September 2019 progress

September passed much too quickly. I wanted to finish more projects in September and it didn’t happen.

September words: 24,609.

I did keep my “no more zero word days” streak alive. Yesterday marked 62 days of daily writing. But there were a few days there when I’m not sure I like how I did it. I didn’t cheat, because my only rule is that I write something but I still don’t like the way I went about it.

On the other hand, I really don’t want to set a minimum, because it messes with my head when I know I need to delete stuff and don’t want to because it’ll leave me with a negative word count and I need a positive word count for some streak or other (like the 1,000 words before sweets rule I had for a while).

Maybe I’m going to have to set a minimum of some sort whether I like it or not. If that happens, I’m sure I’ll go with a time based minimum, because the word count is pretty much out of my control. Some days are productive and good and some days I struggle to move forward in my stories no matter how much time I devote to it. Time is a good compromise. In fact, as I type this, I’m becoming convinced I need to set that minimum time.

I stopped editing my work every day. I think mostly because I kept getting far ahead of my writing and there’s no point reading something twenty times! I just need to read for errors or things to fix, because I edit as I go when I write, and that meant I was often rereading stuff I’d read the very day before for the third or fourth time.

That said, I might pick it up again, because there were some benefits to it (it kept my stories very alive in my mind).

October is already passing quickly, so I’m hoping today to regain some momentum I lost at the beginning of the month because my refrigerator died on me and I had to deal with that and get it replaced when the repairs didn’t fix it. :)

It’s just been one thing after another lately but I am determined to get back on track and have a 50,000 word month! I want to make October–December all 50,000 word months. April and May were my last two 50,000 word months and I was disappointed when I didn’t make June another one. But it did set a new personal best for me, because I’d never had two 50,000 word months back to back.

Now it’s time to set another personal best and have three 50,000 word months back to back. :D

Changing sleep habits—an experiment in productivity

A couple of days ago I decided to try to figure out what was going on in my life at the time of some of my most productive writing streaks—what types of schedules or timed sessions or just overall attitude I had—so I can try a few things to help me make the rest of this year as productive as I need it to be.

This time, I was looking at both my daily log, my entries in my journal, and my calendar entries.

And something came to my attention.

Back in 2016 during the time I can clearly see where my productivity dipped and I fell into a funk that lasted far too long, my sleep habits also changed dramatically.

I have a tendency to track my sleep in my calendar. I put in the times I want to sleep and then adjust the entry the next day to keep a record of the times I actually slept.

Until the middle of 2016, I’d been getting up at 6:30 most days, and even though some days I definitely didn’t get enough sleep, as a general rule I tried to go to sleep by 10:30. Meaning I got enough sleep most of the time, in the earlier part of the night. I’ve always though I slept better in the early part of the night, and fight to sleep once the sun is shining outside, so this stood out for me.

I haven’t ever really considered that my sleep patterns themselves might have led to a lot of my problems during the last few years. And now I’m considering it.

So I started an experiment night before last, wherein I get into bed and go to sleep hours earlier than I’ve been doing, and I make it a priority to get a full night’s sleep.

Yesterday I felt great, all day, all the way up until I went to bed. I never had a dip in energy and I didn’t feel that afternoon dragging feeling I’ve been dealing with a lot lately. I wrote 1,817 words yesterday, pretty effortlessly.

So I went to bed early again last night, and although I don’t know how today is going to work out yet, I feel good. So we shall see if this turns out to be the thing that changed and sent me into a downward spiral of a lack of motivation and energy that has persisted far too long. (Even though it is better now than it was.) :D

I plan to run this experiment for a week at minimum, meaning I can’t let myself slip up and stay up late during that time. I’m hopeful it will show me something useful. :)

Day 51 of no more zero word days

Yesterday was day 51 of my challenge not to have another zero word day. :)

I wrote 1,873 words.

Right now, I’m trying to get to a comfortable 3,200 words a day. Which I know sounds like a lot, but even for me, with an average pace of 500 words an hour, that’s not a ridiculous amount of daily writing, especially when distributed between multiple stories (giving me plenty of time to refuel the muse per story).

