So, going back to my goals for this year, I decided to do a quick monthly round-up of what I’ve written and read to keep myself accountable and share any squee-worthy moments. Also, yes, this does involve insane color-coding and overall keeping track of all the things. It’s how I roll.
My Stats for January:
- Goal: 500 words/day
- Total word goal for January: 10,000
- Total Words written: 16,928
- Total writing days: 18
- Average words/writing day: 940
- Best writing day: January 30 (3,044 words)
I know that writing almost 17k in a month may not be a ton for a working author (It would definitely mean I’d fail at NaNoWriMo), but for me, this is huge, especially after months and months (well, let’s face it, years, really) of jacking fucking shit. So yeah, I’m pretty stoked about this.
What really helped me get there were two three things:
- Keeping track of my wordage. You probably saw me Tweet about how much I was writing and how long it took me to write that much on Twitter. Write or Die has been invaluable in this. As have clear and more importantly manageable time limits. Most of these words were written in 30 to 45-minute increments, because sitting down for hours at a time would have been really daunting. 30 minutes? Totally doable.
- Knowing what I was writing. I’m about 50/50 in my plotting vs. pantsing ratio right now, but having a solid, finished outline, knowing how my book was going to end and having that quick little note card in Scrivener telling me where my WIP was headed in that particular chapter? Priceless.
- Finally, and probably most importantly, shutting up my Inner Impostor Syndrome. It’s been an on-going battle, but this month I consciously focused on keeping a positive mindset in regards to writing. I didn’t let the negativity get to me and whenever I did feel like freaking the fuck out, I walked away, often literally going for a run or a workout (see those orange dots on my calendar?) and got my brain off it for a little while. Once I was done running in mental circles, I could come back to it and get those words out.
My goal for next month is to top that. Right now my WIP Mental Note clocks in at 25,017 words. By the end of February, I want to add 20,000 words to that. Which means about 5k a week. That’s doable.
That’s another thing: keeping expectations manageable. I’m ambitious and I’ve let those ambitions get me way too stressed out in the past, so instead of saying I’ll totally add 25 or even 30k to this draft, I’ll say let’s up the wordage, but also take things like long, long teaching days, parent-teacher-conferences, my wife’s birthday and the fact that February is a short month into account, so 20,000 it is.
Right now I’m on track to finish this book by the end of May, but I’m hoping to top that deadline, too.
- Goal: 8 books/month toward a total of 100 this year
- Total books read: 12
- Titles read:
- Libba Bray – The Diviners (YAs during the Jazz Age and supernatural powers! Yes, please!)
- Rachel Aaron – 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love (I blogged about this before, but wow, was this book worth the $0.99. It much exceeded its price point in incredibly valuable advice.)
- Robin Talley – Lies We Tell Ourselves (This was a hard, hard book to read about desegregations and interracial lesbian love in 1959, but this has definitely been my favorite book this month.)
- Katherine Boo – Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (This was a re-read, because I am currently teaching it, but I fell even more in love with this book, its characters and the vivid language Boo uses to tell their stories. This book resists reductive readings, which is why it’s so important.)
- V. E. Schwab – A Darker Shade of Magic (Listened to the audio version in preparation for A Game of Shadows – only three more weeks!)
- Daniel Jose Older – Midnight Taxi Tango (DJ Older has Carlos’ voice down. Love the voice and overall commentary of this series.)
- Jennifer Walkup – This Ordinary Life (This was a super quick read and I loved how I could just curl up with it and get my radio show geek/romance love on.)
- K.A. Stewart – A Line in the Sand (Jesse James Dawson, Book 5) (I love this series and its characters. This one definitely packed some punch that makes me wan the next book NOW!)
- Jim Butcher – Dead Beat (Dresden Files, Book 7) (This has been my on-going audio re-read or should I say re-listen? Still one of my favorite series.)
- Gail Carriger – Etiquette & Espionage (I’ve finally started this series and it’s like Steampunk Hogwarts. A school on a dirigible! Yes, please!)
- Jonathan Watford – Forties Fashion: From Siren Suits to the New Look (I read this in the name of novel research, but it’s a quick and utterly fascinating read through the entanglement of fashion with WWII history. Awesome research accomplished!)
- Nina Croft – Break Out (Vampire spaceship captains. Um. Need I say more?)
That’s it for me for January. It’s been a long month in many ways, but one hell of a productive one. Let’s see if February can top that. I’m up to keep the trend going.
Let me know if you have any tips on how to keep the momentum going or any new books to check out. Right now C. S. Pacat’s Captive Prince series is on my radar.
Cheers and happy writing (and reading)!