Accountability Roundup: What I wrote and read in May

Every month I post these I feel like I really should have a spreadsheet for my word count tally instead of adding up numbers from my calendar on my phone’s calculator. Then I remember why I don’t do spreadsheets for this. For me, there’s just something about tactile planning. I am a techy person who has notebooks, but hardly ever writes in them. My iPad or laptop are constantly with me and I’m all over productivity apps, which totally is another post in the making. But I love planning on paper. I have a paper planner (did you KNOW they make coloring book planners?! I was SO excited to learn this, of course I had to buy one!) and keep myself accountable with a magnetic calendar and differently colored magnets above my desk. YMMV, but this is what works best for me.

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Accountability Roundup for May.

Anyway, so May! This month was pretty crazy. The school year was winding down, I was about to start my master’s degree–and, yes, I finished writing a book! For a while, I thought it wasn’t going to happen with all the teacher stress and general life stress compounding into a big ball of anxiety about life, the universe, and everything, but in the end I managed to make my deadline–a full eight days early! MENTAL NOTE is clocking in at just over 75,000 words, which is a bit on the lean side for me, but that’s good because now I get to take it all apart, work out plotting kinks and actually turn it into something readable. Hopefully over the summer. But first I had to let it sit for a week and take a few days completely off writing. Well, not completely, given how I am pathologically incapable of taking a break from words, but as you can see on my calendar and my Goodreads profile, I got some reading in, I organized my bookshelves rainbow-style, and yes, I started that master’s degree of mine which seemed hugely overwhelming at first, but thanks to obsessive, color-coded planning actually looks quite manageable (Remind me of this whenever I’m about to hit my stress ball wall again, okay?).

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Look at the pretty! #BookRainbow

Anyway, here are my numbers for May:

Writing:

  • Goal: 500 words/day
  • Total word goal for May: FINISH THE DRAFT (~12,000 words and some change)
  • Total Words written: 12,699
  • Total writing days: 13
  • Average words/writing day: 977
  • Best writing day: May 23 (1,612 words)

One pattern I noticed is that I write more productively if I get a good start at the beginning of the month. Reaching at least my 500 words a day goal, let alone exceeding it, gives me a huge boost that helps me keep going. Another thing that has really helped me is getting the Productive app that reminds me if I haven’t gotten my 30 minutes worth of writing in during a day. Though honestly as you keep going, much like running or exercise, daily writing becomes a habit and it felt weird to take a whole week off to just let things simmer. But now I can dive back into things and make it all shiny, so, it’s worth it!

Reading:

  • Goal: 8 books/month toward a total of 100 this year
  • Total books read in May: 12
  • Titles read:
    • Rachel Caine – INK AND BLOOD: So much love! Cannot wait until book two comes out in July. This is like Harry Potter meets The Book Thief with book smuggling, spies, and treason. I loved, loved, loved it!
    • Jim Butcher – CHANGES (The Dresden Files, Book 12): Making steady progress of my re-listen of the series and loved how well plotted this one was in particular. Holy cliffhanger ending. This one gets huge points for awesome plotting!
    • Barbara Ann Wright – PALADINS OF THE STORM LORD: Humans gain superpowers and become Gods waging epic battles in space!
    • Michael Darling – GOT LUCK: Loved the noir tone and Dresden Files-esque narrative here.
    • Meredith Russo – IF I WAS YOUR GIRL: I read this book in one sitting. Love this trans girl’s story told from a trans woman’s perspective. Russo gets it right. I’m adding this to my class library.
    • Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples – SAGA, Volume 6: No, it’s not out yet, but I tend to binge-read my Comixology subscriptions because I can’t just wait for a month to see what happens next. This is my favorite comic series ever.
    • Evangeline Denmark – CURIO: The world building in this book was so cool! Seriously, porcelain people. This is like dystopian steampunk mixed with evil alchemists.
    • Jacqueline Koyanagi – ASCENSION: I loved the cover and premise of this book and really wanted to love it. Alas, the slow, meandering plot left me kind of meh.
    • Renee Ahdieh – THE ROSE & THE DAGGER: I loved THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, but this sequel was even better. This doesn’t happen very often, but I positively devoured it. The prose is gorgeous as is the entire book.
    • Alex London – GUARDIAN (Proxy, #2): I really, really liked the breakneck pace of PROXY and GUARDIAN follows through by keeping it up and introduces Liam as a compelling new character. Recommend.
    • Jim Butcher – GHOST STORY (The Dresden Files, Book 13): This could have been an awfully cliched book but it’s so not. Well done, Butcher. *applauds*
    • Marie Rutkoski – THE WINNER’S CURSE: With book three just out, everyone was talking about this book and I quite liked it, especially the reversals within the story, but also wanted a little more.

So, yes, May was an excellent month for reading and writing! And now it’s summer and despite master’s degree homework I plan to keep this up. So here are my goals for June:

  • Take apart MENTAL NOTE and re-plot; finish and polish a synopsis, possibly write a query and begin revising this draft. Ideally I would like to get 20-25k into this.
  • Keep reading all the things. Haha, I know that’s vague, but I hope to read at least 10 books each month during summer, including some books on craft.
  • Get back into regular exercise. I’m pretty terrible at it, but I’ve missed my Zumba and Bolly X classes, but I’m committed to getting back into it, at least three times a week.
  • Write at least one blog post a week. Possibly two. I’ve been getting better about keeping this space updated, but there are lots of things I want to talk about on here, so I’m making some time to do so. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it.

Anyway, it’s summer! It’s June! It’s Pride Month and my nails are sparkly rainbow! What are your summer plans and goals? Tell me all the things!

Happy Writing!

Alex