On writing: Whatever you have to do to get through

Photo: Mike Baird - http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikebaird/3016985275/
I am writing a novel.

Do you know how many times since I was a teenager I have been ‘writing a novel’?

I have four novels ‘in the works’. All 10,000 words or less. Stephen King writes 2,000 words a day. He could have written all four of my novel-starts in two weeks. Two weeks!

That’s okay, though. I don’t need to be fast. I don’t even need to be good. What I need, for my own personal well-being, is just to finish. Something. Anything.

So here’s my new philosophy on writing. One hundred words a day. Just 100 words. I can usually get 100 words down in a half hour or less in the morning after feeding our five month old breakfast.

If you didn’t pick up on it, I’m a slow writer.

Actually, I’m a perfectionist. Which is both a horrible curse and a wonderful blessing. A perfectionist will always be their own worst enemy, but their work, if it’s ever allowed to see the light of day, will be amazing.

Often I go over a hundred words in my writing session, which is like a free bonus. Some days I miss entirely, but I don’t focus on those days. As long as I’m making some kind of progress every week, I feel like I’m on the right track and doing good.

This is good for me. I find I do better working on lots of things in small chunks than focusing all my energy on one big thing.

So how do you keep making progress even when it seems like you’ll never finish? (And how many words a day can you crank out? Don’t be shy.)

Photo: ‘2 of 3 Coast Guard 47′ Motor Lifeboat performs storm exercises in wild surf at Morro Bay’ by Mike Baird