I squealed. Out loud. Then passed out. Just a bit.
When Tina asked me to be on Seekerville, I knew I'd arrived. Who needs an agent or a book contract when you've got a Seekerville invite?!
I did find a couple of dresses, but I can't decide which is better so I'm going with all three. Hey – if those sweet sixteen girls can, so can I! And we're going to pretend I'd look like that in them.
But I've pulled myself together in the pink dress (the purple one is for afternoon and the black for evening) and put out a full spread from Panera for us to enjoy. There's all sorts of bagels and breakfast sandwiches for the morning crowd. Soups, sandwiches, paninis and more for lunch and dinner. And chocolate. And pastries. Lots of them for us to munch on throughout the day.
So word count. Whether for Speedbo, NaNoWriMo or just to work on a manuscript, blog post or magazine article, you've got to have the word count. Daydreaming about it is great, but if you never get the words on the screen, they don't really count. I'm the queen of that, by the way.
But there are ways to get those words on the page. They do take some dedication but they are doable. My high word count on NaNoWriMo was 100K. (We won't talk about how GOOD those words were... ;)). My daily high is about 13K. If I could do that daily, I'd be almost as prolific as Mary. Almost.
Since all days aren't like that, here's some ways I like to use to bump up the word count. My goal for the Speedbo is 70K words on a new manuscript. I don't have to turn off my internal editor. She runs screaming when I start writing a new WIP. I think she vacations in Bermuda (or possibly the now-uninhabited Unpubbed Island) but she never takes me with her. Maybe if I learned to plot and edit as I go but... what's the fun in that?
Here we go...
We all know my very favorite place to work is my local Panera. I get super yummy food, great service and hours to spend pounding away on my latest WIP. Pray my favorite booth is open (the one in the back where there's less people – being closest to the soda machine and bathroom has nothing to do with it – nope, sure doesn't), pop in the earbuds and away I go. I prefer to listen to a WOW playlist I have but I don't really listen. It's more like noise to drown out the conversations nearby because otherwise I'd be transcribing them for future use ;). When I'm in the zone, I average about 1500 words an hour while I'm there. Some hours more, some less (like when I have dinner ;)), but it's a great place for when I need to get the words flowing and it often bleeds over after I get home, too.
Pretty much anywhere can work, though. If you don't have a Panera, what about a Chick-fil-A? Or McDonald's? Or library? There's lots of other options (though not very many have cinnamon crunch bagels. Just saying) – where do you go? Julie's back deck sounds nice, too, but if we all went there, none of us would get anything done ;).
There's two ways to #1K1HR. The first one is on Twitter. That's where it originated, though don't ask me how (or maybe this is it...). I learned about it from the super cool, Friend of Seekerville, Erica Vetsch. You tweet using the hashtag and see who's around to join you. I've had some... interesting writing buddies that way...
The other way is to join the #1K1HR Facebook page. We created this a few months ago after Erica did a post about it here on Seekerville and a couple people lamented that they weren't on Twitter. So there we go. Same principle applies. Post a note a bit before you get started and see who joins in. If you're like Ruthy and up before the crack of dawn when all decent people are still sleeping, you may not find anyone to race with you, but you can bet that you'll get encouragement when sane people wake up at a more reasonable hour, so be sure to report back in. Even if you don't get a full thousand words, we love to encourage! Join us, won't you?!
I do this while at Panera or at home. Personally, I set a timer for 15 minutes, stretch for 30 seconds and go again, four times. Then a short break for a drink or bandage any wounds the kids managed to get during the hour and back to it if I can.
3. Snatch and grab
These are places where laptops come in really handy. But if you don't have a laptop/netbook/tablet/AlphaSmart, that's okay. Does your phone have a notes feature? Especially one where you can email it to yourself. Or a notepad. You know the kind. With lines. And a spiral on the side. And one of those things called a "pen". It's a bit old-fashioned, but it'll work ;). And some people prefer it.
a. Making meals
Friend of Seekerville, Pepper Basham, did her own shadow NaNoWriMo and she grabbed a lot of words in between times getting meals ready. A couple hundred words waiting for water to boil, a hundred more between stirrings, and before you know it, you've got a thousand words, or more!
b. Pick-up line
"Am I dead, Angel? Because this must be heaven."
