getting it written #WhatImWriting

don't get it right, get it written

This is the first post I’ve written to link up with my new writing linky – how exciting! Here’s to plenty of time spent in the world of writerly ponderings! Ahhhh I can just feel myself relaxing. It could be the effect of the wine I’m drinking of course… but no, it’s just the thought of sharing some writing-chat with people who know where I’m coming from. Excellent.

So, how has September been for me creative-writing-wise? Well, so far it’s been a bit of a flat month. Having set myself various monthly word count goals since starting my novel in May, it had reached 50,000 words by the end of August. And then? Well, then I ground to a halt. The sum total of my creativity this month has been a poem and a limerick. My novel has progressed by not even a single word.

Of course it’s been with good reason: Yes, it seems that starting a linky to motivate you with your writing, takes up rather a lot of the time you would normally spend writing! But still, the fact that the linky has now launched means I should have more time to write this week, so I’ll be doing just that. In fact I’ll be setting myself a writing challenge before I finish this post. As is usual with my writing style, I have no idea what this challenge will be yet – I’ll just have to see what words form themselves on the tips of my typing fingers.

When I haven’t been linky-launching this week I have been mulling over the issue of word counts and their relationship with quality. I set myself a lot of creative challenges on this blog and many of them are to do with writing a certain number of words. In July I did CampNanoWriMo for the first time and It helped me to write 15,000 words of my novel that month. All along I’ve been using the James Thurber quote above as a bit of a mantra. It’s helped me focus on getting the words out – and thus the writing practice in – without obsessing about getting it perfect. I figure I’m not going to get it ‘right’ at this stage of my writing journey.  In fact I suspect that I am never going to get it ‘right’, not to my satisfaction anyway!

But I recently read a post by Victoria who blogs at Coffee. Write. Repeat. about why she doesn’t write every day. Victoria did CampNanoWriMo when I did but felt that, although she achieved her word count goal, a lot of what she wrote wasn’t up to scratch because she was writing the words just for the sake of getting the word count. She felt she’d now have to put a lot of work into re-writing that perhaps she wouldn’t have had to, had she not charged ahead to achieve a numerical target.

And it got me thinking – by pushing myself to write a certain number of words per month am I actually making more work for myself in the future? Obviously, I accept that my novel will need numerous drafts and redrafts however I write it (and however long it takes) but would it need fewer if I just wrote it more slowly? Am I chasing quantity at the cost of quality?

But then, if I don’t set myself a word count target there’s a risk I won’t write any of my book at all. I have three kids one of whom is a baby. I work (albeit in a very part-time manner) I have a social life (of sorts!) I have a house that insists on becoming messy if I don’t attend to it, a fridge of food that refuses to cook itself and a husband who, occasionally, would rather like it if I didn’t have my fingers welded to my keyboard. All in all it’s a pretty packed schedule. If I don’t give myself targets how will I make myself write when I want to sleep or need to attend to all those other (vital) things? Is my love of writing enough to push me on?

Oooh a challenge for the week has now occurred to me! I’m not going to set myself any targets for this week at all. I’m going to tell myself I don’t have to write anything. It doesn’t matter if I don’t write. I can if I like, but if I want to watch the last couple of episodes of season four of Breaking Bad (followed by a hefty chunk of season five) then I can. If I want to write poems or short stories for my blog (for my favourite linkys Prose for Thought and The Prompt) then I can… but I don’t have to. No pressure!

This might not sound like much of a challenge to anyone who doesn’t know me and how I write, but it is – I thrive on having targets to reach and goals to achieve. My first task will be to convince myself there really is no pressure.

I’ll report back next week!

Writing Bubble

 

22 thoughts on “getting it written #WhatImWriting

  1. Beth @plasticrosaries

    Sometimes no goal is the best goal of all :) you may find you have bursts of inspiration and can’t stop but if you don’t there isn’t that dreaded pressure which can be suffocating!

    Good luck :) x

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks! Some bursts of inspiration would be nice – Although I usually get them at inopportune moments like in the middle of the night! I’m interested to find out how it makes me feel about writing and whether I miss the pressure. Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting

      Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Morgan. Its an interesting experiment for me! I’ll have to report back on how many hours of telly I watch when I’m ‘allowed’ to do what I like in the evenings! Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting x

      Reply
  2. Louise

    Sometimes not having the presure on to achieve a certain word count can help – I definitely found myself writing just to achieve a word count a few times during the various NaNoWriMos and Camp NaNoWriMos that I’ve done. Good luck with getting your novel written but hope you manage to relax and have time out too!

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Louise, yes, who knows what a ‘non-pressure week’ might bring?! At least I’ll achieve some relaxation even if the words don’t come!

      Reply
  3. Sophie Is...

