For the past few days I’ve been almost obsessed with word counts. This stems from self-criticism. It took me a while to figure this last part out. I have berated myself because my word counts are not in the thousands each day on the novel/novella. Finally I began keeping a record of how many words I wrote in general in a given day and I was surprised to find the answer was larger than I expected. It isn’t hundreds of thousands, but it is averaging out to be around 3000 words per day. After settling this internal debate and taking a huge breath, I also came to understand – and I may be late to the party – but, each word down on the story/article/review etc. is a word that wasn’t there before. Any word written is better than no words written.
Coming to accept this as progress, a huge weight was actually lifted and now the words are flowing much better in all departments. I am still not happy with the word count on the novel/novella, but, again, as long as new words are down and the story is moving forward as it is supposed to, is really all I can ask.
One thing I’ve done differently has been asking people to read my story so far. Because I am tackling a different form of world and character building, it is important others read my story as it progresses to make sure I’m not going off on tangents that ultimately would kill the story. One person I asked to read my story is a man whose opinion I value because he is one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met in my life. He said, after reading the work so far, “I like your book and the premise.” He would not say he “liked” something if he didn’t. His liking the premise of the story actually gave me a second wind and I’ve worked diligently since.
Isn’t it amazing how the smallest thing can help you climb out of a hole you have dug yourself into? It doesn’t have to be with just writing either – it can be with everything and anything. We are never at our best when we are completely alone. Only monks and nuns called to a life of isolation have this gift for being completely alone, but even they leave their cells, mountain tops, caves, houses, etc. to attend services and speak to their fellow human beings. They do not stay alone. Usually someone from a nearby village will bring them food and ask for their intercessory prayers.
I do need quiet time to write. Most artists need some form of quiet time to get their work done and visit that place deep within where creativity happens. And what happens when the novel/story/poem or painting is finished? We can’t wait to show it to people!
So, go out there and do your work and show it off! There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, I believe this is fully natural, normal, and healthy.