Word-count goals, page-count goals, accountability groups, and winter
I’ve switched from a daily word-count goal to a weekly page-count goal. I’ve never worked with a page-count goal before, but I’m doing it for the accountability.
A few of my writer friends1 who are also working toward long projects have been sending 10 pages to each other every Sunday. We’re not workshopping, we’re not even supposed to read what people send. You just send your pages and move on.
When we started this in the fall, I had a little cushion because I was generating pages very quickly, working ahead I guess. But December and January were tough, and I lost my buffer. Getting to 10 every week has been challenging. This week, it was only the thought of not having a full 10 by Sunday that kept me going.
And this is exactly what accountability is for! You don’t need it when things feel easy.
Last night, a very dear friend, someone I haven’t seen in a long time, texted me with wonderful news about an art program he’s been running. Then he said, “Send me a picture that encapsulates what yer up to” and I sent this photo of a dead lily pond. I was mostly kidding, but also not, because I did take this photo yesterday so it’s literally what I’ve been up to, and also because because sometimes the creative life feels like this! Desiccated, submerged, waiting for spring.
You hold onto the things that work, and right now this simple act of emailing my 10 pages is working — yesterday, it got me to a scene I wouldn’t have found otherwise. Other things that are working: reading excellent books, taking walks, watching a well-written TV show, listening to music instead of another podcast, reading more books, always reading more books.