DTD: 333 more words take me over 20K

Good words last night, along with surprising action as my MC remembers something horrible that shaped her life, and decides to fight for survival.

I’m stunned to realized that working at this ambling, casual pace, I’m already over 20,000 words, and that if I were planning a normal-length book, I’d already be 20% done.

This is something I’ve forgotten over the years, and am delighted to remember. If you aren’t just teeth-grittingly desperate to get paid again, you can write even small amounts, and so long as you do it regularly, you’ll rack up an impressive word count in very little time.

What I’m doing now is amateur writing (amateur in the Latin root-word sense, amator, which means lover). I’m writing out of simple love of doing it.

This is the way anyone who loves to write can write a book. Last night I ended up working on website fixes, so only had about half an hour to actually write before I fell over in an incoherent blob right around midnight. There have been a couple of nights when I got my words in fifteen or twenty minutes, decided I liked my stopping place, and quit for the night.

Writing does not have to be an all-consuming labor of ten- to sixteen-hour days—something that’s beginning to edge its way back into my weary brain as personal truth, rather than abstract theory.

It can be play, rather than work. And you can still love the story that’s coming together.

And on that note, I have a long week planned next week. And my older son is on leave, and going to come visit for a few days before he takes off for another stint in the desert. So I’m going to knock off at noon and call it a day.

Have a wonderful weekend.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

12 comments… add one
  • Glynis Smy Jul 3, 2009 @ 3:25

    300 today, plus my blogs and a challenge for a friend. A productive day. Enjoy your 4th of July weekend, all US writers 🙂

  • Don Jul 1, 2009 @ 21:57

    Well after a slow start started at 3941 ended at 4978 over a thousand words. Get to maybe eight thousand by Sunday. Hear’s hoping. Story development is going well, talk to you tomorrow.

  • Shirls Jul 1, 2009 @ 15:34

    Holly, this is a splendid idea. I think I know what is stopping me from writing: it’s my addiction to audiobooks. I have two going at once – one in the kitchen for while I’m cooking and cleaning up and one at the other end of the house in my bedroom so I can listen while I’m dressing, bathing, making the bed etc. No wonder I never get to think about my own story. As you know, a lot of story design goes on long before a word gets written. And this is just not happening while I’m happily liistening to other people’s stories. So for July I’m going to commit to output instead of input.

  • Red_Dot Jun 27, 2009 @ 21:51

    Since my job intells hours of downtime. I have decided to write a book. I am so Glad I found her site, All the mistakes I am walking into, I feel nudged through with her incouragement. I found that I tend to write about 2 pages of word a day. About 1200 words. I finished CH1 already. I don’t know how the book will turn out, but I am going forward. It helps a lot coming to the blog seeing actuall numbers of a real writer, very inspiring. Oh, thanks for the free download of your first book, reading it this weekend.

  • Anambika Jun 27, 2009 @ 21:47

    It’s time you realized that. Writing should be fun, holly. I have been following you for about 3 months now, and I find most of your posts mention a word or two, if not entirely, about number of words. Is it not enough if we just keep a small little tap on it? Perhaps you had adapted the use of word measurements as a tangible representation of your accomplishment for the day? Thanks to you, even I do check the number of words that I write, every 5 minutes, but my focus primarily stays on the plot movement, scenes, characters, …
    I also take this opportunity to thank you … (Yuck, it’s too formal) thanks holly, for all that you have on your site. When I started writing three months ago, I had all the doubts in the world. The foremost was, am I going about it the right way? And when I visited your website, read through it, it gave me enormous amount of confidence. It reinforced my believes, and put new ones into my mind.
    As a novice, I ask you this, do we need to have such obsession over the number of words that we write?

  • LisaM Jun 27, 2009 @ 10:55

    Glad that DTD is going well and that you’re loving every moment you spend with it.

    Enjoy your long weekend!

  • djmills Jun 26, 2009 @ 23:53

    I hope you relax and enjoy every precious moment of your son’s visit. Your story can wait and so can we.

  • Emily Jun 26, 2009 @ 22:43

    I agree with Andrea. If I don’t write at least 500-1000 words in a sitting, my writing comes out choppy.

  • Andrea Jun 26, 2009 @ 15:48

    Don’t you need some time to get back into your story, when you start to write?

  • Tori Jun 26, 2009 @ 15:13

    For some reason your words really hit me. I guess I thought that REAL writers spend their entire day writing. I thought that each day they would end up with fifteen to twenty pages done…but it took me this long to really think about it. I DON’T need to write a mind boggling amount of pages to get work done, to love what I write. I am so happy you made me see that.

  • Eve Jun 26, 2009 @ 15:06

    These words are so encouraging for those of us who think we’re not real writers unless we write at least 2000 words a day. Because I’ve only been writing for about four years I know I need to write a lot of words to get good. Nonetheless I find that constantly driving myself is stultifying. Most times it feels like I do nothing but work, work, work.

  • Jason Jun 26, 2009 @ 13:21

    I know what you mean by small amounts. I’ve been writing a half hour or an hour or so every night before I go to bed — if I have time, and I don’t stress if I can’t. The numbers really stack up, though.

    I’m glad that your writing is getting you along so well. It’s a nice escape, and very refreshing, when you sit down and just let the words come as they will. I hope that things continue to go well. Best of luck, and enjoy your older son’s visit.

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