A Year of Writing

Philip HarrisMetrics, WritingLeave a Comment

It’s been said many times by many people much smarter than me that the secret to successful writing is to write every day. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, it exercises your writing muscles and makes them stronger. You get into a rhythm, you improve. With that in mind, on 29th June 2013, I set myself a challenge to write something, some piece of fiction, every single day. The last time I did was back in 2010 that I wrote every day for 197 days in a row before taking a break. As of Sunday, I’ve written every day for a full year and I’m a very happy bunny. As I’ve demonstrated previously, I’m pretty obsessive about tracking my writing so I have a fair amount of data on that one year writing streak. First off, I wrote 253,189 words. That’s an average of 694 words a day – a nice increase from the 665 words per day I managed over the first three hundred days so I’m pleased with that. Those words took me 16 days, 2 hours and 50 minutes to write, or 655 words per hour which is down from the 673 words per hour at the three hundred day mark. As you’ll see in a minute, … Read More

Three Hundred Days of Writing

Philip HarrisMetrics, WritingLeave a Comment

Yesterday, I hit the three hundred day point in my writing streak –  breaking my previous record by one hundred and one days. I wish I could say I hit such a significant milestone with a spectacular flourish but this week’s word count has been pretty low so far and I limped across the line with a meagre 454 words. Here’s a graph of what those three hundred days look like. (Click for a bigger version) The blue line is the number of words per day. It’s a bit spikey so I’ve added a seven day rolling average (the red line) to give a better sense of my general productivity. There’s clearly 4-5 blocks of time where I increased my productivity and a patch around the middle of the streak where my daily word count was consistently low. The green line is the overall total number of words. I ended up writing 199,407 words. That comes to 665 words a day which is down slightly from the 150 day mark (681 words per day) and the 100 day point (737 words per day). That’s probably due to the fact that I’m spending a lot of time revising which doesn’t contribute a lot of words to the total. Had I known how close I was to … Read More

Metrics Monday – 4th November 2013

Philip HarrisMetricsLeave a Comment

Another busy week, another feeble word count saved only by an unexpected burst of productivity on Saturday. I did manage 3,813 words and broke the 30,000 word mark on Glitch which is encouraging. I got a bit bogged down for a couple of chapters but I’ve upped the peril again and things are moving along nicely. The chapters are getting shorter, the most recent one clocks in at 1,877 so I may be done sooner than I think. I also put the finishing touches on In the Shadow of Memories on Wednesday and submitted that so we’ll see how that one fares. This week should be a bit better word count wise, particularly as I have 14-15 hours of flying to do at the weekend – plenty of time to get some more work done on Glitch. And of course I’ll have the return flight as well so with a little bit of luck, I should be just about finished with the first draft by the end of November. Then it’s on to revising The Ghost Smuggler. I had considered doing NaNoWriMo this year but the timing wasn’t quite right. It’s too bad, Glitch would have been the perfect book to work on. I do have … Read More

Metrics Monday – 28th October 2013

Philip HarrisMetricsLeave a Comment

My entertainment and day job calendar was packed last week which makes me all the more surprised that I managed to break the 4,000 word mark – 4,045 words to be exact. Mostly on Glitch with a tiny bit of revision on In the Shadow of Memories which needs to be finished this week. We went to a lot of fantastic events this week, including some great Vancouver Writers Festival sessions but more on that later. [Metrics Monday – 28th October 2013 by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 28th October 2013]

Monday Metrics – 16th September 2013

Philip HarrisMetrics, WritingLeave a Comment

After a slow start, last week turned out to be very productive – 7,267 words. That’s my second most productive week of the year, my best being the 8,871 word week I managed at the beginning of August. The first couple of days went how I expected, very low word counts, but on Wednesday evening I found myself home alone and hammered out a respectable 1,436 words on my monster story, Saviour. My Thursday and Friday sessions also went better than expected and I was able to wrap up the first draft. I’d realised I needed to make some changes to In the Shadow of Memories so I did those on Saturday morning which meant all my in-progress stories were at the first draft stage and I needed something new. I’ve been toying with an idea for an episodic science fiction novella for a while. I had a very rough outline and the opening 3-400 words but not a lot else so I spent about two and a half hours on Saturday doing a much more detailed outline. The structure is fairly complicated so I ended up having to use a spreadsheet. By the time I’d finished I had the structure sorted … Read More

