May turned into my slowest month for the year – just creeping over the 40,000 word mark. A pretty busy time with tutoring kind of kept the lid on a little – in a good way: it’s useful to other things to focus on. I’ve sent off three contest entries, and some new magazine submissions, as well as resubmitting some stories that had been rejected elsewhere. My novella “The Wreck of the Emerald Sky” comes out in June in The Colored Lens, so that’s good news. June is going to be a much slower month, though, as tutoring really ramps up. I’m hoping to hit 15,000 words, which, while many fewer than any other month this year, will take me neatly to a quarter million words. I’ll post soon about some lessons I think I’m learning here as I aim for 300,000 words for the year (yes, I’m ahead of target – that’s one of the lessons).
Word count goal edging up – closing on 200,000
Posted on April 30, 2012 by Sean Monaghan
As April draws to a close, I’m closing on 200,000 words for the year. It would have been kind of neat to have made it – a tidy kind of 50,000 word average per month – but I’m still way ahead of where I’d expected to be… considering the aim was for 300,000 for the whole year. The total is 195,000 and change right now. I’m also well into the goal of what I would be writing: one novel completed (and published), a short novel completed (likewise, published – under a pen name), and several stories completed and out with various publishers. Right now I’m nearing the end of the second novel (this one a literary novel which I will be sending to agents). That’s got about another seven to ten thousand words to go, then I’ll be on to another SF story and a new young adult novel for one of my pen names. May will be a slower month with a heap of marking to do, but so far I’m pleased with the year.
Addendum: I know what I did wrong. I finally figured out how to change the url of the blog. I did that on the desktop. But, when posting from the Android tablet, that poor little machine was still looking for the old url to post to… so it recreated it and made the old url live again. The post was there the whole time for anyone to read.
So it’s the end of March and I’m looking at where I am with my writing. My goal is to write 300,000 words during the course of the year. Publishable words, that is. Certainly the goal is changing as I go, and feedback on the rejections, the hold-requests and acceptances is helping with my focus (I did add into the goal that I also want to publish 300,000 words during the year – not counting reprints).
One thing I hadn’t figured on, however, was a big change in the structure of tutoring: much more online, more hours and more deadlines spread through the year. I had been looking at having big blocks of time between the portfolios to really focus on writing, and those blocks have turned out to be very small. This spread has, at the moment, meant that I’m writing alongside the tutoring and so, somehow, still maintaining my minimum of 1000 words a day (I do have a day job as well as the part-time tutoring in case you think I’m just goofing off).
I have written a complete novel, seven stories of various lengths (from 665 words up to 13,000) and I’m currently half-way through the next novel. The first novel has been (self) published, as have four of the stories (two under pen names) – one of those on MicroHorror, rather than self-published (that’s the 665 word flash fiction piece). The other stories are on submission with publishers, or still being tinkered with (I might be writing pulp, but I’m going to fine-tune the literary story for the national competition).
So, a quarter of the way through the year and I’m just a little ahead of a quarter of my publishing target (80,000 words published) and more than halfway towards my total goal: more than 150,000 words written so far. I’m surprised, stunned and stoked that it’s going this well this early. I don’t know if I’ll manage another 150,000 in the next quarter (tutoring does hot-up a little), but the momentum is there. And I still have more ideas than I have time to write.
Well, I knew this day would come and I’ve planned for it, I just hadn’t been sure that I’d be quite as far ahead of my writing goals, nor that I would be able to time the beginning of tutoring to fit with exactly what I’m writing. (I tutor in, you guessed it, creative writing).
I’m deep into the next novel (well, 18,000 words), but took a break a couple of weeks ago to write some short/long stories. I should finish the third of those today or tomorrow, then I’ll go back to the novel. That novel will be in three parts, with a long passage of time between each (the first part set in 1996, the second – which I’m about to start – in 2002, and the third will be current), so a break at the end of the first part feels healthy: the characters will have developed and that break should give me a slightly different perspective.
For the next four or five weeks I won’t be able to keep up my 1000+ words a day as I’ve been doing all year (actually much more on average, my lowest daily count was 1010 words, highest over 5500 – the total is just on 130,000 for the 75 days of 2012). It’s going to be hard to slow down, I think, but will likely help with the novel – it might be a little more considered and evenly paced. 500 a day would be nice, but it might be more like 250. Still, that’s about a page. I definitely want to hit 150,000 words by the middle of the year, and do think that with the breaks in tutoring it will be quite possible. It would be good, I think, to get this novel finished by then, and be thinking about the next one.Oh, plus a couple of stories in there too.
On the reading side, I’ve just finished Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s City of Ruins – a sci fi adventure following on from Diving into the Wreck (and numerous stories). It was a fun romp. It seemed to start a little slow, but picked up quickly and became utterly compelling. I’m looking forward to the next one in the series – (Boneyards) – which is actually already out.
Now I’m finally picking up John Irving’s Until I Find You, which somehow I missed reading when it came out. I loved Last Night in Twisted River which I did read when that came out over a year ago – actually one of my favourites of his. I expect I’ll enjoy this one. I know I’ll be reading it slow (see notes on being busy above), but actually, that’s just fine.
Well, with the excitement of the publication of the first part of my novel still hovering, I found loads of energy over the weekend to write.
I got busy with my dieselpunk serial. I completed the tidied up the ending of the first draft last night. I will work on a couple of other stories over the next few days, then tear into revisions on the dieselpunk piece. Somehow in the midst of that I managed a rough cover for my Lame Goat Press chapbook – more on that later this week.
I’m having another quick retreat in a couple of weeks – heading away for three nights in a cabin: just me and the laptop. I’ve got a bunch of outlines and beginning drafts for flash stories I’ll be working on.
And then, of course, there is tutoring prep – reading and re-familiarising myself with the lectures and readings. Must make some time to create some new music too. Love to be busy.