Monday, March 31, 2008

Writing Update

I make no secret of the fact that I believe I have a mild case of obsessive-compulsive disorder, although it’s never been officially diagnosed as such. I’m very much a listmaker, though, especially when it comes to what I write and what I read. Ever since my writing career began to pick up in the mid-Eighties and I started having multiple books under contract, I’ve made it a habit to keep close track of how many pages and/or words I’m producing, to the point that I sometimes thought I was too concerned with such things. I worried that the Page Count was taking over my life.

So, when the fire happened and I lost all my records, I thought, Okay, this is a chance to change all that. From now on I’ll just write, and I won’t worry about how many pages I get done each day, or each month, or anything like that.

Well, guess what? It didn’t work.

A few days into March I realized that I just wasn’t getting nearly enough written, especially since having to start over from scratch on the book that I was writing had put me so far behind on my deadlines. So I said, Screw it, I’m going back to counting pages. I got me a calendar, I figured out approximately how many pages I had written to that point in 2008, and I started writing down each day’s page count on the calendar, along with an approximate running total for the year. I used to keep track of each individual month’s output, along with the running total for the year, and I’ll probably go back to that in April, but I couldn’t in March because the month was already several days old before I started doing this. (See what I mean about the OCD?)

Anyway, as a result this month has been pretty productive. My monthly average isn’t back up to where it needs to be yet, but it’ll get there. And while it’s extremely doubtful that this year will be another record-breaker, I think I can still turn out a pretty good amount of work. At least, that’s my hope.

The point of all this rambling is that those habits I’d developed over the years, the habits that I worried about, turns out that I developed them for a reason. They work for me. They might not for anybody else, but I’ve learned now not to turn my back on what works.

Which is why I can tell you now that I wrote 16 pages today. That's about 3500 words with the page setup I use. Not as much as I hoped to do, but not a bad day. And tomorrow is the start of a new month . . .


Randy Johnson said...

With all you've been dealing with recently, you regular routine is the best way to go.Normalcy is what matters. As you say, it works for you.

Charles Gramlich said...

I agree with Randy. Sometimes routine eases the anxieties and lets things flow. I've got a touch of that OCD myself and I wonder if a lot of writers do.

Cap'n Bob said...

Just be glad you don't feel compelled to wash your hands after touching the keyboard.

Marsha Ward said...

Let's hear it for OCD and doing what works for us!