5 comments on “Writing is a game of fourths and inches…well inches anyway

  1. You’re absolutely right. 100 words is nothing. And yet, I need to write more than 100 words per sitting or it doesn’t work for me. 800 seems to be a good goal for me. I can do 800 in around half an hour with pauses (writing non-stop usually yields around 2,000 words per hour). I tried this contest once to write 100 words a day for 100 days . . . if you miss a day, you start over at day 1. Easy, right? Not for me. My longest stretch was 14 days. I do much better with variable word counts — big days and little days, with some 0-word days thrown in for good measure. Not a lot, but a few. And they can’t be scheduled.

    But I’m glad that the 100-word sprints are working out for you — that’s great! Learning what works is always the most important part. I’m wishing you luck on your journey to 100k! You can do it!

    • I used to think that 100 words weren’t enough. It turns out that it depends on my writing.
      I looked at your site and I’m not clear on whether you are a discovery writer or if you prefer plans and outlines (to whatever extent).

      I used to discovery write. I’d start the story with no idea where I was going to end up. When doing this, 100 words is almost impossible. I’d need good long stretches to write 1000 to 5000 words to feel like I was getting anywhere.

      Here’s the problem, long stretches were few and far between, so I’d end up losing the feel of the story and the ideas would fade and I wouldn’t write.

      When I have a clear idea of where I’m going (not necessarily a full outline with notes or anything, just knowing that I’m heading to X) then it’s super easy to just pop into the manuscript and put in 100 words.

      yWriter works amazingly for this because everything is split into scenes and if I know what I’m doing in THAT scene, it’s easy. It’s even better because I can stop mid scene/mid idea/mid sentence and it makes it that much easier to pick it back up later on.

      That’s not to say I don’t do long stretches now…I still do. I did 3000 words yesterday on a project (not that that’s very long but you get the gist). It’s just for busy days, it’s great for word count.

      I also don’t set actual word count goals most days. Even now doing Camp NaNoWriMo I aim for AT LEAST quota (which is 1678 words I think) to around 2000. Most days so far I’ve done 2100 words.

      • Most times, for me, 100 words isn’t enough. I’ve learned that 800 words is the minimum number of words I can have and still feel satisfied. I do have days where that number is above 0 but still lower than 800. They happen when the story is blocked and I know that any progress is better than none.

        I do typically outline. I used to think my ideal was just a minimal outline: some idea of the end is necessary, and I liked knowing details about the middle and beginning as well. However, out of the five novels I’ve actually finished, I’d have to say that only one of them did NOT have a scene-per-notecard type of outline. And I floundered a lot with that one. So, outlines are good for me, although during the writing, I often go off course if I have a better idea. But if I have better ideas, I’m not lost :). So, the problem with 100 words isn’t that I need it for the plot — it’s a more emotional need. I don’t feel like I’ve connected with the story on the deeper level. It’s like a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am when I could have foreplay, candlelight, and fireworks, to use a sex metaphor. It just doesn’t do it for me. I feel let down and frustrated. I did the math with the numbers in my other post (800 words in 30 minutes, leisurely, and 2,000 words an hour during NaNo). It takes me probably 3 minutes at full speed to write 100 words, and 3.75 minutes if I’m going at my more leisurely pace. It’s just not satisfying. I want to at least write for 15 minutes if I’m going to open up my word processor. That’s 500 words at fast speed, and 400 at leisurely. I don’t consider 15 minutes a “long stretch.”

        yWriter . . . I’ve used it, but I didn’t like the jarring cut-off feeling I got when writing in it. I now use Scrivener. And due to my emotional feelings, I usually make a word count goal of at least 800 words. That always feels right to me.

  2. It just goes to show that there truly isn’t a right way 🙂 What WORKS for you is the best way and I think that’s awesome!

    I wonder, you say you don’t like yWriter but you use Scrivener? I’ve tried the Scrivener beta for Windows and it very much did not click with me. Too many doodads and doohickeys and such, plus the UI just didn’t feel intuitive (to me of course, this isn’t a review just an opinion) all to end up doing what I was doing with yWriter.

  3. I know. I don’t know why certain programs click and others don’t, or why different methods work for some people but not others. Of course, if everyone was the same, life would be pretty boring!

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