I’m not a writer because it’s easy; screw those who think it is. I’m not a writer because I want to live some sort of privileged life, or because I want to be rich, or even because it’s the only thing I can do.
I’m a writer because it’s challenging and I’m good at it. I’m a writer because I want to make things, as Doris Egan has said.
So let’s stop the faux blue collar anti-elitism, and let’s stop talking about the number of words a writer creates a day as some sort of measure of how hard they work. (Harry Connolly)
He’s got a point.
I actually do measure most writing days by wordcount, for a variety of reasons. Chief among them is the fact that it works for me; it short-circuits a number of nasty little voices in my head. Wordcount goals, for me, say “They don’t have to be good words. You can go back and chop and slice and make them pretty later. Get them out now, worry about the quality later.” (No doubt a number of people would snarkily remark that such a view is most likely what’s wrong with my hack work, but oh well.) The wordcount goals get me sitting down, nailed to the chair until I get past “priming the pump” and get into the state that is most conducive to creation. It’s a skill, not magic, and the more I cultivate the habit of writing every day the more magic actually happens. I got (and still get) a lot of flak for saying “writers write, do it every day“, but so what? I truly believe the consistent habit is what will get your writing where it needs to be, and it is your best friend if you want to get published–or just get better. Wordcount goals are a tool, and they may not work for some writers. They may work, but not well enough, for others. The critical thing is to do the goddamn work, and do it consistently.
Connolly’s post is more about the snideness directed at creatives lately, but I’m not going to talk about that. Because frothing at the mouth is tres unattractive on me, and it’s all I would be capable of doing if I started talking about how snitty people get sometimes when a writer is not giving exactly what said snitty person thinks they’re entitled to receive. Instead, I’m just going to wander over into the corner and set up my wordcount for the day.
Over and out.