Previously, I wrote a post about finding a process that worked for getting me writing every day. And it did work, for a while. Until I finished a draft. And until life happened, but that’s inevitable. I still use my whiteboard to set daily goals, and sometimes I even pay attention. But even more life happened last year, and I got off track again.
Then in the last few months, I’d been following Victoria Schwab on Twitter, and saw her talking about using a calendar trick to get her word count. I looked that up and found her vlog about it, and I decided to try it.
But me being me, I went beyond simply using stickers to keep track of word count, because I know I’m fickle. If I weren’t, the whiteboard would’ve been enough.
So, I figured out a list of what all I’d give myself stickers for. I have two columns for that because I couldn’t figure out if I should count pages written longhand (1 page front and back) or words typed up (500). I’d previously bought a dayplanner, so that’s where I keep track of pages written longhand. And I have a calendar where I keep track of word count, once the pages are typed up. Then I wrote out rewards for hitting word count goals, or finishing a draft, or various other stepstones.
The main reason I wrote all this down was to give a copy to Rob, so that he could keep me accountable. He hasn’t needed to, so far.
Actually putting stickers on the calendar makes me very aware of when I don’t get words written, or get no research or revisions done. And I will not let myself sleep if I type in the pages I wrote, and the word count doesn’t quite reach my goal.
January ended up being a pretty good month. Most of the stickers are for research and worldbuilding, because I’ve really needed to get that done, but I managed around 9,500 words out of a goal of 13,000. And I wasn’t counting words written for revisions, so it’s entirely possible I might’ve written enough. Though I kinda doubt that.
There are two stickers on there that were for special things. The Mystique sticker was for finishing the first draft of my sci-fi flash fiction, and the dark oval–it’s a Star Wars symbol–was for the revision good enough to send out to beta readers.
Soon, I’ll be adding a sticker for submitting my flash fiction. That’ll be my first sticker for February, and I’ve really got to write words. I don’t like the blank calendar anymore than I like a blank pages when starting a story.
**I wrote the above portion of this post on February 1st. Then I got distracted and never posted it. But, since I haven’t posted this, I figured I’d add in February’s calendar, since it’s now March 1st.
The February calendar doesn’t look as good as January, because there were some days where I wrote no words. In some of those instances, like the 13-17, there was a snowstorm, a friend coming up from NJ, and then a trip to Boston for Boskone. And this year, we actually ended up with a pretty full schedule at Boskone and very little downtime just sitting in the hotel room. Then the Monday after, I had a dentist appointment. The rest of the empty spaces, I just couldn’t get my mind to think words right. Except the 28th. Rob and I drove up to a bookstore in Providence for M.L. Brennan’s signing for Iron Night.
And I found writing at work difficult.
But when I added up all the words I did write, it was better than January. 10,800. Also, my first short story submission, and my first short story rejection. Which, I expected that, and now I’m debating whether I want to continue to submit the short or start really fleshing out that world and writing more to the story.
Now, I turn the page to a clean calendar for March. This one will be interesting. Rob and I will be going to three cons this month. Either my writing will really suffer, or I’ll figure out how to move my mindset back into writing between cons. I’m hoping the latter. I’ve got a week to get started on the wordcount, starting today.
(Ohhh…posting this will give me my first sticker of the month.)