Getting the Words Out

Yesterday my goal was to write 10,000 words. I wrote 10,500 words. I wrote 9,600 of fiction, and another 900 on a draft of this blog.

I feel a bit self conscious about saying it. On one hand I'm proud of myself for writing so much and know that by doing so I'm cutting days, maybe weeks, off the time it'll take me to finish my first story. And yet I don't want to sound like “that guy”, bragging about what he can do, that others can't. I know how hard writing can be for so many writers, and for me most of the time as well. But to hell with it, I (and every other writer) must get the words out.

Some writers have it easy. They can write X amount of words each and every day. Others struggle through every single word they put down—they edit while they write, an unfortunate curse upon many a creative soul.

When I'm on, I can write 10,000 words in a “shift”. Wake up at 8, start writing at 9, and be done by 3 or 4 in the afternoon. To do this once is, to me, not a big deal. But I can't write this much every day. I do want to get to where I can write this much twice a week. That way I can go into a story for hours, sit on it, write the words, get ideas, then for two or three days I can chill my brain before I do it again.

I'm not consistent every day. Stephen King talked about writing 2,000 words a day, every day without end. I can't do that. I go through periods of writers' block. I'll write really well for two months, then can't write a grocery list for another two months. I can't keep up with it every day and eventually burn myself out.

Bodybuilders can't grow if they work the same muscle every day. Rest, for them, is the magical potion that transforms wimpy looking kids into 230-pound giants. I am going against the grain of all the experts who write stories for a living, but I believe that this same principle will work for my writing as well. If I can merely touch base with the story between my writing days, it should stay fresh in my mind. That shouldn't be hard to do. I won't be writing fresh copy, but I'll be brainstorming.

Catching lightning in a bottle can be dangerous, but if fire could be stolen from the gods, I'm sure I can steal words from my muse at least twice a week (on Monday and Thursday, for instance). Can I write 10,000 words in a day, two days a week? If I can, can I do it every week, or at least three weeks out of every month?

This would leave me with 5 days each week to do whatever I want. I can edit, I can market, I can blog, I can play guitar, watch TV and movies, listen to music, and whatever else I can do to regenerate. I have five days where I'm not writing and still have 20,000 words every week. A rough draft for a novel every month, or two novellas. 

The time off is precisely why I think this will work for me. I'm not writing for a quota every day, and so I can relax whatever brain wave operates my creativity. 10,000 words is a LOT of words, but ask most writers and they'll say 2,000 is a lot. Writing even 2,000 words every day can be a burden on the mind. For me, after a few months of that I'm ready for a few months off. I must find a way around this. My brain agrees.

I can, thankfully, explain the process for getting the words out—even if it's only once in a while.

I use all of my Taoist powers to be completely in the moment.

No doubt creeps in. Doubt is the muse killer. Muses like to have fun, and can't stand the company of buzz killers. So to lure the muse I must be positive. The muse doesn't always come, but the muse never comes when I'm down on my abilities.

I trust that anything I write today can be edited tomorrow. I don't think about it. I do it! Obviously if I'm thinking, there's a good chance that some or most of my thoughts will be negative, so I never second-guess anything, even the notes I take.

I cut out distractions. I turn music on. I turn my internet off. I hide the clicker to the television. I close blinds and shut off phones. I hide from the world. I can take a walk when I'm done. I can eat when I'm done. I can emerge from my cocoon when I am done.

When I'm focused totally on the page (sometimes I reduce the screen size to a minimum so I can't read up), I write. I let go and let everything out. This is the part I can't explain. It's the part that, for most writers, is a complete mystery. It's the fun part. The creative process. I know how to get the words out, but I don't know where the ideas come from, and without ideas there are no words. I'm hoping that a little R&R between sessions will help them flow more easily, especially when they would otherwise not flow at all.

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12 Responses to Getting the Words Out

  1. "I know how to get the words out, but I don't know where the ideas come from . . ."

