A Month of Writing – April 2016

MoW-ENApril was supposed to be the month in which I finally settle down after my big move across continents, and I was looking forward to setting up some sort of a routine, but reality forced me to reconsider my plans as building one does not happen overnight.

April was also the month of three challenges: the ongoing 365k Club, the Camp NaNoWriMo, and the A to Z Challenge which I tried for the first time.

365k Club required me to write 1000 words a day (or even a bit extra, seeing as I’m behind), and I hope that A to Z Challenge posts would at least partially cover that number, so that I could carve up some time for editing. I wrote daily (and earned my Sailor badge for daily writing), but ultimately I failed the A to Z Challenge 2 posts before its end, because I wanted to focus on editing. I also found myself disheartened by the amount of time the challenge took, as it was not only about posting daily, but also visiting other people’s blogs. I did my best to check them, and I found some interesting ones, though many felt a bit like a waste of time (rushed posts about nothing), and in the end I regretted I didn’t commit the time to my friends’ blogs instead.


What I liked about the challenge was the theme, though the need to post daily was a bit cumbersome. I understood why so many people prepare their posts in advance, but that’s effectively destroying the challenge. All in all, the challenge was fun, but I’m not sure if I’ll be joining it next year. Instead, I might prepare a themed series of posts in my own time, not necessarily following the letters of the alphabet, and invite several friends to share the fun.


So writing-wise April didn’t turn out too bad, with me keeping the daily routine, but I didn’t manage to get to my 1000 words a day average, which means I’m another several thousands behind with the 365k Club Challenge. I’m not concerned yet, I think I can still make it when my focus switches from editing back to writing, and I was happy to have crossed the 1/4 mark of the challenge.


And since I mentioned editing, I should mention the third of April’s challenges, Camp NaNoWriMo. Just like the last time when I joined the camp, I planned on focusing on editing rather than producing new words, and the wonderful crew from #CabinInTheWords that gathered together for the second time kept me company on Twitter. I have to admit that having “accountability check-ins” every half an hour or so helped me to actually sit down and work on my novel, versus procrastinating, and I happily logged 30 hours of editing and rewriting (and some not accounted hours of staring helplessly at my own text). As a result, I can’t wait for July’s Camp (and meeting once again all the great people from my cabin), though I quietly hope, I won’t be stuck editing the same project by then.


I had a lot of planned for April and I didn’t manage to do it all, but failing is a part of the process too, helping to identify my own priorities and teaching patience, so I’m quite happy with how my writing life went last month. Though I do hope my routine will slowly go back to me and I’ll manage to accomplish more and more.

This post is a part of the “A Month of Writing” series – a monthly report on my progress in the 365k Club challenge.

Joanna Maciejewska

Joanna Maciejewska is a fantasy and science fiction author who enjoys all things SFF: books, movies, and video games. Her short stories appeared in magazines and anthologies in Polish and in English. Her epic fantasy adventure series, starting with By the Pact, is available in ebook and paperback at all major retailers.

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. Debs Carey

    Joanna, I love your honesty! I agree, I was surprised by how many blogs said little (as opposed to people who wrote witty and amusing posts about nothing). The rest of us probably tippy-toe round them, but it has to be said, we’re all looking for different things out of blogs and I like them to have solid content, or to make me smile. A shame we won’t have the pleasure of your company in the Challenge next year, but you do have qute a schedule there already!


    1. melfka

      You’re right, we all look for different things in blogs, and that makes me think that the Challenge had actually overgrown the little blog: it would need a better platform for sign-ups, for blog look-up (genres are quite broad and not always observed, the order/number of the sites on the list change, etc.). I hope the creators of the challenge start thinking about it: it could become as big as NaNoWriMo if they worked on it.
      As for the next year, I still have a year to change my mind. 😉

  2. sjhigbee

    Glad to have you back and I’m enormously impressed at just how much you HAVE achieved. I also think that having a go at new challenges helps to keep creativity fresh. I hope you are now settling in and enjoying your new life in a new place:). The idea of having ‘edit-ins’ seems a really good one. While you can crash through a fair number of words when in the zone when writing, in order to be any good, editing has to be slow and steady… *sigh*. I’ll be very interested to know how well it goes.

    1. melfka

      Thank you for your kind words, Sarah! 🙂
      Yes, the check-ins worked really well, some people did word sprints, some did editing at the same time, and everybody felt motivated. We even managed to work it across the time zones, and I have to say I do miss my cabin folk. 🙂

      1. sjhigbee

        It sounds like an amazing experience. Hopefully, you are now settling into your new routine and surroundings:)

        1. melfka

          Sadly, May started real slow. I think my brain needed to get a breather after April, so I’ll “fail” again, but yes, I’m slowly getting where I want to be. 🙂

          1. sjhigbee

            Tsk, tsk… you haven’t ‘failed’ – you are taking a break! Moving is the third most traumatic life event after bereavement and divorce, remember! And that ALSO applies when moving for a positive exciting reason. You are having to operate in the unfamiliar, make new friends, habits, acclimatise yourself to new food, weather patterns, etc… Be kind to yourself and allow that this MIGHT have an impact on your creativity as well:)

          2. melfka

            You are right, I tend to remember it. I was quite “useless” for the first months after I moved to Ireland too.
            On the other side, I like failing, in a way. It helps to find courage next time when failing becomes “no big deal” (though too much failing can still be a bit disheartening).

          3. sjhigbee

            A very wise, healthy attitude:)

  3. J.R.Bee

    That’s pretty good going right there! At least you tried the a-z and know it doesn’t work for you, I have to admit I usually switch off during a-z as I get bombarded with emails from everyone who’s participating. I did try to read some of your posts, although I have been ouber busy this month, I especially enjoyed your fairy tales post.

    1. melfka

      I can relate, I wanted to read “all the posts” and I failed, failing to do my regular blog-reading along the way.

      1. J.R.Bee

        It may have seemed like you were running and getting nowhere, but things you have achieved has been quite mind boggling, if not what you’d hoped for.

        1. melfka

          It’s a learning curve: I challenge myself, I can see how far I can push myself and what works for me when it comes to the process. 🙂

          1. J.R.Bee


  4. saraletourneau

    I give you a lot of credit, Joanna, for trying A To Z and getting as far as you did with the challenge. Even though you realized it wasn’t for you in the end, it sounds like you learned something valuable from the experience – and got some new ideas that intrigue you as well (i.e., the themed blog series). I think that’s a great idea, btw!

    Good job with the editing, too. I agree it’s patience-trying and painstaking, since I’m in the same boat right now. But progress is progress, right?

    1. melfka

      All in all I think the challenge was fun in a way, it’s just not suited for me (like November’s NaNoWriMo isn’t).
      As for editing: that’s what I keep telling myself, progress is progress. 🙂

  5. For me, the main thing about the challenge is visiting other blogs. That’s why I always write my posts ahead of time. But many people write the day of too, so it’s up to each person to decide.

    1. melfka

      I considered writing my posts ahead of time, but it felt like cheating. Especially that I’m not really a blogger who posts something daily throughout the year, my “schedule” hardly works with weekly updates.

  6. portiabridget

    A-Z was one hell of a challenge. I doubt I would be able to respond to it in such a great, funny manner. Obviously you are behind in other areas but I suppose it was worth it.

    1. melfka

      It was worth a try. I discovered some blogs I’ll check out later, maybe even dig through their A to Z archives, but all in all I’m glad it’s over.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.