We can get so caught up in meeting our daily word count goals that the quality of our writing suffers. This happened to me recently, as I sprinted toward the end of my second novel.
I fell prey to haste, and who wouldn’t, in my shoes? I have spent over a year on this thing, getting up two hours early every day, writing through precious lunch hours, plotting during my 40 minute commutes, and typing while others enjoyed their evenings. As I approached my climax (go on, you know you want to), I became obsessed with typing those two words that make a writer’s eyeballs roll back in her head: THE END. And baby, let me tell you, I dived toward them with the speed of a hunting falcon. Everything fell by the wayside. My house was a wreck, we ran out of food, and I think I wore two different colored shoes to work a time or two. At least they were clean (I won’t guarantee it.).
The result was my protagonist resolving his problem by a means completely out of character. The final chapters were flimsy, rushed, and they had someone else’s voice.
So this happened…
From then on, I restricted myself to writing one chapter a week. Yes, that’s right, I RESTRICTED my word count. It worked. My characters began to speak to me again, and although it took me six weeks, I finished the climax and denouement. Best of all, I have a resonating ending that makes me proud.
Big word counts are great, but not if we sacrifice quality. If you’re struggling to finish your novel, slow down. It might work for you, too.