Monday, September 15, 2008

How Many Words Will I Have to Eat?

I wrote about 2600 words in bed last night on that high fantasy idea that attacked my brain recently.  I'd be all proud of me except I know that's a drop in the bucket compared to what kind of volume I'll probably be expected to write at the master's class.

Am I going to panic and decide I can't do it?  Nah.  Am I going to stress and fret?  Not much point.  Will I practice on bringing up my word count during my writing sessions?  Maybe.  Probably not a whole lot.  Volume is not the whole game.  It's an essential part of it, but so is quality.  Not just quality of prose/words either, but quality of the idea.  Mark Twain's frequently quoted words on the matter are, "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead."  But I'll write as quickly as I can without making myself crazy.  There are neat things that happen when a writer writes quickly under a deadline.  Lessons are learned.  Wacky ideas that wouldn't otherwise make it onto the page are thrown in out of desperation and sometimes work out to be that unexpected twist that makes some stories not only work, but shine.  And other stuff and things.

If I'm asked to write, say, 10,000 words by the following day on my project, I believe I'll be able to do that.  I can time myself periodically between now and then to figure out about how long it'll take me to complete a given word count.  Knowing will help keep my stress level down and my nose to the grindstone--I won't keep checking the clock or wondering how long it'll take.  I'll have a good idea how long it will take and whether I can afford things like breaks for a snack and water or to go pee.

Because it's the little distractions in life that keep a person from writing.  Seriously.  The inner critic, the snack monster, pets, television, research that turns into plain ol' reading for entertainment for weeks on end or surfing on the web for an image of a man that looks exactly like your leading man in the book (I've been guilty of this!)  And, very much like an insomniac that keeps looking at the clock and calculating how little sleep he'll get before he has to get up to go to work, worrying about how long it'll take me to get to a particular word count and how much time I have left to complete it will keep me from writing effectively.

Fortunately overall distractions at the master's class will be at an all time low for me and everyone else.  Except for one key thing.

All the wonderful people that'll be in the house!  I love to socialize.  I may have to tie a ribbon to my rings to remind me to shut up and write.  And I'll be thinking a lot about my family.

2 comments:

Things that puzzle this other goddess.... said...

It sounds like a challenge you should enjoy:) [both the writing and the keeping quiet! lol]
ttptog

Kami said...

Oh, I'll have a blast. When I'm not miserable. Word has it that these seminars are really tough, and this is a long one. A friend of mine came back from a weekend one and boy did he have a lot to say. He learned a lot, but getting on toward the end he was saying how bad he sucked ... and he's a very good writer.

Hopefully I won't have too tough of a time but I'm not going to pretend that two intense weeks won't break me down at least once. Like Jeff said on his blog--heroes don't whine. But I may whimper a bit!