Counting Towards Completion

Old Pan Historia logoAs of this morning I’m 14,460 words, 28 pages, and 6 chapters into writing my first novel. I also have 1,667 words of saved cuts.

What’s with the numbers I hear you ask? It’s not about cranking it out there, but about the writing, man. Alright, that’s not what you’re asking – that’s what I’m asking myself. I have often criticized the whole NaNoWriMo phenomena as a way of pushing output over quality. I think I understand better, now, why it’s a good idea to overcome writer’s block by short circuiting the whole anal retentive “it must be perfect” self-editorializing funk. Still my new obsession with numbers is not about writing 50,000 words in a single month. I am editing as I go along, and I started this particular resolution back on November 8, 2009.

I have long known that I needed something to push myself out of my own personal procrastination cycle when it came to writing my novel. I have written of my process here a couple of times in past blogs. Then in November I had the idea to start a writing group at my community web site, Pan Historia, which I dubbed Write Together. The purpose of the group, in all honesty, was twofold. One obvious reason was I felt that maybe a writing group of my peers where I was expected to show results would be a great way to give me a kick in the pants I needed. My other goal was to show that Pan Historia was not just a site where people fooled around and wrote purely for fun (though those are perfectly good and acceptable reasons to be there!) but also was a great hot house of creativity that could be a positive way for serious writers to have fun and improve their writing while doing it.

To prove that I needed to make myself a good example of it. It wasn’t enough for me to know that there were a few published writers on the site, and a few people that had taken their writing to the next level after sharpening their tools at Pan. I needed to be one of those people I talk about. So here I am to tell you that I am 14,460 words farther along on my goal than I was on November 8, 2009, and that feels damn good. The counting is a game that helps me to keep my eye on the ball, and my feet on the trail. It’s not about quantity, but the act of moving forward and having something I can measure to let me know I’m getting somewhere.

What game do you play to keep yourself on track with your writing goals?


About panhistoria

writer, online community creator, and artist View all posts by panhistoria

2 responses to “Counting Towards Completion

  • Wendy Kovitz

    I am not an avid fiction reader. Since my teenage years I’ve probably read a dozen or so novels, most of which were sci-fi books belonging to my hubby. Mainly I read to keep myself sane during months of bed rest, not once but twice, during twin pregnancies. In addition to tons of food, robots and aliens I had the occasion to read “Memoirs of a Geisha” and I was hooked. (I suppose it’s the literary equivalent to pickles and ice cream.)

    I have always wanted to be a writer but found myself too timid to have an opinion in passing conversation let alone convey the hopes, dreams and animosities of the cavalcade of squatters in my consciousness. Fear of failure kept me stuck on the same little hamster wheel for twenty years– writing, re-writing, re-writing… This may sound incredibly silly, but at a word count of 48K I finally consider myself to be a writer, warts and all. Before that realization I always thought of writing a book as something very ominous and unattainable. Something about the words being in black and white meant that they needed to be perfect.

    Perfect? I gave up trying to be the perfect parent years ago. Ask any therapist, spouse or kid if they believe in that there is a perfect parent. If I didn’t expect to achieve perfection in raising my own children, how on Earth could I possibly adhere to the absolute batty notion that a fabrication of my own mind needed to be perfect to exist?

    All that being said, I suspect if I hadn’t happened across Wyatt and Pan Historia I’d still be spinning alone in my tiny little wheel. So thanks, Wyatt, for having good ideas and acting on them. Anything or anyone that makes the crazy creative journey of a writer more manageable is all right in my book. *smiles*

    • panhistoria

      Perfection is the realm of the divine and not for mere mortals to attain! It’s enough that we search for it, but we can never hope to achieve it so we should never let it get in the way of our accomplishments. Thanks for being in my world and making it a richer place, Wendy.

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