As some of you may already know, I do a lot of my work for Parisian Phoenix Publishing in the pre-dawn hour before my day job. The business is still young, and maybe someday it will support me and a full-time staff and my menagerie of birds, cats, and dog.
I listen to a lot of podcasts at the day job– a job I love because it keeps me moderately active, exposes me to fashion, and allows me to retain my mental energy for my passion. In other words, I don’t expend all of my creativity for someone else.
During the years I served the community as a journalist, I met so many people and heard so many stories that I honed my skills as a listener and learned how to package information. I loved everything about my time as a print journalist, but by the time I got home, I didn’t want to craft sentences or read. I was probably the most prolific reporter on staff, and my editor could count on me for hundreds of column inches of stories every week.
I was rarely at my desk in the newsroom, because I was in the community, documenting everything I could.
I also spent time in nonprofits, where I improved public relations strategies for organizations with low visibility, ran afterschool programs and supervised a small very part-time staff. I wrote curriculum for computer animation education. I revived newsletters. I wrote grants. I implemented social media strategies. And whether I did these things part-time, full-time or volunteer, they also removed any desire I had to write at home.
But for most of my daughter’s life, I worked at Target, at the café, selling icees and making Pizza Hut. The employee discount greatly supplemented the grocery and clothing budget. And the mindlessness of the work allowed me to plot and plan in my head.
When the child was young, my husband would put her to bed and I would put my wired earphones in, AirPods were not yet a thing, and listen to my iPod. I would pace and dance and have my laptop on the dining room table. Many nights I would write 5,000 words in one sitting.
But now, in the predawn hour before work, I often get 500. Part of that stems from the fact that I prefer to write immersively and I can’t reach that deep of a state on a set time frame. My life is different now, so I have to move forward in a different way.
Bottom line: Word count goals provide motivation and pace, but if you, as the writer, need to change that trajectory, don’t stress. But don’t stop writing. And you might not always work on the same project. Give yourself permission to experiment but don’t give yourself permission to fail.
So, I found this article on the internet yesterday and I want to share it with you, if only for one reason. Please take note of how wide the range is among these authors.