Monday Metrics – 9th September 2013

Philip HarrisMetrics, WritingLeave a Comment

As expected, not a very productive week, writing wise, although at 3,923 words it’s not my least productive week and I hit day 70 in my writing streak. Apart from the one productive day on Tuesday, I’ve been limited to scraping together half an hour here and there to pound out a few paragraphs. What I have found is that limited time helps me focus and my words per hour rate is generally pretty good. I know I don’t have a lot of time so I don’t let myself get distracted. I worked on four stories this week, the final revisions of The Bone Boy, finishing off the first draft of In the Shadow of Memories, outlining and writing a new flash piece tentatively called The Ride and working on my monster story, Saviour. The Ride is out for feedback, Saviour still has a way to go and I’ve realised I need to rework a chunk of Memories. I also started doing some research for my next big project. It’s going to be busy week and I won’t be taking any time off so I’m expecting another low word count week but we’ll see how it goes. [Monday metrics – 9th September 2013 by Philip Harris … Read More

We Have a Winner – The Bone Boy

Philip HarrisAcceptances, WritingLeave a Comment

Getting any writing done this week was always going to be a challenge. I have a couple of secret prototypes underway for my day job, I’m giving a keynote presentation in a couple weeks that I need to work on and our marathon training is starting to ramp up. To make things even tougher, at the beginning of the week I had four writing projects with looming deadlines: A 1,000 word flash story for the Brevity Workshop The Bone Boy In the Shadow of Memories An untitled monster story Most of my labour day weekend got taken up with the prototype work so I decided to take an extra day off work and focus on writing. That strategy worked very well and on Tuesday I wrote and submitted the first draft of the flash story (working title – The Ride) and finished off In the Shadow of Memories. I also wrote a review of a password manager called DashLane that I’ll post here at some point. All that writing meant I was able to use Wednesday evening to revise The Bone Boy and get it ready to submit on Thursday morning. As any short fiction writer will tell you, it can take a very … Read More

Monday Metrics – 2nd September 2013

Philip HarrisMetrics, WritingLeave a Comment

If my writing was a starship most of its systems would be turned off to conserve energy and life support would be at a minimum, just enough to keep the crew alive. I did manage to get down a respectable 4,108 words this week but my writing time is severely constrained at the moment. I’ve got two prototypes I’m building for work, plus a presentation to create for a keynote speech I’m giving in three weeks. All of the writing I did manage was on my new science fiction story, tentatively titled  In the Shadow of Memories. I should be able to get that finished in the next couple of days and then I need to revise The Bone Boy. I’m expecting next week’s wordcount to be a bit lower, despite the fact that I have a four writing deadlines looming. I’m also unlikely to be able to blog much. [Monday Metrics – 2nd August 2013 by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 2 August 2013]

Metrics Monday – Now With Graphs

Philip HarrisMetrics, Writing, Writing ProcessLeave a Comment

I’m mildly obsessed with metrics – both at work but especially at home. I suspect it’s my engineering background triggering a bit of OCD. I track my running in three different apps, my food, my weight, body fat and water and of course my writing. I have a couple of spreadsheets for writing – my submissions spreadsheet and my writing log which tracks how much writing I do each day of each type writing – Outlining, New, Revising, Rewriting. Yesterday, I added a weekly summary page with a graph. The graph for last week looks like this: That’s a total of 5,798 words for the week which is actually my third most productive week. Monday was purely a revision day so the wordcount is very small. I’m still working on my methodology for revisions because those invariably end up as a net negative day. That would throw off the metrics so I ignore revision for the overall total words and my OCD demons would like me to find a better way of dealing with that. The two blocks of outlining were a science fiction serial (Wednesday), a monster story (Friday) and In the Shadow of Memories (Sunday). Most of the … Read More

Hanging with the Bone Boy

Philip HarrisBooks, Chatter, Stories, WritingLeave a Comment

My love of horror started somewhere around 1989 with two books – Immortal Blood by Barbara Hambly (published as Those Who Hunt the Night outside of the UK) and Clive Barker’s Cabal. It was around the same time that my eventually-to-be-wife introduced me to horror films in the form of Hellraiser and I was hooked. I never really got into the hardcore horror scene but we’ve watched a lot of horror films over the years. So, when I started writing in 1992 (ouch), it was inevitable that I’d start with horror stories. The first, Almost Alone (currently unpublished and sitting in my “trunk” folder) was set in a hospital room with a malevolent creature living in the ceiling. I’m planning on revisiting the idea at some point. Since those early stories, I’ve dabbled in science fiction and fantasy but over half the stories I’ve written have been some form of horror tale. It’s been a couple of years since I wrote a full length horror story though, so getting back to horror with The Bone Boy has been fun – I’ve really been able to stretch my writing legs. I wrapped up the closing scene yesterday and at roughly 1,400 words it was … Read More