A little while ago, I stated a new goal to stay off the Internet until I had 1000 words written or noon, whichever came first. This goal, as intended, helped a lot; while I haven’t always stuck to it, it’s nonetheless served me well, and I’m getting better at not accidentally opening Google Reader. (I tripped, and my faceplant typed reader.google.com in the address bar. Honestly! Would I lie about something like that?)
For a few reasons, though, I think it’s time to update my goal. 1000 words is rapidly ceasing to be a significant challenge. There are a lot of reasons for this. One is NaNoWriMo (not that you’d know it from my current word count). One is perseverence. One is 750words.com. One is this blog. When looking back at my goal, I realized that its original definition was a bit shaky. Scalzi specified pay copy, and for a good reason: he does a lot of blogging, and sometimes writes some very long posts, but his goal was put in place to force him to get professional writing done. I put in my goal for a slightly different reason: I noticed that I wasn’t doing enough writing, and I was forcing myself to write at all. I should mention that I actually quite like writing; I just happen to be easily distracted by things like Dwarf Fortress, good books, and raising my daughter*.
Well, as it stands, I’m writing plenty. It’s time to update my goal. Now, I like 750 Words – I waxed eloquent about it yesterday for almost half as long as I waxed eloquent about Wordpad – but I’ve come to realize that finishing my daily post to it and marking off one of my 500-word tasks in Remember The Milk isn’t very satisfying. Apparently, my goal was to force me to write publicly, and my brain didn’t bother telling me because it didn’t think it would come up. 750 words is unfiltered journal-style writing, which is good and useful and everything, but is also something completely different from a novel or blog post. The only people who will see it are myself, my wife if she reads over my shoulder, and anyone who hacks into my account. This blog post, on the other hand, will be seen by all five of my subscribers (hi, guys!) and approximately seventeen million of my adoring fans when I publish a best-seller. I thought about dividing my new goal into 1000 words of pay copy** and 1000 words of public*** copy, and allowing them to overlap, but then I realized that anything that qualifies as pay copy is by definition public, so I wouldn’t actually be changing much. Sooo . . .
New goal: 1500 words of public copy before noon, only 1000 of which have to be pay copy. No internet for me**** until I finish it up (or noon). That sounds good.
Current Music: Pandora station based on Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer. Right now it’s playing Hurts So Good by John Mellencamp, which isn’t really my favorite song. I don’t dislike it, but I’m looking forward to the station getting back to the really good stuff like Summer of ’69 and Message in a Bottle.
*There’s a balance to be struck here, obviously.
**Pay copy is anything that I might eventually manage to get paid for: novels, short stories, and . . . well, that’s it for now. I need to get a column somewhere or something.
***Public copy is anything that is, or might eventually be, public. This includes pay copy, blog posts, lengthy comments, and more!
****Obviously not no internet. I can’t very well publish blog posts without it, for instance, and I check my email in the mornings to make sure I’m not missing anything important. Pandora is pretty important to my writing process, some days. Mostly I’m just trying to keep myself out of Google Reader, I guess.