Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I guess I'll jump on the productivity bandwagon after Ali and Jenny. One of the writers we know was kvetching the other day because he'd only written 22 pages in a week. Poor baby! Not long after that he posted that he'd managed 74 pages the following week.

When I'm in the groove, I can pretty consistently turn out 5-10 pages a day. On the weekend I have been known to grind out 20+ a day. There was the month of November when I sustained that pace and was pretty happy with those pages. Not much cut or changed in the 'final' version that went to the group. But that is highly unusual.

What usually happens is what I'm going through right now. I manage a page or a paragraph after what feels like very heavy lifting. And I'm not sure I like what I produce. But there's a lot going on in the background. I'm working out character descriptions. Figuring out what makes them tick. What is the world they live in and how does that world impact them? I need to know this even if none of it makes it onto the page explicitly. Isn't that productivity too?

So, as I said in my comment on Jenny's new blog (which is great, by the way), is 20 pages of dreck productive? Maybe, if you needed to get through the dreck to get to the good stuff. But maybe not, if the 20 pages stretch into 30, 75, 150 and the story isn't going anywhere.

I see people set word count goals all the time. I do it myself. "I'll write 20k words this month" or "5 pages a day" or whatever it is. I think maybe a better goal is to "work on my writing" every day. That can mean doing research (see D.B.'s blog for her take on overdoing this one), fleshing out a character, letting a scene ripen, reading somebody else's work for elucidation and inspiration and actually putting fingers to keyboard.

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