Writing Journal, 1 February 2023: I knew I’d have a drop-off in productivity, and here we are

Hello to everyone.

I predicted last week here that I was probably due for a drop off in productivity after a great two weeks of writing, and it came pretty much as I expected.

Without getting into too many details (for which I’ll save for The Writing Life post on Saturday), I do think this week wasn’t a total loss for me. I had several good revision sessions last week, and I felt really good about how I have set up some of my procedures on my blogs. Essentially, I think I have to plan ahead to make sure I am making deadlines, but I think some of those new procedures might streamline my workflow.

Anyway, here’s the stats for last week.

Writing statistics for the week ending 1 February 2023:
+2,721 words written.
Days writing: 4 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 3 of 7 for 190 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 6 of 7 days.

Writing statistics for January 2023:
Words: 20,346
Revise/Plan: 280 minutes
Daily Writing Goals Met: 93%

So, that’s considerably smaller writing productivity last week than in the past weeks, but I have to say that I am hoping I have that good of monthly numbers for the rest of the year. Anything typically over 12,000 words per month is okay, over 15,000 is good, and anywhere over 20,000 is excellent. Anything more than 200 minutes per month revising and/or planning is also good, and anytime I meet my daily goals better than 75 percent of the time is excellent.

Can’t gawk at those numbers too long, however, or I’ll fall further behind.

Below, as always, is my plug to sign up for my Substack page and thus join my email list. The more I build my list, the more I’m building up a little online community. And, I can continue to share my writing as well.

While I do appreciate you following this blog, I really would like you to subscribe to my Substack page. By subscribing to that page, you’ll not only be receiving my Substack newsletter, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois (the companion blog to this one), but you’ll also be signing up for my email list. I will eventually be opening some special contests, offers, and first looks at original fiction, poems, and other items. Just click the button below.

Writing Journal, 25 January 2023: Still on a good streak, but I’m not even beginning to take it for granted

Hi, everyone.

You might have heard that I’m trying a new weekly roundup of some of the things that I am doing on the writing front. My intention behind this is to give readers an idea of what I’m working on, what I’m reading, and other stuff going on with me.

It’s running both on this blog and my Substack, as are most of my posts here. However, I am going to keep my writing journal posts here on Wednesdays, reviewing the past week and the numbers and activity of what I write. As a result, these writing journals will tend to be generally shorter than before and probably even more numbers heavy than before.

However, I still want to keep doing them more for myself than any sense of duty to whoever reads this. If I continue to be public about how productive (or unproductive) I am writing, it motivates me to keep going or do better. I sincerely believe that it also helps me stay honest about how much (or how little) I am writing, so that it helps me to be honest with myself if I am putting what I do out there to the world.

So, speaking of statistics, I’ll print last week’s below. It’s not precisely as jaw-dropping as the big week I had last week, but it was pretty close. I realize that I’m getting pretty demanding of myself when I get nervous if I have a single day I’m not writing anything like I did two days ago.

Writing statistics for the week ending 21 January 2023:
+6,932 words written.
Days writing: 7 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 1 of 7 for 30 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 7 of 7 days.

Below that, as always, will be my plug to sign up for my Substack page and thus join my email list. The more I build my list, the more I’m building up a little online community. And, I can continue to share my writing as well.

While I do appreciate you following this blog, I really would like you to subscribe to my Substack page. By subscribing to that page, you’ll not only be receiving my Substack newsletter, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois (the companion blog to this one), but you’ll also be signing up for my email list. I will eventually be opening some special contests, offers, and first looks at original fiction, poems, and other items. Just click the button below.

A Week in the (Writing) Life, 21 January 2023

In the words of one of the favorite comedy idols of my youth, and now for something completely different.

I’ve been operating this blog for just over five years. It has been a long process of working from just talking about being a writer and being interested in writing to actually producing something. But I have made some progress – becoming a published writer, starting a companion blog on Substack after a year of just contemplating trying to mess around on it. I’ve certainly been writing more as time has gone on.

However, one thing that I have started to notice about myself is that the more personal writing goals and milestones I reach, the less that I am willing to just sit back and admire my work. I mean, I just wrote more words than I ever did on my own time, and the minute I realized I was going to make that goal, I immediately started to think of what I needed to do next. I started thinking of what this year’s goals were.

