New plan because July needs rescued

So July has been a terrible month for writing, but I haven’t given up on rescuing it yet. Starting tomorrow I’m going to just plow into my most appealing current story in progress and try to pick up some momentum.

The plan is simple. Start writing and don’t stop until I’m done, or 4 pm.

The 4 pm thing might seem like a cop out, but I know if I don’t allow myself a break at some point if the writing isn’t going well, I’ll give up completely. So 4 pm is my fail safe.

If I’m doing my best and I can’t seem to get up any momentum and can’t reach my word count goal (of 2,995 words, reasons for which I don’t want to get into in this supposed-to-be-short post right before bed) then I’m allowed to quit at 4 pm for a longish break and make another run at it later in the evening.

If I’m not doing my best to write and do nothing but write until I reach my word count goal, then the experiment failed anyway so none of this will matter. :-o

I’ll update this post after the fact and let you know how it went.

PayPal hassles are pushing me to switch from Smashwords to Draft2Digital

I divorced some-odd years ago, and I’ve lagged with the name change for an online bank account and my PayPal account. I finally got around to it recently, and dear lord, it’s obvious to me now why I waited.

PayPal changes are a hassle. Their (new) website is glitchy and won’t accept my documents for the name change, and the email support is a run around, as is the chat support. First you get automated responses that make it near impossible to get hold of anyone real to deal with issues and then when you do, the wait time is interminable and the notifications to let you know the issue is being dealt with are nonexistent.

The only money I get through PayPal are my Smashwords deposits. Draft2Digital will do direct deposit to a bank account.

I haven’t wanted to switch, for a variety of reasons, but this might just be the thing that does it. If PayPal doesn’t get this done soon and right, I’m just going to close the account. If I close the account, Smashwords no longer makes sense as a distributor. And getting paid for Smashwords sales will become a hassle because I’ll have to go to a check.

However, if that’s what it takes, then so be it.

I do like that Smashwords is not just a distributor, but also a storefront. I do make money from that storefront and I do use the Smashwords coupons sometimes. Still, I’m not that happy with the payment set up because PayPal or check are the only options.

Smashwords really needs to get their house in order and start offering direct deposit.

*Despite the run-around, PayPal actually got this fixed. Crisis averted for the time being.

June 2019 progress

I’m a little late posting June’s progress, but since I’m not really making progress of any kind, I haven’t been compelled to update. I’m dealing with some kind of unknown health issue at the moment and doing it with June and July temperatures in the southeast without air conditioning.

Yuck.

A doctor visit didn’t really give me any hope that I’m going to figure it out soon, or get better soon, or even relieve my anxiety over it all.

So my writing productivity has fallen off, drastically, and I wish it were otherwise, but apparently I’m totally spoiled by modern temperature control and I’m wilting (melting) (dying) in this heat. The house is staying a reasonable 80-83 degrees while it’s heading toward 90 outside every day so that’s good, but I am not doing great with the 90%+ humidity we’re dealing with right now.

June writing: 10,272 words.

Bonus: July 1–9: 0.

That said, today is the day I attempt to recover and get some real writing done. I have a couple of more things this week that’ll make it difficult to make lots of progress, but all I’m asking of myself is to make some progress.

I’m sitting in front of a fan with the laptop and it feels pretty good right now.

June 15–27 progress

Oh dear. June has really been a down month for me. After such a run of good writing days, I’m pretty bummed to be honest. However, I didn’t fall completely off the wagon. I just slowed way down.

I am kind of stuck on my current project, and I’ve been writing some short stuff while I let it rest. I need to decide if it’s time to cut back to a previous point and go at it again, or just push through. I can’t seem to make that decision, but I know something is wrong and my brain just isn’t letting me move forward until I figure it out.

This is kind of an intermediate progress post and I’m hoping that spelling it all out this way will help me move forward tomorrow.

I still have time to get to about half my monthly goal if I push myself a bit over the next three days.

We’ll see if it happens. :-)

June 15–27 words written: 4,435

June 1–14 progress

Lots of things have kept me from writing as much as I wanted to have written in the first half of the month. Was it inevitable that I would slow down after two 50,000 word months?

Hardly!

I think it’s just that there are a lot of things finally hitting now that June is in full swing, like the daughter being home from college, and the publishing of a book and a computer glitch and myriad other little things that all add up to big distractions.

The “no sweets rule before 1,000 words” is still in effect, but not even it seems to be making a dent.

