NaNoWriMo: November 3 – Statistics/Obey

After finding out about Aquarion’s writing pace widget (via Coline) yesterday, I looked more into the statistics side of things today. On the NaNoWriMo forums, there are a number of links to stat-filled spreadsheets so you can know all the data of your novel: where you should be, how much you write per hour, what percentage of 50,000 words you have completed, and so on.

A novel in statistics. Does that tell its own story? I suppose so.

I downloaded one such spreadsheet, because I am after all quite interested in geeky stats like cricket average tables and collated best-of film lists. After today, I have written 1901 words. This is 3.8% of the 50,000, leaving me 96.2%, or 48,099 words, to go. I wrote those 1901 words in approximately one hour total, meaning I write at about 1900 words an hour.

What this tells me is that:

  • I am well behind schedule
  • but write quite a lot in the short time that I actually set aside
  • (even if it’s utter drivel)
  • so if I spent more time writing, I’d probably be just fine

What this DOESN’T tell me is why I’m taking so little time to write this thing so far. Fortunately, I already know the answer. This month, in addition to writing a novel I am: going to my day job at least three days a week; writing at least one piece a week for The NRI; putting a blogger interview up on here every Monday (hopefully) in addition to one or two other original JW posts a week; meeting with friends in tough situations; eating three meals a day; sleeping 7-8 hours a day; blah blah you get the message. I am in fact relishing the chance to be very busy for a change and squeeze as much out of my time as possible, but all this probably isn’t helping my story.

A story which, by the way, has hardly advanced yet. That’s another thing the stats don’t tell: I may have been writing the thing for three days, but the ‘real time’ that Mari has so far experienced in my novel amounts to about two hours. I think what that tells me is that I need to throw description to the wind a bit and actually start making stuff happen, then go back in December/January/December and give the action more context. I will actively try to do that tomorrow.

Something else I decided to do today was to put only Japanese music on my music player so I could better put myself in the mind and environment of a Japanese woman. It’s… not really working yet, maybe a little, but the fact is that India and Japan are just so diametrically opposed – on the surface at least – that I’d probably have to keep my eyes closed every time I left the house if I wanted to pretend I was walking across Hachiko Crossing. Mind you, I didn’t have much variety – a combination of punk rockers The Blue Hearts, the occasionally quite mad Tokyo Ska Orchestra (thanks Liz) and the sweet, experimental melodies of Shugo Tokumaru. I need to get some Ayumi Hamasaki and Koda Kumi on there – you know, really terrible music.

I think I have spent longer putting this update together than I did writing today. Oh, and it contains more words. That probably isn’t right, is it? Anyway, I just wanted to sum up by saying that I do think the stats tell a story – they almost always do – but in the case of a writer working on a novel, it’s probably only a story that means anything to them personally, and there are bound to be a lot of gaps that maths can’t cover. Hopefully the same won’t be true of the story I’m trying to tell.

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3 responses to “NaNoWriMo: November 3 – Statistics/Obey

  1. Maybe what you need to do with the novel is get all meta, do a bit of a Douglas Coupland and include all this stuff in it.

  2. The novel completion, etc, isn’t so important, the drive and the doing stuff is.

    Keep writing.

  3. Perhaps… I am actually… writing two novels.

    I am definitely enjoying it and understanding what I’m doing more than ever before, so I won’t stop now.

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