There are many times I feel like I’m not getting anywhere with my writing. Or, to be more specific, that I’m not getting anywhere fast enough. Like writing a novel is some kind of race, and I’m forever having to stop to tie my shoe.
This feeling came over me a couple of days ago. I’ve been struggling lately. Three and a half weeks of school holidays meant I was exhausted by the end of the day, falling into bed with a grateful thought to the teachers who somehow manage to entertain and teach 21 six-year-olds every single day without, apparently, resorting to alcohol.
Then school started and I fell sick. For eight days.
Then six-year-old Big Brother developed a crazy high fever and was sick for four days.
And through all this, my writing suffered. I’d sit down at night, for my hour of creative time, and I’d have nothing. I was too drained to think, let alone create interesting and comical scenes for an increasingly complex story.
At the end of July, I missed my monthly writing goal by almost 10,000 words. And all those feelings of insecurity and guilt and why-do-I-do-this-anyway-ness crept over me like a thick, woolly blanket. Comfortable and familiar and stifling.
So I took a deep breath, and looked back over the my writing calendar.
You see, at the end of every day I feel in a calendar with how many words I wrote for the day, how many words I’ve written for the month so far, and my updated daily word count goal. It looks something like this:
At first glance, it looks pretty dismal. The green highlights are the days I hit my target. There’s not a lot of them some months.
But then I got to thinking. And to adding. And to working out some stats.
And suddenly, the world didn’t seem quite so bleak.
In the last six months, from the 1st of January to the 31st of July, I have written a total of 103,000 new words.
Over a hundred thousand words.
That astounds me.
And some more stats:
- On average, I’ve written 5 out of every 7 days.
- I’ve written an average of 670 words per writing day.
- Those words have been written on a combination of two novel manuscripts (one finished, one >< close to being finished), and a short story.
Over the last six months, I’ve really developed my style and my voice, and I’ve turned writing from something I want to do, into something I do do. Plus, I’ve discovered a secret love of outlines. (Shhh!)
And do you know what the most amazing thing about all that is?
I’ve done it all in one hour a day.