Dwindling Word Count: An IWSG Post

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So it’s been a whole month since the last IWSG post day and I… Oh dammit, did I seriously write less than 6000 fictional words this month? That is totally unacceptable unsurprising.

It’s been one of those months. You know the kind: you have every intention of having a spectacular four weeks, but somehow by the end of it you look at your meager word count and begin feeling suitably bad about yourself. I’ve had a lot of those kinds of months this year and it’s starting to get to me a little.

This month I wrote approximately 20,000 words. Now, for some people 20,000 words may sound amazing, and it’s definitely nothing to sneeze at…better than zero words, at least! But here’s the thing…the overwhelming majority of those words were blog posts. A few of those blog posts were “Flash Fiction Friday” posts, so that adds up to maybe 5000 or so words, and other than that the only fiction writing I did was to revise a couple of chapters of The Other World: Book One, which only worked out to about 800 or so new words. So we’re looking at less than 6000 words of fiction over the course of a month.

Now I’ll grant that I have difficult hours to work with; for seventeen of the last thirty-one days I was dealing with 12-hour work days and an hour of travel each day. For three more of those days I was crammed into the most uncomfortable possible seats on a series of airplanes ferrying me across the country. That leaves eleven days that I was free to get some hardcore writing done, but those were the days I was actually home with my husband and daughter, and you can probably see where this is going.

Basically, what I’ve come to accept is that the best time for me to write is in the tiny window I have between the end of my 12-hour shift and the moment my body collapses into fitful, this-bed-sucks-so-much sleep. That window, after accounting for getting a shower and eating supper (and, twice a shift, doing my laundry), is about an hour long. I’m forever behind on blog posts, so I usually spend about half of that hour feverishly typing out something for the following day. That leaves half an hour. And what do I do then?

Honestly? Usually I wind up throwing on YouTube videos while I drool into my pillow and my eyelids begin to flicker.

could ignore my body and stay up later to get some writing done, but I choose not to because my health is bad enough as it is.

could rip the ethernet cable out of my laptop and refuse to let myself watch YouTube, but after a 12-hour shift I can’t help but justify my half-hour of semi-relaxation.

could suck it up and get down to it while I’m on my days off, but there’s always a million other things that I have to do while I’m home (or they don’t get done), and if I spend all day on my computer my daughter and husband end up frustrated with me because I’m home and should be spending time with them (and, you know, I actually want to spend time with them instead of sitting at my computer all day)

Basically there’s lots of solutions that I could employ, along with lots of reasons not to employ them.

And so I wind up with a measly 5800 fictional words over the course of a full month.

But I had plans, dammit! I was going to completely finish revising The Other World: Book One so that I could ship it off to my beta-reader and not have to look at it for a while! I was going to continue working on the first draft of The Other World: Book Two so I could feel like I was actually getting somewhere! And I was going to play my hand at writing a short romance novel, mostly out of curiosity to see what kind of reaction it would get, but also to broaden my horizons as a writer!

And literally none of that got done. None of it even got halfway done. Book Two and the romance story didn’t even get touched, despite my daily internal pep-talks that today was going to be the day.

I know that I’m being pretty hard on myself (hey, that’s what we writer’s do, right?) because I do have an outrageously awful schedule to have to deal with while trying to write as well, but sometimes I can’t help feeling that I’m just being a lazy whiner, that if I really wanted to do these things I would do them already. After all, I wrote, revised, edited, and self-published Nowhere to Hide while working this same kind of schedule. So why can’t I do it again?

Maybe I’m getting old and tired before my time. 😛

So that’s my insecurity for the month, in all it’s twitchy, teary-eyed glory. How about you?

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14 thoughts on “Dwindling Word Count: An IWSG Post

  1. Missing a target is way more demoralizing than writing a small word count. You actually got a bit done, be proud of yourself (if you skim a few more posts in this month’s IWSG you’ll see you’re way ahead of alot of other people). Don’t look at what you didn’t get done, look at what you did accomplish. Set slightly smaller goals if you have to. Accept that you’re in a place right now that THIS is what your output is going to be, and do your best to keep up with that. Writing is hard enough without beating yourself up about not getting enough done.

    IWSG September Post

    • You’re so optimistic it kills me. ^_^ But thanks for that, for sure. You’re right, of course. Sometimes it’s just so much easier to self-depreciate than to stop and smell the rose-buds.

  2. I’m in the same boat with you. Most of the writing I did get done were blog posts and poetry. I’m still revising book 1 of my YA WIP. And I’m working w a 9-5, and with school and kids, cooking, etc. I need my relax down time that on YT and Viki. Guess it’s the writers life and its writers problems. Instead of stressing over word count, just write as much as you can. It’s hard to accept that we can’t be as prolific as we like. Sometimes we can just accept to go at our own pace

  3. YouTube is eating up an unacceptable amount of my writing time as well. I should really get rid of the YouTube app on my phone.

    Also, after reading Nowhere to Hide, I’d be interested to see how you handle a romance novel.

    • What would be best for me is to just not have my laptop out West with me, but then I wouldn’t be able to write efficiently either. lol

      I’m interested in the fact that you’re interested. ^_^ I’ll get around to it at some point for sure!

  4. You’re doing very well. Don’t beat yourself on the head. Maybe a way out of this frustration is to set more realistic goals. With a full-time job and a family, maybe set a goal of 1000 words a month. It would be easier to reach it, and it would make you happier, which is the only reason to write.

  5. Why are we so hard on ourselves? There are only 24 hours in a day. Spouses & children (for me grandchildren) are more important than how many words I’ve written. If there’s one thing I could tell my younger self it would be: Enjoy the journey.

    Best wishes,
    Diane IWSG #95

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