I Think I Need A Straight Jacket

So, some of you might remember that time when I said I was neurotic about writing. Yeah, I’ve still got it on that front, like you wouldn’t believe. Worse, it’s now starting to annoy me. That might be the first step toward being less neurotic though.

So what am I going after myself for this time? Word count. Of course it’s that. I mean, what else would be blatantly neurotic, other than my previous crankiness because I hadn’t written a novel yet in 2013 all of three months into the year? That bout of insanity was tamed mostly by remembering that I wrote 2 novellas in March which together equaled a novel in some camps, not to mention all the other non-novel-writing things I’d done.

I do this. I totally lose perspective until I’m just about in a frenzy of self-loathing. Every little thing I’ve done is dismissed as not good enough. It’s only when I finally manage to step back and look at the big picture that I realize I’m being entirely stupid about it. In fact, I suspect a few of you would have lined up to smack me last month had you known how much I was angsting about the lack of novel-writing. When I got a handle on it, I certainly wanted to. πŸ˜‰

So now, instead of that particular issue, I’m fighting the urge to scream at myself over not writing 7k last night. Honest to god, I’m an idiot some times. I did write just shy of 5.5k words, yet I’m telling myself I should have written more. Never mind that I was doing some feedback for a friend right after work, or that I did some prep work to have my detailed chapter outlines a couple ahead of where I’m writing. And of course, let’s not pay any attention to the fact that once upon a time I would have been over the moon to have written that after a full, non-work-day of writing, and I did have the day job yesterday. Feel free to throw things at me, because I deserve it for this.

I know it’s a good thing to drive yourself forward and always seek to improve, but this is sucking the joy out of the things I do accomplish that should by rights make me happy. I’ve got to stop doing this to myself.

In that spirit, I’m hereby celebrating the fact that I am already at 25,797 words on What Lies Beneath, after 5 days of writing. I am still enthralled with the way these characters and their world are developing, and am looking forward to diving in for the day. I have to do some more prep work, and have an errand to run (I drank the last of my coffee this morning and that shit will not stand). Then it’s time for words. All the words. I’ll probably be sprinting a lot of the day, and may or may not do most of it in the #writeclub feed. Sometimes I like to just sprint in private, running only with myself, and other times I like to go with other people, to enjoy the camaraderie that you get from that. We’ll see what I feel like later.

Above all though, I swear, whatever my word count is today and tomorrow, I am NOT going to beat myself up about it unless it’s less than the required 2k that’s in my goals. Because really, this has to stop, and it will. I will find joy in my accomplishments again.


About Julie

I'm a writer and photographer. I always have something with me to take notes for ideas or writing projects I'm thinking about or have on the go. I also like to go around with my camera and take pictures of anything that strikes me as beautiful or evocative. I'm perpetually working on one story or another, while waiting for enough distance to judge the last one (or more). I'm always working on several projects at once, developing the next book, even as I'm editing the last. Beyond that, there's always plenty of scraps and twists of ideas rolling around in my head, eventually turning themselves into full blown stories.
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10 Responses to I Think I Need A Straight Jacket

  1. You just remember why you began to write at all probably when you were a kid. You knew nothing of word counts, and it was the most enjoyable thing you ever did. Let go of the word count, and it will appear anyway.

    • Julie says:

      I’ll try. I’ve never forgotten why I write, and I still live for the feel of story flowing through my brain. I guess that’s a good sign. The funny thing is that the word counts do appear, regardless of my angst. It’s just a matter of me always wanting to hit new highs, I guess, or at least equal the old ones. Definitely craziness though. πŸ˜‰

  2. Celtic Forest Dweller says:

    So, I was talking to my sister while perusing the web, and I broke off in mid-sentence when I saw this title and said “Oh no, Julie, what did you do NOW?” (yes, I do talk to my computer screen. shush.)

    Let me get this straight. I just hit 3k for the month today and am over the moon about it despite being a little behind (though 20k is much more manageable than 50) and here you are…

    You. Wrote. 25k. In. 5. DAYS??! *throws things* (Totally teasing; you are amazing though) But yes, please be reasonable about your unreasonableness! You’re doing fantastic — just keep writing (ha, like I need to say that! XD) and don’t stress about word counts! That’s awesome that the charries are doing so well too. πŸ™‚

    • Julie says:

      Dude, I talk to my computer all the time. πŸ™‚

      And I did admit I was being neurotic and unfair to myself. It’s a step in the right direction, isn’t it?

      Congrats on your 3k, btw. πŸ˜€ Keep up the good work.

  3. jmmcdowell says:

    Consider a virtual pillow thrown at you . πŸ™‚ I will offer the following β€” at least on some days, it’s better to write fewer words of higher quality than many words requiring massive edits and revisions. As far as I know, you’re mortal. And we mortals cannot sustain megalevels of physical or mental activity indefinitely.

    We need periods of rest/lower activity levels in order to perform well over the long haul. So take a few deep breaths before you hit the keyboard again. πŸ˜‰

    • Julie says:

      Wait, I have to be mortal? Where’s the fun in that? πŸ˜‰

      You’re right. I know you’re right. It’s just trying to get it through this thick skull of mine that’s hard. *breathes deep before diving in for the day*

  4. 4amWriter says:

    After a few NaNos I have come to understand my strengths and weaknesses regarding daily word count. It’s really no good to tell myself to write a certain number of words per day, because after a while I start writing crap just to reach that word count. Our muses have limits as well as our human selves.

    Rather, I tell myself to write for an hour (if an hour is a reasonable amount of time every day). I have found that I am much kinder to myself, less stressed, and the overall quality is much better.

    I know you know this, but seems to me that you need to *believe* it, too.

    • Julie says:

      What’s funny about this whole situation is that my minimum is 2k, so it’s ridiculous that I’m hammering myself for *only* doubling that. *shaking my head*

      I’m working on being happy with what I do though, honest. πŸ™‚ And yes, I do need to learn to be kinder to myself. Maybe I should get that tattooed somewhere so I stop forgetting it.

  5. Peggy Isaacs says:

    I can’t give myself a set daily word count. It seems to work against me. I just sit down and write until I have to stop. Yesterday, I locked myself in my office and didn’t come out for 4 hours. It was a good day. The day before, I wrote for thirty minutes and was tapped.

    Don’t beat yourself up too bad. You’ve written more in the last year than most write in a lifetime.

    …and you are still queen of the word count in my book.

    • Julie says:

      Lol, that does sound like you had a good day. Glad to hear it. πŸ™‚

      And I agree, my word goal method wouldn’t work for everyone. What’s almost funny about this is that the goal is 2k. I’m way overtopping it, yet feel it’s not enough. I’m starting to wonder if it’s just me not able to accept things going smoothly.

      I will try not to beat myself up too much though. I mean, if I’m a queen in your books, I must be doing something right. πŸ˜€

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