We all know that writers are a quirky lot, yes? So let's just own that and be done with it.
I'm drafting right now. (What? You haven't heard my let-me-remind-you-again-how-much-I-hate-drafting whines from miles away?) For a long time now, I've kept to a strict, 1000-words-a-day schedule whenever I'm drafting. In this way, I'm able to complete a draft in 3 months (writing 6 days a week). This has taught me to a) write to deadline, and b) get the heck out of the drafting phase as quickly as possible.
One of my "drafting quirks" is to continuously check the word count in Scrivener's target project window. I don't keep the window open while I'm writing--that would be distraction overkill. But I do constantly click on it to see how I'm doing.
Sounds fairly normal, right? Until I confess the frequency of these word count checks. As in, check: 114. Check: 172. Check: 191. Check: 214.
I'm not exaggerating.
Enter Epiphany (this is going to sound so stupid). In the past week, I have discovered (genius that I am) that forcing myself not to check the word count until I've estimated that I've written 100 words has enabled me to draft quite a bit faster. Because I almost always overestimate. What I thought was 100 words is sometimes more than 200. And that word count boost is like a shot of adrenaline. Nothing shoots us across the finish line more effectively than a shot of adrenaline!
So this week, my daily word count checks have looked more like this: 124, 268, 374, 516, 657, 760, 910, 1012. BAM! Done!
I'm fully aware that I'm playing a psychological game with myself. But it's working!
Perfect timing, too. Because, as of yesterday, I'm doubling up on two Very Different Projects. If you've read me for any time, you know that I've attempted in the past to multitask, without success. (Actually, this was back in my pre-agent days, when Josh had asked for a revise and resubmit. I thought I could work on the revision and keep drafting my current WIP. I failed miserably. But hey, I nailed the revision and secured Josh in my life, so it's not all bad.)
Because of my Epiphany, I had the most amazing experience yesterday. (We're all quirky, remember? So you're totally going to get excited along with me because you UNDERSTAND.) I suddenly had, following a phone conversation with Agentman, two things on my writing plate--the dreaded WIP, and the Project That Is So Close To Going Out On Submission That I Feel It Twitching. The latter is getting a final massage, thanks to some brilliant insight from Josh's new assistant. And the former needs to keep rolling so I don't lose my momentum. So I decided to nail the WIP word count during an hour-long Whole Foods stint yesterday morning, so that I could spend my afternoon writing time on the Other Project.
I'm amazed at how seamlessly I was able to glide from YA science fiction to MG fantasy. Earlier this morning, I was back at the YA again. So far, so good!
Maybe I'm being way too optimistic here. But the MG work is a few-days, high-intensity thing, so it's not like I'm going to be doing double duty indefinitely.
That would be less than pretty.
Anyway, there you have it. Don't you LOVE when you figure something out about yourself that makes your writing life easier? I keep saying that this is a journey, and it really is.
Your turn! If I can share my quirks, you can share yours. Let's have 'em! We're all in this together.