Here’s the math, again, just for show.

3,200 ÷ 5 hours = 640 words an hour

Five hours of focused work is a lot. Most research shows that people working an 8 hour job typically do between 3 and 5.3 hours of productive work. There’s nothing more productive for a fiction writer than writing fiction. :-)

But I’m happy to give writing 5 hours of my focused time each day if I can manage it. :)

That’s the biggie for me. I tend to be able to get 2-3 focused hours of timed writing and that’s where it all kind of falls apart. Long breaks, distractions, and the desire to read all end up keeping me from getting more time in. I’m working on it! :D

Also, I ran across a little something this morning that has me convinced that I shouldn’t bother experimenting with timer lengths any longer. I use 20 minute timers most of the time, although I do try longer and shorter ones sometimes, but according to this: “Attention span begins to decay significantly after just 20 minutes. Therefore, after 20 minutes of intensive study, stop.”

I didn’t follow up with the sources, but I’m willing to take it at face value because of my personal experience and experiments with timers of varying lengths.

I am apparently fully within the group of people this applies to. I’ve been using 20 minutes as my preferred timed writing sessions for years now, ever since I discovered that they don’t cause me to feel so interrupted as a 15 minute timer does and that I don’t find myself glancing at the time left before the timer dings.

(Confirmation bias, I know. If you know of a source that reputably disputes this, feel free to drop it in a comment, otherwise, I’m perfectly happy to accept this as true.)

:D

Day 50 of no more zero word days

Today is day 50 of my challenge not to have any more zero word days. During that time I’ve written 41,200 words, and today isn’t over, so that number could get better, although admittedly not by huge amounts. It’s only one day after all. :)

But I really don’t see this streak ending, as long as I’m able to write, because there’s something about knowing that if I have a zero word day (two to be exact), I’ll cross that line from 998 zero word days to 1,000 of them. I really don’t want to cross that line.

That’s what you call intrinsic motivation, and it’s pretty strong in this case!

Just as a reminder, this is fiction only. I could write tons of stuff every day and not keep my streak alive, because fiction (fiction I intend to publish one day, at that) is the only thing I count for this streak.

The other big thing I have going for me this time is that I’m not limiting myself to working on what I need to work on. I work on whatever story I want to work on each time I sit down to write, as long as I suspect it will be something publishable.

That’s a hard limit for me. Even though I love reading fan fiction, I don’t love writing it any more than I love writing wholly original stories, so there’s no point to even thinking about going back to writing fan fiction now that I can publish and earn a living. :D There are story ideas I come up with for my favorite shows, but I pretty much just let them write themselves in my head and move on. I don’t bother trying to make them into cohesive stories.

Now, if I could ever crack the egg that is my slow pace and start writing enough every day that I don’t feel behind on my stories all the time, I might be tempted to write fan fiction again. Who knows? But as of right now, there’s just no way to ever find the time. I have so many stories I want to write and I take far too long to finish them.

Anyway, that’s the update for the active streaks. I’m reading fiction every day too, still, but I’m not tracking it, even though I am unfortunately still reading far, far too much fiction! :D As someone who loves reading more than writing, this is a thing I have to keep a close eye on!

 

 

Today’s goal (day 11)

Oh, dear. I was all set to post my goal today and realized I was suffering from goal creep again. I was going to post a crazy high goal and had a rationalization for it all written out. I deleted it.

Time to reset.

I face a constant push and pull situation with goals. Too small and I don’t do enough, too big and I do more but get overwhelmed.

Today’s goal: blank.

:D Yes, BLANK.

I’m just not in the mood to set a goal.

I do, however, have a hard minimum I want to hit today.

And for the foreseeable future.

On the other hand, I’m already tired of having a daily goal to deal with. Changing the nomenclature doesn’t help. Target, aim, blah blah blah. It’s all the same and I know it and I can’t hide that fact from myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I still want to get to 3,200 a day and that number is stuck in my head, in a good way, I think. I won’t go into all the calculations that led me to that number, because I’ve done some of that in prior posts. Suffice to say, I used highly conservative numbers so I had the absolutely best chance of far exceeding my financial goals if I can ever reach a consistent 3,200 words a day.

