Open Writing: Year 1. Month 1. Day 1.

I keep mentioning Dean Wesley Smith to anyone who will listen.

He does a series on his blog called “Writing in Public” that I really enjoy; he’s basically keeping a daily word count for all of his writing: emails, blog posts, and fiction. I really love that, so I thought I’d do my own version here (not sure I have it in me to keep track of email writing).

NaNo was hugely successful for me for a few reasons. 1) I was afraid of failing publicly. 2) I’m really competitive with myself and with others. 3) I had a visual graph to look at every single day. The last one was huge. Catching that grey line on the graph was intensely motivating for me. I thought I would challenge myself to another 50k this month, and keep track of it using a spreadsheet. Only problem is that I have zero patience with making spreadsheets, even though I love their utility. I googled a bit and found this tutorial. Perfect.

Here’s the link to my Google spreadsheet for my monthly word count. Thanks to my favorite day of the year (New Year’s Eve!) December has an extra day. This means my minimum is a measly 1,613 per day. Easy enough to hit. I can do about 1k words every twenty minutes on average. So only thirty-five minutes of writing a day.

Yesterday I woke up, ate breakfast and managed through three twenty-minute timers to get 1807 words typed on The Dolls of Harper’s End, my first novel and the one that I worked on throughout NaNo.

This was huge for me to write today, since it’s my most intense pain day of the month. I really did not feel well. It would have been really easy for me to not write at all, but I didn’t want to lose momentum from the final 4k day of writing I managed for the finale of NaNo.

Mostly: I don’t trust myself to take a day off. One day turns into two, and then three, and then it’s easy to not write at all. This segues nicely into the main topic that’s on my mind this morning.

On my mind: Creating Habits.

The name of the game this month is consistency. Throughout NaNo I basically wrote in huge spurts (up to 6k on some days), then I would take four days off with zero or almost zero writing. This month, I want to stick to my daily minimum, and stick to it every single day without taking days off; if I make it past my minimum that’s great, but no more writing 6k words and then justifying taking time off after that. If I write 6k one day, I still have to do 1613 the next day.

I want to build the habit of writing and see how that grows throughout the month.

Today’s Fiction Word count: 1807. Total on Dolls so far: 52,118.

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