Is reaching a set number of words a day for a writer of any value if the number of words in question (let’s say 1000 words a day for the heck of it) aren’t much more than stream of consciousness junk?
Or is it better to set a goal towards writing one good scene a day, or one page you’re happy with, a goal more along those lines.
That’s a good question that deserves examination. On the one hand doing these sorts of brainstorming exercises could yield some interesting results. On the other hand, it could be time better spent writing something more coherent and focused, albeit a lot more slowly and painstakingly.
On the third hand, doing these exercises very well could train my brain to get used to writing scads of material on a daily basis, so that I could transfer that skill towards the more focused efforts little by little. So the daily word count idea could serve to get my creative ideas flowing in other directions as well.
In any case, for some time now I’ve set out a goal of writing at least 2000 words a day (thanks to Stephen King, horror master, for the advice!), but I find that some days just end up being a long and rambling stream of consciousness exercise and little more. I still have all that junk saved, though, so I can always go back to it and see if there’s anything worth elaborating on or even keeping at all. Other days, I get some strong ideas out of this type of self-discipline and I find myself writing beyond that goal, either by word count or at least by feeling as though I’ve made a lot of progress to particular scenes or parts of stories that have been bugging me.
Interestingly enough, today’s 2000 word effort started by my coming up with the idea for this blog post. Of course, if I start adding my blog writings to the 2000 words it won’t amount to much (given that I’ll be devoting a quarter to a half of it to the blog and not to story writing!), so I’ll have to be sure and keep all that nice and separate if the objective of getting some good stories written is to be fulfilled partly through this type of creative writing exercise.
Anyway, I suppose as long as it makes sense to me and is reasonably fun I might as well just stick with it. At the very least, it is improving my typing skills!