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1k words a day in February!

March 1, 2012

1,034, 1,032, 1,078, 1,213, 1,012, 1,030, 1,332, 1,054, 1,013, 1,070, 1,006, 1,030, 1,161, 1,133, 1,059, 1,178, 1,146, 1,027, 1,150, 1,041, 1,237, 1,094, 1,470, 1,031, 1,034, 1,135, 1,007, 1,021, 1,014

Grand total: 30,842

No, this is not me struggling to do my taxes (though I need to do those pretty soon). Rather, the numbers listed are my daily totals for the month of February — daily totals of words written for the Kiss Chronicles book, that is.

I’m a beast.

So here’s the deal. January found me in great distress. I wanted to write, but I struggled to sit down and just do it, to get the words flying freely. I felt intimidated by the book because I had made it the project, and I also still felt pretty sad about the original project. So as the end of January approached, desperation started creeping up and down my spine. I knew if I didn’t get to work on February 1st, I would be in real danger of never working on the book again.

I didn’t want that to happen, so I had to come up with a plan. I decided to turn February into a private, miniature NaNoWriMo. If you don’t know what NaNo is and you don’t feel like following the link, it’s simply a writing challenge that occurs every November. Writers around the globe sign up for it and then push themselves to write a novel of 50,000 words in one month. It’s essentially a writing marathon. There’s no prize except having a lot of text written when you’re done.

I’d never done a November NaNoWriMo before, but I’d always admired the writers who tackled the challenge…while calling them as insane as caffeinated squirrels at the same time. Fifty thousand words in 30 days is an incredible push — it’s 1,667 words per day. The concept behind NaNo is to practice discipline and just get to work writing. To meet the challenge, writers have to lay aside all hangups and just belch out words.

That’s what I wanted to do. I modified it to my needs: Rather than set myself a precise total for the month, I decided that I would write a minimum of 1,000 words every day in February. If I could stick to the plan, it would net me 29,000 words minimum.

When February 1st came, I started work on one of the easiest chapters that I hadn’t yet written a single word for. This turned out to be a perfect strategy. In just a handful days, I’d completed the chapter and moved on to the next. To my amazement and pleasure, I kept hitting my daily goals. And I didn’t stop. Some nights I barely managed to hit my minimum, and on a few good nights I just blew right past it.

By the end of the month, I felt like a chicken leg in a deep fryer. I wanted a break, a night off. But I also didn’t want to give up. The last day of February steadily drew nearer…but, ironically, I found myself running out of raw text sections to write. Close to the end of the month, my book had reached a point where it was near completion, with some gaps that still needed filling in. However, filling in just little gaps in chapters made it harder to meet my 1,000 minimum, because the work I needed to do was more tedious and produced fewer words. For the last two days, I had to do some meta writing (which is writing about writing) just to finish up, so I worked on things like filling in some gaps, brainstorming the title and cover, doing stream-of-conscious writing, planning the website for the book, and so on.

Currently, I still have gaps to fill, but the first, roughest draft is nearly complete. I’d say it’s about 90-95% of the first full rough draft.

TOTAL word count at present, including what I’d written before February, is 42,428.

Now, for me, at this moment, I’m going to do the big count up of pages. This is something I’ve been looking forward to for weeks. I don’t usually focus on word count. I prefer page totals much more. So, total is (insert calculating noises) 71.5 single-spaced pages. HOLY SHIT! THAT’S AWESOME! I thought it’d be more around 50, 55! Oh my gosh, this is great. And I still have more to add as I start going back! That’s even better!

Next step: Take a few days off and then get the manuscript to a 100% completed rough draft. Then edit like a boss. Also, now that I’m not killing myself stressing over my word minimums every night, I can start taking time for the blog again.

During February, I had a conversation with a writer friend that went a little like this:

Fake Dave (that’s his nickname): “I don’t think I could write a thousand words a day. I have to just write when it comes to me.”

Me: “Normally that’s the way I prefer it to, but I knew I needed to do this.”

Fake Dave: “But why?”

Me: *shrugs* “I don’t know. I just couldn’t get the words out, and the book seemed so impossible. I just…I needed to…”

Fake Dave: “You needed to make it your bitch?”

Me: “Yes!

And that’s just what I did. 🙂

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 3, 2012 7:47 pm

    Good going, Virginia! So, it looks like you might have a comfortably sized short book on your hands when you are done. Word of advice, and I’m sure you already know this: Don’t do your final edits. Get fresh eyes to look at it so as to find the things you cannot see as the author. Otherwise, just be awesome!

  2. March 7, 2012 4:37 pm

    Good for you!

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