WeSeWriMo: setting goals to improve writing

I am participating in my first writing challenge: EpiGuide’s WeSeWriMo (Web Serial Writing Month)* for August 2013.

The whole point of taking on challenges is to improve one’s writing. It seems obvious, but it isn’t.

In the enthusiasm of starting something new, of joining an active community, of setting goals and getting the badge and reading everyone else’s introduction, it is easy to overlook that each and every bit of the expenditure of additional energy (cribbed from somewhere at astronomical cost) is wasted unless the final product is better and more abundant than what would have resulted if I had just buckled down every day and done my writing.

So I’m choosing to:

Goal #2: do what I’m already doing: posting a new scene for Pride’s Children every Tuesday.

Goal #3: do what I want to do (I almost wrote SHOULD do – but that’s ridiculous because writing is optional in my life): write/revise/polish a new scene every week to replenish the buffer of finished scenes at least as fast as I’m posting scenes from that buffer. This means working faster and actually doing that daily writing, and this is the stretch goal for me.

and, most importantly for me,

Goal #1: write five times a week about the writing process.

This first goal is going to be the hard one, because it requires that I focus, and put into words COHERENTLY, the details of what gets me writing every day, and what helps me produce finished fiction.

The benefit is an understanding of the ‘how’ which may make it faster to use that ‘how’ the next time I get stuck in the same place. For I will get stuck and have to get out: a writer is a creature of habit as much as any other person; even adrenaline junkies have to eat on a regular basis, get their annual flu shot, and brush their teeth.

Writers often use ‘words’ as a measure of progress: this doesn’t work for me. Even though Scrivener offers easy ways to count words in a file, and how that number has changed, and how many words count toward the final total, these indicators of progress are meaningless to me because they can’t count RIGHT words, and only RIGHT words count.

I actually aim for the lowest possible word count (strip out the unnecessary words, justify every addition, look for ways to say something with the fewest number of words and still make sense), because Pride’s Children currently sits at somewhere above 300,000 words, divided into three parts and a short epilogue. In my head, the STORY needs to be that long to make sense. The relationships need that much time to develop inevitability, and I can’t see even one link in the chain that can be removed.

I’m already paring down everything to develop the story: necessary bits get short shrift, the world beyond the story is sketched in only as far as strictly necessary for verisimilitude, and I resist adding ANYTHING that wasn’t in the original story. And STILL it rivals Gone With the Wind in length.

All I’m trying to do here is tell a simple story. Honest.

So that’s what I’m reminding myself today with this post: every word must justify its existence – or go.

Oh, goodie: I just wrote a post about the writing process – 1 down and 21 to go (and I have to go edit that progress bar – there are 22, not 25, weekdays in August).

* You can still sign up until midnight tonight.

2 thoughts on “WeSeWriMo: setting goals to improve writing

    1. ABE Post author

      Writers labor mostly alone. Unpublished writers have only internal motivation. It can seem if no one cares, or ever WILL care, about what you write.

      A very nice guy offered to prod (thanks, Ace!) – I committed to sending him an email by 2pm each day reporting progress.

      It was enough to get me OFF surfing, and ONTO writing this morning.

      So yes, it’s going to be fun. 🙂



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