Determined or Resolute

On January 1st, 2018, I turned twenty years old as the year turned itself into a new one. My whole life, this overlap between the beginning of my life and the beginning of the year has served as a catalyst for my progress and development as a young human being. With New Year’s resolutions come goals for my twenty-first year of life, and with the start of a new year, comes an entirely new phase of my own personal existence. It’s easy to wake up on your birthday, especially as one ages, and not feel any different at all. With my goals and resolutions, I strive to avoid that normalcy. January 1st is my special day, and I will force it to be that way if I have to.

As one of six resolutions I made for myself this year, I challenged myself:

To the best of my ability, I must write 500 words per day. As an overarching goal, try for 15,000 words per month.

This is limited to my personal, non-school writing, but includes everything from prose to poetry to, of course, blogging. Taking into account that my day-to-day activities and moods are unpredictable at best, I have deigned not to be too hard on myself when I slack or tragically fail at the required daily minimum. As we come to the conclusion of my beautiful birthday month, now struck me as the perfect time to reflect on the first thirty days of results.

Drum roll please. Anyone? Moving on.

January 2018 words per day

This is a rough overview of January on my 2018 writing spreadsheet. I have been using Excel to track my word count each day, with the conditional formatting explained as follows:

  • Green – I have reached my daily minimum of 500 words that day.
  • Yellow – I wrote a little, even if hardly anything at all.
  • Red – Those big, blinding zeroes.

Now, I’ve never taken stats, nor have mathematics ever been my strong suit, but this experiment of mine so far has yielded interesting results:

  • Out of the 30 days evaluated, I achieved my goal on 13 of them, just over 1/3 of the time.
  • Were I to broaden my requirements to writing at all, I would have succeeded on 20 different days, upping the rate of success to 2/3 of the month.
  • On four days, I blew my goal out of the water with a word count of 1000 or more.
  • My monthly total (not including today, the 31st) came out to 14,482. I am pleased to report that by the time I finish this entry, I will have met my 15,000 word goal.
  • My average of words per day sits at ≈482.73. Again, by the end of this article, I will be above that sweet 500. [Edit: my average ended up at ≈489.39. Told you math wasn’t my strong suit.]
  • Ten days untouched? Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me.

I have never been a particularly quantitative wordsmith, in stark contrast to the sheer volume of work my dearest friend produces. Nonetheless, I have never let our creative differences stop me! I may not produce at the fastest or most consistent rate, but I sure produce. Eventually.

Overall, I am pleased with the results of this month. I may have skipped writing for an entire third of the month, but in the end, thanks to the help of significant outliers where I had extra drive, I maintained an average of 500 words per day, and reached my 15,000 word goal. How can I complain? To write every day is difficult for someone as busy, stressed, and distractible as I, so I knew going into this that consistently following up was going to be a stretch goal.

My 2017 National Novel Writing Month statistics. My attempt ended on day 16, at 26,784 words out of 50,000.

This is progress. Aside from my attempts at doing NaNoWriMo (stats included, for reference), I hardly wrote in 2017, so I am already off to a fruitful start to the new year. I am excited. I genuinely and with boundless energy cannot wait to continue working on this project, enticed by wherever it may take me. What results with February hold? March? Further yet? Only time, and the resolute determination of this young, eccentric, scribe, will tell.

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