Milwordy: Week 42 Thoughts

Stats

Week 42 Average Daily Wordcount: 3,648

Week 42 Total Wordcount: 25,538

June Total Wordcount: 32,702

Year Total Wordcount: 811,946

Words to go:

June: 50,632

Year: 188,054

As you can see from the stats, I’ve gotten back on track. I don’t know that I will be able to make my June goal of 83,334 words on time, but at least I haven’t fallen behind on the year.

In order to get back on track, I actually started two new stories, both without outlining, so they’re both kind of a mess. Hey, at least I’m writing again, right?

Neither of the stories that I’m working on are typical for me. The first was supposed to be fantasy, but somehow it turned into a contemporary women’s fiction story about a girl in college. See, this is what happens when I have no outline!

The second story is a Bourne-Identity-esque thriller. I say this as someone who has never read nor seen any of the Jason Bourne stuff, but my protagonist wakes up with no memories, yet has a bunch of survival skills that she discovers as she, you know, survives. That just about sums up what I know of the Bourne Identity. And my own story so far. I went into this with the idea that I would discover the story along with my protagonist. So far, I feel like this particular work is really earning me that “Rambling” title.

Even though I’m pretty sure that these two stories are not going to be things that I return to when this whole challenge is over, I think it will do me some good to write outside my typical genres for a while. It’ll keep me fresh, you know? And maybe it will give me some more ideas for other stories.

So, that’s it for this week. Hopefully I can keep chipping away at that word count. We’re nearly to July! It’s hard to believe that I’ve been doing this challenge for nearly 10 months now. Thanks for coming along with me on this journey!

If you’re enjoying my blog, please like, follow, and share it. Questions and comments are always welcome!

Milwordy: Week 41 Thoughts

Stats

Week 41 Average Daily Wordcount: 296

Week 41 Total Wordcount: 2,076

June Total Wordcount: 7,164

Year Total Wordcount: 786,408

Words to go:

June: 76,170

Year: 213,592

But like…can I actually do this though?

If I don’t get 1,022 words today, I will officially fall behind on the write a million words in a year challenge. I don’t mean fall behind for the week or the month. I mean for the first time since I started this challenge on September 1st, I will fall behind on the year.

I don’t know how I let this happen. I had a pretty decent lead on the year…nearly half a month.

But of course, in the month of June, I’ve only made my daily goal one time…on June 1st. So, you know, that’s probably how I fell behind. Who would have thought that hardly writing for two weeks would have such a profoundly negative effect on my word count goals?

I feel a strong need to get those 1,022 words tonight. If I fall behind on the year…I feel like I will give up entirely. That’s dumb I know, but this challenge is tough and part of me already feels like I should quit. Falling behind is just the sort of excuse that would push me over the edge to failure. I’m going to try to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Honestly, before I did the math about ten minutes ago, I thought that I must have already fallen behind on the year. I was ready to just quit. But then I actually did the math and I did feel a sort of second wind—not as strong as I’d like, but still promising. Maybe the fear of imminent failure will be enough to refocus me. So far, nothing else has worked.

So, by the time I talk to you next week, I think we’ll have an answer to whether I’m going to complete or completely fail this challenge. It’s a little dramatic, sure, but if this second wind doesn’t work out, then I don’t think I can make it another two and a half months. If it does work…well, then I think I can make it. It’s only two and a half months after all.

Wish me luck!

If you’re enjoying my blog, please like, follow and share it. Questions and comments are always welcome!

Milwordy: Week 40 Thoughts

Stats

Week 40 Average Daily Wordcount: 682

Week 40 Total Wordcount: 4,776

June Total Wordcount: 4,776

Year Total Wordcount: 784,020

Words to go:

June: 78,558

Year: 215,980

Week 40! Woo! The big 4-0. Time really flies.

Okay, I’m sure you guys are sick of reading about me falling behind and…umm…those stats aren’t telling such a good story, are they? This week I had an excuse though, I promise! I had a sinus infection and it’s tough to focus on writing when your whole head is blocked up. So…yeah.

Yes, I’ve written while sick before—maybe I should have again. But I didn’t. I’m not perfect.

No one ever said the journey to a million words in a year would be smooth. Or if they did…well, they obviously hadn’t actually done it before or they never would have said something so laughably false.

So, June isn’t starting off with a bang, but who needs a good start when you’ve got sheer grit and determination?

Less than three months to the finish line! I can do this!

May Wrap-Up

Stats

Average Daily Wordcount (Week 39 Only): 5,330

Week 39 Total Wordcount: 37,308

Average Daily Wordcount (May): 2,689

May Total Wordcount: 83,360

Year Total Wordcount: 779,244

Words to go:

Year: 220,756

Previous Milwordy Wrap Ups: September. October. November. December. January. February March. April

May was another mad dash to the finish line. I only made my goal this month because I wrote 24k words on the third-to-last day of the month.

