I’m trash at consistency it seems.

I’ve set up multiple trackers for #onemillionwords. Each project has been set up individually on the NaNoWriMo website. I have a monthly tracker for each project in my bullet journal as well as a tracker on each project in 4thewords which is where I write. The site automatically updates each project as I write so I don’t even have to worry about that one but the other two? I’m horrible about updating them.

This is the same problem I ran into in school. The whole having to actually update it every day thing doesn’t work for me. So far, it’s been more like once or twice a week. In the end, will it matter if I updated every single date? Not really. They’re tools to help. The main goal here is writing every day and as long as I do that, then I’ve still accomplished my goals. This might be common sense for some but it’s a big thing for me. I tend to hyper-focus on using the tools exactly and tend to get discouraged when I misstep.

Everyone works and succeeds differently. Myself, I have to use multiple accountability tools, a community, and half a dozen post-it notes a week to accomplish this. I found what worked for me. Not 100% mind you but it has worked enough to keep me going. Before this, I was a disorganized ball of static. Three weeks of using a bullet journal can only do so much

This whole thing is teaching me to organize and utilize tools that better suit my brain. Wild to think that three weeks of a random internet event has helped where most of my special education teachers failed. Not throwing shade since I am well aware of just how badly understood ADHD was when I was in school and do not fault them these shortcomings.

First, let me give a #onemillionwords refresher. A wonderful mutual of mine over on Twitter tweeted out close to the new year that they were going to do a writing challenge for all of 2021. They were setting a goal of writing one million words in just one year and invited others to do the same. Nearly a hundred people, that I knew of, jumped on this and set the same goal thus an incredible community was born. To break it down that’s on average 2740 words a day and about 85,000 words a month. Most of us aren’t expecting to get to one million but pipedreams are a thing for a reason. If interested, you can find the mastermind behind this on Twitter at CKnightwrites. 

How’s my progress? I’ve been keeping on track more or less. I haven’t been able to bank any significant amount of words so that I have a buffer when we move, whenever that is. House hunting is fun and full of delightful surprises, said no one ever but my total as of this morning was at about 58k words. That’s still a great deal of progress. I keep having to remind myself of that fact. I’ve written more in these past three weeks than I have most years since graduating college.

  • CHAINED HEAVENS – Still really hate the name but I can’t think of anything better. This is my high fantasy short story collection that follows the adventures of Lucifiel and her two siblings, trained to fight against the demon armies plaguing their world. I have to be honest, Lucifiel is one of my D&D characters, an Aasimar barbarian. She was created five years ago when I finally joined a campaign that didn’t have three other Aasimars. I made a barbarian because the duality of it tickled me. It was a pairing that you seldom saw until Critical Role Campaign 2. Good thing Lucifiel and Yasha are not that similar in personality. That being said, it took me way too long to use D&D mod prompts but since doing so it’s helped a lot to start new stories.
  • Blog posts. Here’s one, isn’t it lovely? These weekly updates help me twofold; keeping my word count growing and reteaching me how to write editorial content. I have a bachelor’s in journalism but I obtained that over a decade ago and haven’t done anything with it since. I’m a little rusty. I will probably always be horrible at thinking up topics. The next post by me should be out Tuesday, a book review of DISAPPEARING NIGHTLY by Laura Resnick.
  • CLOAKED RITES – Every time I go back and rewrite this story, iI remember just how much I love these characters. This book is 1st person and written from Lysundra Evan’s perspective, a half werewolf, half peri agent of the supernatural British version of the FBI. I am afraid I haven’t gotten a lot of extra words banked in this project. It’s hovering just about where I should be so this weekend I plan to set aside some time for this project specifically. Maybe even try to outline beforehand. I’m rubbish at outlining and honestly, don’t know a method that works for me. If anyone has any method suggestions for this poor ball of static, please let me know.
  • The Stormbloods Saga Series – This is project has been the easiest to write. Hands down. Out of all my projects, this one has the most words banked. I also randomly, this time around, decided to make her ADHD so I’ve been having a lot of fun writing little internal monologue bits. It’ll get cleaned up in editing but for now, I have a little outlet for my own internal monologue which I didn’t know until recently that most neurotypical people don’t have. Another thing I’ve leaned into with this story is the sass of my main character. Here’s a snippet that I’m proud of:

