The Woes of Word Warring

6:00 AM

And so, the unintentional blog post series begins!

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. I do what I want.

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.

BUT.

(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 unintentional blog post series.

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."

Haaaaha. Ehem.

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 and not play Sudoku.


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, playing Sudoku. You want to end up in a different spot than you were when you started.

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

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37 comments

  1. This is really inspiring! I think lots of us writers always have the misconception of being like other writers and catching up to other writers' paces. So thanks for the reminder of following my own pace, I needed this post today :P

    And as for word wars... I usually war with myself? I enjoy competing with myself so these are useful. I know it's cool how other writers war with each other but I'm a bit of a recluse and prefer keeping to myself.

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    1. I'm glad! And as for warring by yourself, that's good too! I've done it a few times but I have a group that I usually wage battle with XP We all have different paces (although me and another girl have very close paces when first drafting) but it's great encouragement. Have you ever tried warring with someone? Warring by yourself sounds fun too though! :D

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  2. This post. Ah, it was much needed. Thank you. *solemnly walks away* JUST KIDDING HAHA. I'M THE ALL CAPS COMMENTER :P

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    1. HAAAHA XP I LOVE YOU. WRITE ON, PETRA! <3

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  3. Word wars are like 98% of how I'm productive. Like, if I try to write without doing them, I keep getting distracted and getting nothing done. It's a serious problem. And because my current draft is a rewrite draft, everything goes soooo sloowww and I feel like I get nothing done. It's problematic.

    okay but *whispers* if you ever need a word-warring partner I'm available, like, constantly.

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    1. Ahhhhhh yes! Are you on the GTW Facebook group? That's how I usually war. There or through messenger. If you have another way, totally email me! :D Wars are great! And I feel you on the slowness *cringes* you got this!

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    2. I usually war through messenger because it's easiest.

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    3. Aww too bad I'm not on FB. I'd love to war with you guys :(

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    4. I wish you could too! :'( I can't think of another way we could war though. I don't think warring here in these comments would really work ... But I could maybe host an hour long war here sometime. Would that work? I shall have to think on this *nods to self*

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    5. I'm totally bumping into this conversation, but could you message through Google Hangouts for word-wars? Just a suggestion. :P

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    6. O.O
      Duuuude I didn't even think of that! *pounds head against desk* you is a smart bean.

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    7. *beams* No problem-o. ;) I don't have a FB so Hangouts is pretty much an essential. Water, food, shelter, clothes, books, hangouts – it's all right there together. XD

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    8. Uh... Not sure what my parents would think of Hangouts...
      But let's brainstorm summore! :)

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    9. Maybe I could create a community for wars on Google+?

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    10. Oh, that's a good idea too. ;)

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    11. Hann, would your parents be okay with that, do you think?

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    12. *shrug* IDK. Probably.
      Sorry it took me so long to reply.

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  4. GIRL, you making me want to WW. I seriously have only written like 700 words this month... *cringes* I was "busy" withis finishing up school and catching up on my reading. So... Yeah. I'm planning on writing a decent amount today.
    Wish me luck :)

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    Replies
    1. DO IIIIIIT. DO THE THINGGGGG. *cheers you on*

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    2. THANKS. I sat down for thirty/forty five minutes and wrote 617 words. But now I must clean my bathroom (eeeghww) and put away clothes.

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    3. AHHH good! *high fives* But ugh for chores *makes a face*

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  5. Word wars sound scary. Mainly because I'm accustomed to writing my manuscripts by hand because I've been doing that for a long time. And... I don't have a personal laptop *cries*

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    1. Ugh not having a laptop stinkssssss. I want to save up for one but I don't have a consistent income so ... *sigh* When you do get a laptop, you should definitely try a war! Or you could average your words per page, or you could fine a fellow hand writer! ;P

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  6. I've never word-warred, but it sounds link a lot of fun. Loved this post, Hannah! Your writing never fails to make me laugh! XD

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    1. Awwwww thank you! <3 You should try a war sometime! ;)

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  7. Ack, Hannah, you have such wonderful writerly insights and just ahhhh! <3

    I've heard many good things about word wars, but it never occurred to me to try to pick out the detriments in them. I applaud you for writing about this subject! *claps*

    And... I've decided to do Camp NaNo this July! *confetti* WE MUST WAR. And I'll probably lose. But that's okay. This post will encourage me. :P

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    1. Ahhhhh YUSSSS. Maybe we can be in a cabin together! :D That would be fun! I think I'm doing Nano, but I'm going to set a very low goal because my summer is busy. But STILL. WE MUST WAR. I'm so glad you're doing it!

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    2. Great! :D Are you going to be writing or editing for it?

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    3. I might write for it, actually ... It depends! You?

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    4. I'm writing, seeing as I don't have anything to edit :) (well... unless I pull out that trashbag of a novella that I wrote when I was eleven... but that's not happening. :P)

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    5. Ahhhhh not having anything to edit is nice XP I really want to write at least a little bit this summer. I miss writinggggg MAHHH. Good luck on camp nano to you! WRITE ALL THE THINGS AND BE A BOSS

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  8. *applauds you for your genius* Amazing post! I do sprints through write deck. xD

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    1. *bows* Thanks! :D

      Ahhhhh yessssss write deeeeccckkk. *nods in approval*

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  9. I am the slowest writer, I have never done a word war though.

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    1. You should try one, Skye! As long as you go into it with the right mindset ... ;)

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  10. Very clever post! I've never tried a word war. :o
    Sounds like fun. :)

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    1. It is! You should definitely try one! :D

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