On December 1st, 2012, I started a mini writing challenge proposed by fellow blogger, Shannon M Howell. The challenge was to write 500 words a day for 62 days, (Dec. and Jan.). On one hand that’s a lot fewer words than the 1,667 a day required during NaNo. However, it lasts for twice as long. I thought the number was something I could hit. Also, different types of writing were acceptable, blog posts, magazine articles, Christmas letters, etc. However, the main focus should be on the current WIP.
First the bad news. I missed my goal of 31,000 words. The reasons,
Work, holidays, flu, sound like excuses so I won’t bore you with them.
Now for the good news. Over the past 62 days, I have averaged nearly 350 words a day, added 12,000 words to my WIP novel, and have a good start on a new project. I knew that I don’t write fast. That’s why I never tried NaNo. However, I found out that when my mind and the keyboard do get in sync, I tend to average 500 – 800 words at one sitting. Apparently my mind thinks in blocks of this length. If I then take a break, I can come back a little later (time permitting) and turn out another 500 – 800 words.
The numbers listed above are all well and good. However the best part of this challenge is what I learned about myself as a writer. I found that lunch hours and quiet Saturday mornings at the cabin are my most productive times to write. I am more creative when I am pantsing a scene versus writing from an outline. However, I produce more words from an outline. Either way, I usually write the bare bones of the story during the first pass. Revision is where the five senses are added to description and the plot tension is enhanced.
Having more than one project to work on is good for me in the long run as I get inspired from one story and it carries over to the other one. Also, an epiphany hit me when I realized that evil characters are actually fun to write. Believe it or not, this was new territory for me. It’s about time. Now I can really get going on the middle section of my WIP. ”Run thief, run.” Mwaahaahaa!
Most importantly, the experience created some writing habits that I can carry forward. My blog posts have become more regular, for one. Writing every day is not as important as writing on those days when I have determined that I should. However, I do try to write something, even if it’s only 100 words, every day. I’m still working out the best time for me on weekends when I’m not at the cabin. She who must be obeyed stated that if necessary she would start sending me to my room. You’ve seen my room. That just might be the winning ticket.
All in all this was a good experience. Those who tackle NaNo have my respect, but I will not be joining you in November. I could be talked into the FAD challenge again. Shannon, are you with me? Maybe we can drag some others along for the ride.
Armed with the knowledge gained during this little exercise, I made some realistic goals for 2013. Confidence is high that this year will be a good writing year for me.