Being a mum is the best thing that happened to me. It is also the most time consuming job in the world. Forget office hours. Forget daytime work. It's 24/7 365 days a year. It's tough. It's physically and mentally challenging. Most days I'm ready to fall into bed by nine.
Forget word counts. Forget the whole idea of establishing a writing career. I'm done.
Then I take a deep breath. And another. And another. I open my laptop and I get to work. Why? Because I want to write. I want to share the stories that fill my head with my readers. There is nothing holding me back, but the perception of my own limitations.
Here are three everyday tips that help me hit my daily target word count.
1) Forget perfection
When I wasn't changing nappies six times a day, feeding, bathing, and soothing an angry toddler, I spent hours poring over every word, every sentence, rewriting paragraphs, scenes, sometimes entire chapters. I still do. But...
The attempt at perfection is strictly reserved for the final draft.
Everything before that is to get the words down on paper, to progress through the story. So happening at the moment in The Zodiac Heir.
Get to The End, then think about rewrites. Chances are, you'll revise your story at least once, usually multiple times. It's a natural part of the writing process. You don't want to throw out a pebble you kept polishing for a week hoping to make it shine, when there are diamonds in the rough you could spend your time on.
2) Be determined
You enjoy writing. Most writers do. Few enjoy the writing process in its entirety. Fewer enjoy the entire writing process with every book.
That's where determination comes in. It is all too easy to find excuses when the words aren't flowing. When it's a blank page you're staring at instead of the perfectly crafted scenes of a new draft you're writing.
Determination is key. Determination is what keeps you going when your passion leaves you.
Don't wait for the perfect environment. The perfect time of day. The perfect mind set. Just write. If your writing sucks, don't worry, you'll cut it when you get back into the swing of things. Much more likely you'll end up cutting parts, polishing others.
We've all been there. Power through.
3) Set yourself up for success
If your life is full to the brim with mummy duties, wife duties, job duties, social duties, etc...set yourself up for success.
Be realistic in your goal setting.
Wishing you could publish seven books a year is useless at best, deflating at worst. Accept what you can and can't do.
My current goal is 1-2 books a year. Not much compared to some authors in my genre. Much more than throwing my hands into the air and saying I don't have time, why even start?
If you can manage 100 words a day, that's great! Use your current word count as your benchmark, then try to squeeze in a few more words implementing new techniques. Maybe you can write another 100 words on your phone while you're feeding your toddler to sleep. Maybe you can jot down another 500 words on your commute to work. Find ways to improve your word count that work for you and try not to compare yourself to other authors. You don't know their circumstances. You don't know their schedules.
Every. Word. Counts.
What are you waiting for? Get writing.