It’s back to school time and my social media feeds are bombarded with back to school pictures. My oldest son started high school yesterday, and it was much harder than I thought to watch him leave and wait for him to come back.
Of course, I cried when I dropped him off for preschool, and again in Kindergarten. Mainly because he jumped out of the car and didn’t even give me a glance back or an “I love you” as he ran into the school. My daughter has been through this process too, except she cried when we took her for Kindergarten. My youngest is starting preschool at home this year, so as a mother of three, I shouldn’t be this teary-eyed, right? I should be used to watching them run off to school. I just had a group text conversation with my mom and sisters, and they were talking about getting weepy at back to school things, and well, perhaps it just runs in the family.
All joking aside, I designated yesterday to be a big writing day, and I did fairly well. I managed to finally reign in my sentimental tears and focus on the task ahead of me.
This pesky little phrase has the tendency to stress out any writer, at any stage in their writing career. You can be a multi-published author or a beginning writer, and all have this in common. This phrase is so ingrained in my life, that even my kids ask me, “How did your word count go today?”
My response to this question seems to go two ways. I can either say, “It was awesome, I even wrote more than I needed to today!” or I mumble under my breath, “It was good.” This is code for, “I so did not meet my goal, but thanks for bringing it up!”
As a wife, mother of three, and an editor, sometimes I don’t meet my daily word count goals. If I miss my target, and other things have pulled me away from my computer, then it stresses me out to where I can’t write when I sit down the next time.
Surely, I’m not alone.
Here are my top 3 tips for overcoming word count stress:
- Set reasonable goals: I know this may seem like the obvious answer, but how many times have you decided that you will write 5000 words a day, no matter what, and then get disappointed when that doesn’t happen? Find a number that fits your life, writing style, and easily doable. So what if it’s 1000 words and you feel like that’s too small? Start somewhere. If you go over, then YAY! But if you hit it and hit the next day and the next day, before long, you will have a completed book.
- Find a word tracker that you like: Find something that makes you accountable, but also one that you like and motivates you to continue. I’m a list and calendar maker, so this is essential for me. I finally found one that I love. WriteTrack. Based off of the NaNoWriMo tracker, it lets you set priority days and days off, tracks your progress, daily word count, and is in a calendar format! Here’s the link: WriteTrack.
- Never stop on an empty page: This wonderful tip was given to me at writing retreat this year by Diane Tyner Ashley & Virginia Vaughn, and it’s helped me so much. Blank pages taunt me, and I like to write whole chapters during my writing sessions. Well, as a result, I was getting writer’s block because I was stopping my session at the end of a chapter. So I took their suggestion, and now I go past that chapter and start the next one, even if it’s only a paragraph. Now that I’m not opening up to an empty page, I don’t have as much writer’s block.
Do you have a great tip to overcome word count stress? Please leave it in the comment section!