Yesterday I finished my second draft of the new book. Moving right along to draft three, and what I hope is my final pass before someone else takes a look under the hood and reminds me of all the shit I left out.
I’ve hit a rhythm, and it goes like this: I started out with a candy dish on my desk, filled with milk chocolate caramels, each candy representing 1,000 words of manuscript I still have yet to write. Every time I pass the thousand word mark, I take a chocolate out of the dish and put it on my desk. (Or eat it immediately, if it’s 4pm and has taken me the whole day move the needle.) The candy does not budge from that dish until the marker passes another thousand, and I don’t stop writing for the day until I have had my chocolate treat. It’s like a vitamin. One a day, every day.
I get that this is hokey. A writer should write, and word counts are a silly sort of thing to reward—as if it’s only the number of words that matters, not the quality of the writing or the coherence of the story. But I also like watching the candy dish empty, and I like that my system allows for some fluctuation: some days I might finish only a few hundred words, but if they take me from 58,883 to 59,265 . . . bingo! I still get my treat. Other days I may pile up two or three chocolates, in which case I save the extras for days when writing even a hundred words is like pounding sand up my ass. Fuck it. I suck on my chocolate and go for a drive and don’t feel remotely guilty about that day’s suckishness.
This morning I counted thirteen chocolate caramels left, not including the one in my mouth. That’s a lot of empty foil wrappers in the garbage.
Any writing gimmicks you’d like to share? Pornographic reward systems, morning threats into the mirror, incense to summon the muse?