BUT, I also calculated a fairly loose minimum word count that I need if things go well, and it’s 962 words a day, which gave me the idea to set a hard minimum of 1,000 words a day. If I can’t reach that and maintain it, I really do need to go find a different job. That’s just reality. It’s no different than setting a hard minimum to actually, you know, go to work every day. Money’s got to come from somewhere!

The hard minimum of 1,000 words a day is my go to work every day number of words. And dear God, it’s embarrassing in the extreme to say this, but if I can’t manage the 1-3 hours a day of writing that this requires, I’m not in the right career. If it’s that hard to make myself write, I need to move on and be done with it, and putter with writing only when I want to.

Wow. I guess I’m in a mood. ;) Maybe I should channel this into today’s writing.

The good news is that yesterday I did write more than 1,000 words of fiction, so I’m already off to a good start even though I didn’t know then that I was going to do this. :-)

Tomorrow, I don’t think I’ll be doing another goal post. However, I think I will do a simple summary post. See you then.

What I ended up with: 430 words.

What did I tell you about me and goals? Apparently a hard limit is pretty much the same thing. Ugh.

Today’s goal: 3,200 words (day 10)

Today’s goal: 3,200 words.

The hourly goals are killing me. Just can’t seem to crack them. The harder I push, the more I rebel. Therefore, it’s back to the flat word count goal for this post.

I would have said “for today,” but the fact is, I’ve already been writing today and I actually started the day with a five hour goal (again) but immediately ran into issues with that plan. I couldn’t stick the first 50 minutes (I was trying for six 50 minute sessions). So I recorded 9, 16, 25. Then did 10 on my next 50 minute session and realized I just wasn’t going to be able to do the long sessions today. But, my pace is good today, and the writing is going well, so I’m just going to focus on the words.

What I ended up with: 1,414 words, on one story.

Today’s goal: 5 hours of timed writing (day 9)

I enjoy the challenge of working on multiple stories so I’m going to spread those hours out over the seven stories I have in progress. They’re all growing at a satisfactory clip and I’m pretty doggone happy with how it’s going.

The biggest complaint I have is that I really need to read some of my older books in the series and I’m not making a lot of progress with that. I got halfway through another yesterday, and that was awesome. I can’t believe how awesome and fun it was to read. :D Ego, ego, I know, but I write these stories to please myself first, so if I’ve done that in a way that gives me many rereads of pleasure, I can’t help but feel like I’ve actually accomplished something awesome! :D

I tried yesterday to spend more time on one story so I could get closer to finishing something this week, but that really didn’t pan out in the end. Today I’m going back to letting my muse direct me.

The one thing I will say is that I’m confident I can finish all my books. I’m not of the type to work on lots of things and never finish any of them, and I would never recommend working on multiple stories at a time to a writer who hasn’t nailed the ability to finish a book yet.

You gotta learn how to finish and that should be the first thing you focus on learning. It’s that important.

Let me say it again: Don’t try working on lots of different books at one time if you aren’t confident in your ability to finish! You’ll flit from one project to another and use them all to keep you from having to do the hard work of getting to the end on any one of them.

What I ended up with: 488 words, 20 minutes.

Well, it was my best 20 minute session ever. That’s gotta count for something.

Today’s goal: 7 hours of timed writing (day 8)

I totally failed at 5.5 hours yesterday, so why not set today’s goal for 7 hours?

Yep. I know.

But I have a plan. So I have to keep this short.

Today’s goal is 7 hours of writing. I’m not setting a word count goal because I’m pretty sure as long as things go okay, I’ll totally make the 3,200 daily goal I keep trying for right now.

The plan is work on whatever I want to keep the writing flowing, so no goals broken down by story today.

See ya!

What I actually ended up with: 1,434 words and 1.78 hours.

Yes, more words, fewer hours. It’s like a curse. Set a goal and move backwards toward it. ;) Since my daily word count was larger than my average and yesterday’s word count, I’m going to call it one of those sort of wins. :D

Today’s goal: 5.5 hours of timed writing (day 7)

One week in on my effort to post daily goals and I’m not disliking it. :) As long as I keep it to the point I think this is the kind of accountability post best suited to me, of all the kinds I’ve tried over the years.