    First of all, I am overwhelmed by the amount of words you are able to write in a day. Wow! I've never really counted, but when I was writing my novel (now finished, not yet published), I can't see that I ever went over maybe 2,500 per day. But, as you said, every writer is different.
    Now, in writing my daily devotions, I follow prescribed readings for the day and dwell over them for probably as much time, if not more, than I spend writing based on the scripture I have chosen. Please visit when you get a chance. :)
    As to the quote I pulled from your post? For my part, the ideas, ones that I cannot fathom were ever there in my head, are God inspired. Every day, in working on my novel, that became crystal clear to the point where, before I would begin that day's session, I'd say, "Okay, Lord, what would you have me write today?"

    Beautiful post, J.R.! I'm glad you're here on Blogplicity!


  2. I never even thought writing that much was possible until I read of a few other authors doing so. This was back in June or so. I had remembered other times long before when, in a fit of creativity I would write 6 or 7 thousand word short stories in one sitting, and figured it'd be worth a try. It's almost not worth it since I have to devote half a day or more to writing, but writing is very much worth it :)

    I can relate to what you say about the words being God inspired. When I'm in the zone I have epiphanies like they're being sold in the corner drug store and cost a nickel a piece. And yet I have no idea where these awesome ideas come from, each one a connecting piece that allows my story to continue forward. They definitely feel divine in some way, purposeful, fated.

    I will definitely stop by.

  3. I write fro story is my book.I hope you will visit...As always...XOXOXOO

  4. That is awesome, that you were able to write so many words in one day. I like your philosophy when it comes to taking short periods of rest between your writing. I have found that actually helps me as well, and helps avoid complete burn out which I've also experienced. Writer's block is an awful dilemma, one I think that plagues and lingers in the reality of every writer! I know that when I write, I love the creative process. I love how just words come out of almost nowhere and flow on the page. And then there are times when I seem to force it...and in those times, I feel it's best to rest, to take a look to things that help stimulate creativity. For me, that would be taking a walk in the woods, or listening to some music

    I really enjoyed hearing your thoughts on writing and look forward to more of your posts :)

  5. Great post, I like Bongo, write from emotions that is my story, I only hope I can help some one else. look forward to reading more of your words.

  6. Great food for thought.... I write when I feel like it...I just write not giving any thought to how many words etc is in my post...
    Sometimes when we put so much effort into what we are doing it becomes even difficult as our focus is spent on getting the objective oppose to enjoying the process...

  7. I admire your focus, JR. I'm not sure I can be so focused about writing...I write based on my emotions and feelings...I know it should be a craft and not a feeling thing, but I think if I try to focus I will spoil the magic of it for me!

  8. @ sparlkemezen (I love your name!): The only way I can achieve 10,000 words in a day is by being one with my writing. It's effortless for me. The effort starts when I'm trying to write when I'm distracted by something external, or by my own inner editor or critic. When that happens, the 10,000 words don't. If I give myself all day to get to 10,000, effectively removing the time limit--a huge distraction--I feel no pressure whatsoever.

    @ Corinne: Focus is sitting down, and sitting down is 90% of the work ;)

    I'm of the mind that, since we always have feelings, we can always write about them. The trick is letting it all out. I'm very connected emotionally to what I'm writing when I'm actually writing. When I have a block, the writing becomes mechanical, and I can't feel it anymore. Then I have to "try", and trying kills it for me. If it feels like work, I quit (but never really give up).

  9. J.R. I simply write until I'm done. I usually last about three hours, after that much of what I write ends up forced crap. I don't want to piss off the muse.
    Sometimes I'll write in the morning for a few hours and then edit in the late afternoon.
    I'm looking to self-publish my first novel shortly so that should keep me pretty busy. Plus there's the blog.
    Good luck with your projects. I'll be watching with enthusiasm ;)

  10. Thanks, Leah!

    Good luck with your novel.

  11. Loving the web site sir! apologies for the delay in visiting. I probably could write 30000+ words a day if i ever had a complete day to write. Due to work and family scape by about that a month currently.


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