Last night at around 11.15pm I decided that it was time to call it quits on book five and get myself some sleep.  I battered out a few paragraphs to remind myself what I wanted the last couple of chapters to entail, and set about organising my packed lunch for work.  Tuna salad, for those who are nosey about such things…

The word count stands at 30323, and I think it’ll end end up around 36,000 by the time the first draft is finished.  This means that overall this year, I’ve written 165,585 words of fiction across 151 days.  That averages out at 1096.6 words per day, although there have been days when I haven’t written anything at all, and a few when I’ve done 10k in one go.  Averages, dear reader, are relative.

In my opinion, these numbers are adequate, but not impressive.  After all, had I been sticking religiously to the NaNoWriMo 50k per month goal, I would have written 250,000 words by now.  And on top of that, you have to remember the 50k goal is still woefully short of the average publishable first novel length of 72k.

I’m still reasonably proud of how it’s going, though.  So far I think that all of my novels, albeit with a lot of editorial and re-writing work, have the potential to be works I would be proud to make available for kindle download.  In fact I think at least three of them (Caligula’s Blog, Victor McGlynn and Ovid the Wizard Sheep) might even reach the stage where I’d consider passing them on to actual agents and publishers.

I have to say as well, my productivity in other areas has been impressively high considering all the book writing and temping that’s been going on.

During those 151 days, as well as novelling, I have written:

  • 15 band interviews and 2 articles for STV Local
  • 9 feature articles for The Edinburgh Reporter
  • 8 blog posts for Ten Tracks
  • 5 ‘Oot’ columns for The Broughton Spurtle
  • 4 articles for IdeasTap
  • 4 blog posts for Mslexia
  • 3 guest posts for Guardian Edinburgh
  • 3 posts for IWeTwoThree
  • 1 guest post for Hecklerspray

I’ve also submitted a short story for inclusion in a collection by a new independent publishing company being set up by a friend of a friend from university.  And there has been quite a lot going on around my other blogs, of which there are two.

  • Confessions of a Jobless Graduate saw a month of posts dedicated to dissecting song lyrics, thoughts on the demise of Guardian Edinburgh, and my usual irritation whenever news channels expressed surprise that graduates are not able to find graduate level jobs.  Like, dur.
  • Meanwhile on A Daddy Long Legs is Not A Father (whose title is a Green Wing reference), I’ve done the 30 Day Song Challenge and played the Glad Game, reported spoof news, begun a short lived attempt to blog River City (you’d be surprised how hard it is to find time to sit and watch and write it up, especially given it’s only on iPlayer for that week only), written some flash fiction, and more besides.

Essentially, I’ve penned way more than that 250k overall, it just hasn’t necessarily been in novel format.  So I can hardly beat myself up about word count, even if I was masochistically inclined.

AND, last month, I even took the lack of reseach issue in hand and read some books!  Three and a half of them!  Admittedly two were kids books and one was short stories… but even so.  In case you’re interested, they were Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, Smoke and Mirrors and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, and I’m currently working through The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss which is excellent so far.

I feel a bit nostalgic having written that down, though.  I used to get six books out of the library on a Saturday morning and read four before going back to school on the Monday, and now I’ve got myself into the sort of pickle where three and a half in 31 days is good going…  Still, it isn’t forever.  And maybe my next temp job will be miles away and I can have the commute time back for reading again.  Or maybe someone will read this post and say, ‘hm, she seems a hard working sort, and I am a publisher with unlikely amounts of cash at my disposal… I shall give her a hefty advance!’

So five books in, what have I learned?

My impossible dream of being able to write words to pay my rent has not changed.  My pathalogical need to meet an arbitrary monthly word count set by strangers in America has dwindled.  My WPM has increased, as has my awareness of how much work should go in before you start typing (it’s no coincidence that my best first drafts were the ones I’d read around the most beforehand).  My online profile has risen, at least in Edinburgh.  And so far, there is no evidence of my contracting claw hand or RSI.

In a mere 30 days, I will be half way through this challenge.  The first stage of it at any rate.  And so far, I think it’s going pretty OK.

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