2020 Update #11

At the start of the year, I set myself a series of goals for my writing year. You can find them here: https://jamesrowlandwriter.wordpress.com/2020/01/05/2020-a-year-of-goals/ – One such goal was to do a weekly update measuring myself against the goals so as to provide myself with some self-imposed oversight. 

Update #11

A very brief update as we push up against the end of the week. I’m about to settle into a life of social distancing here in New Zealand, working from home as the Covid-19 situation continues to threaten.

However, some writing has continued on. I wrote 3,186 words this week, which means that I’m now at 10,964 for the month and pass the 10,000 goal with plenty of days to spare. About 70% of that was from a new short story, which is nearly finished so as to make sure I keep up with the “finish 1 short story a month” goal.

The other 30% has been the novel. Coming up to 80,000 words now and getting to the climax. April should see it done.

Stay safe, everyone!

2020 Update #10

At the start of the year, I set myself a series of goals for my writing year. You can find them here: https://jamesrowlandwriter.wordpress.com/2020/01/05/2020-a-year-of-goals/ – One such goal was to do a weekly update measuring myself against the goals so as to provide myself with some self-imposed oversight. 

Update #10

Just another really small update. Again, it’s been a week of just slowly working along the novel, and making sure to write at least 15 minutes a day. The key thing is I can see the finish line of the novel approaching and I should definitely meet that goal to have a first draft done by the end of April.

Number wise:

  • 3,095 words for the week;
  • 7,778 for the month; and
  • 30,859 for the year.

The exciting thing about that number is that because I love my statistics and I have a nerdy spreadsheet for my writing, I know that at this point in 2019 I had written 20,212 words and in 2018 I had written 18,760. So I’m writing a lot more this year, which is fantastic.

I’ll have to think about the “write one finished story a month” non-negotiable monthly goal soon, but I think I have a short and sweet story to work on for that while continuing on the novel.

2020 Update #9

At the start of the year, I set myself a series of goals for my writing year. You can find them here: https://jamesrowlandwriter.wordpress.com/2020/01/05/2020-a-year-of-goals/ – One such goal was to do a weekly update measuring myself against the goals so as to provide myself with some self-imposed oversight. 

Update #9

Last week, I said: “But also, I think my focus really has to shift off short stories for a while and onto the novel. I’m thinking I’d like to hit the 10,000 mark by the middle of the March with all of that on the novel”

So, how have I gone with this mini-makeshift goal so far? Well, at the end of the first week of March, I’ve written 4,683 words, with nearly all of that on the novel. I’m really happy with that. The novel is now at just over 75,000 words. If I can keep this up, I’m definitely going to have the first draft done by the end of April. So, with that in mind, I’m going to focus on the novel again this coming week and hopefully get close to the 10,000 mark for the month.

This means I don’t really have much else to say here. Just taking a general stock at my writing habits this year, I’m now getting into the swing of writing at least fifteen minutes a day, and hopefully I can continue that on. However, I have let submitting work get away from me. I haven’t sat down and committed an hour or two for sending out stories for a while and a lot of my stories are just “sitting there” and out at places for consideration. That’s something I might do in the coming week while also working on the novel.

Anyway, short update for this week – novel is coming along. Hopefully it’ll continue.

2020 Update #8 – End of February

At the start of the year, I set myself a series of goals for my writing year. You can find them here: https://jamesrowlandwriter.wordpress.com/2020/01/05/2020-a-year-of-goals/ – One such goal was to do a weekly update measuring myself against the goals so as to provide myself with some self-imposed oversight. 

Update #8 – End of February 

Another month up. I’m feeling a little under the weather today, but the weekly enforced self-judgment must continue without interruption.

