Monday, February 10, 2003

And good evening!

I've been working away today. Writing, editing, fixing dinner, talking with Russ before he went back off to more work for a few hours, and then back to writing. Did dishes somewhere in there. Fed cats. Read board stuff, looked at blogs and journals, and now I'm nearly back to the top of the cycle again... writing. (grin)

I don't have a very structured life. The closest it comes to structure is feeding the cats every day, usually between 4 and 5pm. They get crazed if they think I've forgotten them.

And I suspect that's why 'time' goals don't work for me, while word count ones do very well. I have the time to work, but with no outside influences -- work, kids, etc. -- my time becomes very fluid. I stay up till dawn and get back up until well after noon. I stop to spend a few hours with Russ doing things, and then come back to work.

I could endlessly wander through writing and never actually accomplish anything. It would be very easy for me. But I have learned, down through the decades, that I work well with having a specific -- and very low -- goal for working. It's only by chance that I made it an every day goal. It would work just as well being a four-day a week goal, or just a straight end-of-the-month goal.

But as it happens... I love writing. I don't need to take time off from it, because this is what I do for enjoyment. Yes, sometimes it's more fun than others. Last year I had just about the most fun I ever had, with eight books contracted to one place, two others at other places. The fact that I had so much fun shows in my year end word count. When I'm enjoying myself, the word count goes up.

So far this year has been average for work. I did a bit over 50,000 words in January, and I had slowed down in the first part of February, partly because of Vision work. However, last night I finally hit on the story that took off, and had a good day. I suspect it's going to keep going that way for a week or so.

My daily routine is a fluid blend of writing and editing. If I get stuck on one, I go to the other -- or another story.

Is this going to make me a great writer? No. The number of words a person writes has never been an indication of whether she is a good or bad at writing. How much I edit (which, by the way, I also love) won't make me a great writer either. It's the stories a writer tells that makes a good writer. Whether they are told quickly when writing them down and are edited once or a dozen times isn't going to make a bad story good. Neither will writing it slowly make it any better.

Goals are personal expressions of what a person wants to achieve. That goal may be as nebulous as get a story in the mail by the end of the month or a definite goal in word count. It's how that person works, and can never be used as a judgment of the material they write.

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