Today’s goal is a little different. I’ve set a time goal in addition to my usual 3,200 words, but I’m not putting the 3,200 words goal into words. (Even though it is here, it’s not, so don’t get any ideas. :D)

I’m doing this because I want to start practicing writing more and just setting the word count goal isn’t getting me past my biggest obstacle to writing more: the number of hours of writing I manage to focus on each day.

The only thing I can think of to fix that is practice.

So, same set up, different goals.

Today’s goal: 5.5 hours of timed writing.

3 stories = ½ hour each
4 stories = 1 hour each

Or, to compare to prior day goals:

½ hour (192 words) x 1
½ hour (296 words) x 1
½ hour (301 words) x 1
1 hour (603 words) x the other 4

Swapping out stories might be just the thing that makes this attempt different from the last time I tried setting hour goals. There’s a bit of challenge and excitement in the chase to get to all the stories in one day that I really like.

Plus, as the numbers above show, this won’t interfere at all with my 3,200 words goal, because 5.5 hours is just about the right number of hours most days to get me to 3,200 words. :)

3,200 / 5.5 = about 582 words

That won’t interfere with my 3200 a day goal at all, because that actually fits right in the time range I need to get those words. 5.5 hours. I can’t think about that though because it messes with my head. So I’m just going to think about the 1 hr (and .5 hour) of writing I want to get for each of my stories.

Anyway, if I find I don’t like it, I can always go right back to chasing the word count goals (which I’ll probably be doing anyway even with the hour goals, but the truth is, this is just me trying to find a way to practice focusing for longer periods and actually getting in all the time I need so I can reach those word count goals!

What I actually ended up with: 1,109 words and 1.92 hours.

It was better than my current September daily average of 692 so it was a sort of win. It helped push my September average up above 700. :)

Today’s goal: 3,200 words (day 6)

Day 5 is missing. I know. :) I’m just not even going to bother going back and correcting it. Day 5 I wrote 130 words.

Today’s goal is identical to the day 4 goal, even though I’d like to write more. I just don’t see how that’s even going to happen. The evening of day 4 (Saturday night) I realized I’m going to have to go back and read all my books again. Some of the details are getting fuzzy and it’s time for me to refresh my brain. I’m struggling too much with my current stories because I can’t remember things I need to remember. That’s 28 books I need to reread.

I’ve read a few recently. 28 is the number I still need to reread. 18 or so of those are novels and the rest are shorter than that, thank God. :D

So, today, the goal is 3,200 words, broken down by story. :)

192 words x 1
296 words x 1
301 words x 1
603 words x the other 4

What I actually ended up with: 2,355 words.

192 words x 1 (done)
296 words x 1 (done)
301 words x 1 (done)
603 words x the other 4 (got 1 done, didn’t touch the other 3)

Today’s goal: 3,200 words (day 4)

I have afternoon plans today so I’m going to try to get my words done early today. I had planned to start at 9 AM but the power went out early and a few other things happened and my plans didn’t pan out. :)

I’m a little shocked that it’s already 11:02 am to be honest.

I have 8 stories on the go right now and I’ve been working on each of them this last week. My goal is based around that fact.

Today’s goal: 3,200 words, broken down by story. :)

192 words x 1
296 words x 1
301 words x 1
603 words x the other 4

Rounding makes it 3,201, but I don’t have to round. The silly numbers total up to exactly 3,200 based on how many months I want between the series releases. It’s both ridiculous and amazing that the number worked out so perfectly, but I took it as a sign. :D

3,200 is the perfect number.

Someday my abilities will catch up with that fact. :D

What I actually ended up with: 1,073 words.

192 words x 1 (done)
296 words x 1 (done)
301 words x 1 (done)
603 words x the other 4 (barely got started)

Today’s goal: 3,200 words (day 3)

A late start today, due to a morning obligation. I have several hours of time I’d like to spend writing, so I’m going to use the timers and see what I can get done.

