What I Learned in July

There’s always so much to do, so much to learn.

As a way to motivate myself to finish my current novel, I challenged the writers who attended last October’s Master Class with me to write with me. Set a goal, throw it out there for the other writers to see, and then give daily updates on how it went.

For me, it went amazingly, surprisingly well.

I’ve been trying to finish up the novel I started on January 1st of this year. I wrote over 40,000 words of it that month. Then promptly ran outta steam. Got caught up in working on the script to the comic and other related stuff.

But this novel still stuck with me, and I needed to get it out. So when July rolled around, I knew I had to get cracking. I’m proud to say that in this month just past, that’s exactly what I did.

For those of you who like numbers, here are my numbers for July 2010:

  • 38,900 words (sweet!)
  • 154 pages (awesome!)
  • Wrote every day, even if it was just 100 words, except for TWO days this month (unheard of, for me!)

The novel’s a shade over 80,000 words now, 315 pages or so, and I think I’ve got about another two chapters left to wrap it all up.

I also rolled over the 100,000-word mark for the year this month. Right now I’m a few hundred words short of 110,000 words for 2010. NICE.

What’d I learn from all this mad word-writing?

  1. I’m a morning writer. That’s the best time for me. Even if it took a couple VERY early mornings of writing from 3 a.m. to 7 or so this past week to hit my numbers. Actually, it was easy getting up then, because…
  2. Working on a project every day keeps it at the forefront of your brain and makes it fun. I was itching to get the next scene written at the start of each writing session, because I’d been thinking about it all day. Percolating away.
  3. I need a rough outline, even if I don’t stick to it. That way you at least have something on the page ahead of the pages you’re currently writing. Even if you trash that outline in favor of something better as you’re drafting.
  4. Don’t overthink! I lost a few days trying to figure out what the “big picture” plot was, reasoning through all the logic and so forth. What I needed to do was just write it, and the big picture would reveal itself.
  5. I also figured out what a good word-production/page-production rate is for me — usually about 1,500 words/6 pages a session, which I can hit pretty comfortably, with some sweating, in my usual 5 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. writing session.
  6. I also need to get back to jogging again. I didn’t do any the past 2-3 weeks. Part of that was due to recovering from my wisdom teeth extractions, but a big part of it was lack of time and not making the time.
  7. Finally, I learned that I have a great support person in my wife, Elizabeth, who pushed me and asked how things were going and was encouraging in all ways. And not afraid to kick me in the ass if I started grumping about how my novel was going nowhere. Lizzie, you rock!

And now, I’ve got about 1.5 hours ’til August starts. Wonder what I’ll do for that month…

4 thoughts on “What I Learned in July

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