Update on My Novel: Month 25

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MAY STATS

Days Writing: 7
New Words: 1303
New Chapters: 0.75

Total Word-count: 72,605
Total Chapters: 21

May was a funny month for my novel. I had great success with my 500-words-per-day minimum in April, and stated that it was my intention to maintain that pattern through May, though with more days of work. On the one hand, I did maintain my 500-words-per-day expectation, but I certainly did not increase my number of days at work.

I realize that 1303 words divided by 7 days may not look like I did 500 words each day, but I only wrote new material for 2.5 of those days (the 1303 words), and the rest of the time was spent reading through and revising Chapter 21, and each of those days I revised 500 words or more of what had originally been written.

To be fair, these numbers don’t give the full picture of the work that I did either. I may not have had much time for With the Beast, but halfway through the month I decided to revise my approach to the novel entirely. I realized I was being too casual about the whole thing and wanted to treat it more like a serious business. I conducted a number of board meetings with myself, where I reviewed all the different projects I am working on, evaluated whether they were worthy of continued effort, created a regular work schedule for my writing, and addressed likely obstacles to keeping that schedule. All of which I hope will lay the foundation for increased performance in my writing, though at the expense of much of my writing time for this particular month.

I am very excited about the new schedule, though. It will take discipline, but if I am able to follow it I will have 7.5-10 hours each week to work exclusively on With the Beast. Given my average rate of writing, that would be about 2000 words written and revised each week, or 8000 each month. Not bad at all!…if I can keep myself on task.

That will be the challenge and the hope. I do believe that I could finish this novel at the same crawl I have been moving at lately, but I am not content with that. I need this process to go faster! I’ll let you know if I’m able to obtain that with my next update.

And as always, here’s a small snippet from what I wrote this month.

Of course some days an entirely new situation arises that Clara has never seen before, such as when she finds a cluster of tiny, golden eggs on the underside of the tomato leaves. She brings them to her mother for analysis.

“Yes, it’s some sort of insect,” Eleanor sighs wearily. “They’ll eat the leaves as soon as they hatch.”

“What do I do?”

“Two things. First you must check every leaf daily and scrape off any eggs that you find. Next you must take a board of wood and lay it at the foot of the plants. Turn it over every morning, before the sun is fully up, and crush any bugs that are sleeping under it.”

Clara follows both steps to the letter, and the next morning she nearly screams when she turns over the board and is met by a mass of dark beetles scurrying all about! She presses a fist to her mouth to suppress the shout, but paces back and forth uncertainly, not wanting to follow through with the last of her mother’s directions.

But she knows that everyone is counting on her…what can she do but follow through? So she screws her eyes shut and stomps her foot down on the mass. Then again and again, peeking every now and again until the deed is done.

And each morning faithful Clara continues to squelch out their number and scrape off their eggs until their numbers finally diminish and the crops are saved.

Update on My Novel: Month 24

black pen near white printer paper
Photo by lalesh aldarwish on Pexels.com

APRIL STATS

Days Writing: 16
New Words: 4173
New Chapters: 1.25

Total Word-count: 75,955
Total Chapters: 20.25

In April I wanted to prioritize my story above all other hobbies and to write or edit 500 words each day. To the first matter I didn’t have very much success. I worked on my novel for only half of the days this month and there certainly were times where I didn’t prioritize it as highly as I could have.

But as for the second point I found some real success! I wrote or edited 500 words for all but one of the days that I worked on the novel, and on several days I wrote quite a bit more. The result of is that April showed more progress than any other month in the last year!

So of course the 500-word minimums is going to remain moving forward! I have always heard the importance of never having a 0% day, the advice that you must always work just a little bit on your personal projects, even if it is only the tiniest of contributions. And I do believe that that is good advice. Regular consistence in even a small effort will eventually build up to something substantial.

However I also feel that that piece of advice needs to be paired with another, which is that you don’t build up inertia until you put in enough effort to overcome friction. If I write so little each day that I can’t even feel the progress, then quickly I stop seeing the point in it and I stop. I may not have to write thousands and thousands of words, but I do need to write enough that the experience feels rewarding. For me that seems to be right around the 500 word mark.

Now let’s just see if I can pair that 500-word minimum with more days at work. Imagine how much I might have written with 20 days, or 25! That’s what I’ll be striving for in May and I’ll let you know in a month how it turned out. In the meantime, here’s a little snippet from my work this month.

Purging out the fungus takes a toll on the field. It is a matter of weeks until the last traces of it have disappeared, and during that time entire sections are carved out and burned, leaving ugly scars of desolation scattered all around.

But to William’s great relief, at last the crop is showing signs of healing. An entire week passes without a single new infected stalk, and those that remain of the crop are all thriving wonderfully.

The stalks are now so tall that they reach higher than any of the family members’ heads. They are thick, too, each as wide as two of William’s fingers. Individually they are impressive, but gathered in their legion they are completely tremendous! Three thousand stalks, straight, tall and slender, all of them reaching out green arms to salute one other, all of them standing faithfully in their rows and columns. One cannot help but feel that they are viewing a great army of satyrs!

All combined this great battalion weighs nearly five tons, a truly staggering mass, especially when one considers how it was sucked out of the earth by the finest of straws. Through a bed of threads has grown a city of giants.

“I believe we are in the clear,” Eleanor says to William as they look over the field at the close of day. “I was thinking to return to the gardens with Clara tomorrow.”

“Yes, I’ll be able to manage from here,” William asserts. “They’re too great to fail now, just look at them all!”

Eleanor lefts her arm around her husband’s shoulders and strokes his curly hair. Silently the proud parents watch over their tremendous brood.