I looked down. My energy drink was more than half empty and my coffee wasn’t steaming anymore. I furrowed my brow, wondering how long my mind had wandered off. With a deep breath, I grabbed the mug and put it into the microwave, hitting a minute reheat before asking my cousin if he wanted some as well. Not sure if coffee did anything for the Fae. Caffeine or any stimulant really didn’t do a whole lot for me but the little kick it gave was always appreciated.

“If that’s all you have.” He sounded so put out that I had to bite my tongue to not immediately tell him to go fuck himself.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked, trying to keep the urge to murder out of my voice.

“Tea, darling, I would prefer tea.”

I flipped the bird in his general direction before popping an earl grey into the Keurig. A wall separated us which meant as I waited I finished my energy drink and starting in on my coffee while every so often just flipping him off for no particular reason other than he was here.

  • THE DANGEROUS LIES OF A PERPETUALLY SINGLE WEREWOLF – This story is so hot and cold with me. Some days I can put in a solid 600 words and other days I barely write the minimum. When the latter happens, it’s like pulling teeth. It’s my first time really jumping into the romance novel scene and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Out of all the genres I feel like romance is the hardest to write. I have so much respect for romance writers. That being said, I am still going to power through because I got a nice plot bunny of an idea that I think could turn out to be something really good. Also, challenging myself with something new after exclusively writing urban fantasy for thirteen years is a good thing.
  • The Keeper Chronicle Series – It’s going the same as DLPSW is going; hot and cold. This series is a bit hard because even though I fell in love with the characters and the world it was originally meant to be a singular short story. The main character, Frankie, basically got trapped inside a magical house for the rest of her life so she can watch over the demons and angels within. Kind of hard to figure out how to make that kind of future interesting enough to have multiple short stories come after. I’ll post a snippet when I write something I love not just like.

Three weeks in and even though I’m not where I wanted to be or using the tools I set up every day I still feel pretty good about this. I’m happy I did this. That might change mid-April when the last of my sanity runs but we’ll see. Let me know below if any of you are participating in this challenge and if so, how’s your writing doing?

Let’s talk trying to get words down while one’s country is extremely some, well, problems.

Doomscrolling is a thing. A very bad but very strong factor in procrastinating for me it seems. For those who don’t know what doomscrolling is, let me explain. Doomscrolling is when something bad happened or is about to or even, happens in a continual loop like say, a pandemic and you can not stop hitting refresh on social media or the news. Last week was a lot of doomscrolling for me. I tried to break myself of it and succeeded a few times but still, it eats up a good chunk of the day for no good reason.

Doomscrolling aside I was still able to hit all my goals, even if just barely. To refresh the readers, the average word goal per day for #onemillionwords 2021 is 2740. I’ve been writing anywhere between 2745 and 2750. I’m happy I’m on track but I do wish I had been able to bank a bit more words. I’m confident I’ll be able to do so moving forward, barring any big world events that might trigger my doomscrolling once more. It’ll probably happen, but here’s hoping. It seems like 2020 just came back to the party wearing a different hat and a fake mustache.

My total as of now is 41,658. I am in no way complaining about this number!

My goal for the end of the month, though, is 108,500. I’ve got a bit of catching up to do. The actual month goal is 84940. The reason mine is so much higher is because I’m in the middle of house hunting with my husband who works full time and goes to school part time. Basically, what the means is I’m house hunting, at least until we hit spring break.

That alone has been exhausting, especially with the many restrictions put in place because of COVID. Once we find the house, it’ll only be the beginning of it all. Moving takes a lot of time and energy which means during that time, whenever it is, I probably will be lucky to get down one or two hundred words down at most. Then there’s the whole unpacking stage. We’re going from a two-bedroom apartment to a 3-4 bedroom house so it’ll be a whole ordeal.

