• Writing

    The TWD

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    So I may be a writer, but I’m also very fond of numbers. Obsessed, some people of my close acquaintance might say. The proper ordering of my universe requires numerical accuracy in addition to well understood grammar.

    As applied to my writing, this numerical obsession manifests several ways. Aside from the writing reports I’ve started doing monthly again, I actually have writing logs going back to when I first started to get serious about getting better at writing. (The first day in the first log is 15 August 2007, where I spent a few minutes each on four different stories, plus a short blog entry. I can’t find the blog entry, and after many revisions, one of those stories became readable. The others… are best left where they are.)

    But I had this thought last week, now that I’m trying to ramp up production levels, that there might be interesting summary statistics I could use. One of these, I call the TWD, the Theoretical Writing Day count.

    The idea is that most of the time right now I have two different projects I’m working on a first draft of, one large and one small. Every day I write on each contributes to the average daily word count in that category. So there’s an average for the large (usually novel) and small (usually short story). The two of these added together are the TWD.

    How is this relevant? Well, life, being what it is, intervenes in my writing schedule at times. I don’t write on both projects every single day, or sometimes I don’t get as many words in as the daily plan calls for. This is expected, and I’ve built safety margins into things to account for that. But what if I didn’t miss days? What if I always at least hit the planned minimums?

    For November, I missed three “major project” days and had 5 more where I didn’t hit the standard 1k for the day (1250 on weekends). So across 27 days, I wrote 31,744 words for a TWD of 1176. A similar calculation for short projects (although with more missed days as the secondary project is more likely to suffer due to life commitments), planned for 250 words per day (500 on weekends), I get a TWD of 405.

    Taking these two together, I get 1176 + 405 = 1581 for my average TWD.

    Why do I care? Well, if all 30 days in November had equaled the TWD, I would have written 47,430 words of new fiction. I actually wrote 38,627, or 81.4% of the theoretical perfect month based on what I actually wrote.

    If I look at plan numbers specifically, based on the distribution of weekends in November, the TWD comes out to 1075 + 325 = 1400, giving a total plan of 42,000. So I actually wrote 92.0% of that.

    Neat, huh?

    Well, if you like numbers.

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