I was very much right not to think I’d had some miraculous breakthrough. It’s really just been all about taking things one day at a time and letting myself write as much as I can on those days when things are going well. Unfortunately things haven’t been going well for multiple days in a row this month.

June 1–14: 5,823 words.

That’s an average of 416 words a day.

I can do a lot better than that. I’m hoping I can up my word counts enough in the second half of the month to still make it to 50,000.

It’ll be tough, but that’s only 16 days of writing and then things can ease up again. We shall see.

On the topic of speed

I read a lot. I think I’ve mentioned that. :)

I use feedly to keep up with blogs and magazines that interest me, and Pocket to keep articles for later reading, and I still do a lot of reading in my web browser on my phone and at the computer, too. I don’t do much of this reading on my tablets, but that’s because if I have a tablet in hand, I’m usually either reading a book, or I’m proofreading one of my own books. :D

A newer follow for me is The Daily Journal. Like Dean Wesley Smith, Harvey (The Daily Journal’s writer) is an advocate of the “writing should be fun and don’t let the critical voice get in your way” philosophy of writing, one I happen to follow myself.

If you can, take the time to read The Daily Journal. It’s full of interesting tidbits of writing knowledge, distilled into small daily topics.

I don’t always agree with everything he says, but that’s mostly by degrees.

In one of his recent entries, he mentions speed (a topic I have written at length about here on the site in one post or another), bringing up the 1,000 words an hour thing.

(Who started the myth that to be a pro you need to write 1,000 words an hour or consider yourself inadequate? I’m going to have to go looking for that one day, just to see if I can figure it out.)

I happen to wish I wrote at 1,000 words an hour with any kind of consistency at all but, alas, I do not. My brain just isn’t wired that way, and I’ve only finally come to that conclusion in the last year or three, after trying for many, many years to write faster.

Have I mentioned that I’ve been writing fiction since I was a teenager (pre-teen, even) and that I was a teenager when Quantum Leap was a first run show? Yeah, it’s been a while. :D

Anyway, I feel like I do have enough lifetime experience to know myself in this, and I am sad to say that 1,000 words an hour is a blazing fast speed to me, and I reach it only in the most intense writing sessions. Some writers are blessed to be able to get their thoughts in order and get them down in a coherent fashion at speed. I am apparently not one of those writers.

I make do.

I don’t get to write for 1–3 hours a day and call it done—it’s certainly more like 8-10 for me if I can keep myself sitting still for that long. But I’m okay with that. I enjoy what I do, and I have fun with my characters and I don’t spend much time anymore comparing myself to other people.

The number one thing that gets in the heads of most writers is that tendency to compare themselves to other writers.

Don’t do it. Really. You aren’t likely to find anything good at the end of that rainbow. :)

And if you don’t write at the blazing fast speed of 1,000 words an hour, but you enjoy your writing, and you aren’t slowing down because you think you need to fix things and are cycling back through your text excessively, then really, really don’t let the myth of the 1,000 words an hour writer get in your head.

That’s all. :D

Now, I’m going to go write my book. I’ll probably get a few short bursts in that reach 1,000 words an hour, but by the end of the day, I’ll probably be in the 500 words an hour range, as usual. :)

But I’m going to get lost in my story, and I’m going to have fun anyway.

Not so fast, a Joplin versus OneNote update

Joplin, as much as I wanted to love it, just isn’t ready for me. I’ve been testing it pretty heavily to look for break points that could be a deal breaker for me, and I’ve had several issues crop up with the program that have made me finally decide I’m going to have to pass on this for a while and maybe check it out again in the future. Maybe.

It’s taken me a while to get to this point, but I’ve learned my lesson more times than I should have about jumping wholesale into something new if it’s not super easy to go back, and while there are things about OneNote that I don’t like, there are also a lot of things I do like.* So there was no reason to jump too fast and I’m glad I didn’t.

I suspected something was going on recently, and had finally committed to copying the notes and web clippings that I’d taken exclusively in Joplin out to OneNote, when I came across the biggest issue to date for me.

Joplin lost images from the web clippings I took. I was able to go back and reclip the pages into OneNote, but yeah, I really can’t have things go missing once I save them. The issue is a known issue that’s since been fixed, but the problem is that all the notes that lost the images can’t really be recovered, since I would have to go through them one by one and figure out which had lost images and then import from the backups. Definitely not worth the trouble, and not necessary, for me.