I’m sticking with the 3,200 word goal today because despite everything, it should be possible, especially if I can get on a roll and keep my words per hour up where it’s been the last few days.

What I actually ended up with: 643 words.

I suspected that getting a delayed start was going to hurt me. :-o

Ah well. 643 is better than my 638 daily average for 2019, so it’s still a win in a certain light. :)

Today’s goal: 3,600 words (day 2)

Most of my daily goals are probably going to be 3,200 words for a while, because that’s the number of words I’ve decided I can write each day by the math, and, therefore, should be writing each day. :) As usual, I don’t know how long this frame of mind will last, but I’m hopeful it will last a long time.

3,200 / 5 = 640 wph

Now, as usual, my struggle actually lies with getting the stupid hours I spend writing up. That’s always where I struggle. I can’t stay on one task for too long before I get antsy and have to get up and move around and the moment I do that… three hours gone!

I’ve been writing in 20 minute blocks because writing in anything longer makes it too hard to get started right now, and anything shorter means I spent way too much time on breaks. (It’s like the timer is a break trigger. I find it nearly impossible to ignore and simply restart it for another session. I have to take that break.)

All that said, today’s goal is actually 3,600 words, for reasons too convoluted to get into. :D

Anyway, I’ve dragged this out and I meant to just post a quick goal, so there. :)

What I actually ended up with: 569, working on one story.

Today’s goal: 3,200 words (day 1)

I’m thinking about starting a series of daily posts where I post my goal for the day in the morning (ish) and then try to meet it.

I have a tendency to set big goals that are hard for me to meet, but I’m thinking that’s a feature, not a flaw, of my process, because I also tend to stop the moment I reach a goal and lose all my interest in doing more. I can tell myself a hundred times that the goal is a minimum, but it doesn’t matter when I get there, I see it as goal accomplished and disengage.

This is my test run of this so we’ll see how I feel about it at the end of the day (and tomorrow, when I have to remember to do it again). :D

Today’s goal: 3,200 words.

What I actually ended up with: 2,088.

That’s a decent word count for me!

An opportunity to learn from an experienced writer for cheap :D

I pledged on a Kickstarter today, for the first time, but I couldn’t pass it up.

I’ve listened to some of the lectures from Dean Wesley Smith in the past and found them of value, and the stretch goal rewards (that they’ve already activated) are just too good to pass up.

When I saw the latest post about it and realized time was running out and that there were some seriously good reasons to go ahead, I went for it.

As I’m kinda (very) broke-ish at the moment, I did the $5 pledge. The financial consequences of my bad year finally hit hard and I’m scraping by until I can reap the rewards of finally getting better and writing (and publishing) enough to get the money flowing again.

Things are improving, but man, I really wish I could write faster. :D

 

August 2019 progress

I had a nice recovery in August. Not a fantastic word count for the month by any means, but a vast improvement over June and July. In fact, in August, I wrote more words than in June and July combined.

I finally finished a short story I started a few months back, and started another one. I’m still not working on the novel I set aside for the short stories, but I’m going to try to get back to it soon.

I still just don’t know what it is about that story that has me stumped, but it’s clear to me that I’m suffering from project block of some sort on it. It might be that the only way through it is to dig in again and just keep pushing until something gives.

That worked for the short story. I restarted it something like five times before I finally wrote something I wanted to be writing.

August words: 24,113.

My August word count was nothing to be unhappy about, even if I wanted to accomplish a bit more.

  • My writing daily streak is alive and well. I haven’t had a zero word day since 8/5.
  • My editing daily streak is alive. I’ve read and edited a little something every single day since I started that on 8/7.

On the other hand, I’m not sure the daily editing is serving the purpose I want it to serve.

I’m still going to read the entire story I just finished writing, despite having read through it a number of times now as I went. In the end, I don’t trust myself not to have missed something, and I can’t let go of the need to read it through from the start right before publishing. It’s just how I have to do things to feel comfortable letting it go.

We’ll see if I continue to find the daily editing a useful habit. I don’t think it hurts anything, but I just can’t see where it’s really helping either. As I become more prolific, it might pay off. We’ll see.