Yep, I beat my 23k record.

Suddenly the gigantic word count days have become a part of my strategy for finishing Milwordy. That was…not how I thought this would go.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of my big word days. They’re like little tests of endurance. Plus, there’s something fun about starting a story and just…continuing. For 24k words. In 24 hours.

But is it the best way to write? Probably not.

Don’t get me wrong, those 24k words weren’t all bad or anything. I’m actually really excited about how coherent they were, even the ones written after I was already feeling the fatigue of a long day. But while it can be a fun challenge occasionally to have a huge word count day, I’d rather not have my whole Milwordy success be pinned on that.

I only hit my word count target 13 days out of the 31 last month. If you’ve been reading along, you might remember that 13 is the exact same number of days I hit my goal in April. Only it’s worse for May because I actually had 31 days instead of 30 to try.

I thought I said I wasn’t going to be doing that again? Sometimes the hardest person to be honest with is myself.

So, I’ve got 3 months left of this challenge. I’d like to tell you that I’m not going to absolutely murder my vocal cords by writing 24k+ words in a day again, but I honestly don’t know if that’s a promise I can make. It’s an aspiration for sure, but nothing I’m writing in stone.

If I’m being really honest, I kind of can’t wait for this challenge to be over.

Is it obvious?

It’s not that I haven’t had fun with it—at times it was TONS of fun! And I’ve learned a lot, both about writing itself and about discipline. Plus, I now have a load of raw material to work with when this is all over.

Like…a LOT of raw material to work with.

But that’s part of the problem, I’m ready to dig back into what I’ve written, but mostly I still have to wait 3 months because, generally speaking, revision is not going to give me the word count I need.

But 3 months really isn’t that long and I think that there is value in finishing what you start. So, for the next 86 days, I’m refocusing and getting it done.

One million words—here I come!

If you’re enjoying my blog, please like, follow, and share it. Feel free to use the comment section below if you have any questions or suggestions. I’d love to hear from you!

Milwordy: Week 38 Thoughts

Stats

Week 38 Average Daily Wordcount: 2,915

Week 38 Total Wordcount: 20,408

May Total Wordcount: 46,052

Year Total Wordcount: 741,936

Words to go:

May: 37,282

Year: 258,064

That remaining word count for May is…a lot. But hey! These stats are way better than last week’s, right? That’s something to celebrate!

I’m still struggling though. It seems very much like the third wave of motivation that I had been hoping for isn’t coming. That means that I have to make it through nearly 260k words on sheer willpower.

Oh boy.

This is a good test of inspiration vs. perspiration. Right now, inspiration is failing me a bit, but man am I learning to sweat!

Gross metaphor is gross. Forget I said that.

Anyway, I’m also drawing close to three-quarters of the way done with this challenge. Whenever I thought of this approaching milestone, it always seemed important. Like if I made it to 750k words, then the final 250k would be a breeze. It’s all downhill from here, right? I’m not sure why past Robin was so foolish, but I like to believe it was the optimism. And possibly a healthy dose of caffeine.

This week (every week?) I learned that procrastination only makes things worse—but that it is also a habit that I may never break, no matter how many challenges I throw at myself. That’s okay. Sometimes you have to work with what you have and I have a tendency to procrastinate. And, as always, I’m going to keep on working with it.

If you’re enjoying my blog, please like, follow and share it. Leave a comment if you have any questions or anything else you’d like to say. I’d love to hear from you!

Milwordy: Week 37 Thoughts

Stats

Week 36 Average Daily Wordcount: 559

Week 36 Total Wordcount: 3,914

May Total Wordcount: 25,644

Year Total Wordcount: 721,528

Words to go:

May: 57,690

Year: 278,472

Woof. Those stats hurt to write. Especially that Week 37 average.

So…um…you can see by my stats that this wasn’t a good week. This, in fact, was the worst week I’ve had during all of Milwordy. I reached my goal a grand total of one day during the week and most of the rest of the time I didn’t write much at all.

I didn’t even realize how much I was slipping, not really. I mean, obviously I knew I wasn’t writing a lot. I just didn’t realize how much time was passing while I wasn’t writing much.

You fall behind quickly during a challenge like this. The daily word count is so high that you’re half a novel behind before you even you’ve realized messed up.

Technically I’m still not behind. Not for the year. If there is one thing I could recommend to anyone thinking of doing this challenge for themselves, I would say: Get ahead early.

Seriously, in September and October, when I was full of excitement over starting this crazy ambitious challenge, I got ahead by something like 10 days. That has been a huge help to me, not only because it gives me wiggle room, but it has insured that I’ve never actually fallen behind, no matter how my writing slows to a halt. And that’s important because there are times when I think if I had gotten far behind on the year I might have just quit. That lead has kept me in the game.

