My first time was NaNoWriMo 2007. It was great - a blank sheet of paper that I filled frantically over the course of 30 days. It was good to be a junkie then, that was what NaNo was all about - those 50,000 glistening, glittering, brand-new words.
I told myself word counts were only for rough drafts. Like in NaNo, they were a way to track my progress when progress shouldn't be measured by quality. And for awhile, that was OK. I dutifully tracked my words for each new story, for each new novel. I checked the count before and after each writing session. As long as the after was bigger than the before, it was good.
Then I started playing games with it. "Just a few more words and you'll have an even 1000 for this session." "Only 400? Is that the best you can do?" "Let's see if we can get to a nice round number." "Just 50 more and you'll have crossed the threshold into the 5600's." I needed more and more. I began counting words per writing session, words per week, words per month. I count new words, revised words, even blogged words. And like any good junkie, I get excited as the number gets bigger and bigger. I get nervous if it hasn't changed in a couple of days. I've even started getting nervous if the difference over a period of days isn't big enough.
Recently, I've even started using the time log. Now I can count words and minutes. And I do . . .
Is there a cure for such madness? I don't know that I want it if there is. I just want more words. . .