Monday, June 6, 2011

Is my word count showing?

By Pamela

You know you should exercise daily—bathe, too. You should write thank you notes within a week of receiving a gift. You should rinse the plate before you put it in the dishwasher and separate reds from whites when doing laundry.

People notice when you don’t do these things.

People may not notice when you don’t write on your work-in-progress.

But, my people do.

Recently I’ve been reading the manuscripts of my fellow WhatWomenWriters. Julie and Joan just completed theirs and are gearing up for querying. Susan finished hers, too, and is about to send it to us—letting her family take the first pass—although I managed to wrangle an early draft from her. Kim is steadily plodding forward with her labor of love, and I get to see chapters as she goes.

Julie emailed me the other day: How is your manuscript coming along? Joan sent me a note: Feel free to send me some chapters. Susan said over lunch: So when was the last time you worked on your story?

Oh, I had excuses. Busy with work. Kids’ end-of-school-year activities. Mom here for a long visit. Finally, two Saturdays ago, Joan and I met for breakfast. I knew my explanations wouldn’t hold water with her. Joan knows my writing better than anyone; we co-wrote a manuscript together.

We talked about whether or not I still loved the story. I did. Or whether another story line was tugging at my heart. Not yet. “I just put everything else first,” I confessed.

That’s when this dear friend, who has a full-time job, a son who just graduated high school and a recently completed manuscript, told me her secret. “I got up an hour early every morning and wrote before I had to go to work,” Joan said. “Pick a time, every day, maybe from 10 to noon, and write it.”

And so I have. Not every day yet, but almost. I just passed the 30,000-word mark, so there’s no turning back. In fact, I got up the courage to send Joan two versions of one chapter I recently completed, as I am torn as to which version is more compelling. She wrote back: So glad you’ve picked this back up.

I’m so glad my people notice when I don't.


  1. Way to go for jumping back in--and for writing about it so you are accountable. Your story is too good to ignore.
    ps. Hmmm, is there another one here who needs a push?

  2. Thanks, Joan. I think there might be one other hold-out. She's probably hoping we wouldn't notice. Not a chance!

  3. Such a great post! Those gentle nudges are often the thing that keeps you going. I know they were for me. Can't wait to read your work!

  4. Thanks, Lindsey. I'm eager to read yours, too!

  5. Cindy Keeling06 June, 2011

    Good for you, Pamela. I find that a regular writing session helps other things from encroaching. A three-hour block in the morning works best for me. Easier during the school year, I admit. :) Best of luck to you...and the other WWW gals!

  6. Right now I'm shooting for two hours in the morning but would love to push it to three, Cindy. Maybe I should reset my alarm!

    Thanks for the good wishes, too. Back at you!

  7. You are very lucky to have so a great support system! I wish I had people to hold me accountable when I didn't write. Luckily, I'm pretty self-motivated.

    I also write at the same time most days. I get an hour when my daughter goes down for her nap and as long as I've gotten a decent amount of work done, that hour is mine for writing. It's my favorite hour of the day. :)

  8. Mallory, whenever I think about what a great support team I belong to here, I'm reminded of this quote by Abraham Lincoln: "I am a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn't have the heart to let him down."

    NOT writing isn't just disappointing to me; my friends also feel that way. And I can totally relate to what you write about your favorite hour. That's a good thing!

  9. I couldn't agree more, Pamela. You gals are awesome. My "labor of love" would not be half the book it is without all the feedback I get from this group.

  10. I feel the same, Kim. We are lucky beyond measure!


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