It has been a long time, it turns out, since I wrote at any sort of consistent pace. I didn’t realize how long, until last night, after I finished writing for the 9th day in a row, and decided to have a look back at what my productivity has been like.
I have a spreadsheet that tracks my word counts all the way back to 2010, when I started work on Shattered. I can look at any day of any of those years and see how many words I wrote that day, plus totals and averages and all sorts of jazz.
I whipped out that spreadsheet, and started looking for sequences where I’ve written at least 9 days in a row. I looked at 2022, which was a wash. I didn’t write a single word in 2022. I only read, I think, 14 books in 2022, as well. 2021, I wrote roughly 9000 words of fiction across the whole year, but it was quite concentrated on 3 days in April of that year. I wrote almost the same amount in 2020, too, but this time, spread out in individual little pieces all throughout the year. And 2019? We don’t talk about 2019. Actually, 2019, started off really good, with 19k words in January, and then a bunch more in February, and then the hammer fell, and I wrote almost nothing for the rest of the year. Still, not 9 days in a row.
In fact, I had to go back to 2016 to find a stretch where I wrote more than 9 days in a row. I had no idea that it was that long ago. Nearly 7 years. That stretch was 20 days in a row, where I was finishing off an unreleased novel (which may yet someday see the light of day).
What’s the point? The point is, I guess, that I’ve been a mess, as far as writing goes, for a LOT longer than I thought. 9 days in a row isn’t breaking any records for me, nor is it even close to what I’ve done in the past (2012-2013, I wrote more than 365 days in a row), but compared to the recent past, it feels like a HUGE win.
I’m not pushing to hit some streak number (though the temptation is there). I’m not stressing about how much I’m writing, as I’ve decided to approach this with a “Did I write something? Yes? Good.” attitude. I’m enjoying it, and the beasts and demons that were keeping me away from writing appear to be in retreat.
I’ve worked really hard to get to the point where I can create art despite the negativity around me, where I can have fun when even the people closest to me want to tear me down or keep me from doing something I love. Am I always successful? No. But I’ve been successful 9 days in a row (despite having a cold for three of those days), and a story is slowly taking shape.
And that is a great thing.