It's the first week of July's CampNano. Which means a lot of people are obsessing over word counts. If you aren't familiar, CampNano is a month-long writing challenge that happens a few times a year, wherein you can partner with your writing buddies and harass each other to complete a writing project. It's like team sports for writers. And it's FUN. Trust me on this.
But back to the word counts. What is word count? The number of words you've written. The goal that keeps you tossing in your sleep. The bane of your existence.
Word count can mean any one of these things to me on any given day. But more often than not, I tend to write a lot. My word count uses me up rather than holds me back. Sometimes, I stare at the screen so long I know I'm destined for glasses. Thanks to my ability to word vomit, I've established a reputation for big word counts, and my lovely Twitter buddies (I mean that. They've lovely. No sarcasm) have coined the term:
Pulling a Melanie, ie: writing a boatload of words in a short time frame.
A few weeks ago, I was at the NJ-SCBWI conference, and I was lucky enough to have lunch with Lauren Oliver. She said something that really stuck with me, and which I believe is the answer to the question: how do I write so fast?
Practicing writing every day helps you build a tolerance for solving problems -- Lauren Oliver
|A typical product design sketch wall|
Stick with it, and the words absolutely WILL take you somewhere. Granted, we all write at different speeds. But I do believe you can maximize your own performance by practicing the very thing Lauren Oliver highlighted--build your tolerance for the craft. Then, hopefully, word count will become less of a focus and more of a side effect.