I really need to write early tomorrow. Write early, sleep early, reset my brain, reset my clock. That’s the one missing piece right now and I swear it’s within grasp. Not even morning early I can sleep in, if I get up at 2 but write by 5 that’s a win. I just need some order and control back…
I spent a while after work today rereading the earliest entries on this blog. A reminder of strangely different times, where I had a line between work and home that wasn’t mutilated, and when writing in the morning before 11am was almost the standard. I got to bed on time and had enough spoons left to have a crack at a healthy lifestyle.
One general election, global pandemic and two lockdowns later, I’m reminded in a humbling way how the world refuses to stand still, and how much it can all fall apart. That 1K survived is enough, and was never in any doubt, but I miss morning targets, and being able to keep work out of home, so that got more work done at work and more rest done away from it. Still not got the hang of it.
I played Animal Crossing New Horizons for the first time in 5 months today. I really missed it, it was lovely to see all my villagers again and do all the cool Turkey Day event content. You’ll have to forgive that I don’t have the willpower to grab an actual screenshot but I’ve got a photo at the end of this post of the Turkey Day room I made. It’s very zen, nice to have in the background while writing.
Writing is going well if not explosively so. I still need to today – wanted to get this in first – but I don’t think it’ll be too much of a slog. One things for sure, I need to sort my sleep routine soon because I hate starting the day so groggy. I just hope that I find my rhythm before the next big upheaval.
Ok so I’ve been crunching the numbers on my word counts, ranging since August 4th, 2019, which is the first time I started to track the numbers with more detail. There were a lot of data points I wanted to pull, but the one I want to focus on is more visual:
So this graph shows my word count average for each month. I have the day-by-day data, but that is less helpful at a glance. A month is arbitrary of course, but I do find my life moves in phases of a month, ‘good months’ and ‘bad months’ and so on. There’s a chance that is unhelpful, and I should ignore the existence of calendars but, that might be too radical even for me. But I think the chart above has one point to make, though I have to clarify something.
In June, I wrote an average of 1,297, the second highest average of the year. I started writing The Wanderer on the 18th, and prior to that, with the exception of 2 days, every day was just-1,000. Granted one of those was my 5,250 word sprint to the finish on The First Stroke, but the word counts after the 18th are a different animal: in 12 days, only two were just-1,000. July and August were both WAN-focused until the 23rd. Of the remaining 8 days of August, 5 were just-1,000. The average word count for August came out as 1,369. Of the remaining 23 days of August, the exact same number – 5 days – came up with just a thousand words.
I think you get the point I’m making. Look at that graph. Now, imagine that I was not writing a novel that I hated so much that every day was a sprint to get past it as fast as possible between June and August. Can you see the trend? Yep, I leveled out at just over 1,100 words. I’m not in a rut; this is where I’m meant to be right now, and that’s ok. I’m not ‘ok’ – there is a lot wrong in my life right now but that’s not for airing here – but I’ve not been giving 1K enough credit: it really is the lone survivor of my mind from 2020.
Pre-lockdown numbers were better than post, which is not the data I expected to see. But what I actually think happened was this: I started doing 1K of main story content a day, and that led me to overcompensate; as I found my feet, I did less of that. I have a natural trend of more words a day that has taken on many different faces over the project: the journal, the blog, my push to edit each day. I am confident in time, my main story content per day will hit a floor of averages of 1,200. In addition to my 1,100 a day on average, I average 320 words of my journal, and 60 of my blog from a rough count, though I could do with a better number there. Combined with the 30 to 50 of my bullet journal each day – even if it is digital right now, I’m writing 1,500 words a day.
So, what’s the point of this post? I keep beating myself up for ‘underperforming’ since the end of lockdown 1.0. It’s not true. I’m outputting about 45,000 words of content a month, which if I focused it would put me in spitting distance of NaNoWriMo in my worst month. I’m knocking it out of the park, and I need to stop beating myself up for it. I’m never going to get the confidence to send off work to publications and publishers if I keep waging this pointless smear campaign. I’ll get there.
Well that was awful.
Every time I manage to get back on my feet this year gut punches me again. Granted this was a smaller punch but trying to work tethered off your phone whilst also performing a three-person negotiation over costings for the electric work that is the reason the power is switched off and is rather loud somewhat adgitated me. I went into today thinking I might manage an AM target. Well, it’s 23:35 as I write this so if I sit on finishing much longer I might yet, just not the kind I wanted…
Breathe deep, move on. I’ll fix it.
Why is six afraid of seven?
Geddit? Because it’s day, you know what never mind…
So I actually wrote about 2 hours ago, and we’ll before my usual midnight rush to blog of the last few days. This is preliminary but I think I’ve found a technique that, if not guarantees earlier targets then certainly creates a better framework. In part I’m cautiously optimistic because I pulled this off despite being emotionally exhausted. It’s been a wretched old time of things lately, and I am quite keen for it to stop being that way very soon.
Screwy emotional states aside, I’m optimistic in general about the pathway forward from here. I know we’re still in semi-lockdown and that there’s plenty of stresses to clear yet, but I am gradually starting to adapt to home wiring better. I have a home office readjustment in the works that might help out there, and I’m also quite keen on applying new rules to more overtly seperate parts of my living space, so work both happens in and stays in its own place.
