I watched her drape fabric around my old dressmaker doll. “90, 91, 92,” she counted with the addition of each new pin. Ninety-nine!” she cheered. “Can you believe it took that many pins?”
So that’s where all my pins disappeared to… “Wow! That’s incredible, honey.” I said.
She jabbed one more pin at random into the dolls tush. “One Hundred!”
I thought about my writing. Are dressmaker pins like words? Would my writing be more amazing if I wrote 1000 words today instead of 500? I wondered this as I edited the 1000 words I wrote yesterday, deleting 500 unnecessary words.
How many words a day do I set as my goal? Easy answer…
As many as is needed to say what I need to say.
Some days that number might be 1000, other days I’m equally proud of the 300 tight words I hammered out. How many articles and writer’s manuals talk about daily writing goals? 1000 words is a lot of pressure–especially if writing time must be shared with the other daily to-do’s…
Take daughter to bus stop or school, work at inconvenient day job that pays the bills, get groceries, make dinner, do laundry, clean house, take dog for walk, get daughter ready for bed, write my heart out before dropping from exhaustion.
Some writers can squeeze out 1000 words a day, but in my case, I can’t turn my self editor off. Remember Gretchen from my earlier post. (On the Process of Writing) Stop being so hard on yourself, I remind myself. Just get the bones of the story in order. You can fill in the rest later. But still, I continue to edit line by line as I write. There is nothing I can do about this mental condition. Yes, this method is strenuous.
My daughter tells me that students in her writing class start with a sloppy copy (first draft) The word sloppy stops me. I hear the wisdom of my Aunt Helen echo in my ear from decades past.
THE GODS SEE EVERYWHERE
She said this quite often while teaching me to sew. Sewing, writing, either way, my childhood upbringing powerfully programmed me to “get it as perfect as possible” the first time. (This could account for that ghastly ulcer I had back in high school….)
What is your daily word goal? Do you try to reach 1000 words? Are there times when penciling the dozen things you need at the grocery store feels like accomplishment enough? I’d love to hear about your typical writing day.