Here’s an update on my quest to write a million words in 2015.

The goal for January was to write 84,932 words. I fell well short at 34,132.

Now, this is still a decent number of words if you think about it, but it’s around/less than half of the goal.

The good news is that I wrote something creative every single day in January. This may very well be the first time in my life that I can say I wrote every day in a month. So that is definitely good news. I actually drafted this 3 days before the end of the month, and then got sick and didn’t write for many days. Oh well.

The bad news is I missed my goal and now have to adjust my word goal upwards for subsequent months.

I can’t tell you how depressing it is to watch the “At this rate, you need to write xxx words/day to reach your goal” bar go up and up and up as I fail each day to reach the daily goal. Luckily, I can put this behind me and work on the next month.

2015-02-09 12_59_07-Word Tracker 2015 - Steampunk - Excel

A reality check. I spent much of December not doing a darn thing. I started this project on January 1, basically attempting to start at a full sprint from a complete stop. I was prepared, in a way, to fail. I also figured that, if I’m to complete this goal, I will probably write a fair amount in January-May, but write a whole heck of a lot from the end of May through August, when my teaching load slows down. The idea then would be to make up for lost time in the beginning of the year and bank some extra words for the usually tumultuous Fall semester. I can’t count on that super-productivity in summer, though, and I have to up my game sooner if I’m to reach a million words. This month was priming, getting ready for the increased productivity of the rest of the year. I hope.

So, what was I writing in January? Honestly, I think what I was writing might have been part of the problem. At the beginning of January, I was working on a series of short stories that I may publish under a pseudonym. They went quickly, but need editing. Then, for several days (1/8-1/11), I wrote about 7,000 words in what will be an email series of excuses people use to avoid finishing or publishing work (if you’re interested in this, you can sign up for my email list at the top of the screen). Then I got a little lost. I started a new science fiction short story, and then started hating it the next day, when I came up with an awesome idea for a new novel, replete with conspiracies, hacking, jihadist groups and all kinds of excitement. I sketched it out over the course of a day, and then went on to write an essay about disappointment for two days. When I was done with that, I started another super-secret project for kids. That lasted three days before I decided to write the new novel in earnest for three days (1/23-1/25). I ended up with maybe 5000 words, but then something happened in Scrivener, and I lost the previous days’ work. Actually, I thought I had lost it all, but I found Scrivener’s backup files, so I didn’t lose that much. Here’s the thing, though: when I thought I had lost it, a part of me was relieved, which told me something. I still love the idea, but I don’t think I’m ready to write it. I have too much other stuff I want to do, and unfinished projects that need editing and publishing.

Upon realizing that, I wrote some more on the memoir and the novel, Disorder, that I’ve had sitting on the hard drive for months now. Interspersed through all this were blog entries, a Medium essay, and other miscellaneous stuff.

On the one hand, I wrote a lot on some diverse projects. I got some pretty good starts on a few different things, and I have some material that will come out in various forms (blog, Medium, email list) pretty soon. On the other hand, having so many projects going means I don’t know what to work on at a given time. I open the word processor and stare at the screen. At least the word processor is open, though, right? At least I’ve written every day in January. That is definitely something.

I think my goal for February will be to write consistently on one primary project, interspersing some blog entries, and spending the rest of the time editing.

Thanks for joining me on this journey.