So, how does February stack up against the goals I set myself at the start of the year:

  • Write 10,000 words a month – well, February turned out to be a close one but I made sure I hit the goal. I ended up writing 10,174 words for the month. I’d obviously like that number to be higher, but I’ve also got to make sure I don’t get too caught up on just word count. I was writing poetry a lot this month, and that obviously has an impact. I was also editing stories. On the whole, a moderate success, but with room to improve. My word count for the year is now at 23,081.
  • To finish a short story each month – yes! Like January, I finished final drafts for two stories. Non Angeli Sed Aliēnī and Ambassador of Shadows will now be ready to start the long journey of trying to find a place to publish them.
  • Write 20,000 words a month and two short stories a month – these were stretch goals. Like January, I hit one and I failed on the other. As mentioned above, I’ve got two finished drafts. So, again, I’m very pleased. 20,000 is looking like a pretty aspirational target right now, but I’d like to hit it either for March or April if possible.
  • Finish a first draft of In Search of Solomon by April 2020 – I made a bit of a start on this. I’ve added another 3,000+ words to the novel, which takes me to the final stretch. However, I’m definitely going to need to put in two really productive weeks at least to hit this target before the end of April. It’s definitely on my radar now.
  • Blog weekly about how my writing is going – haven’t missed a weekly update yet and I continue to think there’s a lot of worth in them. I do feel like they convince me to write on some occasions where I wouldn’t necessarily want to, just to make sure that I hit those targets.

So, what does March have in store? Well, first, I hope that whatever is making me feel blah today goes away quickly. But also, I think my focus really has to shift off short stories for a while and onto the novel. I’m thinking I’d like to hit the 10,000 mark by the middle of the March with all of that on the novel – this should take me close to the end and should also leave me in a good place to hit that 20,000 word goal for a month as well.

We’ll see.

2020 Update #7

At the start of the year, I set myself a series of goals for my writing year. You can find them here: https://jamesrowlandwriter.wordpress.com/2020/01/05/2020-a-year-of-goals/ – One such goal was to do a weekly update measuring myself against the goals so as to provide myself with some self-imposed oversight. 

Update #7

Well, I said I hoped to work on the novel this week, and I can say that I did work on the novel. I’m well aware that I’ve set myself the target of having the first draft done by the end of April, and that will start to creep up. However, I finished a difficult chapter this week which has taken me nearly to the finish line. All the pieces are set for the climax of the book. It’s now up to 71,027 words, and I expect it probably has another 15,000 to go. So I think I’m well set to finish by the end of April.

Since I’ve just been working on the novel, I feel like there isn’t too much to say beyond this. Just to keep track, the numbers are:

  • 3,199 words written this week. Again, a reasonably busy week where I was working out of town Friday and was out at shows Wednesday and Thursday, so I’m pretty happy with how this is going. I’m finding time to write even when I’m busy.
  • 8,600 words for February. Obviously, the 20,000 word stretch goal is going to be a step too far. But I should definitely clear the 10,000 goal which at least will make that 2/2.

Next week, I have two main goals. A) Make sure I hit that 10,000 goal mark. This will probably be achieved by continued work on the novel, at least for one more week. Also, B) Edit my “Shadow Ambassador” story so that I have two completed short stories for the month.

I’ll call that a very successful start to the year!

 

2020 Update #6

At the start of the year, I set myself a series of goals for my writing year. You can find them here: https://jamesrowlandwriter.wordpress.com/2020/01/05/2020-a-year-of-goals/ – One such goal was to do a weekly update measuring myself against the goals so as to provide myself with some self-imposed oversight. 

Update #6

I’ve been waiting for a week like this, a week to really test my commitment to keeping up a steady stream of time dedicated to writing. This week has been busy at work and there were a few days where I came home and simply didn’t want to write. And, uh, I did not. However, I have compensated by also having three really good writing sessions this week. So, where does that leave me:

  • I have written 3,089 words this week. An improvement on last week, which now takes me up to 5,401 words for the month. This means I’m on course for the 10,000 words a month goal. I also have half a draft for a trio of poems on paper, which haven’t gone toward this week’s word count, so I’ve got a bit of a banker for next week.
  • I also continued with my quasi-Creative Consultant role for a friend of mine who is creating a DnD-esque game for his own worldbuilding project. While it has taken up a fair chunk of writing time, it’s been very fun and creative work, such as just coming up with as many larger as life characters as I can.
  • I also finished the first draft of my fourth short story of the year. So, as long as I edit it by the end of the month, that means for two months running I’ll have hit my stretch goal of having two completed stories in a month. So even if the actual word count outputs could be more impressive, I’m really happy that by the end of February it looks like I’ll have four good, polished short stories to send out to places.

