Well, sort of. This is the second post about writing woes. So, I mean, last week would have been the beginning but ...
Ehem. Never mind.
Most of you, in one form or another, have at least heard of Nano. NaNoWriMo, where everyone tries to write 50k in a month, or Camp Nano where people can choose their own goals and are in cabins and stuff. It's a great way to get you writing.
One big part of Nano (at least for me) is word warring. Now, if you don't know what a word war is, allow me to give you a definition. *beams*
Word War: A fierce, epic battle of blood and guts and incoherent fangirl screaming in which much coffee and ice cream and chocolate are ingested.
Hehe. He. Ehem. Not funny? Fine. *flips hair* I wasn't trying to be, anyway. Hmph. *sassy snap*
Word War: Where two or more writers designate a time (anywhere from five minutes to an hour) to write. Whoever gets the most words 'wins'.
Sounds fun, right?
It is. And it's great motivation. It's great for pounding out allllll da words.
(there's always a but.)
Word wars can be kind of ... *whispers* dangerous. And, since it is dangerous, it has created some woes. Woes that make it fit into this
So. Here are some woes for word warring, in which I will hopefully give you insight on how to overcome these lies and also convey the real purpose of a word war.
Woe 1: "I am a loser because I can't write fast enough."
This is really the main point I want to address today. Word wars are great, but their usual definition (the one I gave above) is deceiving.
You are racing and battling to write a lot of words. But, unless the writers you are warring with write at the same pace as you, your goal is not to beat them.
Your goal is to beat yourself.
If you don't already know what your pace is, I want you to find out. Next time you sit down to write, set a timer for twenty minutes and write for all you are worth. Don't stop for anything. Just write.
However many words you get in that amount of time is going to be close to your average pace. You can do it again and officially add it up and actually use math (whaaat?), but even just doing it once gives you a good idea.
However you do it, find your pace. Say you write an average of three hundred words every twenty minutes. So, when you sit down to war, you need to say to yourself, "I need to write over three hundred words."
You want to break over your average. You want to pass yourself. It's not fair to beat yourself up about losing to someone whose average words per twenty minutes is twice yours. In that case, it's almost impossible for you to beat them.
Don't beat yourself up about being a slower writer.
Everyone has their own pace. Find yours.
Woe 2: "I have to write good words."
Yeah, no. If you're word warring, don't expect your words to be perfect. If you're writing to get the words down, if you're writing for speed, don't beat yourself up about not writing magic. It's okay. You can edit later.
Now, there are also edit wars. I've been doing those lately for draft two. While I'm doing a lot of rewriting, I'm not as careful about how well written my stuff is yet so I pretty much plow ahead. When I get to draft three, that's when my goal will drastically change from quantity to quality.
Woe 3: Change in Pace
This is something that happened to me. After completing the first draft of my WIP and taking a nice long break, I came back to start draft two. I was warring with some friends and I was like, "Okay guys. I'm editing now, so I'll probably get more than usual. Just so you know."
Ha. Ha. Ahaaaa.
Yeah, no. My average word count for a twenty minute war was cut about two hundred words at least. This came as quite a shock to me when it kept. happening. every. war. I was like, "What's wrong with me??? What's happening???"
Don't freak out if your pace changes as you change drafts. Editing/rewriting (at least for me) takes much more thought and focus than first drafting. Hence the slow in pace.
Woe 4: "I can't do anything else. ANYTHING. AT ALL."
Okay, this is a lie. Yes, you can go pee. Yes, you can go take the screaming kettle off the burner. Yes, you can eat chocolate. Yes, you can acknowledge your mother's existence. (That would be wise. just saying. Unless you want to get grounded from writing. Does that just happen to me, or ...?)
Now, the goal is to ignore everything else and write for the designated time. But this doesn't always happen. That's okay. Just don't get on social media, don't take unnecessary ice cream grabs (those are for after wars) and do your best to be a good writer and write
Woe 5: "I have to write fast."
What are you warring for?
Are you warring to get the words down? Then yes, you want to write fast. Obviously. But if you're warring simply because you want to write with other writers, this does not necessarily apply to you. You don't have to write fast in a war. The important thing is that you focus on writing. Or brainstorming. You want to be working to get further along in your story. Brainstorming, writing, editing,
Progress. Effort. Focus. These are the true points and goals of word wars.
Everyone has their own pace.
Find yours. And, when you war, it's you challenging other writers to all challenge themselves. That's what you're doing. You're pushing yourself. You don't need to measure yourself by other writers. Measure yourself by yourself.
I hope this was helpful to you! Word wars are wonderful and I really enjoy them. But the right mindset is critical to get the best out of them.
Do you enjoy word wars? Have you ever done one? What issues have you found with them? Please share your thoughts with me! <3