Apr 11, 2012

why i failed the 2k a day

As my faithful readers know, about a week ago I decided to throw myself into a 2k-a-day wordcount challenge.

I failed.

Here's why. It's not that I can't write 2000 words a day. I can. I proved this to myself quickly. I put my nose to the grindstone and dutifully provided the number of words I needed to satisfy this goal. But I noticed, after a few days of this, that my writing was getting out of control.

The best way to explain this feeling would be to use a skiing metaphor. I love skiing, I'll even go down black diamonds if my husband coaxes me with promises of hot chocolate (and this is saying much since I had a rather serious skiing accident on one during my high-school years). I love going fast and hearing the shred of ice and snow under my blades. But there's nothing I hate more than going fast and feeling out of control. You know what I'm talking about, like any bump or hitch will send you flying into a cloud of powder and disjointed skis.

Well, writing 2k a day had a very similar feeling. I didn't feel in control of my story. Instead the demand for word-count was dragging me around by the hair, forcing me to write shoddy descriptions and words just for the sake of themselves. I didn't have time to mull over my characters of where the story was going, which meant that I took it down the wrong path more than once.

It was good for me to do this experiment, because it taught me a lot about my writing process. I'm a slow writer. I need time and space and freedom to delve into the story between the words and discover what I'm trying to say.

So today, I'm going to go back to the 6000 words I wrote and carve them down and figure out what this story needs in order to make it shine.

Maggie Stiefvater also has something to say about this, after she tried to write The Scorpio Races as a Nanowrimo novel in 2009. Somehow, hearing an author as talented as her coming to the same conclusions gives me hope. :)

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