Work in Progress: Stats (because data is addictive)

Work in Progress: Stats (because data is addictive)

July 3, 2019 Life Writing 0
writing data

Photo credit: Amador Loureiro

It’s surprising to me that I have ended up writing — and loving it (and when I say love I mean love/hate). I was never good in English class (I mention my issue with words here). Math on the other hand…Do you remember those algebra questions that took half a page to solve? They were my favorite. My final grade in statistics class, in college, was over 100%. I love numbers and can obsess over them if I’m not careful. It’s my favorite way to procrastinate.

This is the second post in my little adventure, so if you are just joining us, you may like to read the first post here, so we’re all on the same page.

I have now officially finished my first draft. I was reluctant to say that I’d finished it because it came in at a whopping 35,000 words (most novels are in the 50-80k bracket and that’s really where mine needs to be). My sentences have a tendency to be short and snappy and leave big gaps, or not enough information in a scene to make it understandable.

However, I found greater inspiration in moving on to the second draft, rather than continuing with the first, and it’s my book so I’ll do what I want.

Now onto the numbers!

In order to keep myself motivated, I had to come up with a number of words to attempt to write per day. I liked the idea of getting the rough draft written in two weeks…apparently people do things like that…but the number of words required per day was unnerving.

After much statistical calculation, however, I did find a number that meant I could write my rough draft in less than two months, which I felt good about. And the number meant I only needed to push myself ever so slightly.

I sought to write 1,000 words each and every day until the rough draft was finished. I can write 500 pretty easy, so doubling that wasn’t such a chore.

One of my favorite features of Scrivener (again, no affiliate link…I should work on that) is the ‘Writing History’ component. It records and tallies the number of words you write each day. And because most days I ended up writing more than 1,000 words, I would recalculate how long it would take me because I can’t keep my hands off the figures.

A very helpful personality trait in all of this is that I can get a little impatient. It may not work well in other situations, but when it comes to finishing a book, it’s handy.

OK, sorry, now for the actual numbers and not just me talking about them

My current words have reached over 40,000 but I’ll show you how I got there.

I had already written a couple scenes which meant I started with a few thousand words.

In the first week my goal was 7,000 words…I reached 9,581.

Then we had friends visit and I didn’t write for 3 days (don’t judge me)

I made up for the those missed days by planning to write 2,000 for the next three days and this is where I got impatient and ended up writing 21,059 words in the week and finished my rough draft in two weeks (helped by the low word count). Impressed?

So there you have it. Some data. And now on to my second draft! As I said above, I’m over 40,000 and rising but hoping to have draft two finished in the next week or so when I will get onto the nitty gritty of the 3rd draft and working to make my sentences more enjoyable to read.

So stay tuned and sign up to the newsletter if you like. I’ve got plans for the book once it’s finished.

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