I decided to try to write 200,000 words again this year, but for me, that’s more like a quota than a goal for me. If I’ve managed to write more than 200,000 words twice in the past three years, I think it’s pretty safe that I can make at least that many words. Now, I’m going to try to meet my daily quota of writing (which is, once again, 500 words per day or 30 minutes of planning and revisions) at least 75 percent of the time. Considering that I’ve exceeded that percentage only once and neared it just one other time, I can safely call that a challenge goal. Since I want my writing output to be more consistent and not streaky, this seems to be a goal that also has merit.

I’ve also been trying to figure out some goals. In education, setting measurable, attainable goals is something of a mantra, especially when dealing with goals for students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs). You want to set a goal that is measurable – that is, you do something that can be measured in a certain amount of time. It also has to be attainable – that is, something that you have a chance of meeting in the amount of time given.

I should have considered the possibility of applying some of my educational training to this whole business of trying to improve myself as a writer. After all, writing is essentially an academic exercise. And, from my own personal experience, I found that analyzing what I had done and what I had produced over time gave me a better insight into what is possible. Once I knew what I had limited myself to before, I could start to push those limits.

So, I wanted to take a look at some of the tentative goals that I have for this year and apply this idea of measurable and attainable targets to those goals. Shall we?

As I mentioned before, it looks like I have a book coming out this year. As an update on that project, as of right now, I am waiting for the publisher’s proof from my publishers, Biblio Publishing out in Ohio. I am confident that it will be coming out this year, but an exact date is not quite set in stone yet. Once that date is set, of course, you dear readers will be the first to hear about it.

Goals for this project are slightly difficult to quantify in some cases, however. I want to do a better job of promoting this project. I have to think that living near the Des Moines area should give me a good choice of media outlets, so I wouldn’t have to rely on one hometown newspaper, my social media sites, and a couple of public appearances to promote it. It also didn’t help that I moved halfway across the state within a year and that the whole COVID-19 situation hit a year later. I have to think things will be better this time, but I don’t want to quantify that, just like I don’t want to quantify exactly how much I want to grow my email list, for example. I do know that I want to do better on both.

One thing that I need to quantify is how quickly that I complete this next book in the series. I am shooting for a tentative length of at least 80,000 words, so I will probably have to write somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000 words a week on it to complete it by this fall. That’s… doable, I think. We’ll see how it goes. Watch this space.

I also want to write more consistently on this blog and on my Substack page. My tentative plan is to try and publish weekly on WordPress and Substack. I think I can manage that, although trying to come up with decent material to write about every week can be tough at times. For the past couple of months, I’ve done pretty well with it.

This leads me to the overall purpose of this post. As I want to produce quality writing on a weekly basis on this blog, I have to start having consistent material, as I said. I’ve decided that every Saturday, I am going to post a weekly journal about what has been going on with me as a writer. This will be separate from the writing journals I have been publishing on Wednesdays where I basically go over my writing totals for the previous week. I think that these new weekly journals – which I will call A Week in the Writing Life – will cover things that I’ve written, things that I’ve read, and anything writing related in between. I might even get into a few things that are non-writing, if I’m having a slow week. And I promise, most of the time I won’t be trying to get you to buy something from me.

This leads me to one of my other goals – trying to start a paid subscription model for Substack and maybe even WordPress. When this happens – and this is not happening right away – you will always have an option to subscribe or read my work for free. However, I will plan to have some material exclusively for paid subscribers, and I will likely release that exclusive material on a monthly basis. We’ll see how that goes.

In non-goal news this week – today, I attended my first meeting of the Iowa Writer’s Collective in Des Moines as its club secretary. Since I already served at the club secretary for my former writer’s group in Muscatine, so I felt halfway confident that I would be halfway competent at it. Today I felt like a reporter for a little bit again as I was recording meetings and writing down notes all over again. I’m looking forward to the experience, and if there’s some things that the IWC present that might be of general interest to writers or anyone else, I’ll post it here, too.

I think that is about it for now. Take care of yourselves, everyone.

While I do appreciate you following this blog, I really would like you to subscribe to my Substack page. By subscribing to that page, you’ll not only be receiving my Substack newsletter, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois (the companion blog to this one), but you’ll also be signing up for my email list. I will eventually be opening some special contests, offers, and first looks at original fiction, poems, and other items. Just click the button below.

Writing Journal 18 January 2023: Massive writing burst this week, but…

I managed to write more than 7,000 words last week. Considering that last year I would consider anything over 4,000 words a week to be a good pace to meet my writing goals, getting about 42 percent more than my typical word count is a cause for celebration.

There is a “but” that should be added to that statement, somewhere. Maybe it’s a sense of maturity and modesty, or maybe it’s a sense that I can just as easily have a bad week of writing as a good week.

