In which I ignore word count and blather about process

Rachel Aaron’s blog post about how she started writing 10,000 words a day had another brief run around my LiveJournal friends list recently. Which was amusing timing, because a day or so before that, I’d had to remind myself of one of her points: know what I’m writing before I write it.

Something I realized a while back is that for me, it is very hard to both a) figure out the details of what happens in a scene and b) find the right way to say it at the same time. So when I write a scene, I tend to first write a paragraph of narrative description, then a longer version that includes dialogue, and then finally, a full prose version. Every now and then, when I find myself stuck, it’s because I skipped a step. [1]

I have no problems with this seemingly inefficient process–except it makes it hard to track my word count. That second step includes a fair number of words that I keep, but the third step can increase the size by a factor of 2 or more.

I was trying to track my word count to see when I’m more productive–morning versus evening, coffee shop versus home. But there’s no good way to count these different steps, especially since each one includes deleting words as well as adding them.

I’ve decided to try tracking “productivity” instead. It’s a subjective measure–yes, no, or maybe–but better than nothing. I want to know whether I work better out of the house than at home, or in the evening instead of the morning (I suspect yes to both counts). In a few months I should have enough data to draw some conclusions.

[1] Exception: Many short stories. For some reason most, but not all, need the right words the whole time and I get stuck if I try to do my usual summary. Whatever.

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3 Responses to In which I ignore word count and blather about process

  1. Good luck figuring it out. :) Don’t forget to go by feel, too. Sometimes straight data isn’t right. Not that feel replaces wordcount, but the supplements your record of the day. If that makes any sense…

  2. Pingback: 2k to 10k and Fun with Data | Elizabeth Shack

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