While living and working in Edinburgh in 2008 I set out to write one million words in 366 days... but only managed 800,737.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Status Report: Week Eight

Week Eight – The Stats

Weekly word count: 20,018 words

Average: 2,860 words per day (compared to 2,853 last week)

Most productive day: Sunday 24 Feb, 4,479 words

Least productive day: Friday 22 Feb, 1,754 words

Year-to-date: 159,580

Astute, regular visitors will have noticed something above. That’s right, the reappearance of Novel A in the weekly pie after a month M.I.A.

What got me to back on that particular Clydesdale? I came up with a new angle. After tapping out a few hundred words, I paused to write the following:

By jove I think I’ve cracked it. (Yes, this is how I actually write to myself.) A way to ground the story and simultaneously untether it from the pesky demands of realism… It’s unique, voice driven, speculative, out-there, heart-felt, cool. I’m there. I’m really there. Tonight I will write 6000 words. Tomorrow I will write 4000 words. In the weekend I will write Bhutan. I know the narrator’s worlds and Mike’s world. It’s time to Kerouac it out. No fear. No sunk costs.

Ahem. Well, I got to 3,000 words, then the doubt set in. Like, is it such a good idea to start so many sentences with Maybe? Wasn’t it better before I started tampering with frame narrations?

So I went back to working on short fiction. Did I chickened out? Yeah. But I’ll get back to it.

I’m writing and reading more short fiction than I have at any time in my life so far, and I’m enjoying it.

Does enjoyment = good fiction? Not always. But I don’t think you have to starve in a garret suffering from syphilis, insomnia, a broken heart and an unshakeable self-hatred to write good fiction. It might help in some cases, but I’m going to leave that as a last resort.

2 comments:

Laura said...

Can you please add a 'stats a la cricket' section to your stats?

Y'know like words remaining, days remaining, required word rate, current word rate... (can't think of an analogy for wickets in hand)

Craig Cliff said...

I'll definitely do it for week nine (though it being winter, cricket is the farthest thing from my mind).

I can't promise it will be come a regular feature, as looking too much at what's left could be counter-inspirational.