Progress Report: One Million Words, week 1

This week I wrote 1680 words. My current streak is 1. My largest streak is 2. I have worked on 1 project this week.

Day-by-day summary

Monday: Hadn’t started yet. 0 words.

Tuesday: 602 words.

Wednesday: 467 words.

Thursday: 0 words. I was away most of the day for a family event, but I should have tried to fit in 20 minutes before I left.

Friday: 363 words.

Saturday: 0 words. I was not busy Saturday, but I was in a dark place and in no fit state to write. I did open the notebook and get out my pen once, but gave up five minutes later.

Sunday: 248 words.


A less than ideal start to the challenge, having written on only four of a possible six days. The wordcounts are not at the same level I used to manage during previous challenges, but I think that can be explained in part by the fact that I am writing longhand rather than typing, and that takes me longer to do.

What’s interesting here is that I managed to write on all three of the days when I was working – Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. The two days I skipped on, I think I have reasonable excuses, but I need to work harder to not let those excuses stop me from writing.

On Thursday it was the day of the memorial service for my grandfather, who I always called Pappy. He died in December, and this memorial was to bury his ashes in the cemetery near to where my aunt lives and allow those who couldn’t make it to the funeral in France to have some closure. After the memorial and a family gathering at a nearby pub, my parents and I also visited old friends down that way. In the end, I was out of the flat from 8:45am til 9:15pm. Given that I get up at 6:45am, even with the need to shower, iron my trousers, and so on, I think I should have been able to fit in 20 minutes, especially after I knew my parents were going to be 15 minutes late (they were meant to pick me up at 8:30).

On Saturday, the first thing I read after I woke up was about the death of Jules Bianchi following 10 months in a coma after his crash in the Japanese Grand Prix. This is news I’ve been dreading for a while, and also expecting for a while, but it still deeply saddened me. He was a promising talent and had a bright smile. So after hearing that news I was not in a good state. I also cancelled a gym trip with my brother. Perhaps if I’d gone to that I could have made a fresh start to the day afterward, and been in a better frame of mind by the afternoon for writing.

On work days, I think I probably need to try to get my writing session in before I leave, as afterward I’m pretty exhausted. This should be fine for my regular work days, which are afternoons on Tuesdays and late morning to afternoon on Sundays. Shift swapping and leave cover might be trickier, but I’ll see how things go.

The story

This week I’ve been working on one project, the Mountain Story. I wrote a new outline on Tuesday and got on with it. I am now at the end of the second of five sections of the outline. I think it is a reasonable goal to try to finish this story by the end of next week. The last three sections will, I think, be longer than the first two, but if I write three days more than I did this time round, and perhaps write at a slightly higher average daily wordcount, then I should be able to manage this.

Take-away points

  1. Writing before work is better than writing after work
  2. If I know I’ve got a commitment that will take all day, I need to make sure I write beforehand
  3. I need to be more proactive with managing my mood and pursuing ways to lift it so it can’t stop me from writing.

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