So there you go. Consider this my update on Joplin. I’m not switching. It’s just not ready for me. I definitely prefer a set it and let it go solution for my notekeeping.

* I like that OneNote can export entire sections to a Word file. I do my backups of OneNote not as OneNote files (I have a backup of that but I don’t consider it my notes backup, if that makes sense) but as Word docs.

May 2019 progress

I wanted May to be my best month ever, and it wasn’t.

I did succeed in making it to 50,000 words again, so in a way it was my best month, because in May I finally broke through to two months of 50,000 words in a row and I wrote more fiction in May than in April (there was an extra day in the month but my daily average was also better by 21 words).

May also came in as my best month in 2019 (so far), and I set a new record for myself by writing 6,606 words on May 7th.

And I finally published a book this year. :-)

Of course I’m going to try to beat all that with June so maybe those records won’t last long. :)

The most amazing aspect of the no sweets until 1,000 words thing is that it helped me fight off the usual problems I have with publishing something and then getting back to writing. I wrote about some of that in my May 1–16 progress post. I didn’t lose too much time to publishing tasks (I make a huge effort to do as little as possible here anyway—I like some aspects of the publishing phase, but there are a lot of things I just don’t bother with because I hate doing them) and I didn’t get out of the habit of daily writing (which I’m doing most often in the morning now because I am usually desperate for something sweet by noon, even though I rarely get anything til later).

Forcing myself to write early (for the sweets) has meant my focus is better and has pretty much broken my habit of waiting until later in the day to write and just being too tired.

I wrote a couple of good posts here on the blog, too, one about trusting yourself with your story, and one about how to make life easier for your indie publisher self.

Words written in May: 52,460.

A new record—50,000 words, two months in a row

I did it! The goal I set out to meet this month has been met. But not only did I cross the 50,000 word mark for May after having written 50,000 words in April, I also finished a short story last night doing it. :)

Now, there are three writing days left in this month, and I’m not sure I’ll reach the 2,000 words per day average I had hoped to reach this month, but I can still make this my best month to date.

My current record high word count for a month (fiction only, remember!) is 57,249 from back in April 2016. As of last night, I’m sitting at 50,262 words for May. I need 6,988 words to beat that. A solid 7,000 would be better than a one word bump. :) So I need to write more than 2,333 each day of these last three days to do it.

I’m going to try.

A little word count challenge for today to get me to 50,000 words for May

I have five days left in May. I’m 5,286 words from reaching 50,000 for the month. That’ll be a record set, because I’ve never written 50,000 words of fiction two months in a row.

So of course, I really want to get those words. Restarting would mean two months of writing to get close again.

I’m also still hopeful I can bring up May’s average to 2,000 words a day, although every day that passes this close to the end makes it quite a bit harder.

But there’s hope!

If I can go ahead and reach 50,000 today, I would have the first record set and out of the way, and I would be a lot closer to that 2,000 words per day average I want for May. :-)

So today I’m giving myself a challenge to write 5,286 words, which will put me at 50,000 words for May.

Writing 5,286 words in one day is a stretch for me even when the writing is going really well.

But it’s a challenge, and I’m going to try, and that’s all I can ask from myself. Besides, anything over 2,000 will help. :)

I’ll post results sometime later.

In other news, yesterday marked 60 days in a row of finding time to write every day. I credit the new rule about sweets for that. Without a doubt, it has made a huge difference for my recent word counts and daily writing efforts. (And I’ve lost weight instead of gained, which is really nice—morning sweets were obviously more of an issue for me than I had even realized.

Update: I didn’t do it this day, but I did get my 50,000 in May!

My writing process in five sentences (and some words about those sentences)

I write a book. I start at the beginning. I write through to the end, taking a few detours along the way usually but always ending up at the end. (3)

I read the book and mark errors and continuity issues to check or fix and make sure nothing sounds wrong (that’s a totally subjective thing for me but it’s just something that sometimes happens because I often write my sentences out of order, leave them half completed, come back to them, finish them, and then realize I just repeated myself—can’t seem to help that this is the way my brain often puts a sentence/paragraph/page together—on the other hand, it’s definitely not how I put a chapter together because I can’t get from one unfinished scene to another!—but sometimes the remnants of this process gets left behind to be found during later read throughs). (4)

I fix all that stuff I mentioned in the previous sentence (which, yes, was just one sentence!) and call my book done. (5)

That was it. Five sentences.

