Every writer I know has, at one time or another, had the following conversation with themselves:  “If I write X-number-of-words for X-number-of-days, then by this date I’ll have the first draft of my novel finished!”  The theory looks something like this: if you spend 30 days planning and 60 days writing, at 2000 words a day, then you should be able to write 3 books a year and still have plenty of time to have a life.  Adjust the figures accordingly, but you get the gist.

Ink Bottle

Here’s the problem: my mind isn’t a word-widget factory.  The theory describes a mechanical process when, in fact, writing is an artistic endeavor.  Some days, it’ll be near impossible to put 2000 words down; in fact, some days will be downright Joyce-ian (twelve words and no idea what order they go in).  This is why I tend to take a year or more to write one book.  But, to quote Treebeard from The Lord of the Rings: “The world is changing: I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth, and I smell it in the air.”

The world has changed.  Publishing is a different beast, now.  Writers no longer have the luxury of time.  Books must be written; schedules must be maintained.  And damned to oblivion be ye who cannot keep up!

Thus, here I am.  Twilight of the Gods needs to be finished and handed in by the end of the year.  I have approximately 60 days; in that 60 days, I need to write 100-120K words.  2000 words a day.  I need, then, to be a better writer than I have ever been before — more focused, more driven, more passionate.  I’ll be participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the first half, and then punching forward on my own for the second.

I am not at all confident I can pull this off.  My past says “not damn likely, monkey boy!”  But I have to try.  To quote Von Moltke the Elder: “No battle plan survives contact with the Enemy.”  In this instance, though, the words aren’t the Enemy.  In this instance, I am the Enemy.

And I must defeat myself in order to triumph . . .

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One thought on “Planning Versus Doing

  1. I’ve found that finding like-minded individuals with similar “word count goals” can help. Healthy competition, as they say. I get together with some of my online writing buddies and we do a daily “what’s your word count” comparison. Sometimes we throw in an extra incentive like “First to 50K gets _____.” Just an idea. NaNoWriMo is my go-to competition style that keeps me going, but I still fall behind during the rest of the months. Either way, Great post and good luck!

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