Next week, I’m saying to myself that it’s novel-writing time. I’m probably going to fail horribly, but I’d love to be here next week to say that I’ve done another 5,000 words of the novel, which would really take me into the home stretch of this damn thing. I have no other short stories planned yet, so if I am writing next week, it’ll have to be the novel.

Saying that, I’m also planning to start outlining a magical whonduit short story…

2020 Update #5

At the start of the year, I set myself a series of goals for my writing year. You can find them here: https://jamesrowlandwriter.wordpress.com/2020/01/05/2020-a-year-of-goals/ – One such goal was to do a weekly update measuring myself against the goals so as to provide myself with some self-imposed oversight. 

Update #5

A new month and the goals are all restarted. This week has been really diverse in what I’ve been working on. I’ve been editing a first draft into a finished story, I started a new short story, I’ve been helping a friend plot a campaign for a homebrew tabletop game set in his own worldbuilding project, and I’ve written an honest to god sonnet for a poetry competition. Lots of different creative muscles working there.

So, to keep track:

  • I’ve written 2,312 words this week. Not the most impressive of word counts, but essentially the first half of the week was dedicated to editing and helping a friend, and today has been concerned with a sonnet, which is a lot of time for few words. So, basically 2,000 words for Friday and Saturday, which isn’t too bad. I will have to pick up the speed, though, to make good progress for my monthly targets.
  • I’ve also finished editing my third short story of the year, Non Angeli Sed Aliēnī. It’s a bit of a weird one, mixing in medieval history, science fiction and outright comedy. I’m very pleased with how it turned out, though. This technically means I’ve met one target of having a finished story a month in the first week, which is nice.
  • No progress on the novel – I think the plan will be that once I’ve finished the current short story I’m working on, the rest of February is going to be reserved for the novel. At the moment, I have no obvious short story idea waiting in the wings – so it might be good to try and finish the novel, while also getting my thoughts around what March-July might look like short fiction wise.
  • I’m writing poetry this month for a competition and I’m having a blast. I wrote an actual structured poem with rhyme and metre for the first time in years (usually I am very much free verse) so that was an interesting experience – although the sonnet did dissolve at the end to ensure I continue to stay away from traditional poetry.

So, a productive week, but next week needs to be a bit better on actual quantifiable output. Hopefully I’ll have the first draft of this story completed by then. We’ll see.

2020 Update #4 – End of January

At the start of the year, I set myself a series of goals for my writing year. You can find them here: https://jamesrowlandwriter.wordpress.com/2020/01/05/2020-a-year-of-goals/ – One such goal was to do a weekly update measuring myself against the goals so as to provide myself with some self-imposed oversight. 

Update #4 – End of January

January has finally drawn to an end. It’s felt like a long time, hasn’t it?

The end of the month lets me get the first good look at my progress compared to my targets. So, let’s dive straight in:

  • Write 10,000 words a month – for January, I wrote 12,907 words. So, one large tick for me. I’d like to get more into a routine (this has been a theme for all these updates), but I’m not going to turn down writing 13,000 words a month in whatever way I can do it.
  • To finish a short story each month – yes! I finished final drafts for two stories. One, The Cauldron of Metamorphose will now start getting sent out to places. The second one, The Stall of Memory (clearly a theme going on for these titles) has been submitted to a competition.
  • Write 20,000 words a month and two short stories a month – these were stretch goals. I hit one and I failed on the other. I was very close to three completed stories, since I have a finished first draft for a third story that just needs to be edited. So, I’m very pleased. I would like to get closer to 20,000 for February, though, if I can.
  • Blog weekly about how my writing is going – haven’t missed a weekly update yet! I do think these have a useful purpose in being a bit more formal about my writing and keeping track of my writing.

The other two targets are concerned with my novel and they aren’t really applicable right now.

So, I’m calling this a successful January. I didn’t start writing until around the 5th, and the last couple of weeks have slowed down a bit writing-wise, so I think there’s some solid room for improvement, but I’m focussing on the positives for the first month.

