I put in the requisite 2000 words (actually 2300) I still needed to make my goal for the month. I probably could have snuck in a but more, but I had a nice, relaxing day, with several chunks of writing time in, and plenty of time to do other things between them. Then off to work at 2:30 again; by the time I was done with work, it was getting late (out at 11:30pm, home after midnight).
But I validated before I left, and was actually at about 51,200 words according to the validator. It always runs a bit off from the Libre Office word count, not sure why. I also might have miscounted somewhere.
So, I made it. And I have a bunch of nice stories which will be coming out soon. The first Arthur story will release later this month (December), and will be followed by more episodes every couple of weeks after. Raven’s story probably won’t release until January, as I’ll need to get it edited and a cover made. But good stuff on the horizon. And I’ve pretty clearly shown that I can manage a good pace of writing.
So the real question I was asking myself today is: what’s next?
I read a post on Facebook today from someone else who’d just finished. She said something to the effect of: “Now that I’ve finished NaNoWriMo, I can get back to life as usual…” Understand, this is a person on a professional writers’ group. I was a little baffled by that statement. I even replied: “Isn’t writing every day normal? ;)”
Her response: “Yes, but not having it taking over my entire life!”
Through this whole month, I have spent one day a week *entirely* on my kids. Going out all day, morning to night, and having fun adventures with them. I’ve also worked 32 hours a week, with about three or four additional hours per week commute. I’ve also spent copious time with friends – watching movies, catching some TV episodes. I’ve read two books. I’ve listened to a couple dozen podcasts. I’m halfway through listening to the audiobook for Amanda Palmer’s superb “The Art of Asking” (which I still recommend for ALL human beings interested in art, artists, creativity, or how people tick). I’ve gone shopping. I’ve done housework. I moved.
I also wrote over 50,000 words of fiction.
It didn’t take over my life. It added to my life.
And more than that – as a professional writer, this is what I want to be doing with my life. This is what I want for my career I think spinning out stories and having other people pay me to read them is just about the best job someone can have. I very much want to continue getting better at that job – which means doing more of it. I very much want to continue putting out more work for people to read – which means doing more of it.
And the more writing I do, the faster I will get better, and the more things I will have out there for people to read.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to write for yourself – to pen a novel and then press ‘delete’, because it was written just for you, and for no one else. There’s also nothing wrong with wanting to write a novel every couple of years, or every year – spend a couple of hours a week writing, and you get a novel a year easily. And if you make a few bucks that way, it’s nice, but it’s not your job. It’s not your career. It’s something you do. It’s not what you do.
Nothing wrong with that. It’s just not what I am aiming for.
I know a number of writers who, in this new publishing environment, are putting out 500,000 or more words per year. I know some more who are putting out a MILLION words a year. I’ve watched those folks with a little awe. But also with analysis. Not one person who has put out 500,000+ words two years in a row has failed to make a living wage from their work if they kept it up for more than two straight years. Not one person who put out a million words in a year failed to make a living by the end of the first year.
Ray Bradbury used to tell new writers to write one short story per week, for an entire year, and send them all out to places they could be published. His theory was that it was impossible to write that many bad short stories. That by the simple act of working on the writing, week after week, one would improve and at least ONE of those 52 stories would be good enough to get published. And largely, he was proven correct by those who tested the theory. The more fiction you write, the faster your fiction writing will improve – much like any other art or activity.
So today marks the end of NaNoWriMo, but not the end of this blog or my writing pace. I intend to maintain the pace, the blog, and the work ethic I’ve begun to build – indefinitely. I’ll continue writing 50,000 words or more of fiction every month. I’ll continue talking about it here. Oh, I may miss the goal at some point. Things happen, and I recognize that. But I’m going to start at 50,000 a month, with an eye toward continuing to increase my monthly count from there.
Once upon a time, writers used to pen twice that a month. Some writers managed many times that a month – and they did that every month, all year round, year after year. Dean Wesley Smith talks about “pulp factor one” as being somewhere around 100k a month. I’m not at that level – yet – but what an AWESOME goal to work toward!
I know my writing improve, just over 50k words in one month. Imagine how better I can get at this craft if I do that for a year.
Those of you who followed me this month: thanks. It’s meant a lot. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when I stretch my legs a little. I hope to see some of you along for the ride. It’ll be a great one. 😉
Fiction words for the day: 2300 Fiction words for November: 50,300
Blog Words today: 1061 Blog Words for November: 12,130
King of the Dead, Episode 3
King of the Dead, Episode 4
“Raven” (no title yet), novella
Started on King of the Dead, Episode 5