That said, the only reason I feel confident still is because of the great community that has formed around #onemillionwords. I was half expecting a sudden drop after the first week, which I’ve found is normal in most online communities no matter how long they have been around. Usually, a handful of people keep somewhat active but that’s about it. I have always come and gone from every single one I’ve been apart of. Sometimes I’m active all day and sometimes I’m not seen for a week.

I’m still a little hit or miss in the community but I’ve noticed I’ve been a lot more engaged overall. Not sure why. Maybe the adrenaline rush from taking on a large challenge like this is still pumping strong in my veins. Or maybe, Charlie just struck internet gold and brought together the right people to start this community. Either way, something is working right. I’ve stayed engaged. Even not meeting my personal goals, which usually takes the wind right out of my sails, hasn’t deterred me from continuing.

That being said, an update on each project.

  • CHAINED HEAVENS – All the titles here are working titles. Some I’ve grown to really like and some, well, I’ll be happy when I think of something better. This is one of them. I’ll workshop better names later and deal with it for now. CHAINED HEAVENS is a high fantasy collection of short stories that I’ve been working on for the better part of two years. I have a few stories planned out and am very close to finishing my first one of 2021. It’s getting close to the 10k mark and will probably be over by the time it’s finished but that’s okay. I always have to remind myself with these short stories, like how I write during NaNoWriMo, half of that is filler and can be cut. One thing that has been helping me plan out future stories is DnDBeyond.com. The monster guides are great inspirations for figuring out what my main character’s next adventure will be. My favorite at the moment is a little demon called a Cackler. They aren’t the biggest or toughest but when they die they release a laugh that scars the minds of every creature nearby. In actual D&D, the DC to succeed is pretty low, only an 11, but it’s a great idea to play with.
  • Blog posts for Vox et Liber. So far so good. I’m bad at thinking up topics so I have been sticking to a Tuesday and Friday update schedule for now. Tuesday, book review. Friday, #onemillionwords update. Easy so far and it’s been kicking me in the backside to actually read my very large TBR pile instead of just looking at it. Right now I’m reading WINTERSONG by S. Jae-Jones. After that is Jim C. Hines newest TAMORA CARTER: GOBLIN QUEEN. Thinking I might start posting polls on what to read and review next. It’ll help me decide in a timely manner as well as let my readers have a bit of say in what they read about.
  • CLOAKED RITES – I’ve rewritten this one story five times, not including the rewrite I’m working on now. It’s been fully finished twice. Got changed from being a single novella to a novella trilogy to a full-length novel. Now, it’s a novel trilogy. I know where I’m going with this story considering I’ve written it five times but it hasn’t been sparking as much excitement as it has in the past. I still love the story and want to finish it but I have a feeling to get excited for it once more I need to do that dreaded thing they call outlining. I also realized about halfway through last week that after having written about 4k words in 3rd person specific that it works so much better in 1st person. That was a joy to figure out and might have also been some of the reason it’s been like trudging through mud trying to write it.
  • The Stormblood Saga Series – This is also one that’s been rewritten a few times. This is the fourth time I am rewriting it. I realized quickly with the first draft that I jumped into the middle of the storyline and a storyline that’s supposed to build up over time to something big. I started with something big and big enough it would disrupt the characters’ lives forever. Not a great start for what was supposed to be a long series. So, the plot got reworked. A lot. Now, I am so much happier with it and my characters in general. I also forgot how much I miss writing them, especially the main character Merranyssa. Her interacting, against her will, with her father’s side of the family or really anything Fae is hilarious every time. This is one of the few projects I have where I’ve been able to pump in more words than just the bare minimum.
  • THE DANGEROUS LIES OF A PERPETUALLY SINGLE WEREWOLF – I love this title and will fight tooth and nail to keep it for publication. This is the other project where I’ve been able to make decent sized dents in. Who doesn’t like the fake/pretend relationship trope? Especially when they’re best friends trying to keep the other safe even if it’s from their well-meaning but completely out of touch relatives. It’s been fun to write especially since I’ve never been a fan of the stoic Werewolf characters that are often written in media today. Wolves in general, are derpy as all hell. They love to play and run and fake fight each other. There’s no reason that Werewolves wouldn’t be the same way. Add in a little bit of intelligent thinking and they’d be getting into entertaining trouble 24/7.
  • The Keeper Chronicle Series – This one I’ve been warring with a bit back and forth. Somedays I’ve been able to get a lot down and other days, not so much. This series stemmed from a short story I wrote for a horror anthology. After it was done and off to the editor I realized, I wanted to explore this world more. I’ve been working on the world that CLOAKED RITES and the Stormblood Saga Series are both in for thirteen years, the world of the NightOthers. Hell, even longer if one counts the time it was set in a high fantasy world that was a combination of a bunch of books I read in high school. So, the KC series is a breath of fresh air. Even still, I’ve stalled a bit on where to go next. The original short story was just that, a short story. It was complete as it was. Continuing it has been harder than I thought but the challenge is what makes it worth doing.

