Friday, 1 April 2016

A million words in 2016 (April)

I'm writing a million words in 2016!

Below is the progress diary for April (I'll be updating it as the month goes on). If you're interested, here's the intro and here are the diaries for January, February and March.

The red number in the right-hand column is the total word count. Please wish me luck in watching that number tick up to 1,000,000 over the rest of the year!

The Million-Word Diary: April

1st April528,310
So here we are, quarter of the way into the year, and somehow I've managed to get past the half-million already. Not sure how I've managed that, but I won't complain.

This month's picture was carefully chosen... the "million words in 2016" project is getting very difficult now, and I really do feel like I'm hanging on by my fingertips as the light fades. How dramatic! :-)

Anyway, today gave me another 3,073 words and so the total's now 528,310.

3rd April537,184
Such a lovely day today!

I spent the day with the awesome Daniels family, who are all very kind about my "Dragon on my Shoulder" story! The star of that particular story is my little dragon character, Crimble, and Sophie Daniels (an eight-year-old poet-in training!) composed a brilliant Crimble poem for me!

In the evening, I was asked to read a chapter of the novel as a bedtime story. I felt really nervous (possibly because I don't think I've ever actually read a bedtime story before!) but I did it... and I don't think the kids started yawning! (That's good, right?)

Word counts for 2-3 April were 3,609 and 5,265. The total's now 537,184.

6th April545,374
Accommodation has been awkward these past few days. It's hard not to feel in the way when you're staying in someone else's home. However, despite all that, I've still managed to get a few words done! Word counts for 4-6 April were 1,426, 2,807 and 3,957 which means the total's now 545,374.

9th April556,893
The words are still struggling to appear, but it's okay because this coming Monday (the 11th) I'm going away for a few months to (hopefully) do NOTHING BUT WRITE! My lovely cousin has allowed me to rent her place on Leros (a Greek island) and - with any luck - it's going to be the perfect writing retreat.

The word counts for 7-9 April were 3,273, 1,110 and 7,136, which brings the total to 556,893.

12th April565,688
I made it! I'm in Greece! :-)

Lakki harbour, Leros, Greece. There's so much blue! :-)

So... I'm now living on a Greek island for the next 6 months. I guess that means I've no excuses not to write! It'll probably take me a while to settle in and feel comfortable, but at the moment the sun is shining and everything is gloriously blue; with a bit of luck, I might actually relax!

Word counts for 10-12 April were 5,121, 1,251 and 2,423, so the total's now 565,688.

14th April576,443

Ready, set.... write!

I've set up a writing desk! See that massive stack of notebooks on the far left corner? That's what I need to type up. Ouch.

All those books and folders are full of notes - some of which are about current projects (so they can't be ignored!). First task is to get them all typed, and then I'll need to sort them by project. I haven't had this many notes to type up since, um, the last time (back when I first started taking writing seriously!)

Sadly, I don't feel I can include the typing-up in my word count. Some of it was written in 2016 but not all of it, and it's just too confusing trying to count all those words as well as get all the typing done. However, I'm still managing to get a little bit of normal writing done (in between the note-typing-upping!). Word counts for 13-14 April were 7,734 (a good day - yay!) and 3,021. The total's now 576,443.

18th April588,425

Typed-up notebooks! Grow, pile, grow!!!

My graph is helping me feel good about my word count and so, similarly, I realised I needed some some sort of visual confirmation that I'm doing well on the typing-up-notebooks task. So I've started piling the typed-up books on a spare bed! It's a bit random but, as the pile grows, I feel more confident I can tackle the task! And SpongeBob is doing a great job of looking after my books.

Admittedly I started with the books that contained the smallest amount to type, but I'm quite pleased at the pile so far... 4 books have been typed already and I've only been here 6 days! That's about 12,000 words of typing. Ouch.

I'm managing to escape the laptop occasionally. The shops are about 10 minutes walk south, and there's a nice beach about 10 minutes walk north-east. I'm finding it very hot (the Greeks of course think it's still cold, so I'm getting funny looks for wandering around in shorts all the time!) and so I tend to doze through most of the day, then type like crazy until stupid-o'clock-at-night. So far this is working pretty well.

I'm still not quite feeling settled, but I'm managing to do a little bit of writing. Word counts for 15-18 April were 5,763, 2,481, 1,897 and 1,841. The total's now 588,425.

24th April606,705

More notebooks! Maybe I should've just burned them?!

The typing-up continues! That last book took ages! I've now typed up 33,000 words (none of which count to my "million words" project) and there are still three huge notebooks to go, as well as a couple of folders stuffed with random scraps of paper and god knows what else!

Word counts for 19-24 April were 2,411, 1,266, 1,894, 1,350, 4,447 and 6,912 (another good day - yay!) so the total is now 606,705. I've passed the 600k barrier, woohoo! :-) 

30th April628,392
Yawn! I've typed up at least 45,000 words now. A lot of it's been moved around to other files so I've kind of lost track, but the main file's definitely on 45k.

Guess what? I'm bored, bored, bored with typing! However I keep finding useful stuff for current projects, so it's got to be done!

The writing is still ticking along too. Word counts for 25-30 April were 2,059, 2,592, 2,321, 5,538, 3,353 and 5,824. That means the total is now 628,392. I've lost enthusiasm for this project but I'm plod, plod, plodding away and hoping to find a bit of motivation soon.

This is nothing to do with the writing, but I had a good excuse to procrastinate today: it's Easter in Greece! I didn't realise this until I went for a walk this morning and discovered a dummy hanging from a wire above the road.

The Judas-dummy is ready for burning

I asked around and it turned out the dummy represents Judas and he was due to be burned at midnight. It all sounded a bit mad so of course I had to come back to see... 

Flares and fireworks in the road!

Before the burning, everyone gathers to throw firecrackers into the road. Some of the kids had made their own, and had used dynamite to do so! Seriously - the noise was incredible! I watched one group of teens near me light a home-made cherry bomb that was the size of a fist. They lit the fuse, threw the thing into a bush... and then ran for cover. At this point I became mildly concerned because I was standing quite near the bush into which they'd thrown the bomb.

Yes, I moved. Shortly afterwards, the bush did too (mainly outwards and upwards).

And all of this is happening right outside a church where there's some sort of Easter ceremony going on (I couldn't quite see, but it involved a lot of chanting and loads of candles). Anyway, here's a 30 second video of the craziness :-)

Finally, the church bells died down, the kids took their explosives elsewhere, and it was time to set the dummy on fire... 

Burn, dummy, burn!

And then it was all over... I don't know what they stuffed Judas with, but he burned very fast! See all those crappy little bits lying all over the road? Each of those is a dead firecracker... there were A LOT of them!

Judas-dummy is very dead

A bonus from tonight's festivities: I've been invited to a feast tomorrow! It's for Easter Sunday and apparently they'll be roasting a goat. I don't think it gets more Greek than that :-)


  1. Replies
    1. I will! Thank you! You keep writing too! :-)

  2. Keep writing, Mark. It's good to hear from you xx

    1. You too, Monica! Have fun at the 78s reading tomorrow night! :-)