If you think there are steps missing, you haven’t been reading this blog very long. :-)

I indie publish because I like to be in control of my works. I do what I want to do with them. I choose to do what I do, not because of necessity, but because it pleases me. That’s the beauty of indie published works. I can be an artisan.

I’ll be blunt here: I am an artist.

There are people out there who’ll say that back to me with a sneer. But I’ve made my choices and they’ve made theirs and my choices should mean nothing to them. And if they do, maybe those people should rethink whatever it is that makes them feel like they have the right to expect me to live by their rules.

I don’t use first readers, second readers, beta readers, alpha readers, or, in fact, any readers at all other than me during the writing and publishing of my books. I am my own editor. And yes, that includes copy editor, and yes again, I know some people will scream at me about this and claim I’m disrespecting my readers by doing that.

I disagree. I’m an indie publisher with a system that happens to run counter to the majority. That doesn’t make my system wrong. Only different.

If someone picks up one of my books and thinks it isn’t edited properly they can (1) get a refund, (2) never buy another book from me, (3) complain and/or review the book and tell everyone the editing is nonexistent and the book sucks, and/or (4) write me a nasty letter and tell me what they really think.

Let’s discuss numbers today

Word count numbers, that is.

My daily average for a seven and a half year period is 561 words per day. I’ve mentioned time and again that I’d like to get that number to 2,000 words a day. Not the historical average, because that would be a massive undertaking, but I’d like to reach a 2,000 words a day average for a week or a month and then maintain it going forward.

I just have too many stories to write and they’re not going to get written if I don’t.

These last two months, I’m finally getting close. My overall daily average for April–May as of today is 1,708 words a day.

Month Words Per Day (Average)
April 1,671
May 1,759

This is something I’m really excited about. I have the opportunity to set several new records for myself this month, and that also excites me.

  • I’m working on making this the first time I’ve had two consecutive 50,000 word months.
  • I still have the chance to beat my best daily average in a month (that number is 1,908 for April 2016).
  • I can still reach a 2,000 words a day average this month.

There’s just so much opportunity left in this month, and I’m trying not to let myself forget that it’s easier to maintain my momentum than it is to start over and try again.

:-)

And those are my numbers.

I might not be able to catch up to the 2,000 words daily average for May, but I haven’t given up on that possibility, so I’m going to head off and work on that now.

About trusting yourself and letting go

My most recent book was a lesson in trusting myself and letting go of notions of what I thought the book should be.

The comments I’ve received on the book are better than usual, and that is gratifying. I don’t think I would regret anything even if they weren’t, because by the time I’d written the last word, I was happy with the book and the direction it had taken. It’s a book I was sure no one but me would like, because it does things that books in the genre I’m in don’t usually do. It was really a mix of several genres, as a lot of my books are, but with enough of an overriding element of one that I’m able to claim it as belonging to the genre I always mean to write when I start a new book for my main pen name.

It was also hard to write at times, because I kept having to beat back the critical part of myself and just write what felt right instead of what my brain was telling me was the right thing to write.

The book had several twists that I fought up to the bitter end, but now that it’s done, I’m so glad I let go and let the story become what it needed to be versus what I kept wanting it to be.

The real lesson I learned from this is that sometimes our brains tell us we’re going in the wrong direction, and what we’re really doing is laying a foundation that will be the bedrock of the story we end up telling.

It’s important to trust ourselves as artists and writers, and accept that sometimes that means we don’t know where we’re going with something until it pays off for us, for the characters, the plot—the story.

I hope if you’re struggling with a story, you can find it in yourself to let go and trust yourself even when things aren’t going along how you imagined they would in the story. You might be surprised by what comes of it.

Don’t link to your email list provider in your books

I’m going to sound smug for a moment, because frankly, that’s how I’m feeling right about now.

From the beginning, I’ve done everything I can to make life easier on myself, and it’s paid off in several ways in the long run.

I make all my links in my books go back to my own author website, including the link for my newsletter sign up.

Link to one of my books? It goes to my website (a page just for that book).

Link to my newsletter sign up form? It goes to my website (a page just for the form for the newsletter sign up).

This is part laziness on my part and part forward thinking. I’m always imagining worst case scenarios, and the worst thing I can imagine happening with links is some service going under and me being stuck with the task of editing who knows how many books and having to upload new files to all the distributors.

So here’s my advice to you, especially if you have a lot of books or plan to write a lot of them!

Link to your own website pages, no matter what anyone else recommends you do, or how much they swear you’ll earn more or get more subscribers or whatever.