Onward to September.

Active streaks update

Active streaks:

  • Day 20 of writing fiction every day
  • Day 19 of editing my in progress fiction every day (typo hunts and continuity checks that aim to make finishing my books easier and the last read through more likely to go quickly). I really do prefer to do this away from my computer, so I’m more likely to notice missing words and other embarrassing mistakes. :D (A clock and a cock are very different things, and yet spell check doesn’t care about that at all. :D)

A follow up on the inactive stuff at this point:

I’m going to stop reading every day. I’m a binge reader and I started to notice after 3 weeks of daily reading, my reading breaks were getting longer and longer. Eight hours of reading a day is not what I had in mind when I started this streak!

I do think the regular little doses of fiction reading have helped me tame my perfectionist streak but sacrifices must be made. I have to do what I can to limit the things in my life that stop me from writing. I love reading. I would read all day every day if I could.

If I fall into a binge reading cycle now, I’ll be lucky to write a page a day for however long it lasts. In fact, these reading binges are usually what lead to my long zero word day streaks. I’m crying a little inside about that but it is what it is.

I have to start the 1,000 words a day streak over, so it’s not a streak at all yet, because I had two days where I barely wrote a thing. I don’t know that I’m going to try to get any other streaks going at this point. I think two is enough for now.

The 24 minute sprint every day before noon is dead, if only because I’ve decided I need longer sessions if I want to get into flow. And I do. And if I want to get in more writing time every day, I have to do longer sessions, because for some reason a 10 minute break for me usually ends up being more like an hour (or 6 hours of reading (told you it was a problem)) and I can’t have that either.

So, longer sessions, fewer breaks, more flow.

That’s where I’m at right now, and it’s time to get back to writing. I’ve used this to put off my second 50 minute session long enough. :)

I need my anti-perfectionism practice today

:D

What a way to start a post. Anyway, I read an interesting interview today and feel energized to get started early despite being more than two hours short on sleep.

For the last few days I’ve been using 24 minutes timers and a scribbled time log to keep me focused on writing, although yesterday I forgot to start the timer more often than not. However, it all has helped because my word counts are up and I’m feeling both productive and like I’m getting some free time to myself that doesn’t involve me feeling guilty for not writing more.

As of three days ago, I’ve started a streak of 1,000+ word days that I’d like to keep going for a while. My last 1,000+ words a day streak ended in March 2013 (you can see it in the sidebar) and lasted for 27 days. It would be nice to set a new record for 1,000+ days since it’s 6 years later now. :)

Active streaks:

  • Editing something every day (typo hunts and continuity checks that aim to make finishing my books easier and the last read through more likely to go quickly).
  • Writing fiction every day
  • Reading fiction every day
  • Writing more than 1,000 words a day

New one I’m aiming to start today: Finish at least one 24 minute sprint every day before noon.

I actually plan to go for three today but the streak I’m aiming for is just to make myself get that one sprint in every day before noon no matter what else I do.

And now it’s time to start writing fiction. My fingers are limbered up and my brain is firing nicely and I’m clear-headed. Away I go. :)

I’ll do a progress post later today with word counts! I don’t want to deal with that right now. :)

The difference between writing and rewriting

Yesterday I didn’t write as much as I really thought I would. It was my first day with the kid back at school and the house was quiet and I have no one to blame but myself. The problem is that I’m really not sure how I managed not to write more.

Still, dwelling on the past doesn’t help the present, so I’m going to put that aside and think about today.

My anti-perfectionism posting isn’t going well. I wrote about three paragraphs here that I’ve already deleted in whole. But I’m just going to have to deal with it. I also came across something in a quick reread of some posts I’ve always found helpful and it made me realize that I continue to rewrite the rules I follow in my head to be more restrictive than they should be. Of course.

This is a little bit of a rant, mostly aimed at myself, because I have always found the line between writing and rewriting hard to pinpoint. It’s a “know it when I see it” thing.

Rewriting and writing are very closely related.

