Saturday, March 19, 2016

Writing Pace and a Surprise Discovery


Scott D. Parker

Last week, I wrote about HoursTracker, an app I’m using to keep track of my writing process for my latest novel (A western! Shh! Don’t tell anyone around here.) Anyway, as of yesterday, I had reached 34,000 words. Now, 7,000 of those words were a short story I had already written last year. Doing the math, that leaves 27,000 new words. The time on the app reads 16.23 hours.

In total, I have written in 33 separate sessions. All but two sessions since 1 March have been less than an hour. I have a day job and I don’t have a lot of time to carve out of my various days to write. Tis why I wake up at 5am on weekdays and between 6 and 7am on weekends. The words do add up, given time.

Seeing as how I have a day job, my mind fixates on hours worked. My workdays are nine hours long for nine days and I get every other Friday off. It took me some time to get used to the 9-hour days, but the day off every tenth day is a wonderful benefit.

Now, when I saw the 16.23 hours number, my mind shifted to “day job mentality.” If writing this book were a traditional job, I’d have worked a little over two days. If I assume I go to work Monday at 8am, then, by now, in the writing of this book, I’m just getting coffee on Wednesday morning. My mind immediately shifted to the Big Question: Holy cow! Am I really writing a book this fast? Am I really going to be finishing a novel in a “week”? (I.e., 40 hours).

My mind whirled at the idea of this. Imagine how many books I could write if it were my true day job. Imagine the lifestyle! I could do this.

I ran this info by a fellow writer friend who does do this for a living and has for a long while. He brought me down to earth. “You've got to be young and full of energy or else a freak of nature to do that consistently, though. My theory has always been that you can push yourself way beyond what seems like your normal pace, but only for a limited time.”

My graphic designer friend, David—the one who created the cover for ALL CHICKENS MUST DIE—pointed out something else that probably plays into things. He commented that, since I only have a limited amount of time per day to write, I have to be as efficient as possible. Thus, the likely inflated word count and efficiency of this book.

Still, it’s given me food for thought. What is my true writing pace? What would it really be like to write 9 to 5, five or more days a week? Frankly, I’d love to find out that answer, but I’m not there. Yet.

What’s y’all’s writing pace? How do you (if at all) keep track of your writing?


I actually have 2, but I’ll hold off on one until next week.

So, yesterday, I was flipping through Facebook and ran across a Facebook ad for Rolling Stone. The photo was small and I didn’t recognize the band. Heck, I didn’t even know the band name: The Struts. Anyway, the little one-sentence headline read something like “Blah blah blah blah GLAM ROCK blah blah blah blah.” I honestly can’t remember. All I saw was “Glam Rock.” That’s enough for me. I read the article. [Here’s the link] Hmm, I thought. They sound interesting. The article mentioned Spotify. I’ve got the free version so I headed over there.

I found the album, “Everybody Wants,” and set it to play. The free version of Spotify doesn’t play the albums in order, so I had to suffer the shuffle play.

In retrospect, it would have been nice to note which song I heard first. I can’t remember. From the opening lines of the first song, I was hooked. Shades of the band Slade from the early 70s were all over this song. The second song just kept up the momentum. The lead singer has a way of rolling his Rs just like Freddie Mercury. By the fourth song—this one I know: “Put Your Money on Me”*—I was grinning like a goofball, tapping my foot at my cubicle and bobbing my head. I hadn’t even finished the new LP before I was up and asking my co-workers if they had heard this band and telling them all about the new LP.

I heard The Struts for the first time around 10:00am or so. By 12:40pm on my lunch hour, I had purchased the entire record. The last time an album has so captured my imagination was in 2013 with Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories.

If you like FUN music, unabashedly flamboyant songs as cheeky as they are catchy, and unashamed to tout their artistic influences, The Struts are the band for you.

**Side Note: I *heard* this music before I even saw the band. The music is so fantastic. The presentation, specifically in lead singer Luke Spiller, is over the moon.

Check them out for yourself.

Put Your Money on Me

Could Have Been Me (This appears to be the single)

Kiss This (good concert footage here)

Here's the Amazon link for the new 2016 reissue (with extra songs!)

No comments: