2013 — The Year of “The End”*

In the middle of 2010, I started writing again after a long hiatus. By October 2010, I was writing regularly, reading books and blogs about writing fiction, and keeping track of my monthly word-counts.

In 2011, I wrote 100,769 words. In 2012, I wrote 138,389 words. And last year, I set a pretty lofty goal of writing 180,000 words. I fell slightly short of that, writing 156,000 words in 2013.

First, let’s recap December 2013. My goal was to write 15,288 words and I managed to log 19,252. That’s in spite of all the crazy holiday-related events and obligations in December, including two birthdays, a wedding anniversary, two graduation dinners, and of course, hosting Christmas dinner for a dozen. Plus, Christmas Eve at my sister’s house. And a tree-cutting excursion. Multiple holiday parties. Shopping. Baking.

Wow. I was busy this month.

I focused only on one project, the unnamed first-person romantic suspense/thriller project (Miranda’s story). And I reached the end of Chapter 12, so I exported what I had to an epub file and sent it off to my critique partner, who had nice things to say about the first six chapters (Thanks, D!).

In looking back over 2013, most of my focus was on finishing Trust Me, I’m a Lawyer — this includes what it took to finish the book in July and the revisions. I didn’t subtract the words that were excised in revisions because I’m not a masochist. Anyway, I wrote 53,753 words on Trust Me in 2013 — including the two most important words:  The End.

Then I spent most of August and then October rewriting it, which I learned can be quite painful. Particularly when the project weighs in at a hefty 120,000 words. By the way, this is the project that started as an idea for a novella. It kinda got away from me.

I also wrote 45,435 words toward Miranda’s story. Because I keep track of my daily writing on a calendar/spreadsheet, I can see that I started this book on February 5, but I didn’t really dive in until April. Then I took time to focus on Trust Me, so most of the work on this WIP was in September and the last six weeks of 2013. When I look at the actual number of days I’ve spent on this (wait here, I’ll go check the spreadsheet) it’s 40 days. If I could just write those 40 days in a row, I could produce books fairly quickly. At least with this project.

I wrote about 24,000 on the various sequels to Trust Me, unfortunately, not in an order that would make sense. I have outlines for books four and five. But not for two and three. So, that’s going to be a priority in 2014.

I also wrote an outline, synopsis, and several chapters of a standalone novella that is as of yet unnamed. I have just over 9,300 words on that project.

Inspiration struck in the summer and I drafted about 14,000 on a trilogy of paranormal romance novellas — including outlines for the first two books and several chapters of the first installment. It’s something completely different for me, but it was really fun to jump into a new world where anything goes.

At the beginning of the year, when my resolutions were fresh in my mind, I added about 9,000 words to PDT, the project I wanted to finish this year. It did not get finished, but the outline is complete and more fleshed out. I like where it’s going and I am looking forward to returning to it soon. Screen Shot 2014-01-01 at 1.17.14 PM

My most productive months were September (20,847 words), January (19,433), and December (19,252). My least productive months was August and October, when I wrote only 3,120 and 5,968 words respectively, but those were the months I was revising Trust Me to submit to a publisher.

I wrote 160 days in 2013 and managed to get to 87 percent of my word-count goal.

What worked for me this year?

Well, I’m convinced that I am an outliner/plotter, whatever you want to call it. When I tried to write Trust Me without a roadmap, I veered off into the weeds and couldn’t find my way back. It was a mess to revise. But since I started Miranda’s story with an outline, I’m more efficient and it’s more fun to write. Lesson learned. I can’t start a road trip without a map.

Another motivational trick I learned this year was sending my critique partner six-chapter sections as epub files for her review. (And a huge shout-out to Scrivener for making this fun and easy to do!) Before sending these chunks, I went back and polished and did some light revisions, which I really hope will make the later editing passes less painful. By doing this, I get the added incentive of seeing my work as an ebook on my iPad or Kindle — you know, like a real book. Seeing my words on the page is very encouraging.

Overall, I’m pleased with what got finished this year and the progress I made in other projects. There are plenty of unfinished WIPs on which to focus in 2014 and I’m working on a plan to finish as many as possible.

* Huh. Looking back at previous resolutions, 2012 was supposed to be The Year of “The End.” Turns out, it was 2013.

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