Sometimes staring at the blinking cursor on your computer screen can make it morph into a stop sign and prevent you from holding a thought long enough to tap it out on your keyboard. It can be an unintentional panic signal that freezes your fingers in place and fills you with heaping helpings of writer's doubt. Your focus shifts from what you want to write to how many words you must write before you will allow yourself to stop for the day. Gradually, you fixate exclusively on that word count goal, and you're unable to type a single solitary word.
I call it "word count paralysis," and there's really only one way to prevent it: Ditch the daily word count goal. In the end, it doesn't really matter how many words you write in a day. Your only goal is to make some sort of progress; big or small, it doesn't matter. The only thing that does matter is that you advance from where you were the day before.
I've talked before about my own word count philosophy in previous blogs. My goal while writing a book is to write one word a day. Not only have I never come short of my goal, I have far exceeded that one-word-a-day benchmark every single time, occasionally by as much as 6,000 times.
Daily word count goals always have been the bane of my writing existence. They have served as arbitrary roadblocks that fill me with dread. As long as I ask myself to contribute only one word a day to a story, I am relieved of that pressure that leads to word count paralysis.
Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.