This is my first year writing directly into scrivener; previous years have left me embracing the austere familiarity of Word for my writing needs. There, all my words were collected into a vaguely linear (ideally) jumble, and one simple counter at the bottom of the screen tracked whether I was on target or not.
It wasn’t robust.
It wasn’t customizable.
I never managed to fuck it up.
This year’s efforts have been going shockingly well, given I have almost exactly nothing to say and am writing filler I’ve been affectionately referring to as “trash,” to the complete shock and good-hearted dismay of approximately a dozen people in the PhillyWrimos chat last night who aren’t familiar enough with me to know I’m not being negative or self-deprecating.
Rather, I’m a harsh but fair practitioner of honest self-assessment. The quality of the writing I’ve been doing isn’t worthless, but it is almost devoid of meaty content and therefore serves little practical purpose–I’ve grown incredibly good at forsaking quality for quantity as a writer.
But last night I hit 15,000 words on day 5, the target for which is roughly 8,335. I’m good at filling a page but I am not that good unless I’m writing with purpose and enthusiasm, which I haven’t been. I was stunned to think I had hit a leisurely 15k in five days; it wasn’t adding up, in spite of a handful of digital cheerleaders reassuring me that I’m great (thanks!).
So contrary to NaNoWriMo guidelines, I turned my inner editor back on and took a quick pass through what I’d written, copying each segment into a Word document to compare counts. The numbers were only off by 16 words–an acceptable margin of difference in my opinion–and not enough to explain my growing unease.
I took a more detailed look in my Scrivener file and discovered two separate spots in one chapter where segments had somehow been pasted mid-word. I made the fixes with many lamentations, bringing my tally down to the much more practical 12k range.
Somehow in my attempts to use tools like a functioning adult, I managed to miss a glitch or key smash that added three thousand words to my project.
If it seems too good to be true, maybe it is.