Wednesday, September 25

10,000 Words a Day & Grammarly

[I used Grammarly's proofreading software to check this post because I have an innate curiosity for all things related to grammar, which includes online editing software.]

Okay, so this is going to be a bit of a mishmash post about writing. I hope that's okay with you guys? Well, it doesn't really matter if it isn't, since I'm the one writing this. Muah hahahhaha!

Ahem.

Anyway, I've wanted to discuss a blog post I came across a few weeks ago, but I kept putting it off or forgetting about it entirely. I strongly suggest you read it, but for the purposes of this post, I will give you a quick overview:

The author, Rachel Aaron discusses how she went from writing 2000 words a day to 10,000 words a day by using three key things: Knowledge, Time, and Enthusiasm.

Impressive, right?

Now, I don't know about you, but I sincerely doubt this author's daily word goal creates good words. In fact, I've had this conversation with a few of you quite recently. How can the story be any good if you're just spewing the words onto the page? That's not to say the author is not talented, or that her stories aren't good (I've never read a book by Rachel Aaron, so I can't say for sure either way). All I'm saying is that her first draft must be hideous. I mean, shudder and squint your eyes to avoid looking at it level of hideous.

I mean, c'mon. 10K a day is a bit crazy, no matter how you look at it. Then again, she ends up with a first draft in a matter of days. Her story is down on paper (or screen, as the case likely is), which means she can now tackle revisions. Granted, those revisions likely require a blowtorch, an axe, and shocking amounts of duct tape, but still, she can revise what she has to make it shine!

Although I don't necessarily agree with the number of words she aims for, I do like the rest of her blog post. In it, she discusses how to use the three keys mentioned above to meet your goals. I've been using them for the past few weeks and my word count has slowly climbed up the ladder. I can easily sit down and write 2000 words now.

1. Know what you're going to write before you write it. I've always been a planster (plotter and a panster mixed into one horrible mess), but I generally get stuck in a scene and don't know which way to go. Before sitting down to write my latest chapter, however, I made a detailed outline and what do you know, the words jumped onto the page and stuck.

2. Track your time to figure out when you're the most productive. You all know I love lists, so it comes as no surprise that I adore this point. I opened up Excel and created a lovely spreadsheet to keep track of the times I write, how much I write, and where I am when I write. After several weeks, I've noticed a pattern. I write the most in the afternoon between 2 and 4 pm (which is likely attributed to my daily writing schedule with Jena Lang), and lo and behold, at a coffee shop away from the house. I can easily write 1000+ words in an hour at Starbucks. I don't know how clean those words are, but they aren't atrocious. I do plan on cleaning them up (obviously), but it's so nice to have them down on figurative paper.

3. No matter the scene, find something that makes you enthusiastic. This one is pretty obvious, but a lot of people don't include it in their "keys to success." As writers, we're supposed to be enthusiastic about our entire story, but we all know that's not always the case. Most of the time we're told to grit our teeth and push past the obstacles, but Rachel Aaron suggests that we find something we are excited about in the scene to get us through. If there isn't anything there, maybe you should rethink that scene to include something exciting. If there is at least one thing you love in every scene, you'll make it through just fine.

So there you have it, the three keys to writing 10K a day. I strongly suggest you read her original blog post, since I can't do it justice. Again, I don't really agree with writing 10K a day, though I do know many people who write that quickly. Still, her post is interesting, and it's certainly helped boost my numbers, which is always a good thing ;)

*This post is being sponsored by Grammarly, who asked me to give an honest review in exchange for a gift card. 

I put this blog post through their system and was both impressed and concerned by what they pointed out. First and foremost, they are very detailed, which surprised me. They point out everything. This is good because you can see if there's a problem emerging, but it's also bad because they point out things that are technically correct. Contractions are perfectly fine to use in a blog post and in creative writing. If I was writing an academic essay, then they would have been correct to point it out, but I wasn't. On top of that, they had a lot of issues with "you" vs "I". Spelling was also a concern for them (they wanted to change "muah hahahahaha" to "much happens." Loses its diabolical appeal, doesn't it?) Overall, I would say it's not worth paying the money if you're going to use it for blog posts or creative writing.

However, I do think Grammarly is useful for students. They pointed out a lot of technical jargon that simply isn't required in creative writing. My only concern is that sometimes they pointed out potential issues rather than actual issues, which is fine if you know what they're talking about. If you don't know though, it could get you in trouble.

Overall, it was entertaining to use. As an extra set of eyes, it was very handy =)*

4 comments:

  1. You said it: 10k a day is a bit crazy. I agree. I'm not a fan of hideous first drafts. They create more work in the long run, IMHO.

    Number three is important to keep in mind when writing. If something in the scene doesn't excite you, it probably won't excite your readers.

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  2. Jen-- Yeah, I don't think it's a good way to write a story, personally.

    I agree. If you think the scene is boring, your readers probably will too!

    =)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good info. I don't see myself hitting anywhere near 10K, but I liked the suggestions, especially focusing on enthusiasm.

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  4. Sandra-- Yeah, I think 10k a day is unrealistic, but that's okay. Whatever works best for you =)

    I agree, I think focusing n enthusiasm is a very important point.

    ReplyDelete

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