Sometimes the bear eats you… 833 words, but I do like them

I started in this morning at about 7:30 AM, got going at a pretty good clip, and then realized I didn’t like what I was getting.

So I deleted that, came at it from a different direction…

And didn’t like what I was getting.

So I tried a third time. 

As I write this post, it’s 12:23 PM, and I’ve decided the third direction is working, and is keepable. I’ve written a lot of words today, but the only words you get to count are the ones you get to keep.

So I didn’t hit my objective, even though I most assuredly wrote more words than the objective.

This is writing. Sometimes its tougher than this. Sometimes I end up with negative numbers. 

Today I’m still on the right side of the line, even though my progress bar isn’t as fat and beautiful as I would prefer.

Tomorrow, I’ll do it again.

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


2 comments… add one
  • Bruce Andis Dec 23, 2020 @ 9:39

    I don’t agree. I think you should count the words you wrote, but discarded. I’ll mansplain: If on Monday you write 2,000 words that you think are keepers, but on Tuesday digitally wad them up and toss them in the electronic trash bin, do you revise your Monday word count? I’ll bet you don’t.

    Psychologically, your practice might also exert subtle pressure to keep less than stellar prose because your dopamine-addicted brain wants to keep that big fat word count.

    Count ’em all, I say!

    • Holly Dec 30, 2020 @ 9:34

      I’ll mansplain: If on Monday you write 2,000 words that you think are keepers, but on Tuesday digitally wad them up and toss them in the electronic trash bin, do you revise your Monday word count? I’ll bet you don’t.

      In fact, I do. I use Scrivener, so the word count for anything I toss adjusts to take into account every single one of those words removed. If I’m on word 10,000 after having written 2000 words on Monday, and I delete 2000 words on Tuesday before starting into my Tuesday words, my starting count for Tuesday will become 8000, and if I do two thousand words on Tuesday, my ending count will again be 10,000.

      I got to count 2000 words on Monday. That’s fine. I got to count 2000 words on Tuesday. Also fine. I did two honest days’ work.

      The actual manuscript wordcount however, is how many words are in the novel, and that needs to be honest and accurate, because each of these novels needs to be about a hundred thousand words long. If I tracked the fact that I wrote 300,000 words to get 100,000 keepers, that would be a completely useless statistic. I know I write a lot more than I keep. There’s simple benefit to me in tracking what I toss. My benefit comes in knowing how close I am to wrapping up the story at the length I need it to be to fit within the series.

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