Life on planet word-count

100 Days of Writing: Day 56

NaNoWriMo: Day 7

NaNoWriMo word count: 21,868

Help. I’ve been abducted. I’ve been taken by the NaNoWriMo Mothership, meddled with in a way that was obviously so traumatic it’s been erased from memory and replaced by an obsessive word-counting writing monster.  If only this had happened earlier, I’d be on my ninety-fifth book by now.

It’s all bollocks, of course.  Not the abduction part, that DEFINITELY happened, no question. No, I’m talking about the quality of said word-count.  And that’s fine.  In fact, that’s the actual point of the exercise.  You write, pick up where you left off, write again, pick up again, write again, and so on and so on, until the first draft is complete. It doesn’t matter how rubbish it is – first drafts always are – the point is, you’ve done it. You got to the end.

The real craft is in the rewrite.  And the rewrite of the rewrite.  By the time you’ve rewritten the rewrite of the rewrite of the rewrite, you’re laughing and well on your way to Man-Booker-Baileys-Whatever-Prize-Land.  Or publication. Or securing an agent.  Or just immense self-satisfaction. It all depends what you’re aiming for.

But every book begins with a first draft.  And for now, for November, forget about perfection, forget about quality – there’s plenty of time for that in the next stage – just get it done. Start, middle, end. That’s it. Good luck.


Today’s tip: get the ball rolling each day with a word sprint.  Chris Fox, author of 5,000 Words Per Hour has created a really good app called 5KWPH. I’ve found a 20 minute word sprint is a really effective way to get off the starting blocks and into the zone.

This’ll improve your seat of pants to seat of chair attachment no end.



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