Statistically disconnected from reality. Or at least from words.
Yesterday’s word count for the 50-minute dictation session was 1753. Not terrible…nah, let’s try to avoid too much of the humble-brag and also the absurd implication that if I could do that yesterday it’d be easy to do it every day: after all, that many words every day would produce a short novel in about a month. It’s roughly the 50,000 words that people strive to achieve during NaNoWriMo every November. Participants also often leave that as a rough draft until the end of the month–a practice of which I am not a fan–and so I guess I could call my daily word count “done” after less than an hour. Sweet!
But it’s always more complicated than that. For one thing, I did spend about 15 minutes figuring out what the heck I wanted to write. I’d thought Chapter 6 was finished, but when I looked at it yesterday morning I decided it needed more oomph at the end. So I did that, at the beginning of my dictation session. Also, that was just the dictation. It takes a certain amount of time to go through the resulting transcription and fix errors. Also, as far as just doing a rough first draft goes I’m not sure I have the confidence to dictate an entire novel without at least looking at what I’ve produced. In fact I very much doubt that I do…ha. I doubt my confidence? Nice. If so, I’m probably right. Wouldn’t you say?
There’s more. I tend to under-write the first time through. Not a lot of description when I first create a scene, and I like to let myself sort of muse about what’s going on, in the hope that it will result in interesting commentary/thoughts on my characters’ part. Does it work? Who knows; it’s just what I do. My point, assuming I have one, is that yesterday’s session will probably result in something over 2000 words once I get a chance to go over it. Which takes yet more time. Which didn’t happen at all yesterday, because I was busy with the cookbook. And, by the way, copyedits/proofreading? Responding to feedback from beta readers? More time. So, not a novel a month in an hour a day. Too bad, though.
Anyway. What I’m getting at, or should be, is that I clearly haven’t produced that many words per day on a consistent basis, so I should just call it a win. Let’s do that, and move on.
Wondering about Chapter 7 and my concern yesterday that the first half of it was getting too long? Turns out I was fine. I simply hadn’t “written” as many words as I thought I had, so all I needed to do was keep going. Maybe it’ll be easier if I try to just complete a single chapter per dictation session? Dunno, especially since that was actually the plan for yesterday…until I looked over Chapter 6 and decided the end of it needed help. We’ll see how it goes. I’m guessing “more practice” is the best solution I’m going to find, though. Luckily that’s the plan. (Though…maybe a quick note in the Chapter 6 file, telling myself to fix it later, would have made focusing on Chapter 7 easier? Could be.) (Or, come to think of it, I could have remembered that not all of the dictation session was spent in the current chapter, and therefore known I should keep going. Or is that too easy?)
The disconnect I mentioned in the title is this: I write in plain-text files, because they’re portable between devices and applications and–mostly–between operating systems. Special characters are generally not an issue. Syncing via Dropbox is simple. (And plain-text files prevent me from going crazy with control-I…for some reason I sometimes want to italicize everything–like that, get it? I know, I know, but I’m laughing right now.)
So I’m not using an application that tracks words per session, or even words per book. Words per file yes, but it’s generally one file per chapter. And when I cycle/edit I feel free to wander around through all existing chapters. So do I really want to add up the word counts for each file at the beginning of each day, just so I can report them here? No. I do not. Instead I’m going to just let the eventual length of the book be whatever it is, and report solely on new words achieved via dictation in the blog. From time to time I’ll probably do that math, and post the result, but I’m aiming for a more nearly-ish friction-free process. The more difficult these posts become to create, the less likely I am to continue with them. Yes, that means simple addition is out. What? Did you think you were dealing with a smarter kind of writer? Sorry.
Today, so far, I’ve dictated for 30 minutes in one session. Got sidetracked a bit by what I thought were microphone issues. Yesterday’s transcription was sub-par in quality. It worked, but it was a pain to fix. Though actually I think I just needed to reboot the laptop more than anything. Or maybe I just need to speak up when I record. Instead of, you know, mumbling? We’ll see. Then I had to start dealing with the whole school/kids thing, so here we are. I’m planning to get in at least another 30 minutes–so far I’m still on Chapter Seven–before I get back to the cookbook. But anyway, I’ll let you know how that came out tomorrow.
Have fun out there!
Yesterday’s dictation count: 1753 words
Time spent dictating: 50 minutes, 1 session
Week to date: 3077 words
Total words since 1/22/18: 3077