A lot of people have just finished NaNoWriMo, aiming at and in many cases achieving the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. Doable? Many have shown that it is, and some even go on to publish novels that began as NaNo projects. And when you consider that's "only" 1,666.66666666... words per day (see, I said there'd be math in this blog), it really doesn't sound that bad, despite the fact that lightning-fast drafting has never really worked for me. Of course, there's Thanksgiving in there, and if you have to put on the dinner we'd better subtract another day, and let's allow one Christmas shopping day too, because if you don't start on Black Friday you'll probably start soon after -- or continue shopping that you've already begun. So subtract at minimum three days, and your daily total is now 1,851.8518, which is another very cool number. It means you have to write close to 2,000 words per day, but it's still cool.
But maybe you, like I, don't do NaNo. When you're writing, you still want to produce words, right? Lately, that's certainly my goal. My WIP is taking longer than I want it to, which is par for the course in my experience. But sometimes, no matter how much you want to get words down, everything slows to a crawl or even a halt. Sometimes, I feel like this guy:
When my writing slows to a crawl, I've learned it means one of two things: (1) I don't know what comes next, or (2) I've recently taken a wrong turn. The solution to either problem is the same -- it's time to get off the word count treadmill and think, dream, listen. While Don Music may listen to a green frog, I listen deep inside. I may reread the last chapter, ask the Holy Spirit, let my imagination run free in my fictional setting, do a spot of research for an upcoming scene and hit on a new plot point better than the one I had planned, or think about my story in the shower, which is a well-nigh foolproof way of coming unstuck. I tap into something that will start the story, and therefore the words, flowing again. It's when the words and the need to cover the page get ahead of the story that the writing grinds to a stop. Which means that on days I think, dream, pray, imagine or douse myself, I may get very few words written but discover the key to the whole book. I also rediscover the most mysterious, spiritual and joyful part of writing. The part I wanted to live when I started this whole business.
Maybe that shower is a literal filling of the well... :)