Words done this month: 4,697.

Current total word count: 10,709.

Current mood: Slightly disappointed with my word count, but hey… I beat Rob this month!

February low point: About the 16th, when I realised that I had no idea which way my main character was going to take a major decision.

February high point: About the 16th, when I realised that I had no idea which way my main character was going to take a major decision!

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Yes, my high and low points this month were the same moment! The scene which I was writing was a major one, in which Sam takes part in the StairJumping “ritual” in order to be accepted into his brother’s gang. I kept writing and writing, hoping that inspiration would come and that Sam would make his decision for me, but he wouldn’t! Which is unsurprising really – he is a fairly weak-minded character, who is unsure of himself and very nervous given the situation he finds himself in. So I began to get very frustrated, wanting to finish the scene but finding it impossible to get over this hurdle. This caused several days of not writing anything, until the point where I made a concious decision to leave the scene behind for the time being, and write some different scenes happening later on in the story.

This was a tricky point for me, but I also rather loved it! It was the high point of my month’s writing because it reminded me why I love writing, and why I write the way that I do. I don’t like to plan things, and prefer to write and see what happens as I go. Because, as I see it, writing is a living, breathing thing – characters and places come alive as the words appear on the page. Sometimes I will be writing and a character will do things differently to how I may have planned it, or will bring things to the story that I won’t have anticipated. When I realised that I didn’t know what Sam was going to do in the scene, I also realised that Sam didn’t know either. He wasn’t making a decision, and hopefully this uncertainty will show through in the final written scene. Writing is magic, and alive, which makes it incredibly fun, if also incredibly frustrating and challenging at times. But these are the reasons why I love it so much.

My word count is also lower than I expected this month – lower even than January’s word count, which I had thought was quite low in the first place. February’s writing was mainly done longhand, in my Moleskine, which I find can be a more relaxing and inspiring way of writing. The feel of my fountain pen across the page, the sound of the nib slightly scratching as it releases the ink, the look of the words on the page and the feel of my notebook in my hands. All of these things contribute to the magic of writing. However, it does make it harder to keep track of a word count, so it was only when I wrote up my longhand onto the computer on Saturday that I realised how much (or little) writing I’ve done this month.

Despite this, I am pleased with the way I have been writing in February. Although I didn’t write as much as in January I have written almost every day, whereas last month I wrote the bulk of my word count over about three days. This more regular writing is encouraging – I am finding myself more in the writing habit, which I have struggled with in the past. Throughout March I am sure I will keep up this regular writing, but hopefully I shall increase my daily word count.

So, bring on March! Although, like Rob said to me a few days ago, I feel like I could do with an extra month of “Smarch”  in order to get this novel written this year, but that’s not going to happen! Look out for Rob’s excerpt tomorrow, and then mine on Thursday, to give you a taste of our stories and our completely different styles.

Hope you’re all enjoying the Duel as we enter our third month. Keep reading!