That's right. You read it correctly. While there are millions of authors out there who provide you with a nifty little tracker on their sidebar or Facebook page or whatever platform they use, to tell you how far they are into their 50, 70, 90k novel, you'll never find me using them.
Well, because they would be pointless. I don't write to a word count. I don't sit down and write a plot idea, then come back and say "Yes, this one will be 90k words and no more!" I can't do that. I can sit and look at a one line story prompt and write almost 100k for it. Or, I can have 20 pages of notes for a story and only write a 20-30k novella. It all depends on what the characters tell me. One time, I wrote a book that was 60k, but when I came back to it months later for a round of simple edits, I began picking it to pieces because I didn't like it. It ended up at 105k, because I added so much new content and the characters had more to tell me.
I will never be able to sit down and say "I'll write 2000 words today" because that's not how I work. I'm a pantser. A fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants writer, who sits down and can write one sentence in a week, or I can churn out nearly 30k in just 7 days. And I've done both.
Though I know the other process works for some people, it's not for me. I can't constrict my story or my characters by fitting them into a predefined word count. I can't force myself to sit and write X amount of words a day/week, when I know that's not possible.
I'm sick. There's a truth for you. My immune system has been compromised for 15 years now, and that's never going to change. I have too many medical conditions, including chronic fatigue. So, why would I add more stress and pressure onto my life - when I already have quite enough, thank you - just to meet some predetermined word count that might not even end up being any good? Why force myself to write say 5000 words a week, if I have to come back in a month's time and rewrite them all because I wrote them when I wasn't connected to the story or when I was feeling to sick to make any sense?
No. For me, I need to write when I'm *into* the story. When it's all new and exciting and I'm not quite sure what's going to happen next. Because, the minute I know what's coming, I lose interest in the plot and the story and I drag my heels, looking for any excuse not to finish. Or, sometimes I'll get to the end of a story and just...stop! Stop before the ending, because I don't want it to end and because once it's done I'll have to move on to do something else.
It's not easy being a writer. It's not easy to always hope and pray that your next idea is the golden ticket. The one that will be *it*. The story that makes your career, makes you a household name, makes you the big bucks, while also being a story that speaks to you and your readers. That's A LOT of pressure! And we put it on ourselves. But we also have readers desperately waiting on the sidelines with grabby hands for the next book. We have parents, spouses, family, friends, kids, colleagues, asking when the next one is coming out, what we're writing now, when we're going to hit the jackpot. So we have outside pressure too.
With all of that, why do we seek out a million other ways to add pressure onto our already sagging shoulders? Why confine ourselves to a timetable, a timeline, a word count, when writing is meant to be FUN! Writing is meant to be a release of the voices inside our heads. It's meant to be that one selfish thing we're allowed to immerse ourselves in - to create new worlds, to create the ideal versions of ourselves, to give our imaginary selves the perfect everything that we never had because life isn't really like that.
I'm all for accomplishing a goal I've set myself, and they're not always easy, but to me, finishing a book is accomplishment enough. Why should I celebrate every thousand words written? Can't I just be happy that I. Did. That. instead of pushing myself to do it 9.5 seconds?
Writing is meant to be a passion.
When did we turn it into work?
If you happen to be one of those people who thrives on a goal set and accomplished, then you might find these free tools useful: