Ten Days of Binge Writing

by syaffolee

I signed up for Jannowrimo thinking that I could give it a go by writing an entire novel by hand.  I started out doing this, but then I got lazy for most of the month and didn’t write at all.  (I suppose I could give the excuse that I had been busy in lab, but I’m busy in lab all the time.  Half the time, even on weekends.)  It was at the end of the month that I went into panic mode and decided to scrap writing by hand and just type–especially if I wanted to make that 50,000 word goal by the deadline.

Well, I did make it to 50,000–or rather between 50,600 and 52,600 depending on what word counter you’re looking at–squeaking by at 11:50pm on the 31st.  The writing is, well, a hodgepodge of things suffering mostly from Desperate Writing Syndrome which translates to Really Raw Stuff That Needs Heavy Editing.  At any rate, getting to 50k means that once again I’ve avoided loser status in the world of binge writing.  (This reminds me of a post I read on the Jannowrimo forums of one participant finishing his or her story at 45k even though the stated goal was 50k.  Nearing the end of the month, this participant implored the organizers to lower the goal to 45k–as in this particular competition, participants can set their goal to whatever they wish at the beginning of the month–as their story was finished and they could write no more.  This defeats the whole purpose of the challenge.  It’s the equivalent of a marathon runner telling organizers that he should win the race because he feels he’s finished at 25 miles rather than 26.  If you have five thousand words to go, then just write those damn words–whether it’s an extra scene, a sequel, short story or what-have-you.  You can’t win a challenge like this just because you feel like you’ve crossed the finish line rather than objectively doing so.)

Anyways, this was kind of interesting because for Jannowrimo, I’ve actually been only writing for ten days. Eighty percent of the manuscript (that’s 40,000 words) was written in four days–approaching the equivalent of what I can do during the 3 Day Novel Contest.  However, the number of words I wrote on those four days were not equal.  It broke down to something like this:

January 28 – 2,000 words
January 29 – 8,000 words
January 30 – 20,000 words
January 31 – 10,000 words

I also want to note that even though it seems impressive that I’ve written 20,000 words in one day, I had the whole day (minus the brief time I spent in lab) to do it because it was a Sunday.  By contrast, on the last day–a Monday when I had to go to work until at least 5:00pm–I only had six hours left to write 10,000 words.  Basically, I started about 6:00pm (when I got home and wolfed down a sandwich) and just wrote continuously, stopping only for bathroom breaks.  At one point, I was probably averaging about two thousand words an hour.

So, that was pretty crazy. In fact by the end of January I had written over 300,000 words in that seven month period (over a quarter of a million from the last half of 2010).  It’s probably been the most productive I’ve ever been.  For the curious, here’s where all the words came from:

July 2010 (Julnowrimo): 70,000
August 2010 (Augnowrimo): 51,000
September 2010 (3 Day Novel Contest): 34,000
September 2010 (Other short stories): 5,000
October 2010 (Other short stories): 5,000
November 2010 (Nanowrimo): 90,000
December 2010 (Finishing Nanowrimo): 18,000
January 2011 (Jannowrimo): 50,000
Total: 323,000

And while I will definitely be taking it easy (fiction writing-wise anyways) during February, it doesn’t mean that I’m abandoning it altogether.  There will still be short stories to write and edit and submit.  There will be a bit of brainstorming for April’s Script Frenzy, hopefully.  And I might even spare some thought to that interactive fiction project that I’ve been dabbling in occasionally.