My first month of writing is over. I started my novel on August 1st and now have over 30,000 words in the bag. I’ve had one short story accepted somewhere. I’ve also now been jobless for two whole months (but I prefer the term “free”.) My running is coming along as I gear up to start beating my records. Overall, August was a good month for me. Shame the weather was bloody awful.
I feel happy going into September with a solid month behind me. The main lessons I have learned this month are:
1. I can write. By that, I mean I can physically sit down every day I plan to and write a set amount of words. You might think that’s it’s the bare minimum you need to be a writer, but you’d be surprised how many people say they write when in fact all they do is think about writing. I should know – that used to be me a lot.
2. I believe in my idea. I’ve had doubts along the way, but with the positive feedback I’ve received from a few sources and my own genuine enthusiasm for the idea, I truly believe it has a chance of making it. Needless so say, it’s absolutely vital that I believe this more than anyone, otherwise how can I convince others?
3. To handle comments on my writing. It’s been a while since someone has analysed my writing, and so when you give an edited piece to a loved one to read and it comes back with a lot of comments, suggestions, queries and corrections it does kind of hit you a bit. But it’s a great experience in the end – you know it’s going to improve not only the piece they’ve reviewed, but your future writing, too. Of course, when you also get the good comments back it’s like receiving gold. Nothing more satisfying than hearing “I laughed at that bit!”
4. Discipline is hard to maintain. As I write this, I should be writing my novel. My schedule says start every day from 9:30; it’s now 10:15. OK Andy, put this down and come back to it later…
…and I’m back. See? That was a bit of discipline, stopping midway through a sentence. (I’ve actually returned two days later to this!) I started off very well in the first week of August, then as soon as you start breaking the habit you find you’re surfing and emailing at 10:30 and ending up finishing the writing at nearly 6 in the evening. It’s time to get it back on track.
5. I’ve got a lot more to learn. I need to educate myself on the craft of writing to make the next draft so much better. I have to re-read my how-to books, create better similes, find out how to write better dialogue.
6. I can enjoy running with no goal in mind. It was an injury-free month, enabling me to run harder and faster without anything in particular to train for. It helps with the discipline, knowing that you should get out there regularly without a real need to.
7. That whenever the press in spring announces, “It’ll be a barbecue summer” that you might as well stock up on umbrellas and gazebos now. I’ve just heard we’re gonna have an early winter, so I now expect to be on the beach in November.
That was the month that was
Here are the stats for August:
Days planned to write: 21
Days actually written: 20 (1 turned into a planning day, so still productive)
Daily target reached: 100%
Words written: 31,631
As for my runs, see the chart below for the log. I achieved my fastest mile on the 12th August, too.
I’m hoping to beat a record or two in September, so why don’t you? Aim for something you might be able to achieve, whether it’s sporting (like a run), money (earning it or raising/giving to charity), production (words, widgets), time spent with your kids/spouse/cat or even buying your earliest Christmas present.
It feels good to go out there and achieve, so what’s stopping you?