I mean, I guess if you don’t mind the work, and doing it in a hurry too when something happens that screws up three hundred links you’ve put all over the web or inside your books and promo materials, then do what you want, but I will never recommend anyone link to anything but pages under their own control.

The end.

:-)

Mailchimp changes—read Gaughran’s post

So day before yesterday, I spent an hour or so trying to find info on the Mailchimp changes I’d just been notified about by email.

I’m on the free plan, because my lists are tiny. Like, really super tiny, because I don’t promote them except in my books and on my websites, and I don’t do list building. (I can barely keep up my writing, so yeah.) My lists are 100% organic and I like it that way. I despise marketing, and dealing with that stuff ratchets up my stress levels to the point that I’d just as soon get another job in accounting as deal with it. At least I like accounting work!

Anyway, I had a feeling someone would put together a good post on the Mailchimp changes, and sure enough, yesterday, David Gaughran did.

Go read it if you use Mailchimp and you’re questioning what the heck they’re doing.

As for me, the first thing I did after reading the email was scoff and then tell my daughter it was obvious Mailchimp was looking for a way to inflate the numbers that they use to charge people for services. Gaughran’s post does a good job of laying it all out, and definitely supports my own view on that.

I can see why Mailchimp did it, but I still think the changes they’re making are kinda stupid. I mean, most people are going to see right through their blather about audiences and retargeting and blah-blah and see the move for what it is—an effort to offer less, earn more, and get out of the “forever free” promises they made in the past.

In all honesty, I think what it shows me is that Mailchimp can’t be trusted.

I went last night and finished up the profile I’d started with Mailerlite and got my account approved. I haven’t decided to bail just yet, but I guess I’ll have to. I have two lists, one of which has 6 subscribers (not joking!) and I’m not going to a paid plan to service that list.

I deleted my unsubscribed and cleaned emails from my main list at Mailchimp and exported it as a csv file, as I do every so often for backup, and over the next week or two I’ll figure out what I’m going to do.

Gaughran and several people in the comments of his post talk about archiving these unsubscribes, but from my reading of the Mailchimp help pages, delete works best for me. I want to be sure people’s info is scrubbed if I’m not using it, and I’m not using unsubscribed emails for any reason.

It’s pretty clear from my reading that people have the right to ask for their info to be deleted at any time, so I chose to be proactive and delete now. If I’m reading all that stuff wrong, I’ll deal with it. This is what I’d want done with my info, so I’m doing that for others.

May 1–16 progress

I wanted to do an update here at the middle of the month because I’m transitioning from writing one book to another and that is usually where I fall behind in a month. I’m trying hard not to let that happen this time, so I’m not allowing myself days off my miracle rule right now.

Eventually, if that rule keeps working for me, I’m going to do a whole post about nothing but the rule and why it’s working so well to keep me writing.

May 1–16: 31,628 words.

That’s an average of 1,976 words a day.

I’m finally getting close to my 2,000 words a day average I’ve been aiming for since I decided that’s what it would take to make me feel prolific.

I’m not going to take for granted that I’ve had some awesome breakthrough, because it’s unlikely, but I am going to try to take advantage of my momentum and keep writing! It really is the only way to keep things going in the direction I want. :-)

Fighting to keep up my momentum

April was a great month for writing. I wrote more than 50,000 words. May has been fantastic. But I’ve recently finished a book and now I’m fighting to keep up my momentum.

Finishing a big project leaves me feeling adrift. I have to stop letting myself feel like I’ve finished something when I finish a book. The big project is my career, not this one book, so I have to keep writing if I want to avoid a long break between books.

Implementing the plan should be easy but we all know it won’t be. But here’s what I’m doing.

1. No writing break between books.

2. No moving on to a book I “should” finish while I’m interested in writing a different book.

I’m writing the book I’m most interested in writing right now, not the book I feel like I should write right now. That particular series has waited this long for another book, and it can keep waiting.

Enthusiasm = intrinsic motivation = finishing the next book before I lose interest in it and have to work hard to regain it.

I hope it works, but I really won’t know until I’ve tried it a few times and seen the results. :)

I’m also still following my rule about sweets and 1,000 words. This little rule helped me write more than 50,000 words in April. And that momentum put me in a position to break my 6,241 words in a day record.

My new record? 6,606 words on May 7, 2019.

