Search This Blog

2.11.2008

Writing Process--Measuring Progress

I've been reading some interesting blogs out there by writers whose work I admire. I think Jeff VanderMeer and Cherie M. Priest write useful and engaging journals on the process of bringing the stories to life. Both are prolific and both write speculative fiction. Jeff recently posted on the stunning achievement of writing a clean novel in two months and Cherie has written something like 60,000 words since January.

That's some amazing stuff.

Which leads me to the question: How do you set about measuring your daily success?

I've been coming to the computer every day between 10:00 and 1:00. I don't set a word count or a page count, but I try to not leave the word processor without finishing a scene. I did over 2,000 words today, which came out to a little over nine pages. The words came easily enough in just a little over two hours. That leaves me here, quickly blogging about writing before heading over to do an hour on a short story I'm working on.

Every writer has his or her own approach, and as I've mentioned in this space before, I'm fascinated by how the work gets done. I usually devour those stories and interviews with the best-sellers that divulge their traits (did you know that Grisham usually writes only three months out of the year, in the fall? He says that he goes into the attic and works eight hours a day from a meticulous outline. Amazing...). And when I finish the scene I want to write on a given day, I usually knock off and start thinking about the next scene I want to create. I take a jog and let the details emerge as I'm huffing and puffing, and I'll usually give it some thought that night before I fall asleep.

So how do you measure success? Is it a hard word count? A page count? A sale? Let's chat a bit about it in the comments section...

No comments: