I’ve been chatting here and there with my erotica bestie, Tracey DeSanto, about meeting word counts and climbing the ever-growing mountain of word counts to reach, stories to complete. And while we are like two twins dressed in identical frilly clothes most of the time, Tracey is Team Hourly Deadline and I am Team Word Count Deadline. Will this civil war tear our friendship asunder?! Here are some of my thoughts about both.
Hourly Deadlines: The Good and Bad
There is something so sensible about setting a timer and just working your buns off until that timer beeps. That time can be used efficiently; sacrificing an hour to writing isn’t so great a sacrifice when we often sacrifice an hour to Netflix at night. Everything is neatly placed within that tiny box of “focus,” and then the box can be stored away when your work is finished.
The good is simply that you are in-n-out of your content, and your muse has a scheduled routine. I think of morning writers like Trollope and Dickens, who woke up and accomplished their word count before a hearty British breakfast of baked beans or whatever.
And the bad? As I was telling Tracey, I find ways to sabotage the clock and my own work whenever possible on a timer. For example, the view out of my window suddenly becomes interesting. I start to roast a pan of vegetables and risk burning down the house if I don’t spend time flipping them and etcetera. A fly needs to be killed ASAP. It’s as if my brain wants me to stare blankly at a word processor rather than get to work. Does your brain work like this?
Word Count Deadlines: The Good and Bad
Ah. My cross to bear. I love word count deadlines and I set daily ones for myself. Even on holidays. Even on Christmas. Unless there is something traumatic happening in my life, I usually meet my daily goal. Consistency. Cruelty. Counts.
The only problem is that a word count deadline can sometimes cause you to fluff up sentences and add the unnecessary to meet your goal. It also may take you all day to write 500 words, depending on how distracted you get and how many times you need to get up to eat cheddar popcorn (a lot).
BUT: you always inch forward to your goals. Even if it’s a tiny inching, the consistency pleases me. I can measure a year, a month, a week in word counts. I love thinking that at the pace of 500 words a day, I can write 182,500 words in a year. It’s math like that which makes me set numbers, and not time, as my daily burden.
What madness do you practice?
Word counts? Hours? I’m always interested to hear about other writer’s rituals, especially for erotica, which is a demanding genre. Unless you are one of those “oh I just write here and there for about 4k words” people. If you are like that, I don’t want to talk to you. Go write a great novel and win a Pulitzer and leave us proletariats alone.