I did a brief update on my January writing efforts a couple of weeks ago, but here’s the formal update with stats and all sorts of exciting stuff.

I’ll confess right up that I’m shocked – shocked, I tell you – to see that I haven’t done one of these writing updates since last May. Not sure why that is, since I’ve been writing away. Maybe it’s simply because I was focusing my efforts on a few major projects, rather than the usual raft of shorts stories, which would have made for some pretty dull [duller] updates: “Yes, this month I did another few thousand words on the exact same thing that I was writing last month … ”

Anyway, as my previous update revealed, January has been a pretty good month for me. Let’s see some numbers.

The stats

  • Number of writing sessions: 9
  • Number of editing sessions: 26
  • Days missed: 2
  • Words written: 6,539
  • Words edited: 40,685
  • Average words written (per session): 727
  • Average words edited: 1,315

There’s a slight difference in my tracking methodology this year. Previously I simply counted each day that I did some writing or editing, meaning that the number of writing days plus editing days plus days missed would equal the number of days in the month. This year I’m tracking ‘sessions’ so that I can also analyse how much writing I do on the mornings, in my lunchtimes and in the evenings (and I’m not counting blog posts any more).

Typically I’ve found that I use the mornings for first, second and third drafts. I’ll use lunchtimes for the final draft. I’ll then, sometimes, use the evenings for a final read through and some minor line editing here and there. With the new tracking I’ll be able to better establish what my most productive writing/editing times are. You will, of course, see that I’ve not included that info in the stats above. Well, you can’t expect everything, can you…?

The stories

Numbers are all well and good, but I thought it might be interesting to use these monthly updates to track the progress of the specific stories that I’ve been working on that month. So, below is a list of stories in question and a little bit about where they’re up to in the writing process.

  • Intersection. A sci-fi story. Wrapped up the final draft in the early days of the month and sent it off for some beta-reading. Despite calling it a final draft I’m still not quite satisfied with the final product. I’ve got a good idea now of where the problems are and will be giving it a rewrite in due course.
  • 1-UP. Another sci-fi story. I wrote the second draft over a few (seven) morning and lunchtime sessions. Although I’ll still go for a third draft, I think this one is more or less there already.
  • “Come out, come out, wherever you are…”. Christmas is a time for ghost stories, which typically means immersing myself in the stories of M.R.James (via BBC adaptations, although I made an effort to start reading the original tales this year). I decided I wanted to write an M.R.James inspired story and ended up coming up with three distinct ideas. This was the first one our of the gate and I wrote the first and second drafts over several morning sessions (four per draft) this month.
  • Graves. A short chiller. I’ve been meaning to rewrite/re-edit one of my oldest stories for quite some time now and finally got around to it this month. I took five lunchtime sessions over this one, although it didn’t need a great deal of work in the end.
  • The slow bomb. A sci-fi story. Very excited about this. It’s an idea I had years and years ago, but the story for it only came together earlier this month. I wrote the first and second drafts over a two-week period. Very rare for me to plunge straight into the second draft of a story. I expect the third draft to happen during February.

So that’s it. One story that’s virtually ready to go out to market. One rewritten. One that stills needs some work, and two that need third drafts but are otherwise in pretty good shape.

Out to market

And purely for the sake of completion, I currently have two stories out to market:

  • The Beginnening. A comedy sci-fi story. Likely to be several months yet before I hear anything about this one. I’m really pleased with this story, so quite optimistic about it eventually finding a home somewhere.
  • Drones. A YA dystopian style sci-fi story. Not expecting to hear anything about this before June. I’m proud of this one, but it’s not really antyhing that hasn’t been done before, so it could go either way.