But that lead won’t last forever. I’ve got to keep writing if I want to finish this challenge. My focus for this next week is just writing consistently. I’m not going to try to catch up on the words I didn’t do this month (unless the mood strikes) I’m just going to try and keep my head above water.

I think one of the problems I’ve been having lately is a lack of an outline. I’ve gone back and forth on the benefits of an outline. During this challenge, I’ve pantsed my work, I’ve fully plotted my work, and everything in between. It’s all worked and failed in equal measure. Ultimately, I think I just need to listen to what my own brain is telling me at the time. Sometimes I need an outline. Sometimes I don’t. Right now, I need one. That’s part of what I’m going to work on this week so that hopefully I can get myself writing consistently in one project again.

Hopefully when you see me again next week, I will be back on track. Until then, thanks for reading!

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Milwordy: Week 36 Thoughts

Stats

Week 36 Average Daily Wordcount: 2,462

Week 36 Total Wordcount: 17,234

May Total Wordcount: 21,730

Year Total Wordcount: 717,614

Words to go:

May: 61,604

Year: 282,386

May isn’t going too terribly—a glowing review if I ever heard one.

I AM behind. I know, I know. Broken record. But I don’t feel too badly about it. I got my second COVID vaccine last Friday and it kind of put me out of commission over the weekend. I was barely awake on Saturday, so writing was not happening.

In spite of feeling behind though, I’m feeling good about writing again. I’m not super-charged. Getting my words in is still difficult. But I’m happy with what I’m working on at the moment, which is always the most important thing.

For the moment, shorter works of fiction are working for me. While I love writing novels, I don’t think it works well for me in this Milwordy format. Not back-to-back. Trying to go straight from my changeling novel into Mila was a mistake. It was a mistake I don’t think I could have possibly avoided—because how on earth could I have known that I shouldn’t start one novel just after finishing another—but a mistake none the less.

I’m taking some time off of novel writing, though I do hope to get back to it either in June or July. Hey, maybe I’ll try Camp NaNo again in July! Third time’s a charm, right?

There are some lessons I may never learn.

I’m also thinking of rereading Save the Cat! Writes a Novel. It’s been a couple years and I could use the refresher. Plus, I’m thinking of trying to map the structure of some of my favorite pieces of fiction to help me cement plot structure in my head. Sometimes I struggle with the big picture part of writing. Trying to make sure that all the story beats work together is tough and I’m still learning, but I figure looking at what other people have done can help. Of course, I have done this before…sort of.

In the past, I’ve always looked at the way other people have mapped out different story structures. I look at it, and it makes sense. But I think it would really help for me to say, watch a movie and try to figure out for myself where the story beats are instead of listening to someone else TELL me where they are.

Then again, I could end up mapping it all wrong and confusing myself even more. But…um…hopefully not?

Anyway, I’m going to give it a shot and hope for the best—kind of like how I do everything during this challenge; It’s all on a wing and a prayer.

Do you have any good resources for learning plot structure? Do share ‘em if you’ve got ‘em! I’m always on the lookout for learning material.

Thanks for reading. If you’re enjoying my blog, please like, follow, and share it.

Milwordy: April Wrap-Up

Stats

Average Daily Wordcount (Week 35 Only): 1,566

Week 35 Total Wordcount: 10,960

Average Daily Wordcount (April): 2,812

April Total Wordcount: 84,360

Year Total Wordcount: 695,844

Words to go:

Year: 304,116

Previous Milwordy Wrap Ups: September. October. November. December. January. February March.

Okay, I admit it, April could have gone better.

As you can see by the above stats, I did hit my monthly goal of 83,334 words. Plus, I’m still ahead of schedule for the year. So, that’s a win…right?

Sort of. I mean, I’m glad that I’m still on track for this challenge, but April was the toughest month I’ve had yet. I only hit my daily word count 13 out of 30 days. That means those 13 days needed to be BIG word counts for me to keep up with my monthly goal.

I can guarantee you that nothing that I wrote in April was particularly good.

This can, of course, be the problem with focusing solely on word count. Quality can suffer. That hasn’t always been the case with this challenge. When I write at a steadier pace, my writing is better. When I’m trying to catch up by getting as many words as I can in a single day…my writing sucks.

So…I have four months left to go in this challenge. Come August, I don’t want to just have one million words of garbage for all my effort. I want to have work I can be proud of. That makes my focus for May obvious: I need to write steadily (almost) every day. I plan to have some rest days—just not 17 of them like in April. If those days could be called rest days; I still wrote on most of those and I worried about writing for almost all of them.

