10,000 Word Writing Challenge: Week 3

10,000 Word Writing Challenge: Week 3

This week was a lot of bouncing around different projects and being hyper contemplative.  I’ve been reading a lot of personal blogs and just bathing in  the deep thoughts of others.  Does it help with the fiction writing? Fuck no it doesn’t.

Been writing mostly non-fiction.  I think the short story that I started has already died on the table, but I’ll poke at it some more to see if I can get it to stand up off its ass.  The major problem is that I have the beginning and end but the middle is a lot of “here be dragons,” so I’ve been writing a lot of blog posts and notes.  Some of those posts might even see the light of day at some point.

And if you haven’t already figured it out – this being the third post in the series – these entries have a bit of a structure to them so let’s get to it:

What have I learned so far?

Three weeks is about 21 days; that’s enough time for interesting trends to emerge.  Looking at my challenge tracker – as I’m calling the spreadsheet that tracks my word counts – I’ve noticed that I can’t seem to write for more than five days in a row.  I go strong for the first day or two (writing well over my target number) then I start to peter out.  Never going below the target number, but not beating it by that much, and then by the fifth day I stop.

I have three breaks on the spreadsheet.  The first break is three days long and the others are two days.  So I’ve settled into this work week/weekend rhythm which I’m entirely okay with at the moment.  Remember: I kept the word count relatively low for this month so that I could have days off if I needed to and not create a deficit in one day that’s so large I can never recover from it.

How am I pushing through hurdles?

The way I set up the challenge tracker was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done. Making the word count per day breakdown dynamic has been really helpful.  As much as I hate to see it go up when I miss a few days, I love to see it go down when I actually put in my word count for the day.

Knowing that I can make the needle move in my favor if I beat the daily word count goal is absolutely helping me push through.  Last night, I had a lot of distractions and I really didn’t think I was going to get my words in, but I wound up writing the most I have all month by working a little bit on three different projects.  The whole time, I had that daily goal in my head and wouldn’t quit until I beat it.

Writing Chart
Current word counts by day

Currently it’s at 393, and I haven’t put in the numbers for today yet.

I really didn’t think having the daily word count fluctuate was going to have such a positive effect.  In fact, I thought quite the opposite: I figured there was no way I was going to write every day and seeing that number go up was just going to demoralize me.  But it has been motivating me to keep writing and try to get that number back down.

All in all, how do I feel about it?

Pretty damn good, actually.  Word count is one thing, but I feel pretty good about the things I’m producing, which is the real point of all this.

But if you want some more math – and who doesn’t – here’s the most heartening statistic: I have been tracking every day I’ve written for two and half years now.  This month I’ve written for more days than any other single month since I’ve been tracking that data.  And the month isn’t over yet.

Next Sunday marks the fourth week of this and pretty much the end of the challenge.  I toyed with the idea of not doing a check in and just going right into my post-mortem but that doesn’t feel right.  I like doing the weekly checkins.  Plus it lets me put off the end of the challenge write up until after the end of the month so that I’ll have some distance on the thing.

This is a long way of saying: see you next Sunday.

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