Much of my output this week – not all of it by any means – is fanfiction. I have explained/defended my writing of fanfiction before, and I do think that it is a valid form of creative expression. I spent a lot of time pondering issues of “Work” vs. “Fun” writing. In setting my goals for this year, I wanted to try and increase the percentage of my work writing more than before. For example, for at least one or two of my most recent years, I spent the majority of my creative productivity on fanfiction.

Again, not that I think simply “fun” writing has no place – far from it – but I also want to take the other types of writing seriously, as well.

Setting some yearly goals last year wound up being a good success, so I figured that doing so this year might be a good idea. Since I ran that story, I’ve begun to consider a plan for how I would achieve some of those goals. I think I’m going to write a follow-up on my goals this weekend for this blog and the Substack page, which in itself might fit in with one of those goals in particular. So, you have that to look forward to. I will also admit that some of the goals may be fluid in nature, which means I might change them some of them as I go through the year.

Anyway, here’s the stats for last week, followed by my obligatory plugs for my Substack page where you can get on my email list. See you around.

Writing statistics for the week ending 14 January 2022:
+7,004 words written.
Days writing: 7 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 2 of 7 for 60 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 7 of 7 days.

While I do appreciate you following this blog, I really would like you to subscribe to my Substack page. By subscribing to that page, you’ll not only be receiving my Substack newsletter, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois (the companion blog to this one), but you’ll also be signing up for my email list. I will eventually be opening some special contests, offers, and first looks at original fiction, poems, and other items. Just click the button below.

Writing Journal 4 January 2023: Limping to the end of the year

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: Thanks to constant reader Pat for recognizing the typos here – my equivalent of signing checks using last year’s date. Oh, well.]

I’ll keep this short, since I will be posting an end-of year review of the numbers… in two days, maybe? We’ll have to see. (Nervous chuckling ensues.)

December was officially the worst month I had writing for this year, although I had enough already written to make this a record-breaking year, once I finish adding up all the totals.

At least this week’s numbers were better than last week’s, so I have that working for me, at least. They’re nowhere near where I should be at (over 4,000 a week), but they were at least better numbers, if more inconsistent numbers, than the past two weeks.

Writing statistics for the week ending 31 December 2022:
2,958 words written.
Days writing: 4 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 0 of 7 for 0 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 2 of 7 days.

Writing statistics for December 2022:
Words: 9,630
Revise/Plan: 270 minutes
Daily Writing Goals Met: 57%

As you can see, my consistency of meeting my writing quota was garbage this month, but at least it wasn’t bad enough to screw with my goal of meeting my daily goals at least 70 percent of the time. I’ll have those totals as well later.

For now, I’m going to think hard about the type of goals I need to have this year to keep my forward progress going. I have the feeling that it might involve more than just simple stats.

I’ll go ahead and post that on the Substack page as well and let them get in on the fun. Speaking of getting in on the fun, I’ve got my plug for the Substack page below. Please sign up if you haven’t done so. I’m going to get some contests started up in this new year, and those with subscriptions are going to be the ones eligible for winning prizes.

While I do appreciate you following this blog, I really would like you to subscribe to my Substack page. By subscribing to that page, you’ll not only be receiving my Substack newsletter, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois (the companion blog to this one), but you’ll also be signing up for my email list. I will eventually be opening some special contests, offers, and first looks at original fiction, poems, and other items. Just click the button below.

Writing Journal 21 December 2022: Over the line and into extra time (mixing my sporting metaphors LOL)

I had the crazy idea earlier this year that I might want to write at least 200,000 words this year. I was motivated to do that after I had a slump of writing a lot less than that and realizing I wanted to have standards for myself for once. I had managed to equal that output in 2020, writing an all-time record of 208,919 during that year. I had the feeling I could do it again.

According to my estimates, I finally got over the line to break my official record sometime on 13 December 2022 (Tuesday). I then wrote another 404 words the next day and then my new productivity fell off a cliff, as you will see from last week’s numbers. As of the end of 17 December 2022 (Saturday), I’m now sitting at 209,611 words for this year. Yay, me.

Anyway, here’s last week’s totals:

Writing statistics for the week ending 17 December 2022:
1,711 words written.
Days writing: 4 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 3 of 7 for 120 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 4 of 7 days.


To paraphrase a saying from longtime Manchester City fans, that’s typical Liegois for you – get right over that finish line (or sometime close to it) and I mentally just bug out. I think the fact that we had the last bit of the World Cup going on this week and it is getting close to the winter break for my school and both students and teachers alike are eying the exits.

