And this is what I learned.
When I started this year I’d just finished my first year of having a reasonable amount of writing output. I’ve been writing stories on and off for the past (almost) 20 years, but ever since I started getting a bit older I’ve been struggling. As those of you who have read my several posts about mental health might realize at this point, I’m not a particularly happy person most of the time. I tend to stress about every single thing that goes wrong in my life, and although I can definitely appreciate the good things, I really struggle getting a good rhythm going in life. Luckily, I now get weekly help with things like planning, mental wellbeing and all sorts of stuff. This has been a huge change for me.
The second thing that’s been keeping me sane during these unorthodox times has been writing. Last year I set myself the challenge to write 100.000 words. I just barely reached that goal by starting in January at 100 words a day and then I kept going and going until I was writing around 400 words a day near the end of the year. This year I wanted to set an even higher standard. I wanted to write 300.000 words in one year. When I set this challenge I kind of assumed I wouldn’t make it, because it was such a big jump up. Now that 2021 has been going for almost 4 months (what is time, how does it work, where the heck did 2020 go), I am currently at a little over 113.000 words. Yes, that’s a lot more than I expected as well. The big reason for this was that I wrote a little over 1000 words on January first, and then figured I’d try and do that for the first week of the year to get a good start. Then when this went well I added another week, then changed it to a month and eventually set the goal at 100 days. I reached that goal. And I’m still going, but I’m pretty convinced it won’t last forever. Here’s why.
Initially it wasn’t very hard to reach the goal. I have a decent imagination and I had quite a few stories to tell. But as time went on I started getting more and more drafts of things I then needed to edit. But editing doesn’t increase your word count that much, so that kind of stuff got shoved off to the side in favor of writing new things. I think you can see where this is headed by now. I have several chapters worth of my novel that need editing as well as a good few short stories. But once I manage to write 1000 words of new material, I generally don’t have the energy to also do some editing on something else. This is becoming an issue. To add to that, I have been dealing with some serious health issues. Hopefully nothing long-term, but for the time being I have very little energy and I’m not sleeping well. So it’s not like I’m brimming with energy. Take that situation and add the whole covid scenario to it in which we need to stay home and not really meet up with friends, and it’s not creating the best situation to be mentally healthy and happy. So I don’t think I’ll be able to keep this up forever. But was it a good thing to do?
I think so. There’s definitely a good chunk of what I wrote that didn’t make the cut because I wrote it just to fill up the word count. But that’s okay. I also think that a vast majority of what I’ve written in the past 3 months has had serious merit to it. I’ve just started writing some random scenes for story ideas that I had and some turned into future short stories that I never would have created if I didn’t force myself to write more and more. I’ve also written a lot more blog posts and gotten some fun ideas for new content (Book Club being a good example for this, as well as my quick reviews that I plan to do at the end of every anime season.)
Where am I going with this?
I’m not sure I know either. I often ask myself the question if quality or quantity is more important when writing and although I still don’t have a conclusive answer, I think it should be a mix. I know, I know, that answer is kind of a cop out, but that’s just the way it is. Quality is the most important to me, because I take great pride in writing things I think are good. But you’re never going to find a lot of quality writing if you don’t write. So the more output you have, the more good things you will put on paper. Because inspiration will find you regardless. You just need to make sure you write when you have inspiration, and you also write when you don’t have inspiration.
And don’t forget to edit and proofread, as much as I personally like dodging that responsibility. Don’t judge me okay, it’s just really boring sometimes.
But I’m no expert, I’m just a guy who writes for fun. How do you write? Do you have a particular method or do you just write whenever inspiration hits you? Do you sit down at a moment during the day and just plan in an hour, or do you wait for a moment at random every day. Or maybe you write a lot in one or two days and do nothing the other days. I used to do it that way when I was a young boy. Either way, I’m quite curious about how other people go about writing, or creating something of any sorts.
Please leave a comment down below and drop a like, I’d much appreciate it.
(This post is a little over 1000 words by the way, I wonder why 🙂 )