Sunday, May 24, 2009

Humble Pie

Some time ago, I found that a goal of 2500 words per week was attainable for me. I share that with a certain level of embarrassment because "real writers" (the ones I look up to) will often say they write that in a day.

For a long time, 2500 words a week has been my goal. Last Sunday I had a great day and managed 1000 words in a single sitting, high for me. I thought maybe I should increase my weekly goal to 3500 words. The additional output would shave a lot of time off my projected finish date for this first draft.

It seemed that as soon as I tweaked the goal, the words stopped coming. Last night I barely reached the previously acceptable 2500 words for the week. Words from Lawrence Block, Telling Lies For Fun & Profit, came to mind. His daily goal is five pages, and here's what he says:

"I can usually manage it--in part because I've had the foresight to set easily attainable goals for myself. I rarely find five pages a day to be a strain; if I did, I'd adjust the quota accordingly. I avoid the trap of raising the goal as I go along, like an assembly line speed up. The object's not to test myself. It's to get my work done."

I tried the assembly line speed up after a single, laughably short success and it failed miserably, so I'm going back to what was working before. Perhaps like other things, in writing it's okay not to fix what isn't broken.

1 comment:

  1. I usually shoot for 1200 - 2500 words per session. Not saying its for everyone, but I get on a roll and NaNoWriMo,, has really instilled in me a sense of urgency when I write. Of course, then I spend months on the re-write. I finished my 50000 plus word book in 18 days, but it took me 4 years to edit it. :)

    Gus Gallows (@gusgallows on twitter).