When I first joined the realms of social media, I quickly noticed all the online writing challenges. It seemed almost daily a post would appear in my inbox about word counts, such as NaNoWriMo, the 500 words a day challenge, the A-Z Blog Challenge. In fact, I read so many posts about daily word counts it almost gave me an inferiority complex about my own writing habits.
There are benefits of course. Writing everyday helps us to develop and improve our style, concentrates the mind, makes our projects grow. Challenges can provide focus and discipline. However it’s important to remember that not everyone is able to follow such a routine. Some people belong to a small pocket of authors who can only write when the mood feels in balance. Others, like myself, have a day job, a family and other commitments.
500 words a day doesn’t sound very much, but to write 500 quality words a day is another matter. For me, squeezing in half an hour to sit in front of the screen for the sake of it and churn out a load of drivel simply doesn’t appeal. Even getting those words down and making something of it later, leaves me cold.
A writing routine is something that is individual, personal and doesn’t necessarily mean penning words every day. Even when I have the time, some days I might devote to research: either online, making notes, interviewing, reading or even just thinking – working through plotlines in my mind, fleshing out characters. Other days I might take field trips to get a feel for the atmosphere of an area. Intermingling moments like this that are inspiring with stages at the pc evoking the scene helps those words to mean something, count, and feel good.
I won’t necessarily use everything that I write. But I will enjoy the process and feel that I am progressing my style. And those words I do use will feel special and sit in the context of my work.
As writers, we are told to make every word count. I’ve talked before about a review I once read when the reviewer described the author’s work as, ‘Writing so good, I didn’t notice it…’ This is what I aspire to and, for me, the only way to achieve this is to enjoy my writing journey, balance it with my lifestyle and write from the heart.
I’d love to hear about your own writing habits. Feel free to comment here, email or message me on Facebook or Twitter. Have a great week!