Before we get too far afield, I wanted to address the word count widget and the accountability I hope it brings with all its dinosaur goodness.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote: ” The goal is 16 consecutive 3,000-word-days. This is my plan, and it is Good. So starting tomorrow, at the bottom of each blog post will be an update on my quest to develop a 3,000-word-a-day habit.… […Public floggings are a hassle….] … Let’s just say that if ever I show up empty-handed, then you are welcome to start a good old-fashioned cyber stoning in the Comments section.”
Wow. Look at me. I’m like a little word politician…promises, promises.
Then just the other day, I tried to involve all of you in my word count shenanigans by utilizing the pronoun responsible for aiding and abetting: “This month is going to be all about speed. Speed, speed, speed, my friends! We are going to drill. We will time ourselves. We are going to kindle life into as many story ideas as we can. This month we are going to see just how many words we can write to keep the Muse Patrol away.”
Then I promised again: “I will share my word counts each day [cough], and you can post your word counts in the comments [ahem!…excuse me!…tickle in my throat]. I will put together some sort of cumulative word count widget that I will install along the side here so that we can see just how big a pile of words we can make together.”
Okay. In all fairness, I could not find a widget that suited our purpose here. Perhaps I will just have to make one at some future date. But in the meantime, I have resorted to jerry-rigging and prehistoric wildlife.
Behold, to your right (and a little bit up on the sidebar) is a picture of a dinosaur. According to our resident expert, the Toddler, this is a momma dinosaur. I snapped this photo in the wilds behind the Pink House after spending days with the Toddler in a sweltering blind with only graham crackers and energy drinks…which is really why I haven’t been fulfilling word count promises.¹
Now, I know everyone keeps telling us dinosaurs are extinct…ya know, “scientists” and stuff. But you have to remember, back in the day, “men of higher learning” used to believe that the world was flat. Centuries later, we are still pointing and laughing at them.
Here’s the truth: Dinosaurs are real, and they are very much alive. They like to keep a low profile because of the paparazzi (they ruin it for everyone) and because of government contracts (they easily scare), but they are really just people like you and me. How do I know this? Because they love a good story, and they’re total suckers for what-ifs.
So actually, it was pretty easy. She’s a sucker for High Concept stories, so I left out my novel draft and yelled, “‘Eat Pray Love’ meets ‘Sliding Doors!'” Sucker!
It was obvious she meant to scoot right on past for a quick glimpse…being not terribly fond of the camera after the “biting incident” with a paparazzi that resulted in a restraining order — against the pap, not her — but there was a passage that caught her eye…and snap! Got her!
Anyhoo…this is our widget. As our team-effort, cumulative word count goes up², so will our pile of first drafts. As our pile of first drafts gets larger, so does our chances of attracting more dinosaurs (which means more pictures).
And as everyone knows, dinosaurs are totally good luck. If we’re lucky — and if we’ve got dinosaurs, why wouldn’t we be? — at the end of the month, if the household dinosaurs are pleased with our pile of first draft, they will show us favor by holding a secret celebratory ritual in our honor…and we’ll be invited!
Surely you want to see that, don’t you?
Yep, me too.
In order to make this happen, however, the dinosaur shaman’s public relations rep tells me they want at least as much as NaNoWriMo gets, so we’re gonna have to muster up 50,000 words by the end of the month to see this secret dinosaur thing.
The bad news? We’re off to a late start. But who cares? Nothing wrong with jumping in midstream.
The good news? Everything counts…and everybody counts…and there’s no sign-up, no fees, no requirement to participate every single day. Just…if you drop by, and you really want to see the dang secret dinosaur thing at the end of the month, type in your word counts.
And then maybe I can finally find out what the hell it is they do at night that makes that weird squeaking noise!
¹ All of this is not true.
² Word counts will be collected from the “Comments” section and tallied up by the little mice that live beneath my desk. They will then communicate their data via smoke signal, the Toddler will translate it, and I will update the widget. Technology…ain’t it great?