Building a virtual world: 365K Club, week 31

It’s that time of the week again: time for another 365K Club word count check-in! Numbers, please…

July 30, Day 212: 1,249 words

July 31 Day 213: 827 words

August 1, Day 214: 845 words

August 2, Day 215: 1,230 words

August 3, Day 216: 760 words

August 4, Day 217: 777 words

August 5, Day 218: 840 words

That’s a grand total of 6,528 words for the week, 4,452 for the month of August, and 155,217 for the year!

Did I beat last week’s total?

Last week I wrote an astounding 12,819 words, which means missed that total by 6,291 words. It was bound to happen: I broke my winning streak. But never fear, as I have plans to keep experimenting with word sprints and motivational tools to pump those word counts back up again next week.

Badges!

This week I received the Virtual World badge, for describing some of the setting in my WIP. Since my mystery is set in Paris, I described my fictional take on the Eiffel Tower as well as Notre Dame. I love messing with real-life geography and architecture, making improvements that suit my own needs… like a bunch of hidden passageways in Notre Dame that should help my murder and my PI!

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July reflections

Since I didn’t give a summary for the month during my last update, I just wanted to include the fact that I ended up writing a whopping 43,806 words during the month of July! This is a personal best for my monthly writing, thus far, so I’m really excited about that. I had originally set my personal monthly goal at 18,000 words, since I’d almost hit that target in June. But to really go ahead and blow that total out of the water is quite amazing.

So how did I do it?

I would credit two things with this month’s extra productivity:

  1. Joining the 750 Words website, and
  2. Having a deadline for my book.

Those two things sound simple, but they’ve been the two biggest motivators for me.

Having a deadline seems obvious, but it’s kind of shocking to see just how much work gets done in the last minute. I know that as a writer, I will always put things off until they can no longer be put off; I’m a lifelong procrastinator. That’s just how I work. Maybe I need that excitement or pressure to get my creativity going. Maybe I just have too many other things going on. I’m not sure what it is, exactly, but I always wrote my college essays the night before, and almost always wrote my pieces for my weekly newspaper column the day I needed to turn them in. Deadlines are the only thing that work for getting my writing finished on time, so I use them.

As for joining the 750 Words website, it turns out I’m also highly motivated by badges!

Writing this book about the video game industry, I’ve learned that I am the type of gamer that enjoys working towards goals and solving puzzles. When I am rewarded with badges – even virtual ones – for my achievements, I feel spurred onward to keep playing the game. So when I can turn my writing into a game that will reward me for reaching certain checkpoints, that’s much more motivating than writing solely for a word count. Interesting, no?

Here are the badges I’ve acquired so far:

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The first one is the “Egg,” which they give everyone for completing one day’s worth of writing.

The next is a Turkey, which bowlers will be familiar with, for completing three days in a row.

The Penguin is for five days in a row, and the Flamingo is for 10 days in a row. (You may have noticed they are moving from hatching an egg to flightless birds onward to birds that can fly… that’s a theme on the site that I find interesting.)

I’ve also received the “Inspired” badge, for writing a testimonial about the sight, and the “Patron” badge, for joining as a member (which is $5 a month, after a 30-day free trial).

Here’s the link to the site’s Badges page, in case you want to see what other badges can be acquired.

I find it really interesting to type my morning pages on this website, and then move on to other work during the day, since it gives me a kind of internal check-in, with different measurements like how many words I wrote and how quickly, the outside temperature where I’m writing, and the mood I’m in while writing. I need to experiment with it more in the evenings, since I typically write when I first wake up, or after I’m done with work that I have to turn in for an early-morning deadline.

Using both of these simple tools together has really boosted my word counts, so I’m going to stick with them and see how they continue to help me throughout the month of August!

Goals for next week?

I’ve received edits for my video gaming book, so my goal for this week is to chip away at those one day at a time. I’ll be working on that this weekend, and trying to get the rest of it wrapped up by mid-August at the latest. Wish me luck!

I also sent in a piece for the Guilded Pen anthology – an excerpt from my book, NaNoWriMo: A Cheater’s Guide. We’ll see if it makes it past the selection committee; I was told that some of my language was a little too salty for inclusion, so I rewrote it a bit. Now it just depends on what the editors are looking for, I suppose.

What are you up to this week, in your writing life?

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