I don’t know if anyone else makes their lives completely manically crazy by imposing insane deadlines on themselves, but this seems to be a reoccurring problem with me. I mean, it’s not like there’s an editor breathing down my neck, waiting for the next book. I release my books on my own schedule, so why do I feel the need to constantly give myself guilt trips about not writing 3,000 words a day?
My problem is that I know I can write 3,000 words a day with no problem, so when I have school, or work, or life! and I don’t reach the 3,000 words I beat myself up and chastise myself for not living up to my potential. We’re our hardest critics, I guess. I just want to give myself a break. It’s exhausting making myself feel terrible about not reaching my daily word count, lol!
But more importantly, I always seem to be in a race to finish whatever project I’m working on because in my brain “this project will be the one!” What about all the other books I’ve already written? Have they disappeared? Have I given up on them? Have they lost their ability to be successful suddenly? It’s that part of my brain that says, “my other books will be more popular after I release this next series!” I have no idea if this is true, but it feels true and it makes me put a fire under my feet to finish whatever latest project I happen to be working on.
The bottom line is: being hard on yourself is a waste of time. Time that could be spent diving into the universe of your new book. Writing can be magical. I truly believe that readers can pick up on an author’s mood or personality when reading their books. It’s one of the reasons I have trouble with Dickens. I can tell that he was (and sorry if I offend anyone here) a little on the pretentious side. His stories are amazing, but his writing is dripping with condescension. Whereas, Dumas, even translated in old English (not at all how he intended it) it’s still full of fun, adventure and the joy of writing. (Even if he was paid by the word!)
I guess that’s why even if I give myself the biggest guilt trip on the planet, I’d rather write when I’m dying to get my story out than a forced word count. Maybe I don’t have to be upset with myself after all!