This July, I challenged myself to write 6 pages a day, every day for the month of July. (In a previous post, I talked about being inspired to do this from watching a video where George R.R. Martin and Stephen King had a chat.) Originally I had a mini-vacation planned that I was going to exempt from my challenge, but eventually my plans fell apart so I wound up not going anywhere. Therefore, I wrote during those days as well. My second goal of this challenge was to finish writing a book of mine that I started last year. Let’s see how I did.
I succeeded! In retrospect, I shouldn’t have had too many issues with succeeding due to my limited amount of plans; the majority of the days were free and I was alone in my cabin with my only distractions being the ones I created for myself. A couple of the weekends I traveled back to visit nearby family, and the travel time was usually around 3 hours, so that took significant chunks out of the day.
There were two days (July 6th, July 22nd) I almost couldn’t get to my goal. The sixth was the day before the vacation when I wound up being mentally overloaded so I called it off, and the twenty-second was my sister’s belated birthday party. Considering the house had over 100 people in it throughout the day, and the fact that for the better part of 3 weeks I had little face to face contact with other people, it was pretty draining.
Both of those days, along with one or two more, I didn’t work on my book. I didn’t want to write such an important first draft with little to no energy, and so I worked on some short stories or scenes for other stories/books. I’m always juggling projects, so it’s not like it’s not helping in any way.
In total, I wrote about 447.5 pages in that month, along with 122,424 words. When I picked up writing my book, I had been at around page 75. In total, my book wound up having 256 pages. So that means I wrote about 181 pages during the month towards it. Less than half of what I wrote that month went towards the book. I found that pretty ironic, considering that finishing the book was my entire goal for doing this self-imposed challenge. When I go through my files from the past month, a lot of them are from the warm-ups or other books I worked on. (I remember on Monday the 3rd I came up with a new book idea and worked almost exclusively on that. My brain seems to never stop, even when I want to sit down and focus on something.)
My writing habits usually are to write in the midday, but during the month I found myself writing fairly late into the night/early morning. There were many days where I’d be deliriously blasting 80’s horror movie music while bopping around and writing. It was great. My sleeping schedule wasn’t as great, but I had nothing too significant to do in a strict, timely manner so it all worked out. Every day I wrote for at least an hour, and near the end I started writing for about an hour and a half to two hours. Usually I can accomplish six pages in an hour.
I also decided to try a sub-challenge as I went on; I later learned Camp NaNoWriMo was occurring, and looked up the general suggestions and rules for it. Because I was aiming for adding around 40k to my book, I felt it would be wrong to put all of my book in the box that you copy in. Therefore, I decided to try to do their suggested ~1,666 words a day. There were two days I didn’t manage to hit that goal, but the others made up for it. For my book, I wound up adding 51,989 words to my book for it to total 72,786. If you’re curious how I kept track of all the numbers, I tried out the 5KWPH app throughout the month to keep track of my writing sprints. I’m going to make a post about my experience with that soon, because through that I learned a lot as well.
So overall, my findings for my experiment were about what I expected, but it’s really cool to see the numbers behind my productivity. I wish I kept track of how much I wrote during January and February when I finished two books I’d been working on for years; it would’ve been wild to see the amount of words I wrote per day then! This experiment also tells me that I can most likely complete NaNoWriMo. It’ll be harder to accomplish from school being in session, but I’m sure I’ll find my way to succeeding with that as well.
I encourage anyone to try this out and see what your results are. It’s an interesting labor of love for writing and experiment to be able to see what you can accomplish. In my case, it wound up being rather encouraging, and I hope it is for you too!