Word goals & the wordmachine

At the moment I am working to a fairly ambitious daily word goal as I write the first draft of my current ms. It is not so much an ambitious goal on its own (and some writers I know would scoff), but to reach it five or six days in the week — and then the next week, and the next — would/will for me be quite an achievement.

Time is on my side at the moment, it must be said. But an amusing fact is that I am repeatedly finding myself tapping away in the late evening in order to achieve the desired wordcount. It’s not as though I’m spending 8 hours labouring prior to this — a typical day seems to involve a couple of hours writing in the morning and/or early afternoon, followed by a couple of hours in the late evening.

Interestingly, I’ve noticed over the years while holding down a full-time job that my most productive weekend writing days have tended to evolve like this: A few short, sharp bursts of around 2-3 hours each with an equivalent downtime in between. (Ideal downtime consists of meeting friends for lunch/coffee.)

It is really not the most efficient use of time as a whole, but it seems to give me the best results. I don’t seem to be one of those writers that disappears from the world for a day, coming up for air 8 hours later. I need to regather my thoughts every couple of hours, give the wordmachine a service before putting it back into use. Similarly, there appears to be an upper daily word limit, which cannot be surpassed owing to total power drainage requiring wordmachine shutdown.

Having said all that, as mentioned in my post from last week, there is plenty of room for better discipline and organisation in my day — after all, why not aim for more individual writing sessions and reach that upper limit on a regular basis? 

My wordmachine is perhaps a temperamental beast. But it is clearly my duty to understand how it works in order to optimise its operations and squeeze as much throughput and performance as possible out of it. Nobody ever said writing was easy, or that everyone approaches it the same way: it’s up to us writers to find out what works best for us and then stick to it.

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