Stop Counting!

As NaNo progresses, I’m hearing more than a few moans about not making daily word counts. So, stop worrying about your daily word count. The point of NaNo is to write. Write whatever you want, whenever you want, how much you want. 

If you’re not making your daily word count, you’re spending too much time counting words you’re not writing. 

When you sit down and tell yourself to write, write. The point of NaNo is to get words on paper. You’re not writing the next bestseller, the long awaited greatest novel ever written, you’re not even writing your first draft of the best novel ever written. You’re writing the shit draft of the next greatest novel of all time. This is the draft you’ll never let anyone read. If anyone walks up behind you, you’ll open a new window or close your work. You must let no one see these pages. It’s too terrible! If someone walks up behind you and reads these pages over your shoulder, cry, scream, hyperventilate, yell, punch. (I recommend not punching. You need your fingers to get your words on the page.)

After NaNo, after you have that terrible, awful, makes-no-sense, grammatically challenged, worst-thing-ever-written crap you call a novel, you’ll start on your first draft. This is when it gets good. This is when you worry about your word count. That crap you wrote will say, “She walked to the door. She took out her keys. She unlocked the door. She entered the house. She screamed.” Boring!

You’ll turn those words into, “Claws ripped through her shoulder….” 

The following line of advice, attributed to C.J Cherryh, applies not just to NaNo writing, but to all your writing. “It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.”

Go forth and write garbage, friends. Put your daily word count into the NaNo counter and earn your badges, and be happy you put shitty words on your pages. Editing begins next month.

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2 thoughts on “Stop Counting!”

  1. I’m no Nano person these days, but when I was I found two daily writing shrifts worked best for me. Early morning and mid afternoon. Of course, I did not work. I did not write (much) when I worked for two reasons. I did not have the time available and I wrote so much at work, I needed time away form all of that. Good luck to all the Nano-ists for 2020 out there. 50K! Go go go!

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