As hard as it is to believe, the month of January has already passed! That means roughly one-twelfth of my word count/annual writing goals should be behind me. Now it’s time to address step 3 of my 3-step writing plan, which is to assess my writing progress against my goals at the end of each month. I’d like to say I’m starting off the year with a great big ‘Success!’ banner hanging in my office, but the truth is, the January results are mixed.
First, the good news. I did ‘touch the story’ every single day. If I wasn’t adding (or in many cases, subtracting) words, I was working through plot issues or building playlists or engaging in discovery for not only book 1 of my planned historical romance series, but for the other books and series as a whole, as well. And it really has helped. I’m spotting plot holes and fatal flaws much earlier in this draft than in other first draft I’ve done.
Keeping a running scene inventory of what I’ve written and what I still have left to write has allowed me to move, add, and delete scenes as needed to fix those problems. And boy, howdy, has this book (already!) had its problems. From a heroine who had a goal then promptly forgot after about page 5, to a h/h who lacked sexual chemistry and read more like an old married couple than young lovers, I’ve had to go back to the whiteboard almost every day this past week just to get things on track enough to allow me to get through the first draft.
Which brings me to the less successful part of my tale. According to my writing goal spreadsheet, the first draft of book 1 was to be completed last week, and by now I was supposed to have written the first 5,000 words of book 2. Yeah, about that…So, I did pass my January goal of 15k + new words. However, they’re all in book 1. And I probably have another 10-15k to go. In the end, this planned 40k-word long novella/short novel will probably be between 65-70k words, and that’s if I keep one of the subplots that’s important to establish the overall series really bare bones. At this rate, it seems unlikely that I will teach myself to tell a short story/novella/anything that takes less than 50k words any time soon.
To sum it up, I’ve stayed involved in my story (√) and made my word count goal (√), but have still managed to get behind schedule (√-). But tipping the balance of the scales is the fact that I got to spend two January weekends with writing friends! That’s one of those intangibles that can’t be reflected on a spreadsheet that not only adds joy to the writing process, but to life in general. During the first weekend, I got to share in brainstorming sessions and discussions of creativity and inspiration. During the second weekend, our conversations often turned to the business side of things (and I learned that friend of the blog Mindy Klasky will be publishing a business writing primer this year, and I have it on good authority that there will be spreadsheets – be still, my overly-organized, Excel-loving heart).
So I’m chalking up January as a success. How was your first month of 2015? Any successes or not-quite successes you’d like to share?