A theme in these monthly writing status updates is me saying, “I feel like I accomplished nothing this month!” and then posting a really big word count and this month is no exception. And I mention it because I’m starting to suspect this is not just a hang-up that I have but rather something that all creative people struggle with.
How do you really measure progress in the creative arts? If you worked on things but didn’t put anything out that you could publish or sell that month, isn’t that still progress? But it’s hard to feel like it is when everyone else seems to be showing off fancy book deals and cover reveals and other tangible goods made of words.
This is, of course, my obsession with the monthly numbers. Because no matter how I FEEL about my progress for the last month, the numbers do not lie and they keep me from getting down by reminding me that forward motion is always happening, whether I feel like it is or not.
Let’s take a look at those numbers, shall we?
Here’s what October 2017 looked like in writing…
Total Words Written This Month
Average Words Per Day
22,413 words (which was what I needed to hit the yearly goal)
524,764 / 500,000 (105%)
- All The NaNoWriMo ML stuff!
Other Works Actively in Progress this Month:
- The Fourth Orange full length
- the Carlo Gozzi adaptation that shall not be named
- a NaNo prep book
This month was mostly spent doing work for NaNoWriMo, prepping for talks, writing pep talks ahead of time, answering all the emails in the universe (and finally writing form letters for the FAQ stuff to save myself time in the future), stuff like that. I also prepped myself some things I could work on next month which included some prep work for the adaptation that shall not be named and my other pet silly commedia project. I’m also still desperately trying to do the last pass through of 4th Orange full length which has been hard to work on because of a) lack of sleep / brain power needed for final editing and b) lack of Scrivener on my tablet (which is how I’ve had to work most days because of cute but needy baby). That particular project is driving me mad because I am only a few hours away from calling it done if I could just actually get a few hours in a row at my computer when no one needed me for NaNo stuff or various child rearing reasons. Trying to be zen about it and take a it’ll get done when it gets done philosophy but it’s really hard because I just want to be finished with it and I am so close why can’t I just gahhhhh.
Word count wise, not my worst month, not my best. It’s actually one of my wordiest Octobers which is not too shabby considering baby, all the NaNo prep and the fact that we went on a mini vacation on my birthday week during which I got nothing written (but had a really nice time with my little family which is always A+).
The most noteworthy thing is that I passed my word count goal for the year. Again. It was originally the meager 200,000 words that I struggled to hit after my first daughter was born and then I raised it to 500,000 when I hit that goal early. My average output is 443,224 words for the year in the six previous years I did this so it seemed like a reasonable goal in this unpredictable post-baby year but I didn’t really expect to hit it. But, without really noticing, I did and early which is…
I mean, it feels like bragging to sit here and be like, I wrote all this, crow crow crow but the fact is, I really totally don’t feel like I’m getting ANYTHING done on a day-to-day basis so I’m not so much bragging here as stating a fact that I am super shocked about. People say, “I don’t know how you’re doing all this with a newborn!” and the fact is NEITHER DO I. So I hope you’re not reading this like, that Hillary, so full of herself and understand that I’m actually just completely dumbfounded that the words keep happening somehow despite seemingly losing all my writing time and life these days being like running on a treadmill while someone throws pineapples at your head and some of the pineapples are on fire.
I’m going into NaNoWriMo having already met my yearly goal so whatever I write in November is just a bonus which does take a lot of the pressure off. BUT, all these lovely numbers aside, while I have kept the pen moving and kept the word count going this year, it hasn’t always been on the right things. So a lot of the things I hoped to finish this year aren’t done yet (because of the aforementioned flaming pineapples) and that’s a thorn in my side. Maybe I’ll remedy some of that this November, maybe not.
I outlined my goals for November in this post but, the TL; DR is that I’m going to try to knock out a zero draft of a project I’ve had in my head for a while called The Months and then just try to make forward progress on a bunch of other small things that are close to finished. Hope to use the month as an excuse to get a lot done, even if it’s not all on one project.
I can’t believe I’ve almost reached the end of my writing year!