Wednesday, May 7, 2014

IWSG: Doing It All

Thanks, Alex Cavanaugh, for hosting the Insecure Writer's Support Group, the best go-to spot in the blogoverse for writer support. The first Wednesday of every month, we post our insecurities and concerns related to our writing endeavors. You can sign up HERE.

And now to my most recent concern: Doing It All.

What about Doing It All? I can't. Not even close. I've tried writing, editing, marketing, blogging, all while working the day job. Something always suffers or gets neglected. I've done zero marketing this year. I've barely started writing again. And blogging is suffering big time.

I think it's safe to say I'm suffering from burnout. I've considered quitting and throwing in the towel. But when you're a writer, that's not an option, is it? Besides, what about my WIP? And what about the story ideas that are running around inside my head? If I don't write them down, who will? I'd hate for Hugh Howey or Neil Gaiman to write my story because I gave up, ya know?

However I look at it, something is going to suffer. That's just a fact that I'm learning to accept.

Now that I've gotten all that out of the way...

I HAVE started writing again. I actually set a schedule of sorts that I'm sticking to. Marketing and blogging are not part of the schedule, so I will do them when I can. I had to set priorities, and writing is NUMBER ONE!

I've never been a fan of word count in my writing, but I'm learning to really respect the idea. My goal is 500 words a day, five days per week, aka 2500 words per week. I've found that it's manageable, and once I start writing, I usually write more. The minimum word count works because I work from a numbered outline, and 500 words can encompass an item from the outline and a darn good scene. It's a great starting and stopping point every day. I'm on week three of this routine, and it's working!


I'll publish the novella series I'm working on in October if I stick to my schedule. I'm already thinking about covers and getting excited about writing again.
What about you? 
Do you use the minimum word count method?
What works for you?


  1. I definitely can't do it all either.

    I usually don't set daily word count goals for myself unless it's November and I'm participating in NaNoWriMo. Mostly I set weekly goals like "Finish Scenes A, B, and C." It works more often than it doesn't.

    If you're getting excited about writing again, I'd say you're definitely doing something right.

  2. Just stopping by from the IWSG link list :)

    I suffered from burnout last year (and i haven't even published anything) so i took 5 months out. I stopped writing, i stopped blogging, and i baked lol. It did me the world of good, it really did. Sometimes a break can be just what you need :)

    Good luck honey xx

  3. I can't do it all either, and -- because of the abhorrent changes in education thanks to interfering politicians and businessmen -- it's the teaching that I will be giving up. The end of the school year was starting to be a mirage. The snow days kept pushing it back. But assuming we have no snow storms this May, it now seems definitely set at June 25.

    Until then ... I've never set word count goals before, but I'm thinking that maybe I should.

  4. I can't do it all either. My writing is on hold for awhile, maybe till the end of the year when I clear away some of the personal things I have to attend to while working full-time.

  5. So glad you're writing more and best of luck sticking with your schedule for the novella release! I know I will look forward to reading that.
    I'm seriously burned out at the moment and am taking May off from blogging as a result.

  6. When I wrote my first novel, I had to occasionally readjust my priorities due to life's surprises. At one point I had stopped writing for more than a year. It frightened me. I had done a lot of work on the manuscript and I didn't want to discover all that effort had been wasted. I was also worried that I had lost the flow of the plot, out of touch with the characters, etc. When life slowed down again and I returned to the keyboard, the muse was still there, patiently waiting. The muse always waits.

  7. It's so true that you can't do it all. I'm with you--if I don't make writing the priority, all that other stuff (blogging, social media, etc.) takes over. I also do the minimum word count method and 500 is mine too. If I set my goals low, it's easier to meet them, definitely.

  8. I was so glad to see you were back!!

    My son and I had this conversation (sort of) Friday. I told him I was going to try to do it all and give it three years, if I don't have success, I am done. He (the genius) pointed out that some of the greatest writers of all time never made hardly any money because they wrote for the love of it, not the commercial side.

    That was a good point. Though, I do like money. I HAVE to quit equating success with numbers. If I love it and it gives me joy, why would I walk away?

  9. Good to hear from you, Gwen!
    A little bit every day makes a big difference. Don't kill yourself - just keep that pace.

