One thousand a day. That’s all I ask!

It’s funny because I think it was Elizabeth George, in her excellent book about writing (Write Away), who first told me that I should set a word count goal for myself and see that I met it everyday, and I remember thinking, well, my method of lazing around, surfing the net, making excuses to do everything I can possibly do at my desk in front of my computer except for getting to work on my WIP, is working out for me fine. I dork around for a month or two (or three) and then finally something lights a fire under my *ahem* and I churn out 50 pages a day for a week and finish the book.
The discipline of setting a goal and sticking with it scared me. And I am disciplined or single-minded or whatever you want to call it. I do stick with things. I am almost stubborn. No, I am stubborn. I can force myself to do things I don’t always want to do, but having something firm hanging in front of me like a big placard saying 1000 words a day, was daunting.
How I got to this new, exhilarating place was by accident sort of. I mean obviously E. George had planted a seed which I had steadfastly ignored for a few years, and I was getting work done on my WIP and it was going more smoothly than my last first draft. It was coming together well and I was starting to feel the forward motion. I had set a deadline for myself of the end of June for a pretty good first draft and about half-way through May I started to panic So what I did, somewhat foolishly, was I posted in my status on Facebook that I was at 35,000 words. This was a lie. I was at 30,000 words, in fact. Some of my nearest and dearest made nice comments and just like that I felt the pressure to make it true. It took two days or so of almost frantic typing away and lots of interrupted sleep where I bolted upright, a tumble of words dripping from my mouth like really bad drool. So then I did it again. I blithely posted on Facebook. A smaller target of 2000 words over two days, and I got there. Ever since then, my goal has been 1000 words a day. Sometimes I’m done by 12:30 (I start at 10 after my daily exercise) and then I’m free to watch Buffy re-runs and canoodle with the LF (if canoodling with your daughter is not frowned on?) Sometimes it takes me until a quarter to four and I’m just finishing up when my eldest comes home on the bus. Sometimes I finish the last 200 words at a snail’s pace at 11 pm but I get it done. Of course the words aren’t perfect. The sentences aren’t perfect. Big blocks of horrible, lumpy prose will be excised in the revision process, but it’s not about that at this point. it’s about getting the story out.
The pleasure I feel at the end of the week knowing I’ve put at least 7000 words down on paper is indescribable. But it does a lot to make me feel as if I am a real writer. Today I did 1088. Woohoo!