One of my goals for 2016 was gathering data about my writing process, so I could better anticipate what was actually possible in terms of planning my writing time and figure out how to patch the holes where writing hours seemed to evaporate.
A lot of my grander plans associated with that goal fell apart, throughout the year, since one of the big holes in my process was basically depression and insane levels of stress. Gathering data fell by the wayside and I focused on just having a process at all, rather than refining it.
That’s starting to change now, very late in 2016, thanks to the combined effects of antidepressants, a new job, and a restructure of my writing time in order to eliminate some of the temptations that usually distract me from writing. I implemented the goal of devoting 21 hours a week to my writing career a month ago, and started tracking it pretty religiously.
Then, back on October 19, I started a project I originally meant to do way back at the beginning of the year – plan and draft a novella on the PC, rather than a notebook, so I could use RescueTime to get some accurate data on how long it really takes me to write things.
Yesterday, on October 30, I wrote -End- on the rough draft after 28,480 words and promptly hit Netflix to celebrate. Total accumulated work time: 1 hour, 24 minutes devoted to working on the file containing the novella plan; 18 hours, 24 minutes, 6 seconds spent working on the actual draft.
Now, it’s a pretty rubbish draft, and not in a fit state for anyone to read yet, but that’s pretty much the case of all my first drafts. I write pretty spare, skeletal scenes and rely on second and third drafts to flesh them out.
But even with that caveat, I’m both surprised and pleased by the data. I’d budgeted 27 hours of writing time, across 13 days, so this was definitely a little faster than normal for me and gives me an interesting baseline to work with going into November and taking another crack at the 600k year.
Today I started putting together the rewrite plan, which will probably flesh out the novella by another 10,000 words or so, and I’ve set up a new document for it so I can track how long that process takes. With luck, I’ll have a pretty complete set of data that lets me track the actual hours required from concept to publication by the end of this.
And while there were a lot of bullshit parts to 2016, I have to admit that I’m coming around to it being a pretty good year overall as I move into the final few months.