So we’re already two months into the year.  It’s going fast, isn’t it?
February was always going to be a big test for me.  January was about shooting out of the gate and getting a load written.  February was about polishing some things to completion and getting them submitted.  As much as I would like to say I was sitting here with 200,000 words under my belt, the reality was that my wordcount dropped in February.
66,000 words compared to January’s 95,000, bringing my Year To Date total to 161,000 words.
I say that like it was a disappointment.
This WAS expected.  I needed to put a lot of work into a few things that didn’t involve word count, either editing stuff or working on projects.
I’d said to a few fellow writers back at the end of January that my YTD (year to date) target for the end of February was to hit 150,000, given the amount of editing and non-wordcount writing tasks I had.
Looking back at what I wanted to achieve in February, I pretty much did everything I wanted.  I think the only real miss was Project Tornado

Project 4S
My next novel project got started.  I was a little worried about this because it wasn’t as planned as I would like.  With some elements I am certainly pantsing it.  But the writing, in general, seems good and it’s a fun write.  I think I’ll have to wait until I get to the end before I decide how much will need to be re-written or not.
I hit my first roadblock with the project.  I always get these at act changes so it was expected.  But it did mean that for a couple of days my wordcount seriously dipped.
One interesting thing was that I’ve not been doing my chapter outline immediately before commencing writing.  I call this my 5×5 approach and I will write something about it in the future.  When I hit the roadblock I told myself that I probably needed to start doing it again.  Just so the added structure of the write made it a little easier.  And wow!  I know my 5×5 method really helps my productivity, but I hadn’t realised quite how much.  I saw my writing pace jump up 100% between not using it and using it!  Incredible!
I’d like to get the rough draft of 4S done before Eastercon, but I’m not sure, mainly because there are still some moving parts I’ve not figured out.  Maybe end of April is more realistic.  That said I do seem to be about half way through the novel already
I had four articles published in February.  Two for GPSTracklog and one each for Fantasy Faction and Pornokitsch.  I have another for Fantasy Faction that’s been done and due for publication in early March.
I also got asked to do an article on productivity for the BFS Focus magazine.  It’s a great magazine and I have an idea for a really great article on it.  My plan is that I will write this early next month.
I’ve been a little better at doing Blog articles this past month.  My blog post on diversification got a lot of hits and so I’m trying to do more articles like that.  I still have a load of long blog posts I want to do that I’ve just not had time to do although some of them might turn into articles or presentations
Speaking of which, I will be at Eastercon and I am doing a solo panel!  At the time of writing it’s not been announced yet, but expect me to promote it via the blog and social media in the run up.  I’ve started planning it all out and I’ll be spending a lot of March putting it together.  There’s a technical element to this and so it needs a bit of work!
Project Tornado
This has taken me more time than I had hoped.  I’d planned to launch it early February but there’s a lot of learning surrounding this and so it’s just got away from me this month.  I don’t feel any closer now than I did this time last month.  Annoyingly all my time on this has been away from word count.
I think if I have one takeaway from this is that I’ve not split tasks I’ve put off into smaller tasks so I could progress them.  I also think there’s a bit of fear and procrastination.  I’m tackling a lot of new things with this project and I’ve not organised myself properly so that the tasks that needed doing first got the greatest priority.  There’s also a lot of shiny things with this project that makes it really easy to get distracted.
Once I get this hump sorted I’m hoping that I can start adding some more words to this project.
Editing Process
I had a long chat with my friend Amanda Rutter about editing and establishing metrics for it.  As stupid as this might sound the thing that was holding me up was working out what the unit of measurement for editing was.  With writing it’s easy, it’s word count… but how do you measure editing.  She gave me some great advice and I think I have the unit of measurement sorted.  Now all I need to do is to start gathering some data.
Sadly, whilst I’m really good at recording wordcount, I’ve, so far, kept forgetting to record my times editing.  Hopefully that will improve in March and I can start to get some meaningful data long before I start the bastard edit that will be Thieving King
Project Mylar
At the end of January, I had the proposal 90% done.  I managed to get that out the first week of  February and hope to get a response in March.  I’m steeling myself for a rejection as I think you have to in this business.  It’s not all free cakes and puppies, folk!.  I can only control the things I can so it’s out my hands now.
Yep.  I did one, and boy was it hard work.  I happened to ask on Facebook for some beta readers and got a wonderful bunch who really pushed me.  I’m proud of the story I produced and it’s been submitted for an anthology.  Again, I can’t control whether they accept it or not but I worked damn hard on this, including an entire weekend editing that left me with little will to live.
I’m not going to rest on my laurels though and want to get another one done this month.  If I could just pick up speed on the editing (looks at editing process and grumbles ‘why aren’t you here already’) I reckon I might be able to knock one of these out each week.
Plans For March
4S remains the priority for March.  It would be nice if I could complete the draft but I somehow think I’ll still be in the final third of the novel come April 1st.
Project Tornado really needs a bit of attention.  I think once I stop procrastinating with research and training then this should start to produce a steady stream of output.
I’d like to do another Short Story but I’m aware that my Eastercon presentation could take a lot of time.  I’m also expecting to hear back on a couple of submissions so I’ll either feel inspired or dejected.
I’d also like to end the month with some editing data.
Target for my YTD for end of March:  As much as I’d like to go to Eastercon with quarter of a million words under my belt, I think 225,000 is more realistic, and even that might prove a bit of a struggle!