RANT: Word count show-off? Phlueeze.

November 4th, 2005 by Mabel
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A couple of other writers from Malaysia and Singapore (yes, I hang out in their forum too) have hit 16K within the first three days…some within the second day of NaNo. Since then, I’ve never heard the end of it.

I didn’t want to talk about this outside of the forums but damnit, I’m tired of the “wah, why you so fast wan?” or “she’s just showing off”. It is hardly what NaNo is all about and trust people to naturally feel intimidated – don’t blame the writers for feeling that way but the commentors going “they are just showing off”, “quality is better than quantity” isn’t exactly helping either.

Writing isn’t about who has more word count or who is hitting the Muse on a daily basis coz she/he has yet to deliver. Writing is about putting your thoughts, imagination onto paper. Each writer is unique and special – their pace, their ideas, their words; all of them vary. Do not ever compare your pace with others and put it down as a negative. You’ll only kill yourself as a writer and never be able to move beyond “that person is better/faster than I am”.

The whole exercise of NaNo isn’t about competing with others. It is about competing with yourself – you being lazy, you having excuses, you having writer’s block, you having problems balancing writing and living out your life. The deadline, the word limit, the goals…YOU are the only one in control of it. If my goal is 5K a day, that is what I aim for…not someone else’s word limit/goal. If I can’t hit that goal, then instead of comparing to other people who have done it, I should find out why and see if my goal was realistic in the first place or discover what is holding me back from reaching it in the first place.

I’ll be honest here: I’m not about to lie about my word count just so you can feel better about why you haven’t exactly been keeping to YOUR own daily word count (for those who have been super busy and what-not). I understand that people have chores, people get tired, people have visitors, people have a life – as if I gave all that up just to hit 15K. Like hell I did.


At the end of the day, what matters is not how much you have written but that you wrote something and continued even though it was hard for you.

By the way, I have news for you…if you thought that NaNo was all about quality alone, it isn’t. It is about balance but more of getting that writers block and other excuses out of your system. It is about writing, writing and writing THEN coming back to edit your work.

Don’t bother about the word count and just WRITE.

This entry was posted on Friday, November 4th, 2005 at 2:09 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

8 Responses

  1. Kervin

    Hear hear i agree, forcing oneself to just rake in word counts each day without thinking of the consequences or compromising in quality is not in the spirit of NaNoWriMo. I set my own targets each day and if I meet them and am happy with the days work, it’s a good day, if not then I reduble my effort and promise to make it up another day, no loss.

  2. a_x

    The whole exercise of NaNo isn’t about competing with others. It is about competing with yourself – you being lazy, you having excuses, you having writer’s block, you having problems balancing writing and living out your life.

    Agree. That’s my main reason of stopping to peek into the NaNoWriMo forum. Too many of those who mistakenly consider the whole event as a race against another.

    In the end you merely compete against yourself. You win or you lose—you answer only to yourself.

    All the best! ;)

  3. lilian

    276 and proud of it. Glad to read this ‘cos I am going to enjoy the long break till Monday. Can’t do much with a hubby hovering in the background. :d

  4. sya

    Nicely put. In the end, participating in Nanowrimo is an entirely personal endeavor. The forums were intended for support and not competition. I think writing anything during Nano is an accomplishment in itself–as most participants don’t even start. To those who feel cowed by the tremendous word counts of others, all I can say is that there will always be people every year with prodigious output. They can finish in three days, but slow and steady wins the race as well.

  5. Mei

    Lilian: 276 words is better than nothing, ya? Come on…you can do it! *cheers*

    I’m always happy when people tell me that they have written something, be it 10K or just 100 words. Because when you don’t write, the ideas just go to waste – I had writers’ block for many years and honestly, now that I look back, it was just an excuse for being lazy. :(
    With NaNo, no such thing anymore! I’ll just have to write and write and WRITE!

    *cheers on fellow NaNoers here*

  6. Strizzt

    Yikes, I’ve never heard of people wanting to lie about their word count. An impressive number of words written would mean nothing, if they’re merely strings of unintelligible sentences and words.

    I’m happy with my writing for now, although I have to admit that I do feel somewhat insecure with my relatively low word count… mainly because I’m worried that I may not be able to finish my ‘novel’. Hopefully this is something that plagues all first-timers.

  7. Mei

    Strizzt: Your word count looks fine to me la, doink. And yes, it is something that ALL first-timers AND even vets worry about – not being able to finish.

    But hey, YOU CAN do it!

  8. Magic

    You just said out what I have been thinking for a few days now. Not only is it braggy, but it is also demotivating for writers who are not in it as a race but simply to see how much they can express on paper given a limited amount of time. I have also noticed that the most active threads on the forum is the meet up threads and the rest are seeing less and less participants. maybe it is the holidays. but maybe people who are showing off are putting unnecessary pressure on others.

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