So far this year I’ve been blogging very much about the things that have been going right.  I know some of my friends have become secretly a little sick about hearing about my insane word count.  But a lot of this is unsailed terrirtory for me and as a result I do make mistakes.
And this month I’ve made a huge one!
So I drove to Eastercon with just under a quarter of a million words under my belt.  I was so determined to hit the quarter of a million mark that I took myself off and forced myself to start some new things, all so I could get to opening ceremony with my word count total over the quarter of a million.
And that’s where my problems began.

You see, I wrote the first draft of 4S in 58 days.  I wasn’t expecting to write it that fast.  And I was planning to write the second sequel to Four Realms as I edited the second.  But I was so caught up in 4S that I reached the end without outlining anything for Four Realms #3
I’ve kept myself busy this month.  I worked on a few other things but none of them were word count related… and that bothered me.
I’d just made a massive achievement.  I’d be happy with quarter of a million words in a year most years.  To do it in three months?  Wow!  On course for a million words in a year.
And I got sucked in!
You see there’s a world of difference between goals and metrics.  Goals are what you are aiming for, metrics are how well you are doing.  They seem synonymous but they’re not.
My aim is not to just write X number of words, I’ve been clear about that from the start.  That’s a mistake.  It’s the same mistake some NaNoWriMos make.   They stuff their projects with adjectives and flashbacks, not focusing on the story, but the word count instead.  If they focused on telling the best story they could, the words would come, and the end result would be something far better.
I made the mistake of getting caught up in the dizzying lights of a million words in a year.  Suddenly, my target for this month became all important and I found myself slipping behind as the writing I was focused on became more about hitting word count targets.  I’d not got bad enough that I was stuffing adjectives in, but I was drawing scenes out and as a result I found writing tough.   I was getting stressed out before I even sat down to write, worried that I had to do X number of words today to hit my target.  As a result, I sat down and didn’t do even half of X.  I didn’t find the writing particularly enjoyable.
Of course, it’s easy to see I’m an idiot now.  As soon as I realised I was focusing on word count instead of goals I could counter that.  And you know what?  The moment I did, my hourly writing rate inproved massively, my daily word counts shot back up.  I was also enjoying myself again,
I seriously doubt my word count for this month will be particularly good (well by previous month’s standards anyway – I’m probably looking at 280 – 290,000 YTD) but I’m OK with that.  One of the nice things about doing the monthly reports is that it makes me look back and see all what I have achieved.  And I’ve done a lot outside of writing actual words.
But lesson learnt – don’t focus on word count, kids.  Focus on finishing that novel.  You’ll get better word count as a result.