Friday, May 6, 2011

It's a Numbers Thing.

I never used to listen to songs on repeat while writing certain scenes in my WIPs, but things changed during FOUR. A lot of things, actually.

In many ways, FOUR is a first novel for me. It's the first novel I've written that did not start during NaNoWriMo. It's the first novel that I approached with almost-professional dedication. It's the first novel that I outlined, and due to that, the first novel that I never hit a roadblock.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this recently, but I actually started writing FOUR in January of '10, around the same time I started this blog. When I brainstormed ideas with husband about it, it was originally intended to be a rewrite of the '09 NaNo novel, but soon took on such a life of its own that that didn't work anymore (thankfully--I've come up with a much better redirection for that novel).

For three weeks in that January, I wrote 2k per day, without fail. At the end of the stretch, I had 33,200 words. I can't remember now why I set it aside--I think I wanted to finish writing the NaNo novels I'd left hanging, which I did. Over the year, I kept reading through it from time to time, and each time I read I'd be pleasantly surprised by the content.

So, in early February of this year, I sent the 33k to two of my CPs and asked for their brutal opinions--was it worth continuing, or should I scrap it? Thankfully, the answer was yes--keep going.

Out of empirical interest, I kept a note beside my desk of how many words I added each day that I wrote. It's fun now looking over the list and seeing the numbers jump. I officially started writing again on February 10. By March 10, I'd added 30,000 new words. And by April 10, I'd added another 20k. And of course, I finished on April 21.

Now, I didn't actually write every day during those roughly 2 months. In fact, I had several long stretches where I didn't write at all, which is another reason I'm glad I kept the list, since I only wrote the days that I added wordcount. According to El List, I actually only wrote for 32 days. In 32 days, I wrote 63,263 words, an average of 1,977 words each day.

I'm proud of that. I feel like with this novel that I've finally proved to myself that I can do it--I can write a full-length draft without the hype and competition of NaNoWrimo, with just the BICHOK method and Taurean determination.

I got lots of practice telling my husband that I was going to be writing instead of playing video games or doing something with friends. Not always an easy choice, but one that you see dedicated writers making again and again.

Anyway, since this post is all dry and about numbers and stuff, I wanted to share the official repeat stats on my FOUR playlist. Unlike some of my other works, I actually listened more to iTunes than to Pandora for the writing of this novel. I just couldn't find quite the right Pandora station (though my Delerium station got a good workout).

The official playlist has 63 songs for 4.9 hours of playtime. I rarely listened to the whole thing, as there were songs on there that ended up not being quite right.

So, here are the top ten songs and their repeat numbers:

  1. "The Day the World Went Away"-- Nine Inch Nails (38)
  2. "Degausser"--Brand New (34)
  3. "Undisclosed Desires"--Muse (28)
  4. "Imma Be"--Black Eyed Peas (24--this was mostly for the awesome bass beat)
  5. "Sabotage"--Beastie Boys (22)
  6. "Dragula"--Rob Zombie (19)
  7. "Knights of Cydonia"--Muse (18)
  8. "Uprising"--Muse (17)
  9. "2-1"--Imogen Heap (15)
  10. "United States of Eurasia"--Muse (15)

Seeing a Muse trend? Me too. 

Thanks for suffering through this numbers post!

What's your number one repeated song on iTunes? 


Old Kitty said...

Four is the title of your novel? Wow!! Good for you for finding the discipline to race through this draft!! I'm in AWE!! And because I lack said focus and determination, I'm also most impressed too!! Yay for you! You ride that gorgeous Bull! :-)

I'm too embarassed to reveal my repeated playlist on youtube. Needless to say it's very MOR and Perry Como - oh yes!! :-)Take care

Shain Brown said...

That is awesome, such a feeling of accomplishment. I am so jealous of those that can write to music. I can write with music as long as there isn't any lyrics, so obviously all my favorite bands are out.

Thanks for sharing some of Four's background. I am sure one day we will have a chance to read it.

Jessica Ann Hill said...

Those are awesome stats! I know you worked really hard on this novel, and you had a lot of dedication to it.

I recently had to reinstall my iTunes, so I don't know what song is *actually* the most played. But since I reinstalled it, the most played is FMLYHM by Seether, mostly because I had it on repeat while finishing up the outline for my WIP (a couple hours). I don't know why, though, because it has nothing to do with my novel. Swearz.

Stina said...

I've never been able to write (or read blog posts) with music on. I'm easily distracted. :P

Congrats on your progress. :D

Sarah Ahiers said...

Even though i'd made this awesome sea playlist for Glimpse, the song that got the most play was Nutshell by Alice in Chains. Of course, that song gets a lot of play anyway

Samantha Sotto said...

Great stats! And with a playlist like this I'm sure that Four ROCKS :D

PK HREZO said...

I love that pic! Taking the bull by the horns, yo!

Great playlist too. I can't listen to lyrical music while I'm writing. Instrumental only. But good for you for getting that first draft out. Feels great doesn't it?? SO glad your CPs encouraged you to keep going!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's awesome! And you boasted better numbers than NaNo.

Sophia said...

Alive With the Glory of Love- Say Anything.
I haven't tried listening to music while I write but I'm 90% sure it would distract me with lyrics and possibly without. I do have songs that have made me think about scenes in a story, though and I have a sort of theme for current WIP.
- Sophia.

Linda G. said...

Those stats are fantastic! :)

I can't listen to music while I write -- I need it quiet in order to hear those voices in my head.

Hannah said...

Hmm, I have no idea what my top song is on itunes, as it wipes to zero every time I unplug it. It's on an external harddrive. Boo on that. I used to love making most often played lists.

The last two weeks it would be filled with Lady Gaga and NKOTB. Not for writing, just for shaking my booty around the house.

Krispy said...

Those are amazing numbers!

Lovin' the songs on your playlist, but I can't tell you what my top repeated song. I can't listen to music when I'm writing, and it's been ages since I paid attention to my iTunes numbers.

TL Conway said...

Your playlist sounds like something I'd love! Personally, I'm a huge fan of Muse's HAARP: Live from Wembley Stadium album. Congrats on the impressive stats!

Lola Sharp said...

Well, you gotta know I'm impressed by the stats and organization of all this record keeping. (I wish it would rub off on me)
(also, I love Brand New so hard)

I am obis one of your CPs that was lucky enough to read that first chunk of FOUR and gave you the resounding YES you MUST keep writing it. Truly, it is very strong, very engaging, and well written. You have the best imagery and you know I love love LOVE that you always make STRONG verb choices. It's really damn good.

Now, I hope it becomes another first for you in that you go through the rounds of revisions. (please come join me in hell...fester fester fester with me)

Also, I didn't know I could listen on itunes. (expect a call soon, my tech goddess of mercy) And I can make it repeat a song? This is huge to me. Must know more.


ShanLeigh said...

I am very impressed. Anyone who includes Muse, NIN and Rob Zombie on a writing playlist is totally kick-as$ in my mind.