In December, I pledged to work on my novel every day for a month. On the theory that you value what you measure, whenever I write something major I maintain an Excel spreadsheet to track my progress. However, I decided to up my game by posting my daily word counts on Facebook. This turned out to be a great practice. It kept me going and opened me up to lots of supportive and funny comments from friends nearby and far away.
The title of the novel in question is a secret for now. Suffice to say I've had it knocking around for a few years and it's time to get it done. Partly for the satisfaction of finishing, and partly to free myself to do other interesting things. I'm still kind of in love with it, so I know now is the time to make the best use of my time. (You never want to work on a creative project where your love has faded.)
I was happily surprised that many people found inspiration in what I did. The girl who lived across the street from me in Anaheim in junior high and high school is now a reading teacher in Washington Stateand wanted to know if she could excerpt my posts to help her students. "Of course!" I thought. "I'll do it for you!"
Here are days 1-10. They are more fun with the Facebook comments and "likes" that accompany them but they will at least give you an idea of the flow and ebbs of my creative process.
Novel-writing month, day 1. December is my month for hunkering down and making BIG PROGRESS on my novel. I've marked 60 hours on the calendar and am going to write every day — using the powers of potential group shame to keep me going! Since, as I have discovered, it's not that hard to write a lot of content if you put in the time on a regular basis.
Today's report: at Elmer's Store in Ashfield for morning coffee, wrote 1331 words, approx 45 minutes.
Novel-writing month, day 2. Did 1525 words on UA ORD-SAN flight, on my way to my mom's 80th bday party.
Novel-writing month, day 3. Wrote 2615 words at the Starbucks in San Marcos , CA near my mom's house. Around 90+ minutes of work. Not one of your A-list Starbucks, which just goes to show that you can write anywhere, especially if you have a good noise-cancelling headset!
Novel-writing month, day 4. At Starbucks in the Carlsbad outlet mall, wrote 1648 words. Around an hour, surrounded by a zillion shoppers. Also, to reward myself for being a good son and coming to my mom's bday, bought myself some nice jeans and a cool belt.
Novel-writing month, day 5. 1500 words on UA from LAX-JFK. I'm gettin' into the rhythm. I repeat to myself, "My novel is my friend. My FUN friend."
Novel-writing month, day 6. Wrote 1411 words, even though my neck hurts from yesterday's flight and I just want to sleep. Possibility of FB public failure to keep my vows is highly motivating!
Novel-writing month, day 7. This is the critical time. Starting to feel like I can blow off a day (especially when it's 10:30 pm and I haven't started). Must … fight … back … and … keep … writing. Wrote 1277 words at 11:15 pm. Time for bed!
Novel-writing month, day 8. After total space-out nap, came to Joe the Art of Coffee and despite my initial crabbiness and exhaustion, wrote 1792 words of amazing genius, if I do say so myself. Keep the tough love coming, folks! I feel all alive and stuff.
Novel-writing month, day 9. Wrote 780 words (in the lobby of my gym). Not very inspired but I will just keep on truckin'!
Novel-writing month, day 10. Wrote 1147 words at Joe the Art of Coffee, pre-Xmas party. Trudge, trudge, trudge.