When I “officially” launched this blog on my birthday, I instituted what I called the 100 Days, 100K (words) project — an attempt to motivate myself to work consistently enough to produce a novel’s worth of writing, fiction and otherwise, in one hundred days. Having successfully participated in National Novel Writing Month last year, I figured it would be easier. After all, 1000 words per day is only a little more than half of what you have to do to write 50K in a 30 day calendar month, right?
It’s never that easy.
The first thing I realized is that writing a novel is actually easier in its own way than writing a large number of shorter works. Once you get rolling, anyway, a novel sort of just rolls out in front of you. My writing process mostly involved going for a few mile run and thinking what happens next or how I was going to get where I needed to be later in the work, then sitting down and pumping out a couple thousand words. The consistency of both the story and the schedule made working easier. Not having the singular focus of a novel’s plot and characters and setting, though, meant that coming up with, fleshing out and producing each individual work of the last 100 days took more time and effort than working on the novel.
The next lesson was in time management. Last November, were were between sports and in that cold but not winter-wonderland season. In other words, it was easier to find time to write than the middle of the freaking summer. Seems I should have thought that one through. Not only did my son have a very intense baseball schedule — I am not complaining; I loved being at almost all of his games — but we had family vacations and a lot of school and related activities (many of them to do with or because of last December’s shooting, so we were much more obliged to be a part of them). Even simple facts like later summer bedtimes for the kids and more social gatherings and libations for the adults contributed. In other words, it was much easier to not find time to write.
Finally, I did not realize how much I would rely on outside motivation. One of the great dangers of the Stats page is being able to see how many people are reading your work — or, more to the point, how few. This was especially difficult to parse moving occasional writings from Facebook to a more consistent blog format. On Facebook, friends hit “like” easily; they want to offer you encouragement. That does not always translate to them clicking the link, and only rarely in commenting on the post. I was hoping to watch my writer page like goes up, my per-post views grow steadily, and my followers list get ever longer. Those things did not really happen and at times it became a source of insecurity for me, who would sometimes stop me in my tracks on a piece or motivate me to do something other than write.
All that said, it has been a very educational experiment and I will come away from it a better writer and a better blogger. I think the blog needs some format and focus changes, and my goals as a fiction author similarly need some review, if not revision. I did accomplish something on the order of 50K words over the course of the 100 days, about half of which is fiction that may or may not, depending on the particular piece, be workable into something I can sell. I still have not decided whether I want to deal with Gatekeepers (editors and publishers and the like) or strike out into the wild frontier of self publication, but that’s a different post.
I do want to thank those of you that have read and liked and shared and commented and followed. You’re awesome.