For February, I’m shifting my plans slightly. I want to finish editing the story I’ve got a first draft for and I want to write a short story revolving around King Henry VIII and a rebellion of shadows. But once those two things are done, I plan to tack back to the novel for at least a couple of weeks to try and get close to the finish line.

We’ll see how that goes…

2020 Update #3

At the start of the year, I set myself a series of goals for my writing year. You can find them here: https://jamesrowlandwriter.wordpress.com/2020/01/05/2020-a-year-of-goals/ – One such goal was to do a weekly update measuring myself against the goals so as to provide myself with some self-imposed oversight. 

Update #3

This week it’s been a bit different for me writing-wise. There has been very little movement on the word count level. Instead, I’ve been focusing on editing what I’ve already written this month. It’s a good reminder for me, early on, to not just focus on the numbers. I have also been making an effort to sit down and read more too. I noticed that I hadn’t been reading as much, with writing time eating in on reading time, and I always think if you want to write well, you have to read widely. So I’ve been making sure to spend some time just enjoying reading a book.

So, with just under a week to go in January, here’s where I am:

  • I only wrote 1,270 fresh words this week. This does take me to 10,191 words for the month, though, and past my 10,000 words a month goal. So I’m very pleased to clear that threshold.
  • I have also finished editing my first short story of the year, The Cauldron of Metamorphose. It is set on the island of Staffa off the coast of Scotland and is concerned with the banishment of a witch. So, it’s time to start sending this out to places. Exciting! Incredibly annoyed that Neil Gaiman has already used The Truth is a Cave… as a title, though.
  • I also finished the first draft of my second short story of the year. So I’ll be editing that one this week.
  • Finally, I very tentatively dipped a toe back into the novel by finishing off the chapter I had been writing back in December. I’m pleased that it wasn’t too difficult to jump back into the style and voice.

It’s nice to be in the position that regardless of what I do in this next week, I have already achieve my first set of goals for the month. I think this added requirement to write these updates also might be helping. Maybe. It’s possible I only wrote the novel-bit just to give myself more to talk about here – which, you know, take motivation however you can get it, right?

2020 Update #2

At the start of the year, I set myself a series of goals for my writing year. You can find them here: https://jamesrowlandwriter.wordpress.com/2020/01/05/2020-a-year-of-goals/ – One such goal was to do a weekly update measuring myself against the goals so as to provide myself with some self-imposed oversight. 

Update #2

Another week gone and I’m still reasonably pleased with my writing effort for 2020 so far. Again, I note there’s a distinct lack of a regular routine in my writing, which is a little bit of a worry. However, at the moment it’s being made up by a discipline to sitting down and writing at random times. I don’t know how I feel about that. I’m going to take it as a positive while also keeping one eye on trying to set aside regular time to write and create a habit.

So, midday through this Sunday, here is where I’m at:

  • I’ve written 4,133 words for the week. This puts my total for January at 8,921 words. With still just under two weeks to go, I am obviously very well placed to cross the first goal of 10,000 words for the month. I think 20,000 might be a reach (especially with some editing to do soon), but I’m very pleased with where I’m at.
  • I have almost finished a first draft for a second short story this month. I expect to finish it either today or tomorrow. I’ve enjoyed writing this one a lot, and with a bit of polish, I’m planning to submit this to Unidentified Funny Objects in April. So, it’s nice to have given myself a lot of time to edit this!
  • I’ve also spent a couple of hours with a friend plotting out a D&D campaign in his own fantasy world. I don’t play D&D myself, but it was a lot of fun to brainstorm ideas out for plots and sessions. It also helped me consider how different events in a plot might interact with each other to tell the cohesive whole. I shall be giving myself the title of Creative Consultant going forward for this game.

Next week, the numerical output might not look too rosy, but it’s because I’m planning to edit the two short stories I’ve got first drafts for. This means by the end of January I’ll have two finished stories, which will meet one of my stretch goals and make the month a really good result. It is possible that in between editing these stories, I’ll put some time aside for novel writing as well. We’ll see.

Until next time.