16 Week Writing Challenge: Week 2

The metrics:


  • 2 Chapters complete
  • 7095 words typed
  • 1013 (average) word count per day
  • 15.25hrs spent writing total
  • 2.25hrs (average) spent in daily writing


  • 3 novels started
  • 1 novel stopped
  • =2 novels currently
  • 396 pages read
  • 8:58 total reading
  • 1.25hrs (approx. average) spent in daily pleasure reading


  • 0 hours

This data does not include things I have to read and write for school, the writing time I spend on this blog and other projects, or the reading time spent every morning in meditation & prayer. The only data accounted for is the writing done for my novel, and the reading I choose to read.

So, how’d I do?

Well. I’m down a little over 2k in word count from last week, but I finished two chapters this week as opposed to one. My total writing time went down approximately 6hrs from last week. That’s ok, because those six hours were spent Sunday finishing one behemoth of a chapter in one crazed writing session. I don’t advise these mammoth sessions, they’re very taxing on the nerves. If you have a family (like me), this time-suck will certainly piss them off, which only aggravates you in the long run. Yet, at times, it’s unavoidable. One condition of this project is that I turn in, at minimum, one chapter of new writing by Sunday evening, every week. I did what I had to do, got it done, and now that monster chapter is  behind me. “Proud, Donnie.”

Taking out the time spent on that large chapter, as it was out of the norm for me, I’m still averaging 2.25hrs of writing everyday. My word count per day just tops 1000. I don’t write for word count, though. Some days I’ll get a few hundred words done, and others a few thousand. So be it. I’m more concerned with time. Hitting a daily word count is like meeting your quota in a factory. I don’t want to think of writing like that, so I don’t. Time is what I need to make it sing, and time is what I take to get the prose there—not word count. But hey, if word count is your thing, get after it. It’s not for me is all.  I keep a tally just to have a ballpark of what I’m accomplishing a day, but I won’t sweat it if my totals  are paltry. If those words are solid, I’m happy.

I strive for 2 hours of writing a day. Sometimes this can’t be accomplished. When this happens, I’ll run a deficit until I can get caught up. Say I only write for 1 hour a day (which is my absolute, barebones, can’t-sleep-till-I-do-it minimum), I will add the remaining hour I didn’t do on to the next days work load. If I don’t get it done then, or I add to the deficit more, I keep adding  on until I complete the hours. This might (and has) resulted in a six-hour day of writing, but I get caught up eventually. And though I run a deficit when I need to, running a surplus is right out! If the mood hits me and I have the time to write for eight hours, that’s fantastic. This doesn’t erase the two hours I need to do the following day, or the following day after that. In other words, I don’t bank hours one day so I don’t have to write the next.

No way.

All in all, I’m happy with my progress.

As for reading, you’re probably wondering what novel I stopped reading and why. I was reading “Running with Scissors,” and I made it through to about the 100 page mark. It’s a memoir about a child in a very fucked-up upbringing. I can usually take these sort of memoirs, but after a while I was just sick of being uncomfortable. When the author described walking in on his mother having sex with another woman, the minister’s wife no less, and the lackluster response his mom gave him (and his equally blasé response), I’d had enough.

I’ll only quit a novel for three reasons: style, content, or aimlessness.

I couldn’t take the content of this one any longer, not so much that it offended me or anything like that, but I didn’t believe the responses the characters were giving to the traumas all around them. Also, after 100 or so pages, this book wasn’t going anywhere, wasn’t going to reach any catharsis (or one that I cared to read about), so I wasn’t about to board the train to  nowhere along with it. There wasn’t anything really bad about the book, we were just never meant to hang out together. I never feel bad about dropping a book like a corpse to the grave. There are too many good reads out there to let a bad one hold you back.

The other books I’m reading are “The Call of the Wild / White Fang” by Jack London, and “Odd Thomas” by Dean Koontz. I’ve always wanted to read London but never got around to it. I’ve finished “The Call of the Wild,” and it was wonderful. I’m about to finish “White Fang“, which has me floored. Reading London is like a masterclass on how to ratchet up tension in your novel. Incredible. Koontz intrigued me, primarily because he’s been dogged as a Stephen King clone, but missing some of the most important pieces. Intrigued, it was time I made up my own opinion.

I find this claim totally unfounded. Koontz has a style all his own, and his work is very readable. I’m not saying Kind doesn’t have either of those, but I struggle to find the similarity. The only thing I can think of is “Odd Thomas” has a protagonist that interacts with the dead, and tries to help them. This is similar to the main character in King’s “The Dead Zone”, but, as far as I can tell, that’s where the similarities cease. Anyhow, if you’ve always been curious about Koontz, give him a try. So far, reading him has been all pleasure.

Reading is the one area I need to carve out more time for. It’s imperative to read as much as you can while you write. Otherwise, you’re running blind in a field of razor blades. Look to those whom have gone before you to lead the way.  That’s what I’m working  on this week.

How about you?





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Writer, veteran, adult student, husband and father; life is busy! I love it though, and my hopes are to share with you my insights into these different roles, as well as to provide some experience-based tips on how to cope with the chaos they can bring. If even one of these different areas of life piques your interest then this might be the place for you. Welcome!

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