Overall, #onemillionwords 2021 is still going well. I’ll feel a bit better about it all once I have a month’s worth of words banked for when I enviable go crazy from house hunting. It’s easy to do in the area we’re looking in. 250k could get you an amazing 3/4 bedroom house in a beautiful rural neighborhood or a murder house. There are no in-betweens and to add salt to the wound, it’s considered a low inventory time which means good luck. Just, good luck.

The same thing goes for all those participating in #onemillionwords 2021. It’s a crazy thing to try and accomplish. There’s a good chance you’ll turn in your last sanity token before the year is out but it will be worth it. Just like getting a house of your own during a pandemic to escape your upstairs neighbors who you swear bowls every day for sixteen hours straight. It’s just like trying to write a million words in one year. Wild but worth it.

Getting large amounts of writing done for me has only ever happened under specific situations; a fast-approaching deadline with last-minute panic with monster energies the only thing fueling me.

Like many writers out there, I promised myself I would write more and dedicate more time overall to my various projects in 2021. My original goal was to try to get about 100,000 words to page, almost three times what I was able to get out in 2020. I wasn’t 100% upset with my word count last year. 2020 was the dumpster fire to end all dumpster fires. 2021, please don’t make me eat my words.*

It made sense my word count suffered. That made it even more important that I strive to do better this year. I thought 100,000 was a good high, but a reasonable number to aim for. Then I saw a tweet from a Twitter mutual; they were aiming for 1 million words in 2021. Well, to be clear, they started #onemillionwords with the goal to write as much as a person can with the pipedream goal of 1 million. I signed up to participate so fast that a minute after my tweet reply was sent I stopped and asked myself just how out of my mind I really was. I wrote maybe 40k all last year and that included NaNoWriMo which I did not do well in. To be fair to me, I had gotten married at the end of October and was burnt out from having to re-plan the whole event four times because of COVID cases rising in my home state. November was more of a ‘recharge’ month than a month of productivity.

Nevertheless, I was recharged when they tweeted about it, maybe not fully but as recharged as one could get in a pandemic. Why shouldn’t I attempt this? I had nothing to lose but sanity and that wasn’t a big concern of mine. Again, we were all stuck in a pandemic. I had nothing to lose and a whole lot of finished projects to gain.

So, I got a bullet journal and copied, line for line, the examples my mutual posted on Twitter. I have ADHD, diagnosed young and all that because it’s genetic in my family coming from my dad, and I have never gotten the hang of agendas much to the chagrin of all my teachers but bullet journals always looked so cool. They were always so well laid out and made perfect sense to me but I could never find one EXACTLY like what I’d needed. School agendas were useless to me and I often ended up ‘accidentally’ losing them within the first month of school. My parents were very well aware that I did this so thankfully never bought me a nice and fancy one. I got the cheap, basic ones that every public school kid got in my town. My brain was too scattered to come up with a layout that was both useful and aesthetically pleasing.