I don’t have a post for that day, because I’ve really been focused on writing fiction and saving the blog posts for progress updates, but I am thrilled I did it. It was awesome. It was also exhausting. I’m really not meant to write that many words in one day! :-) Next record to break? 7,000 words in a day. It’ll happen.

Now, off to write. Today is the first day of the new book. (Which I started in January, and wrote a few thousand on between then and now, so I’m not actually starting the book at zero words. I really want to write this book! It’s going to be so much fun.)

And I really want one of the brownies my daughter made so I’m definitely about to start writing. :D

April 2019 progress

I posted a few times in April about my progress, once for April 1–7, and again for April 8–20. I was right in those posts, April turned into a great writing month for me. :)

Words written in April: 50,137.

It could have been a nano month. It wasn’t. I never even got off the ground with my camp nano project, because I’m still writing the book I was writing in November, December, January, February, and March. Ah well.

I’m trying to make May my best month yet, which means I’ll need to beat April 2016’s 57,249 words. I might be able to do it, if I don’t lose too much time to publishing tasks. That could happen, because once I finish my current book (which has gone ridiculously long, as usual) I will be publishing it at some point and I’ll have a lot of non-writing things to do, which is what usually gets me out of the habit of daily writing and messes with my ability to focus.

This is the month I refuse to let that happen. I’m just not going to allow it.

I’m really enjoying my routine right now and the way I feel and how the writing is going, and so I’m going to make it work. Whatever was wrong with me the first of last year and the end of the year before (ish) is better and I’m really in a place where the writing is good.

I also really want to write my next book. Ideas are brimming over and the drive to write and finish books feels a lot like it did back in the early days of this indie publishing journey of mine. :)

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but I’ve also discovered that the better my writing month is going, the more likely it is that I won’t do much, if any, journal writing (or blog posting). I’ll deal.

So on to May. Here’s to making it a good one. :-)

April 8–20 progress

I am definitely on to something with the “no sweets before 1,000 words” thing. April has been a great writing month so far and I’m putting the credit for that entirely on that little rule I’ve been following.

Yeah, I’ve had one or two days overall where I’ve not reached 1,000 words and gone to bed without any sweets at all, but that’s it. And yeah, it sounds like a phenomenally bad idea to give myself sweet treats for writing, considering how bad too much sugar is for a body, but I would have eaten the sweets anyway, and more of them, frankly, because I have a serious sweet tooth. This little rule has tamed it quite a lot.

It’s amazing what I’ll push myself through to get a cup of cocoa. :-)

April 8–20: 22,103 words.

April-to-date: 33,792 words.

Unfortunately, my current book has gone long. I’d have been done with it 18,000 words ago if it hadn’t. Now I’m just pushing to get it finished so I can start in earnest on the other book that’s desperate to get out of me. :-)

One thing I’ve noticed lately is that I really don’t like to blog or journal when the writing is going really well. I don’t know if it’s because I’m so ready to get started with the actual writing of the story that I don’t want to waste time doing this other writing, or if it’s that the journal and blog writing actually steal some of my motivation to write. Don’t know. Don’t actually care. I’m just glad to be writing my fiction regularly again.

On that note, I’m going to get back to the writing.

Writing weather

Very much looking forward to warmer weather tomorrow.

I’ve heard lots of writers talk about winter as writing weather, but that’s just not for me.

1. I hate the cold and I especially hate trying to type with cold fingers.

2. I don’t mind the heat of warmer weather at all. Sweat is always preferable to chill-bumps. :D

3. I hate getting outside in the heat. Mostly because I’m terribly allergic to mosquito bites (welts that itch like a son of a bitch) and I somehow attract every mosquito within a mile of my “swampy” mountain property. (I live in a low lying area at the top of a mountain. Weird, I know, but yes, it actually is swampy.) So staying in and writing is a perfect alternative for me. :D

4. Sunlight. It gives me energy, makes me feel better, and improves my mood dramatically. So I sit outside in the sun long enough to get some sun each day that I can, and I don’t mind a tan. In fact, my skin tone is particularly appreciative of a little daily sun. It improves my writing and I do more writing in the summer as a general rule. (Well, I ran the numbers and discovered that this is only sort of true. My worst months are January, December, and June, in that order. My best months are July, November, and April. It’s a strange thing. It looks like I have one good month a quarter and one bad and one mediocre. How fitting. Goes to show that what we think we know, we don’t actually know.)

5. That’s it! I don’t like winter for writing and I do like summer. :-) Might just be my overall preference for warm weather and the summer months.