I have a massive, massive spreadsheet that I take everywhere with me on a little memory stick. It has, among many other numerous things, a page devoted entirely to the word output of each and every one of my projects in progress. Right now, the little group of cells that make up the chart for Secrit Project 07 show a measly output for last night:
I imagine this number will rise by very small increments throughout the week – that’s how it always seemed to go at Clarion, and that’s how it goes when you have a full-time job as well. So, each row in the chart will have a date, the daily word count, and the cumulative word count. Slow but steady progress.
Then I’ll hit Saturday.
On Saturday morning, the daily word count will be switched over to HOURLY word count. Each row will no longer show a date (5/14, 5/15, 5/16), but this: 7-8am, 8-9am, 9-10am. At the top of every hour, I’ll stop to check my word count, input it into the spreadsheet, and tally up my total. I’ll spend all of Saturday doing this, from about 7am to 9pm. My word count for the day will probably be around 5-6,000 (not including what I racked up during the week). Sunday will be a slower day, with maybe about 2,000 words added (assuming I haven’t finished the story on Saturday – 10k is the maximum allowed word count, not what I have to hit). And that’s how I’ll get this thing finished. It’s like ripping off a bandaid – for fourteen freakin’ hours. Heh.
But I’ve found that with the spreadsheet open, it holds me accountable for every hour I work on my writing – I have to write something, I have to keep up with the pace I set, and I can’t stop and ego-ponder over the beauty of my words or whether anything even makes sense. I pound it out in a weekend frenzy of writing, then give it a rest before editing. That’s how I wrote at Clarion, and I think it’s the best way for me to approach this story. Because, if I stop and think about what I’m writing, I’m going to be physically ill. I won’t be able to do it. And I can’t let that happen. And no, I can’t elucidate any further. Hopefully the story will be accepted and published, and then you all can read it, and see for yourselves what I mean.