Monday, July 14, 2008

WORD-A-THON: It's All About A-COUNT-ability

At the beginning of the journey, I only told maybe one or two people I was trying to write a book. The humiliation factor, you know, if I failed in the quest. It's not that I hadn't thought of doing it before, but I hadn't actually done it, and so there was that very real possibility that I couldn't do it, or that, midway through, I'd realize I hated doing it, or that I was horrible at it.

But then it became harder to not tell than to just admit it, and so I did. Which leads to the inevitable questions: When will you finish your book? When is it being published? Why can't I find it when I google it or search for it on Amazon?

The good and the bad of this is that it doesn't allow for slacking. If someone knows, and someone is asking, I better darn well have an answer that is better than, "Well, I haven't written more than a page or two in the last month or two" because then I really look like I'm not serious, at which point my husband might begin suggesting again that I find a job that actually pays.

But if you are a writer and you want a fire under you, join a writer's group where some insane person says, "Hey, I can write a book in the next five weeks. Anyone else up for the challenge?" Because when those words flew across my email screen, without thinking clearly (six hours in the sun at the pool, dehydration no doubt, and exhaustion), I wrote back, "I'm in!"

The challenge: 50,000 words in the next five weeks, which will pretty much finish her YA book and get me darn close to the end of the one I started in March. While I always aim to write as much as possible, these hazy lazy days of summer when the pool is open and the kids are home and my DVR is full of tantalizing reality shows at night are not good for the motivation factor. And it is easy to let a few slip by without writing a single word.

So the challenge is there, and for once, there is real accountability. There are people checking in with me every day to see how much I've written. And the time clock is tick tick ticking.

So there will probably be fewer blog posts as I push the limits of my time, not just to write 50,000 words but to write them well. If you want to keep track, the countdown and the word-count are on the right at the bottom of the column.

Just the thought that I could be done with my first draft by September is tantalizing enough. I just needed someone to say, "It can be done. And I'll do it with you."


  1. HEY!!

    I'm not insane!


    You can do it, oh yes you can. LOL

    Just think of the chocolate.

  2. Well... no more insane than me who said, "Sure! I'm in!"

    This is the great thing about not going it alone: other people to push you past what you think you can di.

    But real authors do this, right? I wrote over 2100 words last night in just two hours. I can do that every day, right? Right??

  3. This was the push I needed. I finally got over my hump of being able to figure out my next step. Now my mind is racing of what is next.

    I am struggling because I want the words written to be quality words.

    2100 words - FANTASTIC!!

  4. Go go go! You can do it! I'm right in there with you on the insanity. I don't have 50k left, but I do have 30k. So, I've given myself a shorter deadline. I may not do much other than write for the next couple of weeks, but it'll be worth it when I'm done!

  5. Brittany - I'm with you on the quality thing. I don't want this to be some NaNoWriMo thing, what with the 50,000 word count and all, where I am just trying to get anything down to say I've done it. If, in the end, it comes down to quality or quantity, quality wins.

    Still, I need the push. Every time I navigate to a page on the internet, or get up to do something around the house, I think: Is this really important? Is it more important than another 50 words? And so I am much more focused!

    Jenwriter: your 37,000 in two weeks is nothing to sneeze at! Sheesh! I know I couldn't do that! But I bet you are riding high on the pitch conference wave, so hopefully that gives you the eagerness to tackle it you need.

    That and chocolate!

  6. 37,000 in 2 weeks?

    I must bow to you. : )