2016 Year in Review

2016 is now over, and it was a great year. Difficult in many ways, but fantastic for my writing and my most successful in both sales and words written.

2016 was the first year that I consistently tracked every single writing session I did. I have a wealth of data to look back at, and also targets to beat this year. I’m going to lay out some of those stats in this post. But first a few milestones.

Achievements for 2016

  • One book published – The Secret Patient
  • Two books written – Books 1 and 2 of my new Fantasy series The Hidden Wizard
  • First major promotion anchored by Bookbub – which moved thousands of copies of my book Dreamlike

Truly a big year, I am planning to top it this year. I put my success to 2 things:

  • A more consistent writing habit
  • A more concerted effort to market my books and connect with author communities

Writing Habit

I thought it would be interesting to mention how I track my writing. I write in timed sprints, most often 15 minutes at a time. While the timer is running I focus on nothing else but getting the new words written. There is still the occasional pause and I do some minor corrections of typos, but writing in this style immediately doubled my words per hour and has been slowly building it up.

When I am about to write, I follow the below routine:

  • Review where I’m up to in the story, and what needs to happen in the current and following scene
  • Start my writing timer (I use the app 5k WPH by Chris Fox on my phone)
  • Once the timer is up I record the words written into the app
  • Depending on how much longer I have available and where I am up to, I’ll either start the new sprint immediately for another 15 minutes or I’ll adjust the timer up or down
  • If I have an extended period to write (very rare) I take a short break every 30 or 60 minutes to refresh and stretch

If you are interested in learning more about writing sprints and increasing your speed, I recommend the following books:

Writing Stats

I have been doing some analysis of all the data collected, and pulled out the following statistics from 2016:

  • Total words written: 124,007
  • Total number of writing sprints: 280
  • Length of most common writing sprint: 15 mins
  • Total number of hours writing: 52.6
  • Overall average words per hour: 2358
  • Best month for word count: December (26,729)
  • Worst month for word count: July (1312)
  • Maximum days between writing sprints: 28
  • Worst Monthly Average WPH: July (2018)
  • Best Monthly Average WPH: May (2517)

Conclusions

It’s clear from the stats that even though I built a better writing habit, and made time at the end of the year when I was on leave, there is still a need to get more regular time in for writing. It seems incredible that on average I only put in 1 hour per week over the year, and yet still managed to write 124,000 words. If I could double that, then it would make a huge difference to my output and the frequency of my releases. I spent the majority of 2016 working on my new series, which will debut this year. A more consistent writing habit will hopefully help me keep the books releasing faster.

Also interesting to note that my best writing speed month was finishing book 1 of the hidden wizard, and my worst was the same month I only wrote 1312 words. There’s definitely a correlation there.

Goals for 2017

Here’s my targets for this year, let’s see how well I do.

  • Total Words Written: 250,000
  • Average WPH: 2,500
  • Books Written: 3
  • Books Released: 4

I may struggle with the word count, seeing as I will spending a lot of time getting the new series released. But a little consistency goes a long way.

Thanks for reading and helping me close out 2016. Let’s bring on 2017, the year of The Hidden Wizard.

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