Year of writing: update 3 – July to September

Dedicating a year to writing is fairly easy. However, attempting to write one million words in that time is a much bigger challenge. This year of writing challenge is a way to push myself and my writing to the next level. The more I write, the better my writing will become. Not only that, but by writing something other than novels, which is where most of my writing focus has been, I can truly explore more aspects of writing as well. Any and all words written will inevitably improve my writing. This year of writing: update 3 which covers the writing done from July to September, including a few challenges along the way and an unforeseen setback.

If you are curious how the first 6 months of writing went, be sure to check out my January to March update along with the April to June update.

Year of writing: update 3

July

The original plan was to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo in order to give myself an extra writing boost for the month. I had a project picked out and was ready to go. Then the first of the month rolled around and I had no desire to work on that project or participate in the month-long writing challenge. In fact, I nearly took the entire month off from writing. But then after a day of ignoring all writing, I felt the need to dive into a story. It wasn’t the story planned for Camp NaNoWriMo, but at least I was writing. I could have easily used this particular project for Camp NaNoWriMo but instead, I simply decided to write just to write and not bother with keeping my word count tracker updated.

This more relaxed approach to the month helped me to focus more on quality instead of quantity, for most of my writing at least. So, my main writing project went through minor editing and rewriting, where my goal was to improve the story and writing as a whole. I also worked on a few other projects, which equated to a lot of word vomit – which is essentially the equivalent of what I do for NaNoWriMo where I type fast and vertically, getting the words down and not worrying too much about structure, grammar, or anything else.

Another new project I put a bit of work into was short stories. Part of my year of writing goal was to write 2 short stories. While I did write plenty of short stories as a child, it has been a long time since I have attempted them. This was a project I picked away at.

While it may sound like I got a lot of writing done in July, the reality is that I slacked a lot in this department. There were plenty of days where I didn’t even open my writing documents. I did everything but writing. Perhaps it was burnout hitting or something else. Regardless, words did happen and I ended the month with 42,397 words written. Not quite what I needed to help me reach my 1 million word goal for the end of the month but better than nothing.

July writing stats:

  • Words written: 42397
  • Words needed: 84940

August

After a lackluster writing month in July, I knew I had to truly get back into focusing on getting the words down for August. But that was not without its challenges. I had a garden ready to harvest and that meant plenty of time outside picking vegetables and an even greater time in the kitchen preserving those vegetables. However, even among all of these tasks, I was able to squeeze in some writing. Jotting down notes or adjusting outlines while I was sitting watching the canner. This may not have equaled a ton of writing, but knocking out two jobs at once helped get the words down.

When I wasn’t tethered to the garden and kitchen, I did my best to write as much as possible. There were days when I didn’t touch any of my projects. It’s just the way life works sometimes. Yet other days I could quickly and efficiently type thousands of words in a single sitting. My writing style this month was as erratic as the projects I worked on. Normally, I try to stick to one or two projects, so that I can truly give them the attention they deserve. However, August saw me jumping from project to project often, giving no one novel a ton of attention.

This month was also a big one for working towards hitting my goal of writing 2 short stories. In fact, I worked on 3 different short story ideas throughout the month. I will admit, that short stories are far more challenging to write than I had initially thought. I think the main issue I have is that I often overwrite in my first drafts, and trying to condense everything down into a single small story is quite difficult. So, needless to say, these short stories are very much on the long side and it will take quite a bit of work to whittle them down to the appropriate length. I hope to get this process down before the end of the year.

All told, despite jumping between so many projects, I was able to write 92156 words in August. That was a huge surprise as I hadn’t felt that I had written that much. I guess it goes to show that it is easy to write a lot when you simply sit down and try. This put me a decent amount ahead of the 84940 words needed for the month.

August writing stats:

  • Words written: 92156
  • Words needed: 84940

September

September was a fairly decent month. I knew going into it that I likely wouldn’t find as much time for writing as I would like. There was a lot to get done around the house and in the garden as part of our yearly get ready for winter work. Those hours spent outside cleaning and organizing the shed, putting garden items away, and ensuring our windows were properly covered while the weather remained nice was more important than writing. Even so, I did find quite a bit of time to write. After all, there was plenty of rainy weather that prevented outside work from getting done but was the perfect opportunity to work on a novel project.

This month I mostly focused on my 2020 NaNoWriMo project. The story is getting a major overhaul after I decided to switch from first person to third person. This not only involves adding a lot of extra material to the story but rewriting everything to fit the new perspective. While this does equate to quite a bit of work, I believe it will make the story better as a whole. Doing this major switch meant that a lot of planning was needed. So a good chunk of my writing went into reworking the outline, adding more characters, doing more world-building, and making copious amounts of notes about the changes to be made.

Then tragedy struck. The second hard drive of my computer, where I kept all of my writing files, started to die. It was a mad scramble to try and save those files. This was extremely stressful as several attempts to pull the files off failed as the hard drive was becoming less and less responsive. In the end, I was able to recover most of my writing, however, a chunk of it is missing. Essentially, the last 2 years’ worth of writing is gone, – which is tragic in and of itself, but it is much better than losing 20 years of writing. This is a good reminder to always back up your work in multiple locations. Had I done that more frequently I wouldn’t have lost any of my work. I am grateful that I was able to save the bulk of my work. This scramble to fix the drive also resulted in a number of days where no writing was done.

All in all, September was an okay month for writing. For the month, I was able to write 39028 words. Honestly, I’m pretty darn happy with that. It’s more than 40000 less than what I needed for the month, but given everything that was going on, I can’t complain.

September writing stats:

  • Words written: 39028
  • Words needed: 82200

This brought my total word count for the first 9 months of milwordy to 649239. This puts me behind by a decent chunk as I should be at 748020 words. That’s 98781 words behind where I need to be. Now, obviously, that’s quite a bit of catching up to do and there are only 3 months remaining in this challenge. If I have 3 solid months of writing, I can certainly hit the 1 million word mark. Of course, writing an additional 32000 words per month when I already need to write over 80000 words to reach the goal, might be a bit more than I can manage. All I know is that I will keep writing as much as possible for the rest of the year to see how close I can get to that 1 million word target.

I hope you enjoyed this year of writing update 3. Have you been doing much writing this year?

6 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your year of writing update. You are amazing! I’m really sorry about your hard drive crash. It is a good reminder to me that I need to do more backing up, always, but that doesn’t make it any better for you. I wish you all the best as you strive for that one million words goal!

    1. Author

      Thank you. I am still hopeful that we can recover the files by sending the hard drive to the manufacturer but that’s not a guarantee. Yes, backup your work regularly and often and have more than one backup for sure.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I am sorry about the files you lost.

    1. Author

      Thank you. It’s a disappointment but I will recover from it.

  3. Ugh that sucks about the hard drive. I’m glad you noticed and didn’t lose the 20 years worth.
    I’m always inspired by all your writing goals. Do you mostly write for yourself as a hobby?. Do you hope to publish or do something with all your short stories etc one day? Either way, it’s admirable. Keep it up!

    1. Author

      Thank you. It certainly was an eye-opening experience and now I have backups upon backups of all my work. Currently, my writing is as much of a hobby as it is something I hope to pursue as a career one day. My biggest hurdle currently is having too many partially written stories, so getting them published is a long way off as not a single rough draft is complete. I will get there one day.

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