The Short Version (TL;DR)
- I was a different person during the challenge. Focused. Driven (well, more driven). Exhausted, but happy.
- I prefer writing stories quickly, just letting the story take you over until it is done.
- I’m itching to do something like this again, but I have other priorities right now.
- It will be quite some time before I’ll know how these stories did.
The Longer Version
Wow. This was so intense. I’ve been using the term “fierce focus” to describe it. It was both exhausting and exhilarating. I loved being possessed by story after story (and yes, possessed, is kind of what it feels like, but in a good way), constantly moving to the next.
I was aware that I was different on the challenge. Most spare moments where spent writing. Many other activities (particularly running and showering) would feed the creative processes more than normal. I got about an hour less sleep a night and was up early every day writing with no days off. Lots of small things got pushed aside to make room for the challenge. A whole lot less entertainment was consumed.
I also did some “bad habit” kind of things during the challenge:
- Ate breakfast and lunch at my desk most of the time.
- Very few breaks
- Didn’t get enough sleep.
- Worked way too many hours between my day job and the writing.
- I didn’t read.
The pace was not sustainable, not with averaging over 4 hours a day and working my job and keeping my life going. There were some tough days with the fatigue. But, all that said, I was happier during the challenge and I miss it. I miss being deep in story all the time.
Transitioning Back to “Normal”
This challenge wrapped on July, 4th, and after that I worked for two more days while helping my friend get ready to leave Flagstaff forever. We then drove a rental van towing a car from Flagstaff, Arizona to Oceanside, Oregon. On the way we had two tires blow out on the car carrying trailer and over eight hours on the side of the road waiting for repair.
Which is to say, it was an intense trip and had a level of immediacy that pulled me right out of challenge mode.
I kept writing, a little every day. I spent a few days in Oregon (even got to go see Dean down in Lincoln City one day!), and then back home and had a lot of catching up to do.
I’ve written two stories and a half stories since the challenge ended. About 18,000 words. That, totally, feels like a snail’s pace at this point.
I prefer it. No doubt about it now. And writing “fast” has nothing to do with typing speed (that’s why it’s in quotes). It’s just about hours spent. The process is difficult (I was quite sure each of the stories was awful at some point) but very immersive and rewarding.
The feeling of a story snapping into focus and changing from a bunch of words into a real story is… well, it’s amazing. Having that happen nearly every day is… wow.
Dean’s doing his own challenge this month (writing 4 novels in a month) and has slowed down on the reading, which is all good by me. He’s been through 17 of the 30 so far.
The ones he says “get to market,” I am doing that as fast as I can. I have 3 out now with more back from my proofreader waiting final changes.
That said, it’s going to be months before I know how the stories do in the market.
Some of the series stories (like Woody and June) I’m going to hold onto for a bit since the world building is still going on and some of the earlier stories will need tweaks.
- My current focus right now is to get 3 novels out that I have in the pipeline. I am writing every morning, but my spare time goes here right now.
- Get the stories out to market and keep them there for a reasonable time.
- I’m trying to improve my production workflow so that I can release more frequently. I’ve got two nearly finished novellas in addition to the novels that need to get out. I also want to release some of my longer stories independently. Production will get a lot of attention for the rest of the year.
- Cook up the next challenge.
I’ll be back when it makes sense with an update on this (and news very soon on my next novel, Of Things Not Seen).
|#||Story||Total Words||Done?||To Market|
|1||Woody and June vs. the Fungus-Head Zombies||5101||Yes|
|3||The Disappearing Neighborhood||2773||Yes||Yes|
|4||Woody and June vs. the Grand Canyon||6070||Yes|
|5||Home in Time||4483||Yes|
|6||Wink, Plum, and the Bones that March||5972||Yes|
|7||The Stars in Hoshi’s Eyes||2532||Yes|
|8||Android Eve and Adam||3512||Yes|
|9||A Long, Hard Fall||8475||Yes|
|10||Fitz’s Second Chance||2800||Yes|
|12||With Light Years Between Us||4670||Yes|
|13||Life and a Starling||2278||Yes||Yes|
|15||Jump in Time||8768||Yes|
|16||Death by Vodka||2100||Yes|
|17||Death by Cookie||4094||Yes|
|18||Ela and the Naiad||3655||Yes|
|19||Is Anyone Receiving This?||1717||Yes|
|20||Breathing in the Stars||2400||Yes|
|21||Woody and June vs. the Ex||10232||Yes|
|23||One Last Trick||4312||Yes|
|24||Death by Apathy||3373||Yes|
|25||A Changeable Face||5241||Yes|
|26||Last Days with Mary||2818||Yes|
|27||Let Go the Stars||861||Yes|
|28||Goodbye Mrs. Hopkins||1329||Yes|
|29||Death by a Kiss||3912||Yes|
|30||Through Other Eyes||3372||Yes|