Sick of Seattle by the Smithereens. Sleepless in Seattle. Stuck In Seattle with Slater’s Airport blues. And now, streaking in Seattle. Basically, alliterating all over.
So, after screwing up parking and missing my flight, I logged onto the SeaTac Airport wifi and discovered that I’ve sold a book a day on Amazon for three days, a book a week through Neilsen Bookscan for three weeks [Brick and mortar bookstores that report sales] and I’ve written at least 500 words of fiction a day for nine days. I wrote 800 on the flight to Vegas. So, that’s what I mean by streaking.
Looking back from the Salt Lake City airport 9 days later. I got good news in Vegas. My three days in a row, became 4 in one day. Then a day of no sales. And another and another. 3 days. No sales. Not the streak I want. Then 2 and 1, 2 and 1… Hhmmm, another streak except this time with alternating single sales and double sales? Or a steady rise? Either would be great.
The difference between all these streaks? I can only control one of them—writing 500 words or more each day. I figure if I can run a streak while traveling and get 500 words a day in short bits and pieces I can hit my annual writing goal which is 182,500 words for 2014, which is equal to 500 words a day for 365 days. At the moment I am way behind, but this streak gave me a big month so far. 13,000+ words bringing my fiction total for the year to 22,000+ words. If I average only 870 words a day for the rest of the year I will still hit the 182,500. My streak of 500 words a day stopped at 11 days, when I only wrote 258 after a big travel/ALA day. Those 258 words I was not even happy with. They may eventually get cut, but my aim was to move the plot forward by the next definitive action and hit 500 words. I did half of it. So, I decided that the important component is writing everyday and wrote those 258 words after everyone else had gone to bed. The writing everyday streak is now at 15 21 and the 500+ words/day streak is now at 3 8. Even with the short day, I have averaged 676 words a day for the everyday streak.
In November of 2012 when I was writing All Is Silence for NANOWRIMO, the third novel I’ve written and the first published, I wrote over 58,000 words in November, Nearly 2000 words a day. In November 2013 I managed 1000+ words a day for NANOWRIMO. Since releasing All Is Silence, my word counts have been abysmal. No words of fiction in February. And minimal words in Jan/Mar/Apr. In May, I realized I had written more words of non-fiction: blog posts, guest posts, and marketing materials than fiction—10,000+ compared to 9,000.
How did I turn things around? Two tools. The tools I used? Scrivener and Google calendar. I’ve started scheduling writing time to hold myself accountable. If it’s on the calendar, I’ll be able to tell people, “No, I have an appointment.” Yes, the appointment is my butt in a seat and my hands on the keyboard, but it is more than a hobby. If I don’t schedule it, it is even less likely to happen.
The second tool is the writer’s software Scrivener. Scrivener’s Project Goals lets me set a word count goal and then as I type a bar of color moves across the box. It starts out red and gradually turns to orange to yellow and finally to green as I reach my goal. In addition, I have been keeping two Scrivener projects open and each day I have been setting goals in both. Usually 500 words per project, or 250 words if I don’t have scheduled writing time and the day is likely to be chaotic. I’ve proven to myself that I can write 1000 words per hour IF I know what happens next in the story. My goal for July and August is at least 1000 words a day. I will write for four hours each workday morning Monday-Thursday in the summer] or until I hit 2000 words, whichever comes first. On the non-work days, I’m planning on at least an hour each morning.