March wasn’t one of my best writing months, but despite missing a bunch of days, it turned out to be almost as productive as February. Which was weird.

One of the advantages of tracking my daily word-count over the last two years is that I can now identify and anticipate various patterns. For instance, I can anticipate how the seasons affect my writing. It’s been quite clear from last year’s tracking that the change of season has quite an impact. For me, this usually boils down to how well I sleep. Once I’ve adjusted to either summer or winter, I sleep fine (though winter, with its warm, snuggly duvets, wins out there) and getting up the next day is just a matter of routine.

However, here in Perth we get a fairly bumpy, albeit brief, ride between the two seasons.The nights waver from too warm to too cold, and a full night of quality sleep goes out of the window. It’s also the time of year when people get sick, and in a house with two kids it’s a question of when you’re gonna get sick, not if. Being sick, of course, doesn’t make it any easier to get up early in the mornings.

This month it hasn’t helped either that both my kids have decided that 6:30am is now a reasonable time to get up. I’m not complaining too much: it’s easier than having to get them out of bed in time for school. But it is another distraction that reduces both my writing time and my ability to fully absorb myself in my writing.
This month there was also another factor as well.

Over Christmas, and into February, I worked on a number of short stories. I had some good ideas, the motivation to write them, and I got on with it. By mid-March most of those stories were completed and I had planned to get back to writing my novel. Turns out that the novel wasn’t quite ready for me. So, I had a number of mornings where I still got out of bed (it’s too much of a routine now for me to feel comfortable not getting up early) but didn’t write much. I eventually remembered that I had another story that needed some work but even that one continued to give me problems.

It’s a well established productivity tip that you’ll generally do better in the mornings if you already know what you need to do. This is why I sometimes like to stop my writing in the middle of a scene: it means I can get straight into the action the following morning. Over the last few months I’ve been working on short stories that have virtually demanded to be written. I get up; I’m motivated; I know exactly what I need to write next. I’ve had it so easy.

Trying to come back to the novel was the exact opposite. It’s been happily languishing in the background for some time now, and doesn’t seem to be overly interested in being written at the moment. Making things harder is that I not only need to start a new chapter in the novel, but it’s at a point where I’m not terribly excited about how it’s going. I guess we’ll see where we get with it next month.

Anyway … onto this month’s stats.

The stats

Number of writing sessions: 2
Number of editing sessions: 21
Days missed: 10
Words written: 794
Words edited: 22,781
Average words written (per session): 397
Average words edited: 1,085

The stories

March was all about five stories in particular.

  • “Come out, come out, wherever you are…”. Wrapped up the final draft of this M.R.James inspired story.
  • The slow bomb. Finished this one In Feb. Sent it off to Uncanny Magazine and it got promptly rejected (pretty sure I know why, and there’s a blog post coming up about that). I did a bit of a rewrite in March and it’s currently out for consideration by another publication.
  • Future-proof. This is currently at second draft. Pretty happy with it, but want to let it stew for a bit before I complete. Will probably tackle it further in April.
  • 1-UP. Finished up the final draft. Now just need to do the final proof and keep an eye out for a suitable market.
  • Intersection. This is the story I picked up again instead of returning to the novel. It’s still not quite coming together (keep an eye out for a blog post about the issues with this one).

Out to market

I still have The Beginnening and Drones out to market (as detailed last month). There are two more stories to include here:

  • The Slow Bomb. Rejected in Feb. Sent out to another magazine.
  • “Come out, come out, wherever you are…”. Newly out to market out this month