Friday, December 1, 2017

November writing wrap-up

November was a rather hectic month. I opted in to NaNoWriMo again, not with a single novel but with the goal of completing a draft of a novella, Base 8, aiming for around 36k, and then using the rest of the 50k to develop my other novel, The Queen's Memory. But I was also going to continue doing the Any Good Thing writing challenge, which is 400 words per day for 5 out of every 7 days. BUT to make things harder (!), I was not going to let my NaNo words count for AGT. Thus, this set me up for needing to write just over 2000 words a day 5 days a week, plus 1667 on the weekends.

It was a crazy month of writing, but I did it. And I am so damn pleased with myself.

I wrote every day in November except for the 11th, which was G.'s birthday and we were in Delft for an SCA event; by the time we got back, late that night, to where we were staying, I was too exhausted to write anything. I wrote fiction every day except for two -- the 11th and one other day when teaching was hard and exhausting and I scraped together about 500 words of admin and nonfiction, and then just couldn't do anything more. If you miss two days of NaNo, it's hard to catch back up, but I did. I overshot the 1667 goal every day after I missed those two, so that when yesterday came around, I had only 1492 words left.

I averaged 2567 words per day over the course of November, and even though there were a few days where I dipped, never did my per-day-calculated average drop below 2k, which I am enormously proud of. One of my goals this year was to prove that I can indulge myself in my fiction writing without sacrificing my academic trajectory, and this is proof.

I wrote 77,034 words last month. Here's how things broke down:

  • Admin: Writing homework assignments and answer keys, letters of recommendation, reports for internal purposes, abstracts for conferences, etc.: 7096 words, about 300 more than last month. That's pretty steady.
  • Nonfiction: 11822 words. This is down from last month, but that's because last month I had a paper deadline that I was frantically writing towards. This month, pretty much all of my nonfiction words went straight in What Is Logic?, the textbook I am writing, which is suddenly reaching a point where the chapters that I primarily use to teach from are basically complete. Next year, I expect to have very little to do/add.
  • Blogs: 8116 words. This is a combination of Mystery Monday posts for the blog of the Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources and reviews for, most of which will be published in February given our current queue, but one post at Medieval Logic and Semantics ended up over 3000 words, and is very nearly a draft of a paper. I almost counted that one as nonfiction rather than blog.
  • Fiction: I did it. 50,000 words, on the dot.
    Base 8 is in a condition where I can almost dignify it with the label "draft". It needs a bunch of scenes woven together; I need to pin down the precise details of the mythology and start working them in from the start; and when I do that, I think one final point of conflict will resolve (in the sense that I will have a point of conflict, rather than have no point at that point, where I need conflict). Then it's just a matter of deepening everyone's relationships, making sure two particular arcs are strong, believable, and organic; getting all the interstitial bits right; and then sending it out to beta readers. The Queen's Memory, on the other hand is now about 14k bigger than it had been (started the month around 5k), with a couple more chapters inserted into the skeleton, but as evidence of the fact that I don't yet have my hands on the grips of a plot, pretty much the majority of that 14k is characters talking. It's a useful exercise, because it has helped me narrow in on what the story is about, but I suspect in the end the vast majority of those words will not make it into the final draft. But, hey, that's what the drafting process -- and NaNoWriMo -- is all about.

I'm going to take it somewhat easier in December, but I would love to aim for the same 400 words of admin/blogs/nonfic five out of every seven days, plus 400-500 words of fiction every day. I've got a couple of short story ideas in mind, and some potential deadlines coming up. But I could also use a bit of a rest!

Here's the comparison of November with September and October. I like the way this increase looks.

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