And as for Camp NaNoWriMo…woof. I gave up on that early in the month, which I think was for the best. I did technically get over 50k words in a single project, but it wasn’t the project I intended and frankly, I don’t think much of what I wrote in that project is salvageable. It was good for discovery writing, maybe, but otherwise it isn’t worth much. So, I consider Camp NaNo a failure this time around. Who would have thought I would fail so hard at NaNo this year when I was already writing a ton of words for Milwordy?

On the upside, I am headed into the last third of Milwordy. Only four months to go! I’m feeling hopeful that I might actually make it through this challenge. I can do this!

Thanks for reading! If you’re enjoying my blog, please like, follow, and share it. I’d love to hear from you if you have any questions or comments!

Milwordy: Week 34 Thoughts

Stats

Week 34 Average Daily Wordcount: 3,739

Week 34 Total Wordcount: 26,178

April Total Wordcount: 71,190

Year Total Wordcount: 682,714

Words to go:

April: 12,144

Year: 317,286

This blog was supposed to go up on Tuesday but I never got the chance, so the stats are a bit out of date, but they were only meant to reflect week 34 anyway. I’ll be posting my April wrap-up later this week.

April has been a rough one. In spite of the fact that I’m roughly on track for my monthly word goal of 83,334, I only actually hit my daily word goal 10 days so far this month. Those 10 days were BIG word count days and very taxing.

That’s not the way I want to do this challenge. I don’t want to spend three days barely knocking out a few hundred words only to save myself with a 10k word day on the fourth. That’s not sustainable. And it’s not how I do my best work. This challenge was supposed to be about making myself a better writer. If I’m not doing that, then what’s the point?

Last week scribblerstad suggested taking a break for a few days and not thinking about Milwordy at all. I thought it was a good idea, so that’s just what I did. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of last week I didn’t write at all. I didn’t even think about writing. When little errant thoughts about writing tried to sneak their way into my consciousness, I shooed them away.

It was surprisingly difficult. But also refreshing. I did come back to writing feeling better and less burned out. I still feel a little like I’m limping across the April finish line, but I’m not quite so scattered and frantic, so I definitely have to thank scribblerstad for excellent advice!

As for what comes next, I’m gearing up for May. I’m trying to find a little of that New Year’s motivation that helped me out so much in January. I’m two-thirds of the way through this challenge now and I think I can make it if I can just find that little extra oomph!

I’m going to try very hard to schedule two days off each week. That’s worked in the past, and this most recent break was a good reminder that rest is important. Moreover, something that I learned this last week that I don’t think I realized before is that breaks should be true breaks. I tend, even when not working on this challenge, to be thinking about this challenge. I need to give my brain time to rest. So, even though it’s hard, on my days off I need to not think about Milwordy. I need to let myself breathe.

And on a bright note, giving myself that rest allowed me to get some reading done, which was awesome. It’s easy to forget sometimes that my love of writing was born from my love of reading. Getting to dive into someone else’s story sparked a little bit of inspiration for my own writing, but more importantly, it just felt good. I’ll have to remember going forward that it’s just as important to take in other people’s stories as it is to create my own.

Thanks for reading! If you’re enjoying my blog, please like, follow, and share it. If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you!

Milwordy: Week 33 Thoughts

Stats

Week 33 Average Daily Wordcount: 1,658

Week 33 Total Wordcount: 11,608

April Total Wordcount: 45,012

Year Total Wordcount: 656,536

Words to go:

April: 38,322

Year: 343,4646

This week I’ve been working on my superhero short story…and not a lot else. As you can see from my stats, this hasn’t been one of my more productive weeks.

This month has felt a lot like December. I feel drained. I feel like sitting down to write is damn near impossible. I feel ready to quit.

But I’m SO much further along in this challenge than I was in December. I can’t possibly quit. I’m never going to attempt this challenge again, so if I don’t finish it now, I never will.

But how do I find my motivation again? In December, I had New Year’s resolutions looming just around the corner. I definitely got a boost on January 1st and that has carried me all the way to where I’m at now.

So how do I inject a little more adrenaline into myself to get me through the next four and a half months?

I have no idea. But I need to figure it out soon because if I have a couple more weeks like this last one, my million-words-in-a-year ambition is going to die whether I like it or not.

On a brighter note, I’m have  a ot of fun with my superhero short story, even if it is moving a bit slower than I’d like. Most of the words I have down for it are brainstorming words, not drafting words. But still, at least I’m enjoying what I’m working on.

What I’ve learned this week is that powering through the words when I’m not enjoying them isn’t going to carry me to long term success. While I’m a big advocate for the “butt in chair, hands on keys” philosophy, I know that without passion writing becomes a slog. And, especially for someone who isn’t earning money from writing or getting any other external reward for it, when writing becomes a slog I start to lose any drive to do it at all. I have to find ways to keep it fun.

If you are enjoying my blog, please like, follow, and share it. If you have any questions comments (or advice), my comments are always open. Thanks for reading!