If you’re actively writing a story, the first time through, still working out the story as you type, most of the stuff you do isn’t going to be rewriting, even if it fits the definition of rewriting in the most basic sense that you’re changing something you’ve already put down on the page. It just isn’t, it can’t be, it’s just a basic part of the writing process.

Even one of the biggest proponents of not rewriting says he puts stuff in and takes stuff out as he loops through a story he’s writing. You can read this in his Writing into the Dark book in the chapter about being unstuck in time if you don’t believe me.

The words you put down are not golden. They are words. You’re finding your way and writing the best words you can find to get the story out of your head and onto the page.

We make what feels like a bazillion decisions as we write, mostly instantly, and sometimes the wrong thing gets down, and when you come back after writing through a few pages and start adding a few things to deepen the story, it’s inevitable that you’ll realize your character is feeling a certain way, or someone left the room earlier than you thought, and you totally missed it the first time through so you have to delete a line and put in a new one. That’s not rewriting. That’s an integral part of the process of writing a story.

Very few people can take a story fully formed and write it fully formed and never change a word. That’s just not a normal thing. And if you have those kinds of expectations, you’ll drown under them. You’ll start to hate writing and maybe even yourself.

I should know. Because I often have these expectations for myself. It’s the curse of perfectionism. It works really hard to kill every ounce of love I have for writing—and everything else in my life, to be honest.

But those are my issues, not yours. I have coping mechanisms in place and I use them to the best of my ability.

Don’t let other people put those kinds of expectations of perfection on you, either. It’s just as destructive.

On the other hand, there’s a line there you do not want to cross. If you’re changing a lot of things, every time you take a pass through a story, you’re probably not just writing anymore. You’re doing what most people think of when they talk about rewriting. You’re being a critic and you’re thinking about other people and what they’ll think of you and your story when you change things.

If you’re thinking about deleting something because it feels superfluous (especially because you’ve been told that if it’s not relevant to the story it doesn’t belong), and the something you’re thinking about deleting isn’t hurting anything by being left alone, then leave it alone. Seriously. Ignore those assholes. They don’t know what they’re talking about.

How do you write a book that no one else has written? You leave in the stuff that you wanted in there. That’s your voice as a writer. It’s you.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put something in a story that seemed totally useless but I liked it so I left it and it became crucial to the story as it unfolded, or to the series even further down the road. Don’t change things for the sake of changing them. Let the story be what it will be.

All these little threads give you more opportunities to look like a genius when you do call backs three books later. ;D

If you’re worrying about getting what you want to get across in the best way possible to support the story and make the story come alive for your reader, you’re writing, not rewriting.

If you’re worrying about how stupid your sentence sounds and trying to make it sound better, then ouch, that is definitely rewriting. You are your own worst enemy when you’re writing and you need to work on getting that under control ASAP. Nobody cares how your sentences sound unless you’re looking to earn a literary award.

Even then, I’ve read some literary fiction with atrocious sentences in them. Writing good fiction is not about writing good sentences. It’s about writing a good story and pulling the reader along with you as the story unfolds.

No more zero word days—day 12

Notes on the challenge:

  • Only true zero word days count as zero word days, meaning—
    • Negative numbers aren’t zero word days because they just indicate that I deleted more than I wrote.
    • I don’t want oodles of negative word days, because forward progress matters a lot more than just logging a number that isn’t a zero, but I also don’t want the same issues that I had with my “no sweets before 1,000” to crop up either—the issue of needing to delete something but hesitating because I wanted to get my 1,000 words in so I could have a treat!

All that said, things are going well! I just need to get my daily word counts up to where I would like them to be, 1500-3000, and I’ll finally be satisfied. :D (Really? Who knows! But I’m going to pretend.)

Yesterday, I helped my daughter move back to college and now I can’t be blaming other people for my lack of concentration and writing. It’s all on me.

Today is a super quiet day here and I plan to enjoy it by writing the day away.

Days 1–11: 7,104 words*

Day 12: in progress!*

* Edited because I had those days and word counts all wrong. What the heck?! I have no idea how I messed that up. Never mind. I totally forgot this wasn’t a monthly update but was for the challenge only. The numbers were right the first time!