Progress Report: One Million Words, week 2

I have written 2,929 words this week – a significant improvement on last week’s total, though with a very close daily average. Writing every single day pays off. My streak is now 8, and I have continued to work exclusively on the Mountain Story.

My current total is 4,609/1,000,000, or 0.46%.

Day-by-day summary

Monday: 573 words

Tuesday: 396 words

Wednesday: 319 words

Thursday: 318 words

Friday: 601 words

Saturday: 196 words

Sunday: 526 words


This week I have succeeded in writing every day, so that’s good moving on from last week, where I only managed 4 out of 6 days. My average words per day is 418; last week it was 420 for the days on which I actually wrote. Including the zero days it would have been 280. This means I am, so far at least, fairly consistent in my output, albeit with some variation day to day.

This week I have written in the evenings only. My worst day, Saturday, was one involving family stuff and I didn’t get home til 9:30, having entertained three young children all afternoon (including one very talkative 4-year-old). The two days I worked, Tuesday and Sunday, were 3rd and 4th respectively in the wordcount rankings, so it doesn’t look like work is holding me back. I think I’m sufficiently well rested by the time I start writing – about 9pm – that the effect of work is negated.

On Wednesday and Thursday, though I had some small commitments and errands, I was really very much having fairly lazy days. I was not particularly productive on either of those days either in writing or in crochet, or in the other tasks I was meant to be working on. So even with time available, and energy unspent, I did worse than on the days I was at work. I’ve seen a correlation between productivity in non-writing activities including work and productivity in writing before, so I think the answer here is simply to work harder in all the tasks I need to do, and not procrastinate, because low productivity only produces a frame of mind in me that perpetuates low productivity.

I’ve also been quite busy this week trying to finish a crochet project. It’s my Mum’s birthday next week and I’ve been trying to get a blanket finished for her – originally intended as a Christmas present. I’m close, but there’s enough left to do that I have needed to push this week and will be working on it a lot tomorrow. That has put limits on my writing time, but there was still enough time to perhaps have written more.

Next week I have more work shifts and other commitments, but I’ll try to get writing done earlier in the day on at least two days, and possibly fit in a second writing session on those two days as well.

I’ve started to be able to estimate fairly accurately how much I’ve written each day by just counting the pages. I’m working in an A5 notebook and my handwriting size means I’m avergaing about 100-130 words per page, depending on paragraph length, how much is crossed out, and whether anything is inserted. It’s quiote encouraging to see how many pages I’ve covered; that’s something you don’t get with a Word file, the tactile apprecitation for amount written.

The Story

I am continuing to work on the Mountain Story. I’ve gotten a fair chunk into it now, though I’m not yet quite at the end. I’m getting close to the serious stuff now, as my characters start to discover something isn’t right and that they are in danger. I’d say I’m probably about in the middle of Act 2. They’ve got a bit more to go before they’ve got enough of the full picture to have a decent enough understanding of what’s going on and therefore the ability to make informed choices about their actions, whereupon Act 3 will begin. Then it’s a bit of a mad dash through thorns to the end – for them and for me.

Based on what I’ve written this week and how many words I think it will take to complete this story, I think I will finish it on Friday or Saturday next week, maybe Sunday if my average drops. The ongoing plan with this story will then be to leave it alone for a week or two, then start typing up and editing as I go. After I finish this first draft, I will try another prompt or two and see where they take me.

Take-away points

1. Simply writing every day means I make much faster progress than when a day or two is skipped. So I need to make sure I don’t skip a day, even if it means I can only manage a hundred or so words.

2. Working harder may make me more productive (provided I’ve had time to rest between hard work and writing) while being lazy seems to make me less productive. Being more proactive with chores and work may result in improvements in wordcounts.

3. Writing longhand means I write fewer words per day than typing (during previous challenges I averaged about 700 words a day). It also requires manual counting. At some point I will need to work out if the extra time taken writing longhand is worth it.

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