30 day writing challenge: Iceland

Inspired by Matt Cutts, I set myself a 30 day challenge last month - to write something every day. Here's how I got on.

The background to this is that earlier this year I had a week long holiday in Iceland. Like many of my holidays I took notes each day of anything particularly entertaining or interesting that I would like to remind myself of later. I've always had the vague hope that at some point I'll write up such notes into a best-selling form that would top the book charts and allow me an early retirement to a remote but beautiful cottage where I could potter aimlessly, occasionally being invited to speak at universities and book fayres on being a brilliant writer like what I am.

Anyway. Matt Cutts has this thing about setting yourself a 30 day challenge (he explains it better than I can) so I thought I would try to finally get my finger out and write up my notes from Iceland. I didn't have a specific objective other than to try to get to the end, but I deliberately didn't set myself a daily word target as it was my first time and I didn't want to miss it early on and become discouraged and give up.

I kept a record of my progress, specifically the amount I'd written each day and the total number of words. And here it is.

Graph of word progress

Right away the eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that after the 18th day my word total decreases rather than increases. This was due to my computer crashing and losing all of my work. Fortunately I had a backup from 3 days previously, but from that point I made sure to make a new copy of the file I was working from every day, so even if that got corrupted I still had yesterday's file. That was probably the hardest point - having to rewrite 3 days worth of material, all the while wondering if it was as good as it had been or whether I was rushing through it because it felt like I was just repeating myself.

In total I wrote nearly 18,000 words and averaged around 550 words a day. My highest recorded daily total was 1128, my lowest 152 - apart from one day where I mysteriously apparently completely forgot to write anything. I'm still not sure how that happened.

Overall, I didn't quite complete my objective, but have since done so - I was only a few hundred words out. If my laptop hadn't crashed I would probably have done it with days to spare. It was hard work, but I was glad I did it.

Now I just have to decide what to do with it. I haven't proof read it yet, and there's still a few footnotes that I want to expand on. At some point I may put it up here. Somehow I don't think 18,000 words would be worth the effort of printing and binding. Maybe on my next adventure.


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