February 2011 – Meh…

Where January felt like a good start, February felt kind of disappointing while in the middle of it and now, looking back, it was even worse.

Total word count for the month was 37,750, not including the posts today or any writing I do tonight. In the month of February I wrote twenty-five out of twenty-eight days (89.28% of the month). Compare that with January where I wrote twenty-six out of thirty-one days (83.87%) and I managed to knock out 43,800 in the first twenty-nine days of January. I could blame the lack of caffeine at the beginning of the month or getting run down on several days but what it came down to, I think, was that I had a few days where I didn’t even top five hundred words for a variety of reasons. Frankly, I’m not happy with that.

This month, as far as short stories go, was a waste. A lot of work was done on “Wage Slave” only to have it trunked and the first eleven hundred words of “Son of All Monsters” is a bucket of crap. Unless I finish SoAM v2.0 tonight, and there’s a very good chance I will, I won’t have completed a short story in February. Considering that I really need to build up a good amount of shorts to submit (and also to have a nice selection to chose from for Clarion next year), I need to keep writing shorts and finish them.

Beyond the low word count days, there were also some days where it was work on the novel OR work on a short when I should be doing both in the same night. This led to less output on both and I need to not have that happen anymore.

The only thing I’m happy about is Burning Wick. I’ve introduced a lot of new plot and plot threads compared to when I wrote this for NaNo and I was nervous about how it would work. However, I’m happy to say that Michelle still enjoyed it and thought that the new threads worked well to flesh out the story and the characters.

So, how did I do on my monthly goals?
1. I haven’t finished a short story but I did do more edits on “Round & Round”, “Nature/Nurture”, and “One Shot”. If I finish “Son of All Monsters” tonight then I’ll have at least finished one story and edited others.
2. I did do a few submissions, all rejections, the less sound about these the better. However, I did have the collection of flash-fiction I was accepted to finally go out this month so I can say I’ve been published three times now.
3. The goal of 1000 on the novel and 500 on shorts, at least, was another failure. I did have more days where, if I did work on BW, I did all 1500 on the novel so that was good at least but rare were the days where I was able to put in significant work on two separate pieces.
4. Finished and reviewed God’s War and Horus Rising so there’s my two novels for the month. I’m most of the way through a collection of original Conan pulp fiction and The Blade Itself by Joe Ambercrombie so I’ll be done with March’s novels early and probably will be able to read two more novels in the month.
5. No sales but other possible things are in the works.
6. After reviewing finances and really considering it, I am not applying to Clarion this year. One, if I did get in I’d have to make the decision of going to Clarion or being present for a month and a half of my son’s first few months with us. During this time is when I’m going to be really building the foundation of our relationship and I’d like him to know who his father is. Two, money; Clarion is expensive to go to, doubly so when you consider that at the same time you’re shelling out money to attend you’re not working to bring in anything either. That in mind, we just don’t have the funds for it this year. If the second half of this year goes how we’re hoping as far as jobs go we’ll be in a MUCH better place next year and Michelle wants me to apply. Additionally, I really didn’t have the stories ready to submit; I could have possibly worked something out but it would’ve been a rush job and your two selections for Clarion shouldn’t be rushed. So, Clarion is shelved until next year.
7. BW will hit 70k tonight and with twenty-seven days (including today) until Connor is supposed to be due if I write 1500 a day I’ll be at 110,500 which is a healthy amount of novel before edits begin. If my novel is anything like my shorts I’ll be cutting a drastic amount and adding in more to flush out other areas. However, it is nice to be over to look over this large piece and not only see and appreciate where I’m going to end up but to look back at what I’ve done so far.

So, while the month was a downer I do want to look at one thing as a positive: in eight weeks worth of writing I’ve written over eighty-seven thousand first draft words. That’s about three-fourths of the words I wrote in all of last year. That’s an average of 1,448 a day. If I’m able to keep up that pace I’ll have passed my total word count of 2010 by sometime around mid-March and if I kept up this pace through the end of 2011 I’ll write over five hundred thousand words, which, I’m pretty sure, is more words than I’ve possibly written in my entire life.

Now, do I think I’m going to be able to keep this pace? Probably not. Connor is the big X-factor here and I’m trying to push myself to get to the point where I can crank out fifteen hundred words in an hour, which may allow me to get out half of that while keeping an eye on him. Michelle and I talked about my writing after he’s born and I’ve given myself permission to not hit my goals for at least a few months. So, will I hit 500k? No idea. If I don’t, that’s ok, but wouldn’t it be awesome if I did?

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