Writing for an entire year is easy. Writing one million words in a year is a completely different beast. However, wanting to truly push myself to write as much as possible and see where my writing could take me in a year, that was the goal I set for myself. My year of writing would focus heavily on finishing old projects, along with exploring new ones and new ways of writing. And then there was the one million word challenge as well. As much as I love writing, this challenge was certainly a struggle. Being behind meant that I needed to tack on an additional 32,972 words each month for these final three months in order to reach that 1 million word goal. So this difficult goal got a bit harder. However, I wasn’t about to let that stop me from giving it my all. Of course, the most important question is: Did I reach that one million word mark? The answer can be found below in my year of writing final update.
Year of writing: final update
I was still recovering from the disappointment of losing 2 years’ worth of writing when my hard drive failed in September. Add in the fact that I was nearly 100,000 words behind on my goal to reach 1 million words for the year which left me feeling pretty defeated. So, needless to say, I was torn between diving fully into my writing and simply giving up. The negative side of my brain told me adamantly to throw in the towel, that I couldn’t recover from this loss. That it was already hard enough to write the more than 80,000 words needed each month – not to mention the extra 30,000 I would need each month for the rest of the year to reach that goal. The positive side of my brain said that it was worthy to continue writing and that the goal line wasn’t impossible to reach, we would simply need to work harder to get there.
There were days, a few too many in fact when I listened to that negative thought and got little to no writing done. These days certainly didn’t help in the long run, at least as far as word count is concerned. However, I would argue that taking the odd day off was beneficial to let my mind and fingers rest. I think the main thing that kept me going this month was getting as much NaNoWriMo prep done as possible along with getting ahead on blog posts so I could focus on the novel writing.
The original goal for October was 84,940. However, thanks to falling behind on a few of the past months, the new goal for the month was 117,867. My days of frantic typing nearly brought me there, but in the end, I could only muster 115,953 words. Which, honestly, is a phenomenal amount of writing in a single month.
October writing stats:
- words written: 115,953
- words needed: 84,940 (now 117,867 to reach the goal on time)
Ah, the month of NaNoWriMo. When writing magic is in the air and the deadline of reaching 50,000 words in 30 days pushes writers to write and write fast. Of course, I had a lot more than 50,000 words to write this month. A bit more than double in fact.
The best way to describe my NaNoWriMo experience this year was ‘floundering through chaos’. This may sound weird, especially if you kept up with my weekly updates, but that’s how I felt. Despite getting a decent amount of prep work done in October, I still felt like I was figuring out how the story should be laid out instead of actually writing it. There were some phenomenal writing days and then there were ones when I didn’t even open my writing document. Those latter days didn’t help at all because they made me more frantic to get the words down the following day. In the end, I succeeded. It may have involved swimming against of current of despair many days, but the words propelled me forward until I finally reached the mythical creature known as the finish line.
Of course, on top of all the NaNoWriMo words, I had to write another 67,000 or so words purely for the milwordy challenge. So, amid drowning my sorrows in chocolate, I buckled down and kept on writing. Luckily, I was busy knocking out as many blog posts as possible so I could take a break from the blog in December. This also included all of my NaNoWriMo updates throughout the month. Because of this, there were a few days when I easily hit 10,000 words written. Well, maybe easy isn’t the best way to describe it as it involved hours of staring at the screen typing frantically.
Over the course of the last 12 or so days of the month, I really cranked up my writing. Between NaNoWriMo, blog work, and another project I was restarting, I spent the vast majority of my waking hours these days writing. In fact, these days of non-stop typing led to a few 10,000-15,000 word days, which in turn led to a very mushy brain at night. Because of this veritable onslaught of words, I was able to not only reach but surpass my enormous word count goal, hitting 132,787 words written in November.
Honestly, looking back at it, I’m somewhat disgusted by the number of words I wrote in November. I’m sure when I take the time to go over all that writing, most of it, ignoring the blog posts, will be trashed because it will be nonsense or useless to my writing projects as a whole.
November writing stats:
- words written: 132,787
- words needed: 82,200 (now 117,086 to reach the goal on time)
Panic was beginning to set in. I was close to the goal and yet so far away. I didn’t know if I had any words left to write. There were plenty of writing projects to work on but holy cow I was getting tired of putting words down on the pages. My many story ideas were starting to dry up, despite having so much left to write in all of them. Though I had decided to majorly cut back on my goals this month, I knew the one thing I had to keep up with was the production of words. This meant once again tethering myself to the keyboard for hours on end. At this point, I was seriously beginning to question my sanity in trying this challenge and yet the finish line was so tantalizingly close I couldn’t give up now.
Knowing I wanted to take a few days off around the holidays, I had little choice but to fully dive into writing from day one. On many days, I threw my morning routine out the window and took most of that time to write, then after a mini-break, I would get back to it. My original plan was to focus on one or several of my novel writing projects, but my creative juices were lacking and I had to find other ways to produce words. So, I switched focus to blog work. Creating new posts, updating old ones, working on social media. Basically, anything to get the words down. And yes, there was some novel writing mixed in as well but not as much as I had hoped for.
I will admit, I was starting to hate it. Not entirely but it was becoming more of a burden every day. I could see now why most people balk at the idea of this challenge when they hear about it. Writing this many words in a year is a bit on the crazy side. But through sheer stubbornness and an unhealthy amount of chocolate, I persevered!
By far the worst day was the last. At this point, I only needed about 600 words to complete the goal but I was fresh out of words. I stared at my word document more than anything else that day. Normally, I could pump out that many words in about 30 minutes but on that day, it took me a solid 8 hours of picking away at it to get that many down. But what matters is, I got there. It was a long horrid grind at the end, but I can say that I did it.
The month finished with 102,597 words written and one very heavy sigh of relief from me.
December writing stats:
- words written: 102,597
- words needed: 84,940 (now 102,021 to reach the goal on time)
With that final month of writing under my belt, my finishing word count was 1,000,576. I am impressed that my keyboard stood up to such a beating – granted it is a new keyboard. While I should have been dancing for joy, instead I ended up collapsing into a pile of wordless goo. Once I recovered, which took a few days, I opened my reward for reaching the finish line – which is a pair of Sword Art Online figures I have wanted for a long time now.
Now that this is over, I am going to take a long break from writing. Well, not too long because there is blog work to keep up with and novels that still need to be written. However, I think I have earned a break from creating words. The first week of January will likely be spent consuming books, movies, TV shows and basically doing anything but creating words.
I hope you enjoyed my year of writing final update. Would you ever try to write a million words in a year?