Posted by on Sep 13, 2018 in Goosed, On Writing: Craft and Commiseration, Pentamerone (Tale of Tales), The Fourth Orange, The Myrtle | 0 comments

I’m kind of torn on tracking my writing goals quarterly. On one hand, grouping them by season makes sense and I like having only four updates to write and post instead of 12 like before. But the downside is that, even though I wrote myself notes, three months is too long for me to remember what the heck I was doing at the start of the quarter so I always end up with an incomplete picture which makes this less useful for me.

Is it still useful for you? Feedback would be much appreciated as being transparent about my writing process for your benefit is 50% of the reason I do these.

Either way, Q3 2018 was one for the record books…literally… as I had two of my highest word count months of ALL TIME!

Let’s break it down…


June

Total Words Written This Month
39,340

New Words Only
36,314

​Overall

While this is a low word count month for normal me, at this point in the year, this was the highest word count month of this whole too busy / no writing time / scattered brain year so far. This surprised me because it was Summer and I usually get even less than usual done in Summer because I’m running around being cruise director for my kids and also because I really wasn’t working on much of anything. Most of June was taken up by trying to transfer my web hosting over, which was a nightmare, and otherwise just writing blog posts and other things to try to organize my life and figure out how to refine my writing process while I waited for various web host related files to upload / transfer / etc.

Completed

  • I finally changed my web host which is something I have been meaning to do for a very long time

Also worked on…

  • I dabbled with a few of my various works in progress and outlined my eBay Memoir project and a few blog posts I wanted to write during Camp NaNoWriMo but it was otherwise chill personal and project level journalling.

This month in writing summed up by a GIF…


July

Total Words Written This Month
93.091

New Words Only
78,340

I talked about this month in greater detail in my Camp NaNoWriMo debrief but here’s the highlights for posterity: I finished writing a project that’s been on my To Write list for ages, wrote a ton of blog posts, and wrote so many words that this was my fourth biggest word count month OF ALL TIME and my 2nd highest word count month OF ALL TIME if you don’t count editing.

Completed

  • my “eBay Memoirs”
  • a ton of blog posts (enough to keep The Whine Seller active for a full year!)
  • ​Outlined a NaNoWriMo Prep book

Also worked on…

  • some big picture project management level stuff

This month in writing summed up by a GIF…


August

Total Words Written This Month

75,260

New Words Only

45,893

Overall

I was coming off a real high from July where I felt like my old self again, having gotten my writing mojo back but I was also realistically looking at my word count in July as a fluke. But I had formed a plan to try to finish two books by the end of August so I hit the ground running. It wasn’t until mid month when I passed 50,000 words without even noticing that I realized this was going to be another huge month and, sure enough, this one ended up in my word count Hall of Fame too.

You’ll notice that this month didn’t rank that high for New Writing Only and that’s because it ended up very editing heavy. See, I started this month out trying to write two NaNoWriMo books in time for this fall so that I would have something new to promote when I was running around doing all these talks and events for NaNoWriMo anyway. Regular readers know I’ve been trying to take all the material I’ve generated over the years about NaNoWriMo and compile them into books for a long time but this time I finally knew exactly how to go about it. And, though it was an almost impossibly tight deadline, I really thought I could get it done in time.

And I would have too, if it wasn’t for those meddling oranges!​

Ironically, after spending almost all year trying to force myself to finish The Fourth Orange full length with no success, when I finally gave up on finishing that play this summer and committed to working on the NaNo books my brain was like, “Heeeeey, oranges, how you doing?” And I hesitated for a minute (because it’s rarely a good idea to abandon something to chase a plot bunny) but, in the end, I realized that, of the two, I would much rather finish Fourth Orange and jumped ship. So after writing a big old pile of words toward the NaNo book, I then spent the second half of the month in the incredibly confusing. unnecessarily complicated world of The Tale of Tales, revising three versions of four different plays all at the exact same time and slowly losing my mind.

BUT, it was worth it and I FINALLY FINISHED THE FULL LENGTH! This is a huge fat honkin’ deal for me and the culmination of 5+ years of work and I am so incredibly proud of this play and can’t wait to show it to the whole world ahhhhhhhh!

Ahem.

