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.