I have long had a theory that National Novel Writing Month should have been set in August, not November. There’s simply too much going on in November — Thanksgiving, holiday preparations, travel, family visits, and if you’re a student, you’re preparing for finals and finishing (or starting) those semester-long projects. But what’s going on in August? Nothing. No holidays. It’s summer. It’s hot (at least here), which keeps people inside during the hottest part of the day. Perfect for writing. Hell, take your notebook outside or to the beach and write.
My writing progress last month supports my theory. This was the single most productive month I’ve had since I started tracking my word counts. Drum roll, please …
My total word-count this month: 41,810.
Now, a small disclaimer: I’m counting the dates between July 30 and September 2 because that’s how my August spreadsheet is set up. Still, I wrote every day (except one), which was one of my goals for 2012.
In July, I wrote 3,381 words. I far exceeded my August 2011 total, when I wrote 2,951 words.
I wrote 28,300 words on the project formerly known as the novella, but which has grown into a full-length novel. I’m pretty close to being finished, with nearly 70,000 words written. I am stumped on the last few chapters, but it will come.
I wrote 6,372 words on what will eventually be the sequel to this project. These were scenes that I had to write because those characters were haunting me until I memorialized the ideas. Toward the end of August, I began to think about the project I started during NaNoWriMo 2011. This happened when I stalled out on novella’s third act. I ended up writing 7,009 words on this project, though a lot of that was just scene synopses.
My best day writing, I produced 4,281 words. I have a couple of days when I only managed to get a net gain of 20 or 49 words. These days were the victim of Scrivener’s daily word-count tracker, which will count backwards. I think I deleted some large paragraphs, then rewrote them, so I didn’t have much progress in quantity, though the quality probably (hopefully) improved.
What was the reason behind my most productive writing month ever? Part of it was a week of vacation, during which I wrote more than 10,000 words. That was followed by a slow week at work, when I was able to leave early or come in late each day, so I had the time and mental energy to spend on my personal projects. More importantly, I joined an informal band of writers at Romance Divas who decided to have a NaNoWriMo in August. That accountability and camaraderie was hugely instrumental in spurring me on to write each day.
So was having a streak of many days in a row where I wrote. Last night, for example, I didn’t sit down to write until 9 p.m., but I knew I had to produce something or I would have a blank spot on my daily writing calendar. Luckily, I had just gotten a chapter back from my critique partner, so I made some edits to that chapter and ended with a 49-word net gain.
As of last night, I’ve written 119,543 words in 2012. That is way ahead of last year, when I was at 71,060 by the end of August.
For September, I hope to finish the novella project and keep up the daily writing. I like the way the spreadsheet looks with all the numbers plugged into the dates. I may also work on the scene list for last year’s NaNoWriMo project, so when November rolls around again, I’ll be ready to dive back into that story.