Wednesday, August 17, 2022

A little bit of elbow grease... by Cathy Ace

How do you beat procrastination? Do you use writing prompts? Tricks to get your motor running and word count climbing?

My first reaction to this question is: hmm…so the implication is that procrastination is a bad thing. Frankly, procrastination is the only reason my house gets cleaned; if a deadline is looming, it never seems quite as critical as washing the kitchen floor, or giving the bathroom a good scrubbing down…but maybe that’s just me.

Honestly, because of the way I make an idea for a story become a published book, I don’t find procrastination to be an issue. Even if I am cleaning the house, or working in the garden, I’m constantly thinking about what I’m plotting, or outlining, or have just written, or am about to write, or the way something that’s already on paper needs to be edited. I’m not aware I’ve ever used a writing prompt in my life…and I have no idea how to “get my word count up” because I never count my words. That being said…maybe my outlines act as my writing prompts, and my chapters replace my wordcount, because I read my notes before I start to write, and set myself writing goals that are chapters/story phases rather than wordcounts.

Any excuse to show off our garden; I'm the little person, for scale!

If all of this sounds odd, it might be because I’m a detailed plotter, so when I sit down to write the book, the whole thing is there, in my head and in my notebook, ready to be just…well, written. I can only type as fast as my three fingers can go; my thinking and typing speeds seem to be about the same, which is something I’m grateful for, though the accuracy of my typing leaves a lot to be desired (I cannot type an apostrophe to save my life…it always ends up being a semi-colon, so I always have to change all of those). I tend to write in chapters, not wordcounts, but maybe that turns out to be much the same thing, because many of my chapters end up being about the same-ish lengths. But, frankly, I have enough to beat myself up about without adding “insufficient wordcount” to my list, so I don’t do that.

Clean kitchen  = deadline looming!

Also, I don’t write every day. Nor could I ever do so. I only “write” when all my planning and outlining is done, then I write constantly and for long hours over a short period of time. The last book I wrote went from nothing more than a title to a once-revised first draft (that was sent for structural editing input) in three weeks. During those three weeks the record of the document tells me I worked on it for approximately 190 hours, which seems about right. It was at 85,000 words-ish when it went for feedback. The revised version went back for full editing a week later at 92,000 words. But they aren’t necessarily all the same words, in the same order – which is why storytelling (chapters) is more important to me than wordcount.

Want to see what forced me to clean that kitchen most recently? Check out my website:

1 comment:

Susan C Shea said...

Yay, another 3-finger typist! I've never been able to understand how I get to 75,000 mostly accurate words. When my garden distracts me, it's a postage stamp sized procrastination. you, on the other hand....You're a human dynamo!