Apr 172016

credit: Jonathan Wyke

I’ve never written every day. When I write novels, I write 1250 words 4 times a week — each session generally taking 3-4 hours — which gets me to 100,000 words in six months. When I’m writing I write on a schedule, but often I go months without writing fiction.

Just to try out a new approach I decided to write a complete story in an hour every day. For a month I posted a daily story to Twitter, Medium, and Wattpad. Now I’ve also published them as a free ebook in .epub, .mobi and .pdf formats with a cover featuring Jonathan Wyke’s excellent illustration above. Below I share some of my qualitative and quantitative results.

Qualitative Results

It got me regularly publishing online and not being precious about it. I found the Twitter channel was good for collaboration: I connected with two illustrators I knew who fav’d stories and asked them if they’d be into doing one-hour illustrations based on the stories, and Jonathan Wykes and Aubrey Serr did some beautiful work. (I also offered to write stories based on their illustrations, as I did with Mathew Borrett’s work.) With Wattpad I got a lots of comments from my fellow writer Rodney which were really enjoyable — even one response to a story was really encouraging.

It allowed me to get through my backlog of weird ideas, and grow them from a seed to a seedling: like most writers, I have a list of them and most of them I never get to. There was something satisfying about getting to the end. It became a kind of journal where the music I was listening to or the friends I was thinking of or the places I was going in December 2015 wound themselves into my fiction.

It didn’t noticeably impact my progress on other projects or really dominate the day in the way a regular writing session would, but it added a creative spark to the day — I find that my non-creative work can encroach on it otherwise.

It let me hone my craft with different kinds of endings and beginnings and assess some of my patterns/biases.

Quantitative Results

Sure, 30 stories isn’t much of a dataset, but for what it’s worth I discovered I:

  • write an average length of 587 words, with the longest being 933 words and the shortest being 363
  • write from a first person perspective half the time, and half from a third person perspective
  • write from a male perspective or with a lead male character 2/3rds of the time
  • write science fiction 60% of the time
  • ended multiple stories with the following:
    • a decisive action (23% of the time)
    • a realization (13%)
    • a trailing off (13%)
    • a small tension released (10%)
    • a twist (7%)

Love to hear what you thought of the stories, or if you embark on a similar project!

  3 Responses to “Writing Every Day: Experiment Conclusions”

  1. Love this! I am looking forward to reading the stories. I am also encouraging my writing students here at Covenant House to read your stories and try an experiment of their own. I’ll let you know how it goes .

  2. […] Last but not least, Jim Munroe ran an interesting experiment: Writing Every Day: Experiment Conclusions […]

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