For the last three years, I have tracked my writing using a daily word count log. I find this helps me be honest with myself about what I am doing–or more likely not doing–to achieve the goals I so often claim concerning books and blogs.
2018’s average daily word count was 796. I aim for 1K a day but recognize I may not always make that. Right or wrong (not that anyone can really say), I’m not as disappointed about it as I would have been a couple years ago.
At the start of the year, I thought I might hit Fantasy Book 2 hard and get that near completion. I got several chapters in but found myself slogging through, unmotivated and lacking a clear vision. Even the outlined parts that I know or think are right for the book feel less than thrilling… so I have to go back to the outlining board for that one.
I tried completing 2017’s National Novel Writing Month project, a prequel of sorts starring one of my favorite characters from the fantasy series. I finished a few more scenes but mostly left that unattended, awaiting future revision.
I put forth a few short stories or flash fiction pieces, and some poetry, so I don’t feel like all was lost… but I neglected this blog and major projects for far too long.
Some of my procrastination might be blamed on Dungeons & Dragons. For the better part of the year, I was running a game every other week, trying to craft some interesting story arcs or surprise moments for the friends and family sitting around the table rolling dice. I think I managed to pull off more exciting sessions than train wrecks, so I am proud of that. However, the creative effort involved both satisfies the urge to write and drains me of energy to pour into more writing.
I walked into NaNoWriMo 2018 knowing that I wouldn’t succeed at hitting 50K. I don’t want to keep using retirement from the military and moving our family home as an excuse, but it’s a simple fact that more important things demanded my attention than the blank screen of a manuscript-in-progress.
The few scenes I added to my “someday I’m really going to write this character” gambler prophet were well received by the local writing group, so that gives me hope. It also leaves me wondering if I should work on that while the desire is stirred in me, instead of trying to sort out the “more important” Fantasy Book 2 and all the other parts down the road.
In any event, I am definitely starting to feel the relaxation and liberty of civilian life, and I am looking forward to ways to put my scenic location and extra free time to use in the endeavor of writing.
I’ll continue aiming for 1K minimum each day (I’m already behind!), but I won’t have nearly the same number of reasonable explanations at the end of 2019 if I don’t meet that goal.
Have you set writing goals for this year? I’d love to hear what you have planned. Let me know in a comment so I can cheer you on.