Write like a Runner #writetips #writerscommunity

I write like I run—slow and steady with much complaining.

I think that’s why when my author friend introduced her method of getting her word count in for the day, it resonated with me so much. She told me to simply write short word count goals on a piece of paper and then cross out with an X those goals as you hit them.

Simple. So I decided to try it. And believe it or not, it worked.

Here is an example of my sheet:

10,735 10,985 11,235

I obviously set 250 word count goals. As I wrote, and hit each goal, I took a pretty gel pen color and made a X over the number. It’s amazing how satisfying it is to do that. Just like Tony Robbins said, “Progress is the ultimate motivation.”

So true.

I soon found myself wanting to write a little more just so I could cross out a number. And then I found myself squeezing in writing time so I could simply hit a goal and cross out a number.

All mind games, really. Much like running. But little by little, I hope to end up completing a 5K (word count) before the end of the month. J

As I explained to my critique group, this little trick isn’t reinventing the wheel, but sometimes just looking at writing differently, can help change your progress.

Try  it and let me know if it helps you!

Do you have any writing tricks to help you write more?

About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a USA Today bestselling sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. Check out her latest sweet romance: CATCH HIM IF YOU CAN

Writing to Word Count – Yes, You Can

The question I hear most often from new authors: “How long should my book be?”

My answer: “Long enough to tell the story.”

That may not seem like a great answer, but it’s my personal belief that it’s the most honest one. As writers we tell the stories of our hearts, the tales that live inside our minds, birthed by our soul and shaped by our life experience. We each have a story to tell, and each one is as unique as leaves on a tree. Nope, I can’t bring myself to use snowflakes. I just can’t.

Writing doesn’t come easy as most of us know. It forces us to grow in ways we never imagined. And one of the ways we grow as writers is to learn to shape our work into a particular format. Book bundles are big right now. A group of authors write short stories as a sampling of their work to invite readers to try them.

I love these. I’ve found many a new favorite author this way. In these collections the story usually has a recommended word count, say five or ten thousand words. As an author how do you make your work fit this word count?

The answer is simple. Editing. As writers one of the biggest and best things we can do for our work is also one of the most difficult. We must look at our work objectively. If you’ve written a story for inclusion into a bundle with an 8k word count and your story comes in at 12k, you need to cut some words.

“But my story will suffer!”

No, it won’t. Step back, think on it overnight or a week later if you’ve got the time. Look at the details. Character, setting, and dialogue. Does each item move the story along? Are they necessary or are they just taking up space? If they are space invaders, cut them.

The same goes for writing short. I struggle with this. If there’s an 8k word count, my story will be 6k more often than not. So I need to look at where I can add details and fill out areas that are sparse.

Read over your story to make sure the conflict is strong enough and the plot flows coherently from beginning to end. Then read it to make sure everything your characters are doing makes sense for the story line. Are their motivations believable? Review it for details, and lastly read through for those pesky adverbs, filler word, echoes and general grammar.

Part of being a professional is meeting a goal. Not making excuses for why you didn’t meet it.  As writers, we are not weak. We are strong. We tackle the hard stuff.

It takes work, but don’t shy away from the challenge, rise to it. With polish, your words will shine.

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

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