However, one of the things that I swore to myself is that while self-analysis can be good, and it has helped me better understand my mental blocks and foibles when it comes to writing, there is a time when you can over rely on it.

I have seen parallels between how I see writing and how many of my students see writing. In their case, many of them don’t have the desire to be good writers. Part of that is because they aren’t interested in the craft (just like I wasn’t interested in algebra and geometry thirty years ago), but part of that is because they have convinced themselves that they can’t get any better as writers. Do I think that I can help develop people with little to no writing abilities into fantastic, top class writers? No, that’s not realistic, and I admit as much to them. But do I think it is possible for anyone to improve how they write? I absolutely do.

It was 10 years ago or so when I realized that I was talking to myself about being a writer rather than actually writing, and I started thinking about how I would change that. It was five years ago when I started this blog and decided that I would start to chronicle that development process, as well as any insights and advice that I had managed to pick up along the way. I managed to stick to writing online, even when I struggled to post anything online other than just random writing thoughts or a record of how many words I wrote the previous week.

Then I started writing more. Then I managed to actually get a book published (and it looks like another one is on the way) a couple of years ago. Then the yearly totals started to grow… and they shrank from the previous year and that made me irritated beyond measure, even though I had gone for years in the past without writing a single creative word.

I’m looking at what I accomplished this year, how I started a new Substack page, how I’m more productive than ever… and it’s not enough now. I want to do more, keep pushing myself to higher levels. I want to keep publishing, I want to grow my Substack and this blog, and I want to accomplish more. It has not been or will it be an easy or smooth process. But I’m finally starting to see the gains that I have been making over the past several years, and I want more of it.

So, here’s my typical plea to sign up for my Substack page. Enjoy.

While I do appreciate you following this blog, I really would like you to subscribe to my Substack page. By subscribing to that page, you’ll not only be receiving my Substack newsletter, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois (the companion blog to this one), but you’ll also be signing up for my email list. I will eventually be opening some special contests, offers, and first looks at original fiction, poems, and other items. Just click the button below.

Writing Journal 14 December 2022: Juuust shy of my all-time official word count record

As of Sunday (11 December 2022), I am juuust 1,920 words away from beating my all-time official yearly word count of 208,919, set back in the quarantine year of 2020.

Although there is an outside chance that I might have equaled that count by the time this journal posts online, I am all but certain to match it by the time this week is done. All I can say is now I have a vague idea of what it might be like playing in a World Cup final up 4-0 in the 85th minute of regulation. All I’m looking to see is how much I can run up the score before all is said and done.

To update everyone on how things are going generally, which includes an upcoming project, I think that I’ll wait to do that this upcoming weekend. For now, I’m just going to list last week’s totals and the obligatory plea to join my mailing list and Substack page. Take care, everyone.

Writing statistics for the week ending 10 December 2022:
+3,145 words written.
Days writing: 5 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 4 of 7 for 150 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 7 of 7 days.

While I do appreciate you following this blog, I really would like you to subscribe to my Substack page. By subscribing to that page, you’ll not only be receiving my Substack newsletter, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois (the companion blog to this one), but you’ll also be signing up for my email list. I will eventually be opening some special contests, offers, and first looks at original fiction, poems, and other items. Just click the button below.

Writing Journal 7 December 2022: Added Time

In soccer, each game is split into two 90-minute halves. However, each of those halves in practice almost never lasts for exactly 90 minutes. There are always pauses in the action of the game to prepare for things like free kicks or corner kicks, book players for rough play, taking care of injured players, and other items.

Unlike in other time-regulated sports, however, the clock does not stop counting down during this time. The referee simply makes note of the stoppage, and at the end of the regulation 90 minutes, he announces how much additional “added time” is to be played before he blows his whistle to end the half and/or the game. It’s a time when all the players know the action is going to stop, and they have to do everything they can to make a difference in the game. Sometimes, they actually manage to do it.

Now that I met my writing goal, I get the feeling that I’m in added time for the rest of 2022. Here’s the stats for last week and the month of November.

Writing statistics for the week ending 4 December 2022:
+5,249 words written.
Days writing: 5 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 2 of 7 for 90 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 6 of 7 days.

Writing statistics for November 2022:
Words: 20,830
Revisions/Planning: 210 minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met: 74%

So, last week’s numbers I would be happy with nearly any time I would see them. My monthly totals were the best that I have seen since July of this year and officially represent my second most productive month of 2022.

My all-time official record for words in a year is 208,919. As of the end of Saturday, I’m within 4,164 words of matching that total.

