Round 1 Week 10 Sunday

Hopefully this isn’t any of us….

As we come closer and closer to the end of this round of words, it’s easy to feel somewhat overwhelmed, and maybe a little frustrated (hope not!) with one’s progress.  Never fear…  there is another round soon.  You’ve got nearly unlimited chances to learn and adjust… and improve.

But that only works if you do.  That means you need to take stock of what you’ve achieved (and perhaps what you wished to but didn’t), and you need to spend some time trying to figure out how to do better.  Then you need to adjust your behavior or attitude or whatever you feel is holding you up…  maybe you need to buy more of your favorite pens…  whatever it is—and you need to make a point of doing it. And you need to keep doing that for a while, until it becomes a habit.

Who knows…  maybe you’ll even find yourself finishing those half-finished stories from the bottom desk drawer.  😉

Until then…  it’s check-in time.  As always, you have your choice of check-in styles: here – in the comments or at the linky, on our FB page, or some combination of any or all of the above:

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Round 1 Week 10 Wednesday

And… here it is, the countdown to those two words that fill so many writers with joy (and dread)

The End

But is it really?  Writers know that those words are just another step in the journey.  If you wrote them for the first, or for the twentieth time, you have something new to start, a new beginning…  even a new ending.

That my friends is our prompt for today.  This time, I’d like to draw you attention to the lovely photo that Elizabeth Mitchell posted to her blog for the First Friday Photo bloghop I’d mentioned last week) here: Lapidary Prose and write a drabble (a little 100 word story) with the picture and the cycle of endings and beginnings as integral parts of the piece.

And…  there might be a small contest involved.  If so, there will be a perk, but it will be a surprise.

For now, just write, check-in and visit your fellow ROWers.  As always, you can check in here, at our FB page or both:

Why Word Count Might Just Be Overrated

Why Word Count Might Just Be Overrated

Denise D. Young

 

Okay, so what if word counts just don’t matter as much as we think they do? What if metrics are nice, and they give us the warm fuzzies when we meet them, and they help us meet our deadlines, but maybe they’re way too overrated?

Creative Commons Dreamstime.com

Because I kinda think they are.

This is something I’ve been pondering for a while now. A while back I drafted a now-shelved novella called Goblins and Grimoires. The characters’ story will eventually be told, but not at all in the way I attempted it.

Don’t get me wrong. Failure isn’t always bad. Usually, failure teaches us.

But when I wrote that draft, I was obsessed with word count. I basically NaNo’d it—wrote a draft of it in a month. Fast drafting, you might say.

Yeah. It was awful.

I mean, not even salvageable. That poor story needs a page-one rewrite.

Now, there are other stories I’ve written in a matter of weeks, and they turned out to be rich, wonderful, layered stories. So, what’s the difference?

Over at Writer Unboxed, Steven James touches on this very phenomenon in his article “From 2000 to 300—Why You’re Writing Too Much.” James writes

Odds are, you’re trying to write too many words a day.

You’ve probably heard that you should write a thousand words per day. Or two thousand. Or five. Or ten.

Or maybe you signed up for a program in which you (supposedly) write a novel in a month. But for whatever reason, you’re trying to hit an arbitrary “word count” each day and if you don’t hit it you end up feeling somehow disappointed in yourself.

I tried that routine for a while.

One day in ten hours I pumped out six thousand words and I felt way ahead. Amazing! So productive! If I could do that every day…

Oh, yeah.

So then the next day I spend the same amount of time writing, and wrote exactly one word.

Yes.

One.

In ten hours.

Of course, I typed in more words, and then revised, deleted, rewrote, and so on, ending the day just one word further into the book.

That was the last time I tried to hit a certain word count. It was just too depressing and the ups and downs of good days and bad days wasn’t helping motivate me.

He goes on to note that writers are the only creative folks who seem to use such arbitrary metrics to “measure” creative productivity.

I’ve written stories in a night that emerged beautiful and fully formed, needing only minor revisions.

I’ve spent months drafting a novella, each word feeling grueling, but it ended up being one of the best things I ever wrote. If I’d forced myself to meet word count goals instead of allowing the story to unfold gradually, I might’ve ended up with a mess.

I am generally in favor of what I call “slow writing,” but I think a better term for it is “organic.”

Here’s the deal. Writing is hard and uncertain work. So, we want a recipe for success. Someone tells us if we write 1,000 words a day, we’ll be prolific and therefore successful. We figure out that if we write 1,667 words a day, we can pen a novel in a month. That’s a pretty tasty carrot to dangle in front of us. Who can resist?

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with word-count goals, but I think some of us do better with a more organic approach. As in, today I wrote 300 words. Yesterday I wrote 2,000. That’s just the nature of creativity.

