Please play along as I give my quarterly update.
Back in January, I made a pact with my brother. We each committed to doing 2017 of something in the year 2017. For him, it was running 2017 kilometers. For me, it was writing 2017 pages.
We did the math. To reach our goals, he would have to run 5.5 km per day and I’d have to write 5.5 pages per day. If you figure an industry-standard 250 words per page. It’s about 1400 words every day.
My brother is keeping me accountable, but public accountability helps too. So I need you to ask me all the tough questions about how I did this quarter. Ready?
You: Did you reach your goal or what?
Me: Close. Sooooo close. I wrote 125,318 words, which is less than 750 words (3 pages) short. But I had a cushion from the first quarter, so I’m still ahead for the year.
Of that, 80 percent was fiction (short stories, progress on the novel, writing exercises) and 20 percent was nonfiction (blog posts, book reviews, class materials for my writing workshop).
You: Was the second quarter easier or harder?
Me: It was harder. A lot harder. I was busier, for one thing. My volunteer job needed me almost every day in May and my basement flooded and generally, life happened. I didn’t use that as an excuse. I still got my words done, but some nights I didn’t start writing until 9:00 at night.
Also, this wasn’t new anymore. The first quarter was a fun challenge. By March, the newness wore off and reality set in. I realized that woke up every single morning already 1400 words behind.
You: So why not give up?
Me: Oh, hell no. I’m in it to win it.
From now on, I will allow myself a deliberate day off once a week. I’ll have to increase my word count on other days to make it up, but it will be worth it. I think that by taking a day off once a week, I’ll feel more in control of my output, and less like I’m always scrambling to catch up.
You: So you wrote your little exercises or whatever, but readers only care about finished, edited work. Did you publish anything this quarter?
Me: I published two more stories under my super-secret penname. The rest of my word count went toward progress on two new novels, which are nowhere near finished.
You: You’re still not sharing your secret pen name with anyone?
Me: Nope. Taking that to my grave.
You: How many words in this blog post?
Me: 455 words, and I’m totally counting them toward next quarter.
About the Author: Alex Kourvo writes short stories and is working on a science fiction series. She is writing half a million words this year.