Charles Dickens, rejecting an invitation from a friend:
‘It is only half an hour’ — ‘It is only an afternoon’ — ‘It is only an evening,’ people say to me over and over again; but they don’t know that it is impossible to command one’s self sometimes to any stipulated and set disposal of five minutes — or that the mere consciousness of an engagement will sometime worry a whole day … Who ever is devoted to an art must be content to deliver himself wholly up to it, and to find his recompense in it. I am grieved if you suspect me of not wanting to see you, but I can’t help it; I must go in my way whether or no.
Well, it’s 100 days (101 actually) into 2013, and the 100k in a 100 days challenge, that I wrote about earlier, is over. Did I make it?
Well, that’s several questions.
- Did I write 100k?
- Did I write every day?
- Did I write more than I usually would?
The answer to 1 and 2 is ‘no’, I’m afraid. I hit 70,875 (and between us, the challengees wrote more than 3 and a half million words). I mostly wrote these on dayjob words and contract work. I did write some of my WiP, although nowhere near as much as I’d hoped.
Question 3 is a bit more difficult. Probably the answer is yes, although I think that maybe not by much. What is interesting is looking at the patterns of my writing. I definitely write in spurts – some days nothing, others several thousand. I was interested to read this post on Cal Newport’s blog which supported the idea of short intense bursts of work. Of course, he’s talking in an academic capacity, so maybe that’s relevant to the dayjob, and not so much to the fiction writing.
What I found interesting was that I could write 70000 in 3 months. But then, I kind of already knew that. I wrote about 60k of my doctoral thesis in a little under 2 months (deadlines REALLY motivate me).
There’s another 100k in a 100 days challenge starting July 1st, and I’ll be signed up. But this time I’m only going to count fiction. I’m willing to bet I’ll find it much harder and I’ll get much less close to the target (I’ve just worked out if I’d included blog posts in the word count it would have been 75k, which is pretty damn respectable). In the meantime, between now and then, maybe I’ll just try every day…
So, Question 4:
4. Was it worth it?
That’s 100% yes.