Wednesday, 7 November 2012

IWSG - Target Practise


Talk about insecure - thats me! And it's why I joined Insecure Writers Support Group
But certain things do help me. I have certain rituals but then I guess, most of us do....One of the things I slavishly follow is word counts. I can no more give them up than I can eat just one small square of chocolate! For me it is ritualistic and necessary.
I set a target for my writing week and then for each individual day, depending on what else may be required of me in terms of the rest of my life, and then I go for it! You’d think that would be great, eh? Not a bit of it. You see for me it’s all or nothing… If something gets in the way and I have less time, I will abandon the day. It’s a case of ‘have a chance of getting there or not bother at all’! Can’t be healthy can it? Once I start however it would have to be a pretty serious emergency for me to forgo my target  and settle for less.
In my defence, I am generally realistic with what I can achieve – I learnt a long time ago that not being realistic was a sure fire recipe for disaster and next to know words done at all!! My method does get me there though so I have learnt to trust my instincts and respect my need for targets.
I think it may be the ‘tick off’ bit of my psyche that controls this. I love’ to do’ lists and can’t help but experience a sense of achievement when I tick something off. The word count sheet is similar and I feel satisfied when I can tick off that I made my target. Mo matter that the writing might be total garbage!! As someone said, elsewhere, you can’t revise or edit something you’ve not actually put down on paper. Now that’s another story…

Happy writing every one!

What rituals do you insist upon?

23 comments:

  1. Pat, I am often focused on word count goals too, but my problem is the opposite. I don't have any problem spewing out a first draft -- a big, bloated first draft.

    My obsession is *cutting* words in subsequent revisions. I brought a 98.6k manuscript down to 77k. But it needs to be closer to 50k ...

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  2. I try not to set weekly or daily goals, but I feel so much better when I'm productive. I have a feeling you're a very organized person. Keep it up!

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  3. I can't do word counts, but I do have to have chores completed before I sit down to write.
    Karen

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  4. I don't know if I have rituals, but I do like watching my word counts creep up, up, up...even if later I have to cut and they plummet. There's such a sense of accomplishment when you see you've written another thousand, or five thousand words.

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  5. Not sure if it qualifies as a ritual but when I'm writing and it feels significantly awful I force myself to keep going! I have to remind myself, "You don't have to use everything you write but you have to write something!"

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  6. Did I mention it's always nice meeting another Thriller writer? Thanks for sharing your fears, Pat. I know it's not easy. Congratulations on your books. They're on my list.

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  7. Man, I wish I were more staunch when it came to word count goals. I just tend to write in bursts, and as time allows. I do write everyday, but more just a time thing. (I'll write for 3 hours ... sometimes that yields 2,000 words, sometimes 500.)

    Nice to meet you, too! :-D

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  8. Oh, I know what you mean about lists! I love to-do lists and checking off things that I've accomplished. It can be hard not to get caught up in the "all or nothing." Sometimes it is better to make some progress than none at all, though.

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  9. I am saddly realizing that my best work (or the bulk of my work) is best done at my desk and not nestled somewhere cool like a coffee shop or bookstore. I wish it was different. Ya know writing is sort of a hermit life to begin with and it's nice to have time away from the day to day in your home, but... If I want to finsh a word count or deadline, I need a bit of music and I need my desk.

    And the all or nothing aproach is me all over. I hate that about me. I give it up or over due it. We fickel writers.

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  10. Word Count Goals work wonders for my writing too . . .not that they make my writing good, but they help me get the writing done.

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  11. Hi, Pat,
    Like you, I work well with lists. As to rituals, I'm one of those crazy writers who edits while writing. I can't move on to the next chapter until I feel relatively sure that what I've written isn't drivel. It slows me a bit, but I've gotten used to it.

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  12. I can't write unless I have peace and quiet. I will use music to aid with writers block or to help push through an emotion-- but once I start typing away-- IT HAS TO BE QUIET. Which, I wish wasn't the case... I feel it's so much cooler to write to music. ha! Also- I must have a glass of ice water, a pen, pencil and something else to drink (wine, coffee, tea, etc.) Rituals! Ah!

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  13. Your methode does sound great. I think I need some actual numbers to fight for in my day to day. You see, I'm a mother to two little girls that still need me a whole lot, and between that, my husband, and everything else, I'm not writing as much as I'd like to. But now I'll give it a chance to go with the numbers... who know, it might work for me, too!

    Thanks for following! I'm now a faithful follower, too. ;)

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  14. I only aim for word counts when it's Nano or BuNo. If I don't make it though, I don't stress.
    Welcome to the IWSG and thanks for the follow!

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  15. I like ritual. I wash my hands 15 times before I touch the computer. Uh, what? That's not the kind of ritual you meant, was it?

    Love,
    Janie

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  16. My biggest ritual is solitude. Have to have it when writing anything serious (I mean, I can blog and write some shorts or articles with people around). Nice meeting you!

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  17. Nice post, Pat. You really are dedicated to your goals.

    I would say I need to zone away from everything to write. I usually put on headphones, an online radio station with classical music, and pull up all my working documents. Of course, my writing has decided to simmer while I figure out the storyline of my current WIP.

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  18. I'm not sure I have any rituals. A cup of tea is essential, but apart from that the only thing I need is to be excited about my idea... not just a regular level of excitement, full on glee. If I don't have that, then I'll find a million things I ought to do instead!

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  19. I am also a fan of to-do lists. They help me focus in on what needs to be done and take them one by one. I tend to try to meet a certain amount of writing time, but I do the same as you with word counts and don't sit down to write if I know I won't get that full amount of time. It's something I'm trying to work on now. I was encouraged by a local author, Carol Berg, when I discovered that she was going up to her hotel room during short breaks at the conference we were attending. She said even a few minutes was enough to get some words down. Wow! That made some things clear for me, you know?

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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  20. I'm SO with you on word count! I need something to aim for or I'll never get anything done!

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  21. Word count reminds us of our goals.

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  22. I used to be a slave to the word count, but have now decided that even if I only get 150 words down, it's better than nothing. Life gets in the way and I've had to accept that. I used to get up extra early to write 1000 words before work, but to honest it absolutely knackered me! Now, I try to be more flexible - it's better for my state of mind! Great blog post!

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  23. I'm not obsessive about word counts because I never really know from day to day what I am going to be able to achieve. Most of my serious writing tends to happen at the weekends or evenings when everyone else has gone out! Like a few others here I work best in peace and quiet.

    Really nice to meet you, Pat.

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