My all-time record for meeting my daily quota is a 78 percent success rate. I’m doubtful that I’ll be able to match that this year, but I’m all but assured of meeting the goal I set this year of meeting my daily writing quota 70 percent of the time.

Anyway, I hope all the writers out there meet their goals or whatever their dreams are, and I hope everyone out there is staying safe. Now, here’s the part of the program where I beg you to sign up for my newsletter and mailing list. The info is below.

While I do appreciate you following this blog, I really would like you to subscribe to my Substack page. By subscribing to that page, you’ll not only be receiving my Substack newsletter, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois (the companion blog to this one), but you’ll also be signing up for my email list. I will eventually be opening some special contests, offers, and first looks at original fiction, poems, and other items. Just click the button below.

Writing Journal 30 November 2022: Cruising into the rest of the year

Feeling really good about this last week, even though the production was modest. Other than nine extra words, this week was no different statistically than the previous week. Given that this past week included my Thanksgiving break and that involved a bit of hectic activity and traveling, that’s decent news for me.

You may not have heard that I managed to meet my word count goal for the year. I’m still taking a bit of a victory lap regarding that milestone. However, I’m not resting for the rest of the year, not by a long shot. As of right now, my official highest yearly total was 208,919 words back in 2020. With slightly more than a month to work with, that mark can very easily fall. From the pace that I’ve been maintaining, if that doesn’t fall in three weeks, I’ll be very surprised.

I’m certainly not going to keep things modest next year. I have a book that will be coming out in the near future, and you’ll hear about when it’s coming out here first. And there’s more that I want to learn about

What I’ve come to realize is that I’m going to have to continually push myself when it comes to my writing productivity. I look back at some of my posts over the past few years and it truly amazes me how I’ve developed so far and how far I have to go. I remember a quote, which I’ll attempt to paraphrase, from the Russian world chess champion of the 1930’s and 1940’s, Alexander Alekhine. I remember hearing of a radio interview that he gave near the end of his life. At one point the interviewer said to Alekhine that it must have been gratifying to have lived such a long life and learned everything that there was to know about chess. Alekhine replied by insisting that an entire lifetime was not enough time to learn everything there was to learn about chess.

That’s the same way that I look at writing. Because of that, the whole experience is always challenging and never gets boring.

As always, here’s the numbers from last week.

Writing statistics for the week ending 26 November 2022:
+3,780 words written.
Days writing: 5 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 1 of 7 for 30 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 5 of 7 days.

Anyway, all you writers keep writing and everyone keep safe. The following is my obligatory plug to sign up for my Substack mailing list. I’m going to be attaching it to every post I make, so get used to it. 🙂

While I do appreciate you following this blog, I really would like you to subscribe to my Substack page. By subscribing to that page, you’ll not only be receiving my Substack newsletter, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois (the companion blog to this one), but you’ll also be signing up for my email list. I will eventually be opening some special contests, offers, and first looks at original fiction, poems, and other items. Just click the button below.

Writing Journal 24 November 2022: Plodding toward the finish (and Thanksgiving break)

Hi, everyone. Hope all is going well with as we ease into the Thanksgiving week. I have a full five straight days of vacation and I definitely need them, I think.

There’s been a bit of a refreshing and a redesign that I’m doing a “soft launch” on this week. I think I’ll get into it in more detail on the next blog post I write, which I’ll post Saturday, I think. Essentially, it’s a bit of an update to get some of my new links up and some old items I don’t use down.

It’s still been a slow writing period for me. I did slightly better than last week. There was a part of me that considered that I might have actually reached my 200,000-word goal for this year by Thanksgiving, but it might be tight. As of last Saturday, I have about 4,200 words left to get to that mark. That’s an average week for me, so maybe by next week I will be able to pop the proverbial champagne cork in celebration. We’ll see.

Here’s the stats for last week.

Writing statistics for the week ending 20 November 2022:
+3,771 words written
Days writing: 5 of 7.
Days revising/planning: 1 of 7 for 30 total minutes.
Daily Writing Goals Met (500+ words or 30 minutes of planning/revisions): 5 of 7 days.

And this is the point in every one of my posts where I’ll ask you to subscribe to my mailing list for my Substack blog, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois. I’m trying to build up a strong email list so that I can keep in contact with people to let them know what’s going on with me, to talk about opportunities to talk with me about writing or writing advice, and, oh yeah, maybe sell a book or two. It’s free to do and trust me, I’m not even thinking about a paid subscription just yet. Just click on the button below to get yourself sorted.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Writers keep writing and the rest of you stay safe.