All that aside I now have the perfect example before me. Their journal pages were set up for the same thing I wanted it for. It was exactly what I needed.

I haven’t fully laid my bullet journal yet but I’ve been having a lot of fun with what I’ve done so far, going slow to make sure it’s just how I want it. I’ve been taking my time for two reasons; my handwriting is horrible scribble when I go at anything but a snail’s pace and I’m putting thought into the organization I want. I’m learning! Evening putting in the effort I have so far has been leagues better than I had ever been able to do in the past.

Long story short, before I go on another small tangent, this whole event of sorts has been wild. One million words broken down to 365 days is approximately 2740 words a day and 82.5k words a month. 2740 every single day. That means holidays, weekends, sick days, and days I just want to do nothing but play video games which sadly, I haven’t done a whole lot of lately. I miss you Hades

Hades aside, after starting #onemillionwords, I realized it’s unreal how many work in process projects I have in my files. All half-finished and all ones I still want to finish. If nothing else, I’ve always been great at producing ideas by the dozens. My ability to plan out and execute though is mighty shoddy.

For my one million words, I decided to break it down into six different projects because it seems, I’m still that overachieving, overeager child that goes hard and will probably burn out just as hard. But if I burn out at the end of February then I’ll have about 165k words written at the best and 20k at the worst. 20k words are better than nothing and still something I’ll be very proud of.

At the time of writing this post, I am at 22341 words. Not bad so far if I say so myself.
My projects range from blog posts to a werewolf romance novel with a heavy dose of the fake/pretend relationship trope and everything in between. I even have working titles for each one which is more than I usually do. I’m horrible at titles and usually tap a friend to do it for me.

My projects are as followed:

  • CHAINED HEAVENS – A high fantasy short story collection telling the story of a woman who has trained her whole life to rid the world of evil creatures with her two siblings. It all goes wrong when an ancient demon god starts setting their sights on her to help them lay waste to the mortal world
  • Blog posts for Vox et Liber. As you can see, I’ve already been doing fairly good with that one. They’ll be anything from game/book reviews to weekly updates on my progress this year. So stick around to check those out.
  • CLOAKED RITES – An urban fantasy with a mix of alternate history and steampunk set in the mid-1800s. The main character is the lead homicide agent at the London office of supernatural affairs. In her year of being lead, it’s been rather boring until a serial killing cult starts going through the supernatural population of London with terrifying speed and may soon be setting their sights on her. The main character in this one is very fun to write since she’s always so done with everyone around her 24/7
  • The Stormblood Saga Series – The first 3 novellas in an episodic urban fantasy series set in present-day Nowheresville, Massachusetts. This one has Fae and a half-blood who’d rather work at her little indie bookshop than deal with her Fae side of the family but where would the fun be in that?
  • The Dangerous Lies of a Perpetually Single Werewolf – The aforenoted fake/pretend relationship werewolf romance novel. Two best friends, one werewolf and one human, have to fake date to keep wolf boy out of getting set up with a mate against his will.
  • The Keeper Chronicle Series – The main character inherits a house after her great uncle is killed that is sort of alive and definitely magical. Within it’s walls, it keeps both the refugees and war criminals of a war between Heaven and Hell contained. She feeds the house and in turn the house keeps everyone safe, especially from murderous angels which means she can never leave.

These projects range in age from being started in 2014 to this past summer. My main goal this year is to start clearing out the projects that have been clogging up my mental queue for years. I’m confident that I can do just that with #onemillionwords. It might not be all six but it’ll be a good chunk regardless.

For any writers out there that want to join and are on Twitter use the hashtag #onemillionwords. Or follow the creator, @Cknightwrites. They were the one to start it and this lazy bum of a writer will be forever thankful that they put this event into motion. Let’s hope it becomes as annual as NaNoWriMo.

*It made me eat my words. Please note, this was mostly written before terrorists tried to take control of the Capitol building in D.C. I, like many people, have doomscrolled for hours the last few days. My writing goals are still the same with a little more attention to self-care and mental health. I hope for all participating, you’ll make sure to add in more of each when needed.