Writers Write, Right?

Thursday, November 08, 2007
I’m certain you have heard this sentiment expressed again and again but it does, indeed, make sense. How can one call herself a writer if she isn’t putting pen to paper or tap-tap-tappity-tapping on the keys of her MacBook? Well, not too long ago I had to evaluate this exact notion for myself.

I’ve been calling myself on and off for nearly 20 years. I was, of course, most prolific in my early teens when every new heartache or adult reprimand manifested itself into a truly awful poem that dripped of undying teen angst. How I wish I were that way again. No, not emo and angsty, but rather, still turning to the page to express thoughts no matter how whimsical they may be.

As many of you know, we are now in the thick of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I thought this would be a brilliant way for me to get into the habit of writing everyday. After all, writers write, right? We are on day 8 of said NaNo and I officially have 794 words dedicated to my novel. That’s nearly a whopping 100 words a day and only slightly shy of the 1,667 words needed daily to arrive at the coveted 50,000 words come midnight of November 30.

At first I felt like a failure for not banging away at my keyboard and producing the words that No Plot, No Problem! encouraged me to crank out. I, once again, felt I was not a real writer. I was ready to throw away my latest copy of Writer’s Market and cancel my subscription to Paste magazine. (The latter really has nothing to do with writing, but rather something I enjoy and in my dramatic fit I felt I needed to practice self-deprivation for being bad.)

But then I had a better way to look at this. (Never mind the fact I’m not sure what I would do without the free music sampler that comes with each edition of Paste.) The fact is that although I’m not reaching the NaNo goal, I AM writing. No need to tell myself that I’m not the next Octavia Butler or Louise Rennison, I’m me and I’m writing. No need to count the words, it’s the writing that matters.



Annette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annette said...

Debbie, you are exactly 794 words ahead of me. I only need 13,336 words to catch up to where I should be on Day 8 of Nano. So, don't feel bad, you ARE making progress!

And even if you don't make it to the 50,000-word finish line by midnight on Nov. 30th, you'll still have a jumpstart on your novel. :-)

Try celebrating your word count. Positive reinforcement works better than punitive measures. Let her keep the Paste magazine (and give her a cookie). If you reward your muse for what she has done, maybe she'll be happy enough to start tap dancing on that keyboard again.

Happy writing!

DariKandieux said...

I know what you mean: I am behind everyone else I know but happy to be writing every day. I'm keeping track of word counts (daily output and daily overall total) and rewarding myself when I hit one of the 1,667 milestones. Just about to Day 3's goal on Day 8; maybe by Month 3 I'll make it to 50,000!

This is likely a rationalization but I'm telling myself: I'd rather take three months to write something I'm happy with than cram into one month something I won't want to look at again...

Good luck!

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