My goal, instead, is to show up at the page. My goal is to work hard at my craft. My goal is to write thoughtfully and push myself to grow. I am notoriously bad at meeting word-count goals with any amount of consistency anyway, which is probably why they’re lousy for me in the long run.

So, yes, I’m going slow. And it seems to be working. So, yes, I’m allowing my stories to unfold at a more natural pace, and I’m emerging with better first drafts.

I think people worry if they allow word count goals to fall by the wayside, they’ll slip into laziness, and that is a risk, to be sure.

But what if we just change the metric? What if we vow to show up at the page every day and work hard? That might take us further than writing 2,000 words in the wrong direction.

If word count goals work for you, please, stick with them. I just think we need to realize, as writers, that word counts aren’t the only measure that matters.

What about you? Do you use word counts to track your writing progress? What other ways are there of keeping track of our creative processes?

Round 1 Week 9 Sunday

Just a brief post for the check-in today.  Keep your eyes peeled tomorrow though for a lovely post by our dear Denise Young, ROW80 sponsor and generally nifty person.

Which reminds me…  it’s time sign up for sponsoring for our next Round of Words.  I’m still looking for another three or four people willing to make regular visits to your fellow ROWers and offer a sponsor post (or inspirational image/prompt).  Our community is part of what makes the ROW80 work, and we depend on you.  ❤

As always, we have lots of ways you can post your progress. Here, in the comments or via the linky, at our FB page, or any combination of the three:

Round 1 Week 9 Wednesday

Can you believe that we’re already into Week 9 of our first Round of Words for 2018?  I’m having some trouble picturing it myself…  this year seems to be flying by.

Not saying this is a bad thing…  busy happens.  It’s why we set goals and take stock of our progress with our twice-a-week check-ins here in the ROW80.  It’s also why we visit and support each other along our own writing and creative journeys.  Sharing the journey (as writer and visitor) encourages us to pause and take time to reflect on how we are changing and growing throughout the round.

Check-ins offer a way to connect…  not just with our fellow ROWers, but with ourselves.

So what’s going to happen when The End arrives?  Well, we start another journey of course.  Same as writing and reading…

For now though, it’s time to share our progress.  As always, you can leave a link to your post here in the comments, at the linky, or even on our Facebook page.

A last note… I don’t exactly have a prompt for you this week (that’s something for next Wednesday), but I did want to ask if any of you creative folks wanted to share in a personal project of mine I’m trying to get started: a little once-a-month bloghop I call the First Friday Photo.  The posts will go live this Friday (and the first Friday of each month)…  All original images are appreciated.

 

Round 1 Week 8 Sunday

Apologies for a short post.

It’s check-in time.  Hope you all are doing well and making great progress with your writing.  Even if you aren’t however, let us know so we can support you and provide those helpful nudges you may need.

And as always, you can leave your check-in in the comments, at the linky (that cute little frog there) or on our FB page (or at all three):

Round 1 Week 8 Wednesday

Sometimes life throws us a loop or two…  it’s easy to lose track of goals and dreams when the day-to-day demands so very much of our time and mental energy.  For those of us who have lost track during this round of words, for those of us who had grand plans but found ourselves getting diverted…  this check-in is for you.  It’s that little voice that says “It’s OK!  Life happens.  Just pick up that pen and start again.  Because the story is there.

We are all Works In Progress.

We will make mistakes.

And we will become all the more glorious for them.

Lastly, for all of us…  Check-in time!

As always, you can leave a link in the comments, at the froggie or on our FB page.

Round 1 Week 7 Sunday

Another week over!  A busy, busy one for some.  Still our writing prompt (poetry this time) seems to have sparked some inspiration and thought in our members.  Even a lovely haiku…  Why not check and see what you can come up with… some words, some whimsy…  it’s all good.

And as it’s time for our bi-weekly check-in, remember to feel free to leave a link to your post or just your progress in the comments, at our FB group, or (my personal favorite) at the linky below.

Round 1 Week 6 Sunday

Not a lot to say today… time for words, words, and more words.

But before I do, let me offer a bit of a shout out to another awesome online group dedicated to the Writing Life: the IWSG, better known as the Insecure Writers Support Group.  Like the ROW80, the IWSG is an online community dedicated to helping people stay the course as they navigate the rocky shores and turbulent waters of being a writer.  They don’t work on a goal-based system, and they don’t do check-ins, but once a month, they get together and share personal stories and experiences.  Several ROWers work have been or are members.  Each community offers different things, and they both (as well as many other online groups) complement each other well.

For more information, look here: IWSG

For today’s check-in linky, go to the froggie, add a comment, or tag our FB group.