  10. Good for you! I'm glad to hear you're on a schedule and best of all you're sticking to it. Go You and Good luck! Me? No, no kind of schedule at all. I write when the mood strikes. It's kind of an all or nothing deal. But, I do write almost every day - blog, journal, WIP. Something, just to keep the juices flowing.

    co-host IWSG

  11. I think television and media is to blame. Too often we're made to feel guilty because we aren't doing it all. I'm noticing it now with my kids and their kids. The common comment is "You have no idea how tough life is. When I was a kid..." Actually, it makes me laugh because I used to say that to them.

    I think a person can only do what a person can do. The rest will fall into place. Cheers, Gwen!

  12. I'll try the minimum word count method because my writing hasn't been so hot outside my ghostwriting assignments. Congrats Gwen on all that you have accomplished.

  13. I'm not as determined as some, so I go with the flow. I've been working with Roane Publishing getting my marketing homework done (so to speak). We have a anthology coming out June 5th and its weird. I've been reading, resting and that's about it. When I'm on my game I write everyday and edit when the mood hits. But lately I'm off. I'm not sure if it's because of the release or not.

    It's nice to know you've had your issues too. It's funny now that I know I'm not the only one things feel better.

    Great post and thanks for the help.

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

  14. I think your goal is wonderful! I like the numbered outline approach. I'll have to give that some thought. Like you, the marketing, social media, blogging thing is sucking out my energy. In fact, I mentioned the same thing on my post - that writing needs to come first, especially as it really isn't an option. Our brains would explode if we don't let the stories out. :)

  15. I do not use a minimum word count ... and I struggle with "doing it all" too ... so many things to get done in a day. But like River said above, my head would explode if I didn't write. So I have to make time for that!!

  16. Hi Gwen! I'm about three up from you on the list of bloggers on the IWSG. *waves!* Great post! When I'm writing rough draft I try to do a minimum of ten minutes a day. Ha ha. I know that sounds pathetic, but with kids and a house to maintain, if I expect myself to do more than that, I can never stick to it. I make it '10 minutes unequivocally' unless someone's bleeding or something's burning. Then, I most often find I do way more than that!

  17. So glad to hear that you are writing again. Keep it up! I used to use a similar daily word count goal and use it to estimate completion. There was too much pressure when I fell behind schedule however. After a while I found myself waffling in my writing to hit the word count, extending descriptions, etc. once I realized that, I canned the whole idea of daily goals. Now, I monitor my weekly word count and use it as a rough guide to what I should be writing. It helps to do it weekly rather than daily because then I am not padding my writing when I am actually at the keyboard.

  18. Good luck with your word count schedule.

  19. I've never done minimum word count, but everyone needs to do what works for them. I felt the burnout too this year with teaching and writing fulltime. I'm not sure if I'll continue to publish after the last book in my trilogy comes out . . . doesn't mean I'll stop writing though :-)

  20. I think if this works for you then great! I am a crafter-not a writer:) although I have joined this family of blogging fun and write about, whatever-lol. When we have so much on the go we feel guilty that we didn't do more and that is too big a road block. You have a lot on your shoulders so that you write a little each day and you feel great and excited about the book covers-I think that is fab!! Enjoy the 500 word count and enjoy your writing.

  21. Hey Gwen,

    Yes indeed, I have arrived. Yay and gosh! :) I think, ideally, I think. Sorry, hang on, I think it's best to always go at a pace that is conducive to your good self. I never try to take on to much at once. If you are happy with the balance, that's the most positive outcome. I don't bother with minimum or maximum word counts. I do whatever, whenever. Besides, counting the words can be really frustrating. I lose count counting and half to start all over again. Yep, I'm kidding.

    Nice to see you are back around. I tried to keep the blogging world under control during your absence :)


  22. It's way too easy to experience burnout sometimes. Glad to see you've been able to get back into writing, though! That's very exciting about the novella series, too. Good luck! :)

  23. Gwen, I too have slacked off for a while and my sales tell the sorry story, but the important thing is that you have started writing again. Every little thing done each day adds up.

  24. Hi Gwen! New follower via IWSG. I'm wayyyyy too free spirited for my own good. I can't make a schedule to save my life! I admire your goals, and glad to hear you're writing again!

  25. Word counts don't work for me...and I hardly check to see how much I've written. Life is to crazy in my household to keep on any kind of schedule, but that doesn't mean I let myself flounder. Motivation can be a strange thing! :)

  26. I don't really have a word count goal when I write, unless it's for a Nanowrimo challenge and I have to make it by a set date. More often, I set a goal to write period, and whatever ends up as a result is usually more than I'd assume anyway. Revising is another matter though... I can be really slow with that.

    Glad you've found something that works for you. Whatever works to keep you motivated!


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