One of the things I really like about having a spreadsheet is, naturally, data. It helps me evaluate my patterns and then figure out how to course-correct (if course-correcting is the goal). In addition to tracking word count, I’ve also been tracking time using Toggl. This latter step is for when I’m editing later in the year so that I can quantify how I’m spending my time when I’m not actively increasing my word count. It’s also been helpful to realize, though, that meeting my word count goals actually doesn’t take a lot of time out of the average day. It also helps me focus on the writing as a work task, rather than something I can pick up and put down as other responsibilities come up. (Sometimes.)
In terms of word count, the month was great! I didn’t quite hit 20K for the month. Instead, I wrote 15,973 words, with an average of 515 written per day. I brought the work-in-progress this month up to 50,635 words; I’m still working on my historical piece, which has a working title of The Witch-mother’s Coven, which I neither love nor hate as a title at this point.
This, of course, is not the full story.
While I averaged 515 words per day, I didn’t write every day. I wrote (or worked on fiction in the form of editing) on 16 days last month, and I only met my word count on half of those days. The information I’ve gleaned from my spreadsheet has been:
- I either tend to fall short of 700, or blow past it. On the days I fell short, I sat down for one writing session of anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes, and then did not start another one. If I start a second session, or go longer than 20 minutes, I tend to write a lot.
- On days I write a lot, I can get up to around 2000 words. This seems to be when I decide I’m done for the day. It’s usually not more than two hours of work, give or take. Most of those days are about 1500 words, though, and take about an hour. It turns out that I’m not too slow a writer, so long as I know where my story is headed.
- When I don’t write, the gaps are usually about two days long, That’s actually pretty solid, all things considered. I did have one six-day stint when I didn’t write this month; it started on a Thursday where our writer’s group did our monthly night out, and ran through a weekend where I had nothing to do (and thus did nothing), right into a Monday-Tuesday, which are my hardest evenings to write on.
What’s the Plan for Next Month?
In February I’ll likely finish the first draft of The Witch-mother’s Coven, which is both exciting and a little nerve-wracking. The current plan is to let it sit for at least a few weeks before I look at the developmental stuff that I know needs fixed. (My magic system is ill-defined early in the book. The main character is, in classic NaNo-draft style, all over the place while I tried to pin down who she is and what she wants. I need to go back into the early parts of the novel and tighten the mood. That sort of stuff.)
If I managed to finish that draft before the month ends, I’m going to tackle the latter half/third of Seven Sisters, which has been left sitting since October 2015. I’ve refined my plotting process a lot since I wrote that synopsis, so step one will be cleaning it up and looking at what I have as a whole. I don’t think I’ll finish that draft until the end of March, assuming I keep going at my current pace.
All things said, it was a good month and I feel good about my progress.
(Except for the part where I didn’t actually update the blog when I said I would. No good feelings about that part.)