I was thinking today that it might be good of me to tell you some about what I’m going to be doing for the next little while. At least in the most broad sense.
Starting on Monday, I’m going to be shooting for about one-thousand typed, solid words per day. That comes out to about three to four double spaced pages of Word document, and, while that might not seem like a whole lot, I do want to put special emphasis on the word solid. I like to edit as I go. Not necessarily in the sense that I pause and reconsider scenes and then delete them and start over—that’s counterproductive—but in the sense that I like to be able to look at my output at day’s end and say, “Yes. This is something that I did, and all of the sentences make sense and are written in good, old-fashioned Human English. This definitely does not sound like the squealing of drunken pigs when read aloud.”
Why? Well, primarily because it cuts down on editing time. It means that at when the first draft is done, I’m left with a document that I can send out to early readers and not be instantly overcome with shame. It also means that if I screw up and have to go back to review something, I’m almost assured to be reading sentences that don’t leave me even more confused. Really, it just cuts down on a lot of hassle, all around.
Now, a lot of people will just tell you to power through your story and let God and a red pen sort it out later (and “a lot of people” will sometimes include me, depending on who I’m giving advice to and for what). Hell, it’s practically a founding tenant of National Novel Writing Month. But, while that’s all well and good, I find that when I’m working on something where I have the time and creativity to spend, the whole thing is a miniscule amount of effort and concentration now for a big payoff down the line. Ultimately, it means less editing time for me at the end of writing, and cleaner prose for you when I post excerpts along the way.
So, yeah. One-thousand clean, solid words a day. Will I stick to that? God no. Some days there will be fewer words. Some day there will be many, many more. It’s a good idea to have these daily goals in the back of your mind as you go along, but it’s also important to remember that daily output is one big creative crapshoot. Create expectations for yourself, but don’t cling to them so fiercely that reality has to get violent with you when it decides to stand in the way.
That’s the plan, anyway. We’ll just have to see how it goes.