A man of few words – use facts to fix your fiction fatigue

I started a writing journal back in October to help me keep track of my productivity. Every time I sit down to write, I note the hour I start, the session’s duration, how many words I get down, the calculated new total, what chapter I’m on and any interesting notes therein.

This affords me a few boons: using the data, I’m able to figure out when I’m most productive, in order to concentrate on those sessions; but it also provides a neat motivational tool. Humans respond well to numerical targets and records, we’re interested in personal bests and incrementally pushing ourselves further and further, so being able to make a graph like this one can only be a good thing…


As you can see, April was a literal write-off. However, I console myself with excuses: I got married, wrote nothing while on honeymoon, and was introduced to Scribophile, a veritable time-sink. These developments inevitably impacted how much time I was devoting to my novel.

But I’m also aware the single chapter I did finish in April was also a very difficult one. It’s pivotal to the story, is the start of a dangerous confrontation, and one of the featured characters is too easily enticed into taking action. In other words: it took me a month because it was WRONG.

Fixing it might take an extra scene inserted earlier, and maybe a course of contumely to develop a hatred in the character earlier so their willingness to act on spurious information is more believable. This knowledge failed to make it any easier to write.

Onwards and upwards

I’m through it now, and can move on, though I find myself returning to my planning document and wondering about the flow of narrative.

But this MUST STOP! I need to write things down. I need to plough through the next few chapters and get that monthly word count back up to speed.

How I wrote 17,600 words in October, I’ve no idea… Or at least, I wouldn’t have any idea without all this data, which tells me I was bothering to write on Saturdays and Sundays in October (4,600 words total), which I’ve rather neglected since (closest weekend total was November with 650).

So data analysis leads to action points: stop shirking the work on weekends, get your bloody head down, and try not to get married again, you fool!

I’ll let you know how that goes come June.

Thanks for reading!

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