Once that epic project was done, I was going to jump right back into the NaNo books and try for the now-even-tighter-since-I-took-all-those-weeks-off-to-edit-the-play deadline to get them done for this year when I was finally like, woman, why would you do that to yourself? So, instead, I’m going to just work on those NaNo books in the background whenever I’m between projects (maybe even for NaNoWriMo itself) with the aim of getting them out for next year’s event.

Completed

Also worked on…

  • new and (and hopefully final) version of Arm Candy
  • The Months (got it ready to edit)
  • took notes for a couple of short play ideas I’ve been playing with

This month in writing summed up by a GIF…


Yearly Word Count Goal Progress

Overall Word Count for the Year
396,488 / 350,000 words (113%)

New Writing Only
279,715

Status
I blew past my goal for the whole year this quarter so I upped it to 500,000. Now I’m a little bit ahead on the new goal and there’s still NaNoWriMo to go!

This was a really good summer, possibly one of the best of my life (political turmoil aside, of course). I had a great time swimming and playing with the kiddos and trying to make the most of everything before the big one started full time school for the first time ever. I was pretty upset about that looming deadline because it felt like the end of our endless Mama and Little time at home together. But it turns out she really loves school and it’s nice to have calm alone time with the baby while she’s gone and so, while I miss her and the days when we could do whatever we wanted together, change is not always a bad thing.

A theme of this year has been trying to find some kind of balance between sleeping and working and the struggle continues. All the issues that have plagued me ​this year remain the same and I finally realized they weren’t going to change. I decided to stop fighting the late nights and just embrace that they are the only time I really have to work uninterrupted so I might as well use them for as many days as I can. So my writing time has become 10:30 PM to 12:30 AM every day. I take evenings off where I can to catch up on sleep (which never works because the baby is up all night anyway) and try to make up the rest by napping with the baby whenever the chance arises but otherwise, coffee is my friend. It’s not ideal but it’s what works for now so I gotta use it.

It’s also a silly little thing but I’ve been doing a streak challenge which normally I wouldn’t even attempt because I can’t deal with writing every day but because I can write on both sides of midnight and count it for both days, I’ve been doing it by at least writing every other day and that’s added up to a whole ton of words. Funny how when you write more often, you end up with more total words!

One perk of this new schedule, though, is that I don’t have the usual struggle of work / leisure that I used to have because now I often do something for leisure with my husband while he is awake and then go up and work when he goes to sleep. This is a good system because it gives me a chance to do something fun and unwind a bit before sitting right down to work so my brain is fresher and also lets me hang out with my husband who I otherwise never get to hang out with (and who is incapable of not interrupting me every five seconds if I try to write while he is up anyway).

Relatedly, I am beginning to suspect when they diagnosed me with insomnia what I actually have is Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS). Because I CAN fall sleep… as long as it’s around midnight. Any earlier, and it doesn’t matter how tired I am, I’m just staring at the ceiling for hours. DSPS means your sleep schedule is simply off by several hours from what society deems normal but that you can sleep just fine for eight hours if those eight hours are like 1 am to 9 AM. Of course, my kids get up for the day between 5 and 6 AM and the baby is often up for an hour or two before that so I can’t truly embrace what my body wants but the mid morning nap helps and this way I can use that second wind I get at around 8 PM to write rather than trying to fight it.

And, fact is, as ugly as this schedule looks on paper, you can’t deny the results. I feel like I’m having more fun and husband time and I’m getting a lot more done than before and I can nap with the baby during the day guilt free (and baby naps are A+). And the fact that I made the progress that I did on those plays was a tremendous feeling and a big weight off. After literally years of struggling to get this thing done, to have it out the door makes me feel unstoppable.

Up Next

I’ve gotten this far by not really looking too far ahead so I’m going to keep with that. Fall is always a huge word count season because of NaNoWriMo and I feel a little more on top of NaNo this year so I’m hoping I can take some time to outline something to work on so I’m not just floundering. While it feels like cheating to do non-fiction, I can’t deny that getting both those NaNoWriMo books and knocking a few of the other non-fiction books off  my to write list would feel pretty darn good.

But, for now, what I’m doing is weird but it’s working so I’m going to try to keep going and see where that takes me!