Writer Wednesday – Writing Pacemaker

library shelves

Writing just one book can seem like a sea of words to wade through, let alone shelves of them.

I suspect almost every writer struggles with keeping productive. I say almost because I can think of one who spent every year pouring out words in such volume that he wrote more in a single year than many do in ten. Still, most of us are far more focused on creativity than order and this leads us to any number of problems.

Stories sometimes stall out halfway through. Writer’s block rears its head like a viper. Procrastination is a constant companion. The idea of 9 to 5 causes many writers to recoil like vampires from a cross. Still, we all have to write. We struggle between the desire to explore other interests and the burning need to write what is flowing out of our minds.

In the end, one of the most valuable things we have in our arsenal of tricks is simply setting a minimum number of words that we need to write per day and sticking to it. The number itself matters very little. Most people go with somewhere between 200 and 500 per day. I wouldn’t suggest anything lower than 100 words per day though. Setting the minimum means you can easily manage to get the words out even without inspiration. If inspiration strikes, however, your little 200 word start may end up being several thousand words or more that day.

Once your brain has gotten into a rhythm the presence of writer’s block becomes less and less pronounced. Setting a minimum number can also be a good way to stay on track with a larger work. If you have an estimated word count for your novel, you might consider using a writing pacemaker. These are programs that help chart out your writing in terms of words per day.

A particularly good one of these can be found in this link and has a lot of options. Not only do you get to pick your word count, but can set a number of zero days to account for sudden illness or emergencies. You can pick if you have off days, when your writing will be heavier and what sort of start you want. Personally, I favor the steady option. You might decide you’d rather have a few large chunks at the start and slowly work your way down so that the project gets easier with time. Maybe you instead wish to start off small and snowball your way to a finished document.

Whatever the case is, I think you will get a bit of use from the site. Either way, don’t let yourself fall prey to apathy or laziness. A writer, by definition, must write!

What are your thoughts?

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