This year, I decided to truly dedicate myself to writing. It’s something I want to change from a hobby to a full-time career. This is where the year of writing comes into play. Not only does this mean I am spending a significant amount of time writing, but I am also doing what I can to improve my writing. This includes reading many writing craft books and articles. Because this is a year-long project, I decided to share quarterly updates on my progress. So without further ado, here is my year of writing: update 1 covering January to March.
Year of writing: update 1
A year-long writing challenge needs a place to start and this was it. Now, because I am combining my personal desire to make 2021 my year of writing along with the milwordy challenge I have extra incentive to write. If you aren’t familiar with milwordy, it’s a challenge to write one million words in a year. Normally, this challenge starts in September, but I decided to start mine in January. It just made more sense to start at the beginning of the calendar year.
Practically every day in January, I woke up excited to dive into writing. Whether it was journaling as part of my mourning routine, working on the novel outline, jotting down notes on other projects, and doing a bit of research, I couldn’t wait to get to it every day. There were days when the words flowed slowly and others when they poured out like crazy.
In a way, January felt a lot like a NaNoWriMo month. There was a deadline and a word count goal and I worked hard to reach it. In fact, I did so well that I actually exceeded my goal by a decent amount.
January writing stats:
- Words needed: 84940
- Words written: 87547
This is the month where I faltered a bit. I slacked off on writing in my journal, some days I barely touched my novel project and I often put off blog work for too long as well. It also slipped my mind that February is a short month. It may seem like those few days wouldn’t make much of a difference, but when you don’t work as hard during the 28 days available to you, you suddenly realize how that lack of 2-3 days can really affect your writing.
I realized around the 24th of the month that I was behind and worked furiously trying to make up for it. I put a decent dent into what I needed to write, but in the end, it wasn’t enough. Honestly, I have no one but myself to blame. When I should have been writing I allowed myself to get distracted by other things – especially YouTube.
February writing stats:
- Words needed: 76720
- Words written: 68628
Because I didn’t quite hit my word count goal for February, I knew I had to make it up in March. Falling behind isn’t the end of this, it can happen no matter what you are doing, such as when participating in Camp NaNoWriMo – some days you hit your word count, and some days you don’t. This was a crunch month for me. Not only did I have some catching up to do but I needed to finish all of my prep for the upcoming Camp NaNoWriMo. Some days, it felt like the only thing I did was writing. Add in all the blog work I also had to keep up with and I was effectively tethered to my keyboard for hours every day. Not that I minded. I do enjoy writing.
On the upside, I was able to get everything ready for the novel project that I had been working on practically non-stop since I finished NaNoWriMo 2020.
March writing stats:
- Words needed: 84940
- Words written: 110944
Writing stats for the first quarter
- Words needed: 246600
- Words written: 267119
As you can see, I did manage to not only reach the necessary word count for the first three months but surpass it. Having that little bit of wiggle room will be helpful for days when I don’t get as much writing done as I should. However, I cannot allow it to lull me into a false sense of security and slack off, or else I will find myself repeating February.
Am I tired of writing?
No, not particularly. There have always been days when I simply don’t feel like writing. It happens to the best of us.
What I am tired of is tracking my writing. Every single word needs to be accounted for – and I know I have missed some along the way. This can be fairly easy when working digitally. Each day I start with a blank word doc and copy and paste everything I write into it. This means every blog comment, email reply, tweet, and anything else I have typed goes into it. At the end of the day, I can quickly see what my word count is and add it to my excel sheet.
It’s when I start having to add all handwritten words that it becomes a total pain in the butt. My journal is easy, for the most part. I average about 250 words per day. Some days it’s more, others it’s less, but to make my life easy, I say it’s a flat 250 every time I make an entry. But then I have my chaotic research and writing notes that I have strewn throughout a couple of notebooks. Counting all of those can be tedious. But I do my best to count every word and add it to my tracker. It’s a pain for sure, but if I don’t do it I won’t know how much I have written – and that may cause me to miss that 1 million word target.
Now that the first quarter of this challenge is over, the next thing to look forward to is April Camp NaNoWriMo. In fact, we are practically halfway through this. If you are curious to see how it’s going so far, you can check out the updates for week one and week two.
I hope you enjoyed this Year of writing: update 1 covering my writing from January to March. Are you doing much writing this year?