Count it up, when September ends

I don’t feel ready to dive into writing another novel just yet – I have several written that need more work. I’ve been trying to focus on already-written novels that are moving closer to publication. October looks to be a heavy editing month as two novels need different flavors of my editorial touch.

I don’t want to spew words that are going nowhere to make my daily count. I do want to hit 300,000 words written for the year and am on pace to hit it. But the daily average for the year is likely to dip closer to 700 than 800+. That is perfectly fine with me, because it’s not just about writing more words, it’s about writing them and publishing them. That second part requires a substantial amount of non-writing effort.

September was all short story writing. There have been three main short stories I have worked on:

  1. The Baltimore short story I mentioned last month has become a series of short stories or episodes. Not sure where it’s going, but it definitely feels like a TV series or comic book, rather than a novel growing out of a bunch of short stories. I have about 30,000 words written on it.
  2. There was another short story that was inspired by a non-fiction book I read for the other job, but it fizzled and died. It’s really a good idea to have an ending to a short story in mind before you start. I think the ending is there, but I need for it to bubble up to the forefront of my brain.
  3. I started another short story based on a really neat character I wrote for an edgy short story (that didn’t go anywhere as of yet). This character could be good for several more stories and is a blast to write.

Now, “lets do the numbers” as Kai Ryssdal says on Marketplace in the best voice on radio (IMHO):

  • September total: 23,660
  • September daily average: 789
  • YTD total: 237,726
  • YTD daily average: 870

In the past I have kept track of pages edited when I’m into the heavy editing phase. It’s much easier to keep track of page count where edits are incorporated rather than how many I have edited myself. Self-editing is not a strictly assembly line process – I may red-pen a bunch of things but then decide to rewrite something, add more, circle things to think about more, etc. It’s trouble-shooting, rather than paint-by-numbers. I may do that again for October, because what gets quantified gets focused on.

Keep reading, writing and editing, friends.

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