Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Starting the Month Off Right

I’m a bit of a nerd, in that I love setting up a new worksheet in my excel file where I track my word counts for every month. There’s nothing like looking over your progress for the last few months to get inspired. June is a tabula rasa – 30 days where I can write anything. The potential is there, and all I have to do is fill in the blanks.



Easier said than done. This I know.

I first started tracking my word counts during my attempt to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) last November even though I didn’t make it. I only logged about 22k, but at the time, that was a personal best for me. In the months since then, I’ve averaged between 10-15k per month, with nearly 29k in March (most of which was attributed to the first draft of one of my SF WIPs). And I couldn’t be happier.

I try not to beat myself up if I can’t eke out some time to write every day. After all, chores don't do themselves, I still read widely, and sometimes I just need to let myself think and reflect before I can put pen to paper or start typing away and the keyboard. Plus I spend just as much time if not more revising in addition to generating new content, and I haven’t worked out a good way to account my time spent editing. Sometimes I’m adding words, but more often than not I’m cutting or condensing. So I just set a monthly goal, usually 10 or 12k and track my progress without stressing over the details. Usually just seeing how my daily word counts eat away at that target is incentive enough to keep going. And since I like to emphasize quality over quantity, I don’t get upset if I don’t reach my target, so long as I am happy with the work I produced over the course of the month. Because as we all know, one strong sentence can matter more than reams of drivel.



Now that it’s June 1st, I’m ready to reset my target and start the process all over again. I’m optimistic of course, but then again I always am when I'm on the threshold of a new beginning. If you have any writing rituals you like to do at the beginning of each month, please share.

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In other news, two of my tweets were featured on Nicole Humphrey Cook’s post Favorite Tweets For Writers This Week (May 24 to May 30, 2010), and I was thrilled to be included alongside other heavy hitters in the writing Twitterverse.

I also won a copy of Leah Stewart’s Husband and Wife after commenting on the interview with Stewart hosted at Diary of a Virgin Novelist, which you should definitely check out along with another interview with Allison Winn Scotch.

Finally, I’ve been tinkering a bit with my blog’s layout. So keep your eyes peeled for some changes there. Oh, and the second part of my Resource Roundup series will be posted sometime this week.

Onwards!

3 comments:

Shmologna said...

Hi! I'm Britt (Shmologna is my username.) I was scrolling through the one-liners on Rachelle Gardner's blog and just wanted to say that I thought your historical novel sounded great!

Dana said...

Hi,
Yes, setting goals is so important & yet we need to know that not exactly reaching them isn't fatal. Tracking progress is useful & motivating without being discouraging. I wish you luck whittling away at your June goals!

And thanks for stopping by my blog.

Saumya said...

I completely agree with you about setting goals!! I think you're doing great just by being such a thorough planner! I'm also trying to crank out my novel this month and I'm glad there's someone else who is too :)

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