AcWriMo: some reflections

So now it’s December, and AcWriMo has come and gone. How did it work out? Here are some thoughts:

  • I wrote just over 13,000 words in 30 days. Which is not bad at all, considering that I set a relatively modest goal (half an hour every day). I didn’t write quite every day in November — there were about five days I missed, most of which were because I was visiting family for Thanksgiving — but I got pretty close to that goal. I’m not sure yet if those 13,000 words are any good, but I think I’m going to wait a few weeks and look at the November writing file after I’ve gotten a bit of distance on it.
  • If I do a writing month again, I don’t think I’ll do it during a month when family visits and travel are in order. But it was nice to have a whole community of fellow writers all working on projects at the same time.
  • If any of you guys ever want to do a mini-AcWriMo (or any other kind of Writing Month) at another time of year, let me know! I think this approach would also work for a much smaller group of people.
  • Early in the morning, after my first cup of coffee but before I head off to work, is still the best time for me to write. (I discovered this while writing my dissertation, and it’s still true.) I’m still trying to figure out how best to reconcile the early-morning-writing thing with my night-owl tendencies, which have only been amplified by my move to the City That Never Sleeps.
  • This project isn’t really ready for the serious writing stage. There’s too much research I still need to do, and too much compiling of evidence for when I start to write it for real. But discovery writing certainly helps. And now I have a list of things to investigate next. So, even though I might not use a lot of what I wrote this month, I’m still counting it as a win.
  • I experimented with using a tablet, a wireless keyboard, and WriteRoom, and that combination really worked: I could carry my writing tools everywhere, sync the resulting files to Dropbox, and switch back and forth between WriteRoom and IAnnotate PDF, which is one of my new favorite things ever. (I think the paean to IAnnotate might warrant an entire separate post.) It seemed to help my concentration to have only one application open at a time; WriteRoom’s no-frills interface seemed to help with that, too.
  • It’s too early to tell, but the writing habits might even stick: yesterday I got up and drafted a post for The Desk Set, where I’ll be guest-blogging this month, and today I got up and wrote this. Maybe, even if I’m not actively working on the Book Project, I’ll make the time to work on some short stories.


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