Random Thought While Writing: Word Counts

You can’t edit a blank page. – Jodi Picoult

Twenty-one months into this odd journey, I still write like a journalist. I slap down the words, do a little research, follow up with a little reporting, keep an eye on the clock and aim for the word count.

It’s high pressure, volume-oriented work, and I’m still trying to learn how to enjoy this. It’s supposed to be fun, right, because it sure as hell doesn’t pay anything. (Note to self: Writing fiction is a lot like journalism.)

Lesson 1: Don’t obsess about the word count. (This is a journalism thing, writing to exact word counts or inches of column space.)

I can’t just sit and write. I’m a multi-tasker. But I think it doesn’t matter as long as I produce some words every time I sit down expecting to.

And of course I have to force myself to sit down regularly.

Lesson #2: Worry about word count. You have to finish the damned thing so you can start another, or go back and revise an earlier manuscript.

For the first 10,000 to 20,000 words, I worry about how I will ever reach 75,000. Around 20,000 words, I wonder how I will ever stop.

What a long, strange road it’s been. – “Truckin’,” The Grateful Dead

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