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Final NaNoFiMo total—33200, or thereabouts. Not nearly the wordcount of a NaNoWriMo, but I finished two books under contract and stuck words on a couple of other projects, so it was generally a very productive month.

Despite the constant harping that writers sit down and write every single day, I will confess to you that I don’t. I sit down between two and four times a week and try to hammer out a thousand words. Since there are only 15K worth of words in a Dragonbreath book, this allows me to finish two a year easily, and fool with other stuff. If I were a conventional novelist, I might work to a different schedule, but there you are.

My only point with that is that there is no one true writing schedule, and writers who will try to tell you that NaNoWriMo is just normal life and all Real Writers write every single day to a specific word count are perhaps being unnecessarily hidebound. I hardly ever write on weekends, for example. And sometimes I can only lay down five hundred words, and I do write Dragonbreath books on the assumption that at some point, I will get struck by lightning and knock out three thousand words and get large chunks of the book done thereby.

I understand why people say these things, since writing is Real Work and it is easy to put it off when it’s not fun any more or get really soppy about the need to be inspired and how it just isn’t flowing and that must mean you are blocked, etc etc ad nauseum, and so sometimes the easiest way to establish that discipline is to sit down every day and demand the brain to perform. If it works, fantastic! Those people may well have a higher level of completed projects than me, and more power to ‘em. However, if you tend to work in jags and spurts and spend several days at the time when you do not Sit Down And Write Goddamnit, I will humbly submit that you are not an imposter posing as a writer, you are not Doin’ It Wrong, as long as all the writing does get done in a timely fashion (i.e. by deadline.)

So, y’know.

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.


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Writing is an art, not a science. There is no hard, fast rule that works for everyone.

Bravo for all the work that you do!

If I had to sit down and write like I do during NaNoWriMo every day I would never get ANYTHING else done. XD

Of course, I normally only write during NaNoWriMo. The rest of the time it's drawing comics for me - which can also be applied to what you described... Some days it's all I can do to crappily layout a bunch of panels and that's as far as I get. Other days I can finish an entire page without stopping for anything.

If I had to sit down and write like I do during NaNoWriMo every day I would never get ANYTHING else done.


But while it's happening it's all kinds of wonderful.

Oh, heck, I think that's true of pretty much any mental work. I certainly find it to be true of the IT work I do. I feel like I get maybe a few hours a week where I'm really, truly on my "A" game; I do the tricky stuff then, and leave the easy stuff for the times when I'm really not that clear-headed.

Much appreciated... that is how I work too :) I figured it was probably fairly normal but always nice to hear it *grinz*

I forget which writer it was (Victor Hugo maybe?) who had his valet take away his clothes and lock him in a room in which there was no distraction---just the pens and ink and paper. He wouldn't get his clothes back for a certain number of hours, so it was either write or just wander around the room naked and bored. If my memory's correct and it was Hugo, this system gave us Les Miserables, Notre Dame de Paris, and quite a few other works of note. If my memory's not correct and it was perhaps Balzac or Flaubert, adjust the names of the novels accordingly. Whoever it was, he found what worked for him. And it makes a fun story for posterity as well! *g*


I -try- to write a certain amount every day. However much it takes to fill a post box in Livejournal, actually.

For me, it's worked. Are some stories shorter than others? Sure. Do I sometimes go 'Oh, screw it!' and write a tiny letter instead of an actual story? Yep. Do I take off one day a week? Absolutely.

For me it works. For others, not so much.

You do what works for you and let others handle themselves.

That's all well and good, but according to a recent Simpson's episode, all children's literature is written by committees. I presume, (based on ample evidence) that Ursula is really just a fictitious author, fronting for a series of books. I mean, come on, does anyone believe that a real person's life could be that strange? *grin*


Curses! You've found our terrible secret!

You're not just a writer, you're also an artist. I'll bet that some of those days when you don't write, or don't write much, you spend an equivalent amount of time on your art.

It's hard to do multiple creative things at once. I used to write songs and poetry, and occasional fanfic -- but since I've been making jewelry, that output has almost completely dried up. It's as though I only have so much creative energy, and if I'm putting it into the jewelry, there's little left over for anything else.

Some days yes, and some days she has to do the business of being an artist or writer - communicating with her editor & art director, running prints, doing the weekly mail run, the quarterly accountant meeting, etc, etc.

There is a hell of a lot more to the writing business than putting words on paper....

You so completely need "Ursula Vernon, Conventional Novelist" business cards.

But you're not just a writer are you, you're an artist as well, so you're probably doing something related to your work allll the time. Even in your sleep probably! :p

I agree, with the editorial-day-job caveat that "works" means "gets done to deadline, goddammit".

I try to do at least 500 a day when working on a novel. That...doesn't happen sometimes.

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