TWO is coming along well, clearing the 16,000 threshold with ease and well on the way to a potential 18,000 tomorrow. Even if that doesn’t happen, I’m still pretty darn pleased with how it’s gone, and how the pacing appears pretty stable. It’s still the build up chapters bit there’s already a lot of excitement and drama up front, and it only gets more so in my planning. It’s much more of a natural flow than TWR was.
Speaking of TWR I have decided on my current editing plan: I’ll reread it after TWO and then gut it. If that takes away half its wordcount so be it, but I think that’s the best solution for the lack of focus I’m worried 1.0 has. In a way it was what a first draft should be: all potential and no polish. Thinking about it like that makes me feel better about the book as a whole.
It’s funny, I was craving to reread 11/22/63 by Stephen King today and didn’t even notice the date. But then my brain is a teeny bit fried, so not so suprised about that derp. My mood has been, a mixed bag today. Just churning out the last words for today and then I’m gonna crash again. I need to write sooner than this…
The good news is while my sleep and early writing is screwed, my diet leapfrogged and fixed itself, which is helping my head. Even so man, I really need to hit earlier targets. 5pm tomorrow I need to write right away, if not on my break if I can. I have, no idea if I’ll manage that or not.
787. If days of 1K were aeroplanes, it wouldn’t be all that fitting for today to be the Dreamliner, but perhaps it has been a better day. There’s a lot of drama in my life to unpick right now, far too much weight to actually take off, but I have unloaded a lot of that cargo, or at least made a robust plan. I’ll need to shift a lot more before I get back to flying. Right now, that means keeping calm, using my rest time, and getting a steady if not so impressive stream of words each day. 1K is enough. Need to keep telling myself that.
It has not been the most, productive of writing weeks. Ok so yesterday I managed to bank 1,150, and I may stay up and bank over that today, but the average kinda doesn’t lie: 1,072. 1K is Enough, always will be, but a soft average – one that fluctuates a fair but but where the mean long term matches the average short term – should be 1,100. I’m actually considering graphing it because I’m pretty sure I can draw that graph with no raw numbers.
Lockdown 1 – lots of energy and my heightened adgitation made for karge-ish wordcounts. Later, The Wanderer pushed me to a project average of 1,300 a day, which is half way to NaNoWriMo speed.
Intermission – The Whispering Rail, and a story I didn’t realise would dredge up a lot of unpleasant memories of university. Health deteriorating along with no deal fixed plot before I began writing, project average of about 1,040.
Lockdown 2 – burned out from the constant changes, possible house moves and launching into a handwritten book for the first time in over a year. Average of as above, 1,072.
And the thing is, that’s why I’m optimistic. I feel wretched right now sure, but I’m gathering momentum again. I have to remind myself that I wrote WAN as fast as I did because I despise that book, no kidding I got as much done as fast as I could. 1K is a marathon not a sprint. I may sprint to the end of books, but a thousand words to maybe later edit and mold into something worth sharing is and always will be the goal.
It’s been a rough week. They’ve all been rough if I’m honest, but this one, a lot of late nights and email inbox fighting. But I made it, and I’ll keep making it until I’ve drawn this year to a close and begin the next. Is 2021 going to be better? No, not really. There’s so much to untangle and so little I can realistically do to deal with that in advance. But I do have a lighter note to finish on.
I recently celebrated 2Y1K, the second anniversary of this strange little experiment that became my whole life. And, after doing the maths and some careful guesstimation, it appears that I should finish the entirity of The Service to Ore series on or about the 27th of September, 2022 – otherwise known as 4Y1K. That’d be pretty neat, and a chance to begin to write while new stories and adventures. Not the end of 1K of course, but the end of an era, one that today I am over half way towards. That’s cool.
I really need to start writing earlier in the day. It’s a pretty late day in all senses, not least working late, but I’m gonna try and cut that out long term rather than make extra hours the norm. I also need to cut out drinking pre-target, it makes focusing harder especially when I’m tired.
I keep diving into Graveyard Keeper in the evenings rather than writing first. That has to change. It’s not sustainable and I can always play a little later. I think realistically the fact my social life has made 10pm bedtime impractical is why everything has shifted so much, a change I’m less than thrilled about. I can at least say my prose seems to have weathered the fug.
November 19th. In-universe it’s a significant day, the start of something huge in fact. It’s always a strange day for me, given it’s links to both the real and fictional worlds. I just remain thankful I didn’t make like the multiverse and break today, not yet at least.
Man counting words by hand takes a while. It’s satisfying, but it’s also a pain when it’s late at night and you just want to sleep. I knew I’d banked target – in the end 1,150 words so I smashed it in my view – but I only count it when I’ve, well, counted it. That’s a butchered sentence if ever I’ve written one, and I assure you dear imaginary reader I’ve written far more than one.
Tomorrow TWO will hit 10,000 words, a huge milestone and also where I like to seed my catalyst moment. That way on the rewrite I can trim from the beginning and naturally bring that moment to the 8-9k mark. So all in all I feel good, except, well I actually don’t quite know what the catalyst is going to be. I guess I’ll have to mull that tomorrow while finishing the painstaking task of emptying my email inbox.
Also, I’m about to edit the final chapter of TSS, and I think now I’ve reread it I can say it’s my favourite of my stories. I like all of them – excluding The Wanderer – but somehow that one just feels, on point, naturally more polished by virtue of the sheer number of rewrites. So to be honest, I might be rereading that for fun tomorrow. I mean, the main reason I write these is so I can read them. That’s kinda weird isn’t it?