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

Monday, September 1, 2008

Status Report: Week Thirty-Five

Week Thirty-Five – The Stats

Weekly Wordcount: 22,753 words (compared to 18,199 words last week)
Average: 3,250 words per day (compared to target of 3,001/day)
Most productive day: Wednesday 27 August, 4,771 words
Least productive day: Friday 29 August, 1,054 words
Year-to-date: 571,505 words (95,162 words behind target)

Don’t tear up your tickets just yet. Week thirty five’s average output of 3,250 words per day was the highest since, wait for it, Week One. And that was only a six day week as 2008 began on a Tuesday. And back in 2008 I wasn’t working full-time. Heck, I wasn’t even working part-time.

What was I doing?

Actually, the question I should be asking is what have I been doing since Week One? And how come I can knock out nearly 23,000 words while working full-time this last week?

The answer, my friend, ain’t blowing in the wind. It’s glaringly obvious. But still. Here it is, the earth-shattering revelation: having a specific goal helps you write more. Patent Pending.

But seriously, you get yourself into something as meaningless and difficult as writing 1,000,000 words in a year, and after six months, you can trot out 2,000 words a day on autopilot. And in a way this is great. Any other year I would have completed season after season as the Dolphins on Madden or watched every season of 24 on DVD, but instead I wrote whatever I could be bothered writing. The net result (from June to mid-August) is only two or three promising stories and a 10-15 (a surprising amount) of poems I’m happy with, which, in the great wash up, is a whole lot better than playing playstation or watching tele… if you want to be taken seriously as a writer.

That wee proviso is actually quite important. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with consuming culture—after all, without consumers of books, where would writers be?*—but I do believe dedication to the craft is important and involves sacrifices.

I sound like a tosser right now, so I’ll change the subject, slightly.

My goal, as mentioned alluded to last week, is to ‘finish’ my short story collection before we go to Greece.

And by jove, I’m almost there. I sound like a tosser right now, so I’ll stop talking like a WWI fighter pilot (Sopwith Camel, of course).

Here are the graphs. Excuse me while I revel in their beauty.


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*answer: facilitating creative writing workshops.**

**This joke may come back to bite me.

1 comment:

dan said...

nice work cheeks! don't go trying to be the next biggles, there can be only one.