It’s all about the numbers

Drat those numbers! As I do my daily writing, I keep track of my word count, of course. The simplest is if I’m working purely on one Scrivener document, because the word count for the document is at the bottom of the screen. Second easiest is if I’m doing it all in one session on one computer; the session count on Scrivener keeps track. If I swap from the computer to the laptop in the evening and jump from document to document, I have to rely on the spreadsheet to keep count, as I put in my total word count and it calculates today’s contribution (Notice by the way that word count is two words not one; anything to keep that number going up!).

I got to over my 2k daily target, but I was only around 200 away from 30k. So I kept going for a few more, because it’s nicer to stop on 30,000 than on 29,814. Only to find having hit 30,003 (a very satisfactory number that otherwise would have been a delight) that I was just a few away from having written 3k today. Then I was just a dozen short of hitting 30,100… That’s it. That’s a round enough number. I refuse to write the 200 extra words that would make this the most productive day so far… I’ve gotta sleep sometime! (all right, who said that’s what December is for?)

Watching the word count can be counter productive in some ways; it can focus on the quantity rather than the content. But in doing that, it helps to turn off the inner editor (something that’s being talked about a lot in this the second week of nano, when the first rush of excitement has passed and the end is far away) and gives small immediate goals to reach. By focusing on those small goals, before you know it you’re on the way to hitting a bigger goal, and a bigger goal.

It’s the same about life, really. Sometimes you can dash enthusiastically towards your final destination, but other times all you can do is put your head down, focus on the next small goal and try your hardest to reach that.

In the end, the only way to write 50,000 words is to write one word. Then write another word. Then another. Don’t think about the 49,997 still to go. Just worry about getting to the end of the next wayside marker.


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