Saturday, August 31, 2013

Just Showing Up + End of Summer Report

Scott D. Parker

I'll admit something: this past week's writing was a struggle. I still managed a thousand words a day, but they were words that I all but had to force out of me. But, here's the thing I learned: they would have stayed inside of me had I not sat down in front of the Mac and wrote.

It goes without saying that the only way to write is to write. Duh. For all the imagineering you do in your head, if you are not writing down words in some form or fashion, you are not writing. Case in point was Tuesday morning. I've settled in on a 5:30am wake up time. That gives me roughly 30 minutes for writing before the rest of the house wakes up. It's not the hour I prefer, but, then again, I also prefer to be awake and alert and healthy. I found that, in nearly two weeks of getting up at 5am, it was catching up with me. Health-wise, I needed the extra time. So, I compromised with myself: wake up at 5:30, get half an hour's worth of writing done. If I hit 1,000, great. If not, I have all day to get to that point.

Tuesday was bad. I was dead tired. It was the day, frankly, where I realized that 5am was too early. The words. Just. Did. Not. Come. Ugh. I clawed and scraped for them, but I got nearly 650 or so. Here's where truth dawned on me. In the past, I would have just shut down. "Oh, the words aren't coming? Well, the book must be crap." Shelve it and move on to the next. That was how I operated up until this summer. And I experienced the same type of progress with this book, too. Excellent pace on the first half, then, the slower middle part (where I am now). I've got 232 pages of this book written, 47,800 words. This time, unlike in the past, I made progress. I put down words and then more words. And the only way I did that was to sit down and do it.

Again, this isn't rocket science nor is it anything new. But, in the Summer of Progress, this Summer of Learning, it was an eye-opener for me. Just get through it. Just show up, and you will make progress. I've already made a good amount of hard-to-see progress. Take this for example. The 47,800 words in this second book have all come in August. That figure beats my June figure (34,000) but not my July pace (73,000). At the 29-day mark of the first book this summer, I had only written 32,560. That's an improvement of just over 15,000 words. It's a combination of factors that have me writing more words. One, I'm simply getting better at typing faster and getting words down. Two, I'm insisting to myself that I write at least 1,000 words per day. Motivation makes Progress. The numbers add up. They start to take hold of you and they propel you forward.

End of Summer Report

What about all those words? When Memorial Day dawned, I made the commitment to write every day. As of this morning, 31 August, I'm up to 97 straight days of writing. In that time, I've written 158,990. By Labor Day, I will have crested the 50,000 word mark in this second book.

My goal for the summer was to write and complete stories. The way I was going to do that was write a story a week. Then, after getting to "the end" on several stories, I was going to tackle a novel again. It didn't work out that way. In fact, it flipped. I completed a novella on 2 June, then another short story seven days later. Then I wrote 93,000 new words on a novel and completed it. I wrote 47,800 on a second novel and expect to complete it within the month. And I will have turned in a short story for an anthology. Not the progress I expected, but I'll take it. In fact, it's been better than I expected.

August Monthly Stats:

    Minimum threshold: 21,700 (700/day for 31 days)
    Total words: 50,901
    Difference: 29,201 words above the minimum
    Average: 1,599/day
    Best day: 2,929 (11 Aug)
    Worst: 1,002 (1 Aug)
    Items worked on: Chapter 1-20 of Book 2; short story for anthology.
    Number of consecutive days writing: 97 day (All summer long!)
        Number of consecutive 1,000-word days: 59

For those of y'all that made summer 2013 goals, did you achieve them?

1 comment:

David Cranmer said...

All that and you work at BEAT to a PULP. A one man tango you are.