Moving the goalposts

So I crossed the finish line. 300,000 words so far this year. Publishable? I hope. Some have been published already – some self, some with small presses, some have been accepted for upcoming publication and others are out with editors. As I wrote during my evening block of writing time I knew I would cross the line – I had 586 words to go. (This is how I’ve kept track of that – click to see the whole thing – a bunch of numbers I fill in each day and let Excel calculate to get totals and percentages. The bottom right corner gives me the total):

but I kind of lost track as I became more engaged with the current story. I ended up writing over 1100 words for the session – a reasonable day. In some ways I was pleased to see that I continued on without even realising… for a few days I’d been wondering if I would kick back and just congratulate myself and fall into the habit of watching bad TV. As I wrote a few days ago, I’ve reset the goal, and I think that will help keep me on track and motivated.

The spreadsheet above might seem a little OCD (I don’t scrub my hands, though I see elements of needing to know numbers in me), but it’s helped me have my eyes on the target. That percentage figure in the bottom corner ticking over has helped me focus. I’m keeping that – it’s at 100.20% now, and I’ll let it go on up to 150%, but I’ve added in another little ticker beside it for the August to December goal in the bottom corner:

That’s going to challenge me. I’ll have to stay at around an average of 1000 words a day. While December is clear, there are four tutoring deadlines between now and the end of November and two of those will be full-on: six weeks of pretty intense reading and feedback. I don’t expect to get through a lot of writing during those weeks. Still, I might play catch-up through December. The plan is to write The Deluge, the second part of The Hidden Dome trilogy, between the last day of tutoring and the last day of the year. That’ll be more like 2000 words a day.

Leave a Reply