Writer In Motion: Week 5

WIM Week 5: Final Thoughts

During this event, I kept track of the time I spent on the story and  blog posts. I wanted to check this statistic for a few reasons.

  • This event took place during NaNoWriMo. My usual NaNoWriMo word count for a month is between 75,000 to 120,000 words.
  • I have become more aware of time as my writing career has developed. I am working toward my eventual goal of being able to put out one new book a year regularly. I’ve been taking notes on how fast I am, and how fast I need to be.
  • I have a goal of writing a short story a week. Now, that’s not editing it and revising it, but I wanted to find out how many hours a week it might eat up from my writing time.

 

These were my results. They don’t reflect time that other participants logged, or anything other than the hard facts of how much time I spent writing for this particular event.

Final Time (Draft to Finished)

0.16 hr rough draft

2.25 hr redrafting

4 hr self-editing/revising

1.5 hr processing general CP feedback/brainstorming

3.5 hr revising based on feedback

2.5 hr revising based on second CP round

You can double that amount when it came to preparing the process notes, blog posts, etc.

 

I spent almost 14 hours on the story, and around 28 hours on the blog posts.

To put that in a little perspective, I draft at the rate of roughly 750 to 1,000 words an hour. Had I used all of that time for my NaNoWriMo project, I might have added 31,500 to 42,000 words to my current draft of 53,000 words. In short, I’d probably have a full first draft of a novel.

Ouch.

So…would I do WIM again? Well, not during NaNoWriMo. But at another time of year? Possibly. Word count isn’t always a good measure of productivity or of time well spent. I got to chat with other writers, do a lot of critiquing, talk craft and process, and develop a habit of putting up a blog post a couple of times a week, which I needed to do. Plus, I needed to spend some time reading and resting after an intense summer and fall of revisions. The jury is still out on whether I do better recharging by drafting a new novel or drafting and revising a short story. The edge goes to the drafting without revision, but I’m such a solitary writer in general, that doesn’t surprise me!

So, what about my idea of a short story a week?

Well, if I look at the time spent for the short story, in practice, I would probably spend 10 to 11 hours. Some of the rounds of feedback would go, and maybe all of them. I don’t often get a CP involved for a short story. Plus, short stories are great places to explore new techniques, try a different genre, mess around with POVs you wouldn’t dare try in longer fiction, not to mention trial things you are personally working on in your longer work. Not to mention they are fun to write. I’m still planning on trying to write a new piece of short fiction every week in the New Year.

Last week, while talking to my art instructor, I asked her to hold me to my New Year’s resolution for painting next year. I feel I’ve been spending too much time on still life paintings and portraits. While I want to continue working on those, I also want to add whole body drawings and paintings, landscapes, and buildings (interior and exterior) to my practice pieces this year. In short, I’m expanding my range. I want to draw and paint pictures of scenes from my novels. I have an idea that they might be nice things to share with readers. It’s just for fun, but if you can’t have fun with your art, why do it?

In the same way, I don’t always need to be writing novels. I need to be writing short stories, flash fiction, and novellas. By experimenting with these various forms of fiction, I may learn what stories are suitable for longer exploration, and what stories are better told in a condensed form. I’m not saying that short stories can’t form the backbone for longer fiction, or that longer fiction won’t have moments that can make a great short story. But the ability to know what form fits a story best is something that comes with practice.

So why not get that practice with short stories? The worst that can happen is that you get to practice your prose. The best that can happen is that stories start flying in and out of your head like a butterfly migration.

I like those odds myself.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s