Word Counts; what really counts?

Okay, so I promised a word count (oops, nearly made a hilarious but very rude typo there, no I’m not trying to distract you). But seriously, this word count reportage is not nearly as easy as it seems.

What can I count as words written?

Obviously not the hundreds of emails I send a week at work (of which at least half actually pertain to work) and none of the memos, briefs and manuals I have to write there either.

But what about the web content I helped my partner with (1200 words)? True, it is non-fiction, but I had to get creative to try and make deodorant sound exciting! Do I count the book review I wrote for the blog (270) not to mention this blog entry (271). I also wrote out a plan for yet another YA novel that I want to write (1,267).

Then there is the whole edit factor. I finally edited a short story I’ve been avoiding for weeks (9,097), but I didn’t track how many new words I wrote, and then do I have to take them away from all the old words I edited out? Finally I wrote a little bit of new stuff on another short story that is currently haunting me (487).

So, depending on your point of view, over the week I have either written 12,592 words (wow), or just 487 words (ugh). Maybe this is why I have never reported before.

On a completely unrelated topic, I’m currently sitting on 99% on FreeCell! I wonder if they have a world championship that I can enter?

Building Worlds

Sorry for the late post, I’ve only just now got home from my ‘world building’ workshop with Jennifer Fallon. I was lucky enough to attend with 4 fellow writers, all of us at different levels with our writing and we got varying degrees of help from the course. The one thing that did seem to happen to all of us was our imaginations went into idea generation overdrive.

I don’t know if it was the close examination of the different world types that suggested story possibilities (don’t worry Jennifer, Terminator meets Titanic is still all yours) or if it was just being able to immerse ourselves in 4 hours of talking about writing that did it, but I just could not shut my imagination up! Nor did I have any desire to.

So there you have it, for those who always ask the question ‘where do you get your ideas’ the answer is simple: no bloody idea at all! Maybe the question should really be ‘when do you get your ideas’ to which I would say, ‘when we finally shut up all the outside minutiae and let the ideas flow in.’

So let’s see if this inspiration spills over into the rest of the week. I’ll give you a word count next Sunday.


To blog or not to blog…

It seems like everyone I know has recently started a blog. Most of us are trying to stick to a theme (mine is meant to be the journey of a writer, just in case you’ve missed that). But about six weeks into it you suddenly find you are writing about your cat, your impending high school reunion, or your inability to embracing the move from daylight savings time. The theme gets a bit lost. So when is it okay to deviate from your theme?

As I said in an earlier entry, every action in a writer’s world can be put down as gathering material, likewise all writing can be passed off as ‘exploratory creativity’ –but when does a blog move from sharing your views on a theme to gratuitous ‘me-ism’? And does it matter? After all, would readers rather hear about my success on Saturday when I forced myself to sit at the computer until I wrote a page and actually ended up with five (true story). Or would they rather read about the challenges in making six fingered gloves, complete with false fingers, so I could attend a ‘P’ party as a person with Polydactyly instead of a pirate (of which there were eight).

The first story, while it gives me the warm-fuzzies and fits well with my theme, won’t ring many people’s bells as a story. Conversely, the six fingered gloves have nothing to do with writing (despite the apparent benefits, they didn’t improve my typing speed) but probably piques more interest.

But I think it is important to keep with a theme, so here is my writer-ly advice for this week; write. Sit down, allow for no excuses, and put words on the page. It has always been my last line of attack when I don’t want to write, and it always works. Only once you have those precious (even if they are crap) words in the computer can you waste your time on other endeavours, like building six fingered gloves.

Happy writing!


Lost and Found

Isn’t it funny how you can have something taken from you, and at the time you miss it keenly, begrudge the injustice of your loss and fondly remember a time before it was stolen. But then much later, upon its return, you find you have moved on. You no longer miss it, indeed you resent having to make the room in your life to fit it back in.

Today the powers that be returned the hour they took from us at the start of daylight savings. They intentionally gave it back on a Sunday so that we could crow excitedly about the extra hour in bed that is free of guilt or consequence. But today the sun will set an hour earlier, which when I go back to work next week will herald the beginning of my vitamin D deficiency with no foreseeable cure much before October.

I just have to face it… Winter is on its way. I write much more in winter, in no small part because the computer keeps my lap warm in much the same way as a cat does in a non-rented household. But I would still like to give back my hour and come home in the daylight. I wonder if they are open to negotiations?