    I so identify with this conundrum! For me daily word count targets really helped – on the days when inspiration really was nowhere to be found I was generally happier with letting it roll on to the next day rather than forcing myself to write drivel, but I knew I couldn’t have too many of those days otherwise my daily target would become unmanageable… I hope your new method works for you though – and hey, if you end up not being able to resist the lure of Breaking Bad just think of it as an immersive course in powerful writing! x

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      “An immersive course in powerful writing” – they should put that on the cover of the box set! It definitely is quality TV and I suspect that, just as reading lots enhances writing, so does watching well written TV and films. So I’m on to a winner whatever happens! Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting

      Reply
  4. Mummy Tries

    I love that you are reverse psychology-ing yourself Maddy, absolutely awesome! I have to agree though that too much pressure in a situation like ours is counter productive, seriously we only have a small amount of time and aren’t robots. I failed miserably at Camp NaNoWrMo but didn’t beat myself up at all and just cracked on in my own way…

    You could be spending your time in far worse ways than watching Breaking Bad :) Good luck this week, can’t wait to see how you get on xxx

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      I hadn’t actually thought of it as reverse psychology but you’re right! Ha! How will I respond to that I wonder? And you’re right, we can only do what we can do, so there’s no point pushing ourselves too far. It’s knowing how far is ‘too far’ that’s my issue I guess though.

      Glad you like the quote – it’s a good ‘un. Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting and for your support along the way. xx

      Reply
  5. Iona@redpeffer

    This is really interesting because I don’t set myself word counts. It’s been an organic decision based on my experiences of feeling very negative if I set myself a specific. Target and don’t achieve it. Having said that I’m experimenting with allocating certain days to my creative fiction and other days to my freelance work. This is all new territory for me, but it’s that balance of productivity and creativity that can be tricky it find and I hate it when I don’t write anything creative at all for too long. But then I find creativity strikes at odd tines-middle of a sleepless night, or walking to school-I’m trying to go with the flow a but more rather than forcing the issue.
    Sorry, this comment is turning into a post of it’s own! Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing how you get on this week and thanks for stariting up such a supportive linky :)

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      You should write a post like this – I’d love to read it! I’m the same with creativity striking at odd times – I’ve written lots of poems in the night next to the baby’s cot! Good luck with your creative experiments and thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting

      Reply
  6. Sara (@mumturnedmom)

    It occurs to me as I read others comments on this that I don’t think of myself as a writer… I wonder if that is because to use the name would set myself up for criticism/failure and because it has always been a middle of the night dream for me, not a reality… Perhaps I have just discovered my topic for next week :) Anyway, I digress! I’m not good with targets exactly, but I do need a deadline! I mull over the Prompt during the week (sometimes) but I write it on a Thursday evening, every time. And, sometimes without having done any mulling at all. I find that if I sit down and start, it flows. I just need that first line! Some days that first line takes a long time to come though :) I’ve been trying to find a better balance over the summer and have actually watched some TV when I would normally have been blogging *shock* … I think we all need to find the balance that works for us, and although I seem to thrive under a bit of pressure, too much is counter productive. I will be interested to see how your week goes :)

    Reply
      1. Maddy Post author

        You are definitely a writer – you write! And very well too I might add. But write that post – it sounds very interesting!

        I was glad to mention the Prompt – it’s been great for my creativity. Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting xx

        Reply
  7. Chrissie Metcalf (Kristina)

    Best challenge EVER!

    Sometimes the pressure can be too much and can stifle creativity. For me, the wordcount goal produces things I would have never though of otherwise, although I don’t realise utnil I read it back. Sometimes, I’m so clouded by the driving need to get to the target, I don’t remember writing huge chunks of genius (or crap…). That’s what works for me, though. There are flaws in this process, of course and it won’t work for everyone.

    Well done on this week (I know, I’ve said it already) but you put in so much hard work and we launched, pulled the whole thing off and WOW, just WOW. Thank you for that. xxx

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Glad you like my challenge! A way of answering some of my questions would be if I read my uncompleted draft – then I could see if it’s all total crap. But I’m deliberately not doing that till it’s finished, and even then I will put it to one side for a month or two before I read it! So only time will tell…

      Thanks for your hard work too, and I’ve appreciated your support in launching this week. Oh and thank you for letting me host first! What a week it’s been! xxx

      Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      Yeah if you thrive on pressure it can be really good to put yourself under some! But it’s good to kick back once in a while – or at least give yourself the option to. Thanks for linking to #WhatImwriting Carol x

      Reply
  8. sadie hanson

    I do like having a goal….. I try to set myself a word count goal for the month and then break that down into weeks, and if I don’t reach that goal then that’s okay because having a flexible goal to begin with usually gets me going. And if I’m not in the mood for writing (although I do try to push myself through this) I read a good book instead – I count that as writing time anyway! X

    Reply
    1. Maddy Post author

      If I count reading as ‘writing time’ then I write almost constantly! I tend of have a kindle nearby to pick up when I can. I do think it’s an important part of being a writer though.

      I also set monthly rather than weekly goals usually as it give me more room for manoeuvre! Thanks for linking xx

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge