first book. Which, I have to admit, is a pretty cool feeling.
So, am I hitting my WORD COUNT? No. In that sense, I'm am slacking.
Am I hitting my goals as a writer?
You bet your ass I am.
And really, isn't that kind of the point of being a writer? Most people don't think about breathing. Their bodies just do it. It's part of what keeps them alive and the brain is all like, "Yo, brah, you got 401Ks to worry about, n shit. Don't trip on this breathing thing dawg. I got you."
For righters, it's much the same thing. Only the voice in my head that says it is more Sam Elliot in Road House and less Keanu in Point Break. It's all like, "you got a scrawny little writer brain here goes by the name of Andrew?"
And there you have it. Slacking but not slacking.
I don't plan on asking any of my friends how their word counts are coming. If they're focusing on the numbers, awesome.
I'm just happy they're writing.
Have an awesomesauce day, my friends.