"Do you have a map? I keep getting lost in your eyes."
"If I could rearrange the alphabet, I'd put U and I together."
"If you were a library book, I'd check you out."
Er, wait. Wrong kind of pick-up lines.
Do you pick up your kids from school? Wait in an impossibly long line at the pharmacy? Or the bank? Or get stuck at a railroad crossing? Go shopping at Wal-mart at 5:45pm on Christmas Eve?
This can be a great time to squeeze in a few words! I use my netbook or iPhone notes app. Depending on how early I get there or how long the line is, a few hundred words isn't unreasonable for the pick-up line. For the other lines, well, then it depends on just how long the line is, how many kids you have in tow, and how distracting the tabloids (or person in the next car) are.
c. Play time
If your kids are like mine, they love to play outside.
And I love to let them.
But it never fails, they want to go just as I'm getting to a good part.
So what to do?
Grab that laptop, netbook, phone, notepad or whatever and take it with you. Me? Well, since we got a new van right before Christmas, I use it. Stow-and-go seating, baby! Fold one down, prop the laptop up on the other, use the external keyboard and voila! Mini-office in the back of the van and still able to watch the kids as they play cops and robbers, princesses and guards, or heaven only knows what else they concoct.
d. Doctor's office
Similar to the pick-up line stuff up there, of course, but you know how doc's offices often are. You get there fifteen minutes before your appointment. Fill out the paperwork. Wait thirty minutes before they call you back. Talk to the nurse and do vital statistics like blood pressure, temp and, ugh, weight. Another forty minutes before the doc comes in. That's an hour of writing time. And lots of doc offices have wifi these days so you can always hop on the #1K1HR bandwagon and see what you can get done while you wait. Last week, my 4yo had an appointment at the last minute. I already had my netbook with me and I was able to get a good start on rewriting a synopsis for Genesis (again /sigh/).
e. Other times
Lunch breaks, commercial breaks when you can't find the TiVo remote, surgery waiting room, long drives in a motorhome (right, Sandra?), waiting for a meeting to start when you got there way earlier than you meant to, while trying to ignore Disney Junior – just about any time can be a good time to grab a few words. They add up faster than you realize!
4. Writer's retreat
Ah this is one I'm looking forward to doing some day! This summer, Novel-sistas Jessica Keller (Koschnitzky) and Kristy Cambron and I are planning a weekend to do nothing but write. Well, and watch LOST. And they're apparently going to try to indoctrinate me into all things Jane Austen. And Downton Abbey. But the main goal is to write. A lot. With good friends. My current goal for that weekend is 35K in 3 days. With my daily personal record at about 13K, it's possible. Of course, Kristy wrote a 90K manuscript in November without the benefit of a writer's retreat (and her words were waaaaaaaay better those of mine I mentioned up at the beginning of this blog), so it's quite likely I'll be way overshadowed by her counts, but that's okay. I'll love her anyway. This is one thing I'm so looking forward to and wish we could schedule one for Speedbo, but instead I'll have to manage with the other ways to get words in.
What about you? What are some ways you can squeeze some words in? Think outside the box, my friends! Where can you find your word count?
Pentalk Community, and the editor-in-chief of the Pentalk Community Blog. She is a founding member and current facilitator for the MozArks ACFW group. Her first publishing credit is an essay released in the Christmas anthology Celebrating Christmas with Memories, Poetry and Good Food (December 2011, Hidden Brook Press). She took first place in the 2011 SVRWA GOTCHA! Contest and is a finalist in the 2012 NTRWA Great Expectations Contest. Be sure to visit her blog at carolmoncado.wordpress.com.
In honor of Carol's Seekerville blogging debut (and the dress) we're giving away a 15 page critique of a general romance or
inspirational romance manuscript to include Woman's Fiction, YA,
Contemporary, and Historical. Winner announced in the Weekend Ed. And don't forget to vote on the best dress for Carol in your comments!~
Today is another day of our March Speedbo. Find out more about Speedbo and our exciting weekly prizes here. Comment today for a chance to win! Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.