I’m a word banker…#MFRWauthors

I retired from my long time job in 2015 when I got my first book contract. So many people asked me at that time, “What are you gonna do with yourself now that you don’t have to go to work every day?”
Hello!!! After informing them that I was trading my hated job for a life long dream job and explained that I would now be writing full time, they still said things like, “But surely you can’t write all day?” and “But what else are you going to do to fill your days?”

I remember thinking at the time that people, for lack of a better word, can be really stupid. But that’s another blog… This one concerns word counts and I told you the story above as a precursor.

I approach word counts like I approach a job: all in. What that means for me is that I have a minimum goal I have to reach every single day that I write ( and I write every single day) before I can do anything else. You wouldn’t just leave a job in the middle of the day to go grocery shopping, or to have lunch with friends. You’re working. You have a job to do and you get paid for it.  That’s my approach to word counts.

Every day I write 2000 words minimum in whatever book I am currently working on, my WIP ( Work in progress). After that 2000 is done, I then decide if I want to keep going, or do the stuff I need to do to, you know… adult. Like, grocery shop, laundry, ironing, clean the house, do banking, pay bills. Even take a shower!

The fact that I’m blessed with chronic insomnia (and I never thought I’d hear myself say that was a blessing!) helps. I can get so much written between the hours of 3 and 6 am every day, that’s it ridiculous. My entire first book SKATER’S WALTZ was written during these times.

Word counts are, to many writers, a bane. A necessary evil. If they set a goal and then don’t make it, they feel many things: unworthy, like a failure, inept.

To them and all writers, I say STOP! Word counts are simply ways of tracking what you have written.  Only during the month of November if you participate in  NANOWRIMO should you worry about how much is “good enough” to write every day. Creativity can not be forced. And it shouldn’t be. If you write 6 words or 6ooo in a day, so be it. Those 6 words are probably the best you’ll wring from yourself, so good. Yay. 6 is better than none, right?

Now, you’re probably thinking, “but she said she writes 2000 every day before she does anything else, and yet she’s telling us not to worry about how much we write?” Correct. I am. But that’s what I need to do. Every writer, like every book and every story, is different. I know a contemporary romance writer who sets as her goal 100,000 words per month. If you take a month at 30 days, that means she has to write 3,333 words every single day no matter what. She has an assistant, so she doesn’t need to do the mundane things like social media updates, laundry, and grocery shopping. Lucky her. Most of us don’t have assistants, though. So again, whether you write 6, or 6ooo words a day; 10000 or 100000 per month, word counts are individualistic.

And necessary. Oh, so necessary. Don’t try to compare yourself with others when it comes to word counts. Like I said, everyone is different. As long as you write – and what you write is good – then, so be it.

Because this is a writer blog hop, click on some of the other authors here to see how they approach their writing word counts…or even if they have them!!

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13 Comments

Filed under #Mfrwauthors, Author, Contemporary Romance, love, Romance, Romance Books

13 responses to “I’m a word banker…#MFRWauthors

  1. Sherry Lewis

    I used to be much like you are now. I wrote every single day, rain or shine, weekday, weekend, or holiday, and I had very firm goals I had to meet. Then I encountered a serious case of life, and couldn’t write at all for a couple of years. As I came back to it, I had to make some adjustments. My brain simply will not respond to word goals anymore. Now I have to set hour goals. I must write for X hours before I can do anything else. Plus, I had some health issues and can’t push myself to 7 days a week anymore. But as you point out, that’s the beauty of our profession. Each of us can tailor our work to suit us, and we can change if when we find it’s no longer working. We have the best job in the Universe!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peggy Jaeger

      Sherry- you said it much better than that I did: Each of us writes differently – style, voice, and in the amount of words we get on a page at a given time. I’m the first to admit how lucky I am. No children left at home, hubby still works full time -as do all my friends, so I don’t have many distractions (one I don’t cause, anyway!) during the day which all allows me the freedom to write as much as I want. I’m sure that will change eventually. For now, I’m just riding the wave.

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  2. Really enjoyed your Blog, Peggy. I don’t go by a word count, but I do write every day. My most productive times are first thing in the morning. Like you, I struggle with sleep, and I’m usually writing by 5:30. Thank goodness for laptop computers. I can lay in bed, sip tea and write.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The not comparing part is hard. I think it’s human nature to look at someone else and sometimes wonder why not me. I try not to focus on a certain number each day, but instead focus on just writing in general. It’s a slow process, but it’s my process.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Peggy Jaeger

    Meka – fast or slow, it’s YOUR way!! Which is always best.

    Like

  5. Great post! I need to follow your advice and start my day with writing- because there is always other ‘adulting’ that needs done and an endless to-do list.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The hardest thing I had to learn when I set that goal of writing X amount every day, was to give myself permission to not meet it. I think the family is even happier, lol! I never dreamed I harbored so much perfectionism. Now I know where my oldest child gets it….*ducks head*

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We’re all of us individuals. I also have picked up cases of “life” and stopped writing, sometimes for years at a time. Eventually I come back, though. Last fall was another case of “life” (actually, it was sepsis), but since I know it just gets harder the longer I wait, I’ve forced myself to plod along. I haven’t finished even one book since I was well enough to try in January, but I know I will, eventually. So I admire you for just keeping at it, because sometimes that’s the hardest part.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peggy Jaeger

      Ed – I once Heard Nora Roberts at a lecture say this; “Writing is like a muscle.You need to continually exercise it. If you don’t, it starts to lose tone and strength.” That solidified in my mind that simply just writing every day was the best way to keep my writing muscle strong.
      And ps: Sepsis sucks!!! i feel for you, guy!

      Liked by 1 person

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