Friday, September 17, 2010

Word Watchers

Although my, uh… caretaker tried to force me into a weight-watchers program at the ripe old-age of nine (yes—I was a chunk back in the day), I didn’t stick to the whole point system thing (duh… I was NINE) and never really got it. So when my fabulous writing BFF Ricki started this Word Watchers program at our writer’s group and compared it to the Weight Watchers program, I offered a supportive “cool”, gave it a fleeting thought, and then evaded the contest behind the guise of revisions all summer.

But when I set September 1 as my official day to break from revisions and begin work on a new novel, I decided to give the whole Word Watchers thing a try.

Holy rocketing word counts.

Since I started word watchers two weeks ago, I’ve written seven chapters on my new manuscript, over 10000 words. I set my weekly goal at 5000 a week (a major challenge considering all I have on my plate) and have endeavored to meet my goal with ardent assiduousness. Granted I do a lot of catch-up on the weekends, but I still try to write at least two pages a day (approximately 500 words).

And while some of the writing is RAW, here’s what Word Watchers does for me:

1) It gets the creative juices flowing
2) Reminds me of how much I looooove to write
3) Helps me practice my craft (the greats will testify to a need to write every day)

And if I keep this pace up, I’ll bang out a new book by December.


How’s it work?

My faboo friend Ricki Schultz, founder of the Write-Brained Network (PS—my frawesome writers’ group!), drew her inspiration from Weight Watchers’s point system. Participants are given a number of “points” (based on certain factors—weight, age, etc…) they are allowed to consume per day, per week. (foods are assigned numeric values in the way of these points), and they can eat whatever foods they want to get to their allotted points—as long as they don’t exceed their daily/weekly goals.

So she contrived something very similar for writing and called it Word Watchers. Instead of “trying to reduce mass”, writers endeavor to “bulk up” on words.

According to Ricki’s blog, here are…


Set a weekly word-count goal. Divvy up the daily writing however you want, but make sure you get to your WordWatcher word-count total by the end of each week. Easy peasy. This will allow you to take days off without the guilt—whatever fits your schedule.

For instance, if you think your schedule will only allow you to comfortably write 3500 words/week (that’s two pages a day), fine. That’s your goal.

You can write one continuous piece or many of smaller pieces or—heck—even writing prompts (you CANNOT count blog posts, e-mails, status updates, or Tweets, however).

So I’ll keep striving for that five thou every week. And I get to play with my imaginary friends in the process. And immerse myself in the zone—such a happy place to be.

If you’re a writer, check out the Write-Brained Network (the WB—love it!) and try your “hand” at Word Watchers. And check out the other cool things the WB has to offer—conference updates, discussion forums,… there’s even a critique corner!

It’s been fabulous for me… especially this Word Watchers thing.

So as my daughter would say... Peace out, yo.

I’m off to make my weekly total.


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