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, April 13, 2008

Status Report: Week Fifteen

Week Fifteen – The Stats

Weekly word count: 18,889

Average: 2,698 words per day (compared to 2,797 last week)

Most productive day: Thursday 10 April, 3,931 words

Least productive day: Tuesday 8 April, 1,969 words

Year-to-date: 277,167 words (6,986 words behind target)

Revised daily word rate required: 2,759 words per day

Just a smidgeon below target this week, but as you can see, the revised target continues to grow. As soon as I hit 2,800 words required per day, it’s officially panic stations. Especially if there’s 200+ days to go. Like a limited overs run chase, the key is to keep in touch, as anything can happen in the last ten. That's what I'm telling myself, anyway.

If anyone ever decides to pull out the calculator and scrutinise these status reports, the first thing they might notice is that the word count attributed to "This Blog" normally exceeds the number of words that are actually published here on a given week. I'm not cooking the books (if I was, would I even bring it up?) - but I do write an average of one blog entry a week which I don't post. Sometimes it's because the post is incomplete (I have a folder of ones to come back to one day) or I don't think anyone should have to read what I began with the best intentions.

Should these abortive efforts still count towards my million words?

Yes, I think so.

For one, I wrote them, didn't I? Just because a short story fails to get published (as no doubt some of this year's crop will), doesn't mean the words were (completely) wasted. There's always something to be learnt.

So too an "unpublished" blog entry.

One failed blog entry actually became the meat of a story I'm working on. So there.

Okay, I've got that off my chest.

Oh, and I almost forgot… after hearing about Janet Frame’s habit of keeping three columns in her notebook for daily word counts—target, actual, and excuse—I noted down my excuses for those days this week that dipped below 2,732 words:

Tuesday (1,969): “Composition is a slow process. Plus: day job, shopping for step-sister’s 21st present, looking for a flat, eating, sleeping… They all take time.”

Wednesday (2,455): “Dentist, post office, long walk, day job etc etc.”

Friday (2,018): “Watched a movie, relaxed.”

Sunday (2,177): “Um.”

I had aimed to write 4,000+ words today. I don’t know what happened.

Temporary moment of sanity, perhaps.


Rachael King said...

Hey Craig, I just read a couple of your archived posts. Great blog. I haven't read enough to find out if you resolved your dilemma about The Mute, but I might have to add to it by telling you that the protagonist of The Sound of Butterflies is also mute. But it's not set in NZ.

Maybe it's too late to say this, but I don't think you should worry too much about what others have written before you, especially if you have finished a whole novel. There will be plenty of people who haven't read the other one you describe (Letham?). Or even heard of him.

Having said that, I do relate. I worked part time on a novel for a year or so and then found one that had more or less exactly the same premise. That convinced me I coudln't write mine. But I read it and the style is completly different even if so many aspects are the same. I just had to think - bugger it. Who cares if anyone thinks I ripped it off. I know I didn't.

Craig Cliff said...

Hi Rachael,

I have not blogged about it but I have resolved my "mute" issue... which was a non issue really, as you point out. But thinking of possible similarities helped push me to really understand this "unresponsive" character (think Robert De Niro's character in Awakenings, before his... awakening) and his role in Novel B.

Rachael King said...

Ah, good to hear you've sorted it out. I'm still intrugued by your band novel. Are you looking to get it published?