Hey folks, it’s that time again! A new month is upon us, so I’m looking back on everything I wrote in April.
It was quite a busy month for me. I’d set up a couple of projects: the Castle Tour and #CampNaNoWriMo. Camp NaNo is basically a smaller version of the big National Novel Writing Month event in November: instead of writing 50k in a month, you set your own goal. I planned to do a ‘half NaNo’, feeling a lot like a marathon runner training for the real thing. I’ll tell you how I got on in a minute.
There’s a strange phenomenon sweeping the writing world at the moment: March seemed to last for ever, but April has flown by in a flash. I’ve noticed this too. I wonder why that is?
For me, I think it’s because I had so much to work on in April. I’ve sort of put my head down and charged forward, ignoring the Big C that’s on all our minds at the moment.
So, how did I do?
So here it is, how many words I wrote per day in April! It’s a massive improvement over the patchwork mess that was February, when I started actually tracking my daily word count. I figured if I wanted to do this seriously, I had to start holding myself accountable. And sure enough my writing habits were terrible.
Doing the daily tally has really helped me regulate my writing time and find a consistent sweet spot, which seems to be somewhere between 1000 and 1500. If I write less than this I feel antsy, like I want to get more done, but if I write much more than 2000 day after day, I can easily burn myself out.
You can see where I wrote 3500 words on the 11th. At that point I’d written every day for like two weeks, but writing so much in one go burned me out. I just didn’t want to open my laptop over Easter, and when I came back my daily word tally was all over the place. I eventually settled back into my routine though, and that’s where my writing feels most comfortable.
If you have time (and the mental energy – because let’s face it, things aren’t peachy right now), I would definitely say give it a go. You learn a lot about your writing when you see it on a graph every day, and it helps you learn what healthy writing habits look like for you.
The Castle Tour
I started the month by declaring that April was going to be the month of the castle tour. I came up with this before I learned about Camp NaNo, and I probably shouldn’t have done both at the same time. Oh well, it didn’t go too badly in the end.
I absolutely love writing about castles, but doing a masterpost on a particular castle every Wednesday was starting to lose its appeal after a while – I had other blog posts queued up that I really wanted people to see, and I got the sense that people were getting burned out on them too. I kept it up for most of the month but by around the 20th the Castle Tour was curtains and other blog posts took their place. Part of the tour project was getting myself to write two blog posts a week instead of one, though, and I’ve kept that up, so I’d call it a partial success. (Don’t worry castle fans, the castles will be back!)
The NaNo Book (The Giant Project)
My NaNo book is tentatively called The Giant Project, and more unofficially Giant and Friend, though both are obviously placeholder titles. I haven’t spoken about it much, but in short: it’s a fantasy novella. The basic plot is that a poor criminal and a newly-freed giant slave set out north to find the lost city of Orshul, which no-one’s seen in centuries. You want to know more, you’ll have to sign yourself up to be a beta reader 😉 I’m not doing that for a while yet though, I want to get it as good as I can personally make it first.
I always struggle with drafting, it’s my least favourite part. I would rather write non-fiction.
I can do short stories! Just like how Chandler in Friends can smile when there isn’t a camera around. But longform prose is my camera – it makes my writing awful, frankly. But I really wanted this story out there, so I figured Camp NaNo was the best way to make myself sit down and do it. I can always edit it later to tighten it up.
I was one of those students who left essay writing to the last minute. And I mean that literally – I distinctly remember submitting a few first-year essays at 11:59pm. I haven’t lost any of that just-in-time mentality apparently: I was behind my daily word goal for every day after 5th April… until the final day. Look at that controlled ascent at the end. It’s almost like I planned it. (I didn’t.)
All in all, I wrote more words than I have in any other month in 2020, which is progress. I think I’ve found the limits of my writing, though – at least for now. It was manageable, but I certainly need some time away from writing for a bit to recuperate, so I doubt May will be as productive. If I kept this pace up for the rest of the year, I know I’d burn out. And I should really start using Saturdays as a day off again – I underestimated how important that was for keeping me on track.
Thanks for reading, I’ll check in with you in June!
Words written: 37,080.