How Overachieving Ruined my Perspective

If someone writing a lot of words during a month (whether it is more than you or not) and complaining about some of the downsides of that fact offends you, then please stop reading now.  Save us both the trouble of your annoyance.

With that said, I think NaNo Overachieving has ruined any sense of perspective that I have on writing.

One of the problems that I’m having right now with writing (though not the only – I have 4-5 major problems right now.  Is this a writing version of a crisis of faith?) is that my sense of perspective is, well, senseless.  NaNoWriMo is what encouraged me, and what first showed me that I could write.  Whole stories, even!  That were more than two thousand words!

Yes, that used to be a struggle for me.  I came to fiction late among my peers (sophomore year of college, plus or minus a year), and slowly.  I remember the first time one of my “stories” (scare-quotes necessary) topped 1000 words, and how astounded I was.  It felt long (TWSS), and important.

Now I can spend words in the introduction to one scene in one book of a series.

I felt accomplished for the week if I wrote a story, too.  It didn’t even have to be very good (they weren’t), but the fact that I was writing was so novel (pun intended) that anything felt like an achievement.

Now, I have written 50,000 words in a day.  Twice.  Piddling out 2k just doesn’t seem like very much in comparison, does it?  It’s 4%, which in most cases isn’t even statistically significant.  It’s too little signal, too much noise.

So that doesn’t help.

I think it months now (thanks NaNo!), and my monthly goals are all out of whack, too.  For me, 50k doesn’t seem like much.  It rarely occurs to me to try to write 50k in a month, unless I’m relaxing.  Of course, if that’s the case, then I tend to go overboard with relaxing (me?  driven to extremes? NEVER) and write maybe 10k in the month.  Maybe.

Of course, most months aren’t NaNoWriMo (which, however much I love the event (and I have two NaNo bumper-stickers, so a lot), thank GOD).  Most months will not be 200k months where I finish a book and then write some other stuff, because I have the time, and hey, why not?  I don’t have the drive or the challenge for that.

So finding that middle ground is really, really hard (see above comment on extremes).  Finding something to give me that sense of accomplishment, but that isn’t 200k, is something that I’m still working on.  I’m open to suggestions (if you’ve made it past all this whining), to refocus myself here.  I want to.  I have stories in my head that need out.  But how do  I do so while feeling accomplished?

I guess, for now, it comes down to this:  i have three weeks left in the month.  How much do I want to write?

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3 Responses to How Overachieving Ruined my Perspective

  1. racquelin says:

    Fuck your feelings and just do what comes, and be satisfied with that.

    No, seriously. Just let it bleed as it will.

  2. Hayden says:

    You should try writing one month without even looking at the word count. You’re so fixated on that, it seems like it’s distracting you from actually getting words on the page. Draw your sense of accomplishment from telling a story, no matter how many words you use.

    Ps. I like your blog 🙂

    • cosmato says:

      Ike! You\’re alive!

      And maybe I\’ll try that this month. I have to set up a bit for it, though; I know about how many words I write on a page, given a common font size and margins, so I have to switch to web layout.

      It would help if I planned my stories more in advance, so I knew how far along I was in the story, but I don\’t – I see only as far as the next scene. So I\’ve got to figure a way to feel good scene by scene, I think.

      PS: Yay!

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