Sunday, November 2, 2008

word count. by Patresa Hartman

Today I am grateful for the word count tool in Microsoft Word. NaNoWriMo started today, and I began a thirty day obsession with words.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a ridiculous charge to spill 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. I don't know where these 50,000 words come from, but every November, thousands of people find pages and pages of sentences lurking in their fingertips.

I successfully met 50,000 words for the first time last year. It's a valuable process, this word purging. The extent of my imperfection was stunning for at least the first 20,000. The nasty critic who lives in my brain was absolutely aghast at the crap I slung. Cliche's were rampant, descriptions flimsy and incomplete, sentences crooked and loosely constructed. But somewhere around word number 20,001, things shifted. My writing did not improve, but my attitude did.

I forgave myself the crummy composition and just wrote. As soon as I let go, plot aligned and characters directed themselves. I had no idea where the story came from, but it made me trust the process more. It made me believe that writing is a lot more like channeling than it is like creating. It made me understand the value of staying open.

I'm sure it is about more than just writing.


Angie Ledbetter said...

Hope your fingers fly to meet your word count. Don't forget to come up for air sometimes!

Kathryn Magendie said...

EXACTLY! It's what I keep telling writers - JUST sit and let the words come and don't self-edit-there's time later to edit and rewrite and angst over all that....

I wrote 75,000ish in 30 days -it CAN be done. I treated it like a business sort of -- I wrote from morning until lunch, ate lunch, wrote until about 5ish then ate dinner and took the night off- I wrote mostly M-F and took weekends off was the best most wonderful experience -that novel became "The Affliction of Sweetie" - which I have worked on since and have her ready to see where she will be next.

Have fuN!

Kathryn Magendie said...

PS mine wasnt for nanowrimo - but, that does sound like a fun thing...!

Barbara Quinn said...

Good luck! You've done it once and you're back are the amazing and awesome Patresa. :-)

Ami said...

Ekhard Tolle calls this "creating space" for your purpose, your writing, your whatever. When we create space (set aside time, put away the self-critic, remain open to whatever is inside of us) the flow will come.

I love it. Keep writing and stay open! I'm sure you'll create something worth your time (even if it needs lots of editing to get there).

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