Posted by on Aug 20, 2015 in On Writing: Craft and Commiseration, WoC, Word Count Updates and Writing Goals | 0 comments

Funny how the business of being a writer always seems to get in the way of the actual writing. Between some personal stuff cutting into the time I have to work and all the little administrative stuff there is to do for the launch of The Green Bird, I’m rather behind on my word count. Well, “behind” may be a matter of opinion but let me give you a quick word count update. (No potato since those seem to be slowing down the site. I have a nifty new progress bar for these updates as you’ll see below.)


potato photo

Instead of a potato word count update, here’s Mr. Potato Head looking sketchy with some books.

Here’s where I am for the year…

[wppb progress=458891/600000]
458,891 out of 600,000 words, 76% complete

All good, right? Well, no, because here’s where I am for this month…

[wppb progress=18231/50000]
18,231 out of 50,000 words

In addition to my yearly goal, my secondary goal this year was to try to hit 50,000 words every month. I’ve got 31,769 words left this month to write if I’m going to hit that count and, while it’s not impossible, it’s a lot of words to make up with only a week and change left. In the big picture, I’m still on pace because there have been plenty of months already when I went well passed 50k so I’ve got a cushion but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to keep my streak going and get another 50k month under my belt.

Beyond all the writerly business there was to do and personal whatnot, the other big reason this month has been a bust writing wise is that I’ve been forcing myself to work on something I just wasn’t feeling but would have meant more income instead of following the project I was passionate about but that was, literally, a harder sell and that was making every word that much harder to get out. I’ll talk about this more in a future post but, for now, I’ll distill it down to one simple lesson: Writing is much easier when you’re working on something you’re excited about.

For the year as a whole, here’s how my writing is broken down so far…

Fiction 62%
Non-Fiction 38%
All Focused 75%
Free 25%
Prose 52%
Non-fiction 17%
Playwrighting 31%

What immediately jumps out at me is that, not only is 3/4 of my writing Focused, Fiction is kicking Non-fiction’s butt and I don’t think that’s ever been the case before. Most worrisome, though, is that 52% of my writing for the entire year has been Prose, and almost all of that the endless rewrites I’ve done on that Polar Twilight novel adaptation, and I don’t really have anything to show for that yet. I’ve made progress but nothing that’s contributing to my income. Contrast that with the 31% of my writing time that I spent on plays which represents a majority of my writing income right now and the wee little 17% I’ve spent on NF which is another big solid chunk of my income. There’s such a fine line between doing what you want to do and actually making money doing it and it’s a balance I struggle with daily.

What’s also interesting to me is that this is the first month all year that I haven’t written a single word of Prose and it’s also the first month where I actually managed a 1/3 split between the other three categories. I haven’t really been working towards those percentages this year other than to just keep an eye on them but it’s still interesting.

Overall? I’m… confused. Because there’s no doubt this has been a productive and profitable year of writing so far and it’s felt like I made a lot of big leaps forward in my process and career. This isn’t just the most I’ve ever written in a year, it’s also the most I’ve finished and moved, so to speak. But as some income has increased, other has dropped off and I’m not sure if it’s me or the market making that happen. Last year I had so much success with project hopping but this year I’ve been mostly sticking to just one thing at a time and that’s sort of working too. I usually look at my writing stats and know exactly what I need to do going forward and, right now, I’m still writing, projects are still getting done and moving out, but I feel strangely adrift as to whether I should keep doing what I’m doing or make changes.

The only takeaway I get from this is that, no matter how well things are going or how fine-tuned your system is, there must always be some level of this doubt. Am I doing it right? Is there another way I should be doing it? And I don’t think anyone ever truly knows the answer, they just keep writing in the meantime, hoping it will all work itself out.

Photo by Enokson