Writing Month Retrospective

Posted On: 2021-12-13

By Mark

November has come and gone, and so has my month-long writing project. In light of that, I thought today's post should be a brief retrospective: a look back at what went right and what went wrong throughout November.


The first and most important observation is that I not only achieved my (unspoken) writing goal, but I blew past it very nearly completing my stretch goal as well. At the start of the month, I was desperate to escape the pit that I was stuck in: a single scene that I kept rewriting time and again - each time somehow sputtering out or failing to properly connect to the next major scene. Over the past year I attempted and discarded numerous drafts - yet in the span of a single week I was able to tie everything together nicely, complete with an extremely effective transition into the next major stage of the story. Everything after that was just a bonus, so far as my plan was concerned - and the remaining three weeks made excellent progress.

Maintaining Momentum

One of the tricks that helped me stay productive was omitting branches when their contents didn't flow naturally. In keeping with my earlier decision to write one good story rather than many mediocre ones, throughout November I focused on just one particular path through that story. While I didn't apply this to every situation (some branches flowed so naturally that I couldn't help but write them in parallel), making this decision in advance helped prepare me for a few particularly tricky spots where it was clear there needed to be choice, but attempting to juggle the ramifications of multiple choices at once threatened to halt my progress. A quick note about the road not yet written was all it took to keep me focused and in control of the scope.


During the month, I also wrote a couple blog posts as well. They were, quite frankly, pretty terrible for my progress. The contrast between weeks without blog-writing and those with was staggering. One week I was blazing through - momentum unchecked - and the next I was struggling and stalling out on every little obstacle to roll into my path. While those consequences were not altogether surprising*, I am immensely grateful that I was able to so clearly see the impact. Going forward, I'll be able to make the most of my project-writing time by keeping it a healthy distance away from any blog-writing time.

Finishing The Year

With my month-long experiment complete and the holidays upon us, I'm going to be taking a bit of a break. I'm quite pleased with my writing progress, and in no rush to spoil it with the nasty code issues I left unresolved at the end of October. Thus, I'll be taking time to enjoy the end of the year before preparing for the next. I hope that you enjoy yours as well - may you have happy and safe holidays.