Today’s post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. It’s a way for insecure writers like myself give each other advice and encouragement. Click here to see a full list of participating blogs.
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Here’s a piece of advice attributed to one of my role models: “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” These words are often attributed to Albert Einstein, although there is some scholarly debate as to whether or not Einstein actually said this. But that’s not important right now. The words themselves have weighed heavily on my mind of late, regardless of their historical origin.
I’m the kind of writer who keeps scrupulous records of everything: deadlines, word counts, the number of hours I spend writing… I even make pie charts about this stuff. In short, I do a lot of counting, and that usually serves me well. Counting keeps me on schedule and forces me to work a little harder to get that extra thousand words done. Also, because of my scrupulous record keeping, I can flip back through old calendars and see how my writing discipline has increased over the years. Where once I struggled to complete 3,000 words in a week, I now routinely write that much in a day.
The down side is that on days when I don’t write, or for reasons beyond my control I can’t write, I see this unmarked day in my records, and that makes me feel like a failure. It’s exponentially worse when I see a series of unmarked days in a row.
Due to a recent family emergency, I now have over a week of zero writing. Despite the circumstances, I feel guilty. Yes, a close relative was hospitalized, and yes, I had to travel a long distance to see her, and yes, my presence seemed to make a difference, BUT WHAT ABOUT MY WRITING QUOTA!!!
It’s only because of that quote from Einstein (or whoever) that I am able to keep things in perspective and remember that some things are more important than word counts.