Arithmetic for writers (redux)


Paula’s Post #114

For those followers who enjoyed watching our progress in the first 5writers challenge, you may recall Silk’s post Arithmetic for Writers published in September 2012 at almost the same stage in the original challenge that we are at today. In other words, closing in on the end of the first month of the ‘write-a-novel-in-five months’ challenge.

Thus it seemed to me the perfect time to revisit that post and to review Silk’s mathematical equations. A sobering look at just what our schedule is going to look like for the next four months (or five months, for any challengers who still wish to join us by committing to start the 5month challenge on October 5th).

But here’s the reality check: in Silk’s 2012 post on Arithmetic, she sagely deduced that we do not, in reality, have the luxury of a full five months for writing. Because just like everyone else (just like real published authors), we have other commitments during that 5month period that vie for our precious time and attention.

When Silk did the math back in 2012, she figured that, realistically, we have about 100 days left to get our novels done. And for a 100,000 word novel, that of course means the writers oft heard formula of 1000 words a day. Day in, day out.

Maybe that works for you Silk. Many working writers do possess the d-i-s-c-i-p-l-i-n-e to sit butt in chair and write 1000 words a day. Some even before breakfast.

But me?

Alas, I fear I am more a ‘binge writer’. Destined to have my days and weeks eaten up with work, family and other commitments. But I’m not one to gnash my teeth in despair, (my dentist wouldn’t like that). No, ever the Pollyanna, my hope is to meet my output quota by selected ‘binge writing’ episodes.

Maybe I’ll burn the midnight oil on occasion, maybe I’ll hope for some boring rainy days, perfect for working on my 5writer manuscript (though  I note that this may indeed be very ‘Pollyanna-ish’, considering I’ll be spending most of the remaining months of the 5writer challenge, wintering in the California desert). But never you mind,  I’ll get it done.

It just may require a different kind of discipline. A creative kind of ‘binge writing’ discipline. Something more like 3000 words a session, or 7500 words a week. But that’s just me. If you’re a disciplined, 1000 word a day writer, I’m envious.

Maybe you could share your secrets for success?

My 5writer Progress Report:

When I checked in last week in my post This Writers World I admitted to being conflicted about whether to shift my 5writers challenge novel away from Vancouver and back to the original locale, (pre-war Honolulu). Under heavy pressure from 5writer colleagues Silk and Joe, (who threatened to steal the novel if I didn’t shift it back there) I am now officially raising the white flag and committing to finish the novel as originally envisioned: a noir crime novel set in pre-war Hawaii.

Okay, I admit it. This is a bit of a ‘win’ for me, because while just like last week, I have no ‘new’ page output to report, I now have started to resurrect the original draft I started many years ago and ‘rework’ and ‘refresh’ those original pages.

  1. Pages rewritten and ‘repurposed’ for the second 5/5/5 Challenge: 60
  2. Repurposed Word Count: 11,800 (hereinafter the only count I’ll keep on this blog)
  3. Word Count of the set-in-Vancouver manuscript I started and then tossed:  7,408
  4. Total word count since the challenge started on September 5, 2015 = 19,208

Three steps forward, two steps back. I’m pretty proud of getting 19,000 words down on paper in September (even though 7,500 of those will now be filed away to await that future novel, set in Vancouver).

But let’s be realistic. 11,800 words is still a long, long way from a finished, 100,000 word novel.

But it is progress.

I know I’m going to feel ‘daunted’ when I get to the sagging middle. I know I’m going to panic a bit when I run out of old manuscript pages to ‘re-work’ into this new version of my Hawaii noir novel and ‘yikes’, actually have to start writing new material from scratch. But for now, I feel on track, and that just feels good.

It’s 1:30 in the afternoon, a gorgeous sunny day on the coast of British Columbia, and I’ve cosseting myself away in the public library for the rest of the day to ‘binge write’.

Maybe I can do this ‘arithmetic for writers’ thing after all?  What do you think? Do you have any writing ‘secrets’ to share?

2 thoughts on “Arithmetic for writers (redux)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s