A Month of Writing – November 2016

I can’t believe that it’s been almost two years since I’ve joined the 365k Club. Looking back, I find it hard to remember how could I ever function without my daily writing, and the amount of completed projects, both small and big, speaks for the regular work and discipline.

Even though, after a lot of pondering, I didn’t participate in NaNoWriMo, I still started November strong, keeping in mind that I’m still a little bit behind with my yearly goal, and the time was running short. With only two months left and no wriggle room, I had to get my writing going. Especially that I feared there might be worse days to come.

Thankfully, no major disaster happened, and I managed to keep my daily word count a little above what I needed, so when the Thanksgiving weekend came, I didn’t have to worry about relaxing a bit.

What also helped me keep my writing going were… deadlines. They required me to finish several texts before November ended, so by the end of the month I was typing like crazy, and I can proudly announce, I haven’t missed any of my deadlines. (Though let’s be honest, I cut it quite close – there’s a lesson for the future there!)

As a result, I’ve not only met my daily goal, but exceeded the monthly challenge by 8000 words which I really needed to catch up after my slower months earlier this year. By the end of November I was still a little bit behind my target, but I managed to close the gap.

Sadly, all that intense writing meant I did less editing and beta-reading that I intended, and I didn’t reach my 10 hour mark for either, though I’ve added some progress to my “By the Pact” revisions for which I self-imposed an end-of-the-year deadline. Even though with only one month left, I have very little time, I still plan on meeting it!

The sign-ups for the next year’s Club are now closed, and in 2017 the event is changing its name to 365 Writing Club, to put focus on the daily writing, especially with the new flexible rules. 2015 had the same goal of 365k words for everyone, 2016 offered a choice of 4 tiers (100k, 250k, 365k, and 500k), while in 2017 it will be up to each participant to pick their daily minimum and work toward achieving it. It can be as little as 100 words per day or as much as 2000.

As I mentioned in my previous A Month of Writing post, I was hesitating whether to keep my current goal. It would be nice to have a third consecutive year of an average 1000 words written per day, but at the same time I wanted to focus more on editing which is recognized by the Club with a special badge, but doesn’t count as “writing new words”. Therefore, I’ve picked a modest goal of 500 words a day, hoping to focus the remaining time on polishing my already completed project.

With the changes in the Club, I also had to think about the formula of these monthly posts. Even though I still discover new things about writing and my writing process, they seem to steer toward being quite repetitive, so I’m planning to broaden them a bit in hope to bring some refreshing air into the stale “how did my writing go this month” routine. But shhh! I’ll tell you all about at the end of the year, when I also hope to boast my final badges for the year and announce my successful completion of the challenge.

In the meantime, why don’t you tell me how’s your writing and editing going? With the holidays around the corner, the routines perfect for the rest of the year seem to fail… or maybe not? Tell me!

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 8 Comments

  1. J.R.Bee

    As always your month sounds extremely productive, I couldn’t tell you how I’ve progressed with mine, I’ve chipped some off, and came up with new ideas, but nothing grand I don’t think.

    1. melfka

      I remember there was some progress there. 🙂

      1. J.R.Bee

        There was some, in the great mountain of creativity I must have at least moved a pebble 😀

  2. saraletourneau

    So you did enough writing to not only meet your November goal, but to also start closing the gap for the year? Wow. That’s really good, Joanna. And in terms of next year’s goals, it sounds like you’re doing the right thing by decreasing your writing goal to make more room / time for editing and beta-reading. I don’t know if you’d need to change the format of your Month of Writing series – unless you wanted to separate the writing and editing into two separate / labeled sections? And will you still receive badges for editing?

    I’ve done no creative writing since I finished Draft #3 of my WIP last month. I sort of expected that, though. December is such a busy time between holiday preparations / parties, gift shopping (for birthdays as well as Christmas), traveling, and whatnot that there’s very little downtime. But I’m taking the last week of the year off from my day job, and I’m hoping to start plotting (and maybe start drafting) my next writing project then.

    1. melfka

      Thank you, Sarah. I tried my best to get back on track with my goals.
      I’ll receive badges for editing, and also still get badges for writing as long as I meet my lowered goal and keep writing daily. 365 Writing Club is about building writing routine, not a competition to reach the highest word count – this is how I love it so much. We have people in the group who commit to as little as 100 words a day and as much as 2000 words a day. As long as they reach their goal times 365, they’ll all be winners. 🙂
      I agree that December tends to put every routine in disarray. I think a part of being a writer is recognizing such times and making a sound decision about whether you can be creative then or take a break. I hope you had a lot of fun plotting your next project during your time off. 🙂

      1. saraletourneau

        And in the end, creating and sticking to a writing routine is the most important part. How many words you get on the page during that time is like icing on the cake – an added bonus. Good luck with your 2017 goals, and I look forward to reading about them soon. 🙂

  3. sjhigbee

    You’ve done really, really well. I’m so impressed when I consider the other calls on your time… And I do understand, extremely keenly as it happens, your struggle with the editing/redrafting versus the new writing. I find it impressive that you are able to consider running them alongside each other. However, I find I cannot lift my thinking/insights onto that extra level necessary to raise my writing from ‘okay’ to ‘hellva lot better’ if I am working on anything else. Hence my hefty back-catalogue of books that need that extra work to get them to a standard where they are publishable.

    How does that work for you? Do you find yourself getting those ‘eureka’ moments when right away from the editing? Or do they occur while you are right in the middle of combing through for your list of unnecessary adverbs, for instance? Do you sometimes find while you are writing one thing, an idea pops up destined for your editing project instead? I am always fascinated to discover how other writers work – it’s such an intensely personal affair and I’m conscious that we all come at it slightly differently and as you are both prolific and effective, I am very interested to know how it works for you and whether any of your writing/editing routines might work for some of my students. Though I quite understand if you tell me to mind my own business:).

  4. melfka

    I found that all I need to do to feel I love the project again is to reread the “good bits”. That sets me in the mood of fixing the not-so-good ones. Funny enough, with all my emotional attachment to my writing, when I edit, my mind sets on more technical approach of “what would make it better.”
    My eureka moments usually come at random times, both when I edit and when I do something else. My editing and revising is a bit different than the process I’ve seen around. I don’t go about “first fix this, then fix that”. I go chapter-by-chapter and fix “everything”. From senteces I don’t like to rewriting dialogue. I tend to have a good memory when it comes to stories, so I also spot any “inconsistencies” between chapters (like repeating some information or mismatched facts), and since I aim for my first draft being coherent plot-wise, it helps too.
    My process is quite different. I can’t even imagine having a list of any sort, be it “unnecessary adverbs” or anything else. If I tried to make one, I’d end up stuck in one chapter/scene anyway: I’d see other, unrelated things to fix and I’d start doing so. The only time when I don’t fix something as I see it is when it requires some thinking – then I put the sentence/paragraph in bold and move on.
    I do multiple revisions, but with each one I pretty much fix “everything” I see. The only exception is the last one – the pure language one (aimed to eradicated my second-language issues really) I’m doing with my husband.
    I hope this helps. 🙂

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