Six Hours In a Day Challenge—Updates

Here are the updates for today’s challenge. (I realize these challenge titles are dumb. I kinda don’t care if they get me writing and keep me writing. I take motivation wherever I can get it!)

But, uh, yeah, this hasn’t gone well so far today.

3:53 pm at 0 hours, 0 words

That’s not supposed to happen, right? I blame the cold weather; it’s stealing all my mojo. Or it’s because I’m out of milk and can’t make cocoa. Or something.

I’m not exactly done for, but here’s the truth. I have only seven hours until I have to go to sleep to get eight hours and get up in the morning all ready to get back to my schedule as I thought I would do. But with breaks and the other stuff I have to do tonight, I’m not going to be able to get six hours without—ah crap. :D I just realized quite suddenly how bad this is. Excuses, excuses, excuses. :o I do recognize them. Or I do now.

I’ve been fighting going back to staying up late and just making up the sleeping time with naps and living a fairly unstructured, unscheduled life, because my daily word count spreadsheet makes it very clear that my most productive month was when I was getting up at 7 am and writing first thing, with a goal of no WIFI until I’d hit 2500 words. I didn’t always get the 2500 words before lunchtime, but I did it enough to make February 2013 my highest word count month since I started publishing. I wrote over 50,000 words that month. But now that I’m thinking about it, I know I hit 50,000 the year I won NaNoWriMo. (2010. I have a bad memory for dates! I had to go look at old emails to figure this out.) Anyway, back then I had a part-time day job and wrote at least something almost every day. I just looked at the old spreadsheet and my high and low word counts are all over the place and in no way line up to any particular day. So that would have been no schedule and I was just as successful then as I was this past February.

What does this all mean?

I don’t know.  :D

Well, that’s not quite true, because I know I didn’t succeed at this challenge and that I’ll be writing late if I want to at least get in a few thousand words before I call it a night! And I do want that, because I don’t want to give up on the one million words. :)



Ten Six Hours In a Day Challenge—Do Over

Well, since getting ten hours was a bust yesterday, I thought I’d try again, but this time go with six hours and try to work my way up to—ah, you know what? This isn’t really necessary. If I write for six hours in one day and start doing that regularly, I’m really not going to care if I ever work my way up to ten hours in a day of writing. Really. I’m just not going to care. :D

However, six hours of writing is a good goal today because I’ve done it before and although it’s not easy for me, it’s also not too much of a stretch and it’s not too late in the morning to get a good start on that goal and actually reach it before five-ish. Because I have television to watch* tonight. :D

(Yes, it does appear I’ve thrown my schedule out the window. Not gonna lie. I hate it, so I keep finding myself trying to find ways to work around it. I’ll have to make some kind of decision on it soon, despite my commitment to stick to it, but I’m waiting to see if this is just me rebelling against myself… Also, tomorrow I am going to try to stick to it, regardless of my feelings on the matter, just to give it one more week of a real trial run. Mondays just aren’t good days for my schedule because I almost never get up in time to get to work by 7 am. Shoulda probably thought about that when I made it.)

I want to write three hours before 1:00 pm and then three more before 5 pm.

So, off I go.

*Not to derail this post completely, but Grimm came on Friday night and I haven’t watched it yet! I don’t like to miss Grimm, but when the kids are gone, they don’t like me to watch it without them. Of course, I could fake it (watch and then rewatch), but they’re getting good at reading me. So, probably better all around that I usually get busy enough that I don’t mind waiting until they’re home.

Also, I tried the Helix pilot (which is currently free at Amazon if you’re interested) and eh, I wasn’t impressed. It entertained, but I definitely feel resistance about making myself watch another episode. So, although Helix has a good premise, I doubt I’ll watch more unless someone tells me it’s gotten really good in later episodes.

Ten Hours In a Day—Updates

Okay, I’m updating in a single post today, just because I want to and it’s easy. :D

10:44 am at 1.15 hours, 692 words
1:26 pm at 2.16 hours, 1408 words
3:51 pm at 3.21 hours, 2143 words
7:45 pm at 4.61 hours, 2911 words
Ended with 2913 words after deleting a few paragraphs so I didn’t quite make the 3000 I’d hoped before I quit for the night.

I completed my first hour! Yay! It took me a lot longer to get started this morning than I’d planned but I had a really good breakfast so lunch should be a ways off and I plan to write without any break longer than a few minutes between sessions until at least lunch time.

There was more delay between my first and second hour because of a family call. :D I couldn’t resist my Sunday call to my mother and it went longer than I meant for it to go. But now I’m doing lunch and will be getting back to it and sticking with it through the afternoon and evening. I hope to have hit at least five hours by 5 o’clock. I really wish I’d gotten up earlier this morning like I’d planned to do! I’ll have to be an efficient machine to get another five hours after that before midnight but I think I can do it! :D

Hour three is done, but boy am I behind! Well, my pace is quite good as far as words per hour go, but I’m only past the three hour mark and the day is well past the halfway point (for me). I have eight hours before midnight and almost seven hours of writing to go, so toodles! I gotta get back to work.

What happened to the time between 3:51 pm and 7:45 pm?! I got an hour and twenty-four minutes but that leaves about two and a half hours of lost time. Sigh. It’s always this way for me. Whatever time I want to use, I have to allow 2–3 times as much. I have no idea why. I’d track it, but, yeah, tried it and usually I forget to record something and I still end up unsure what happened to the time.

Anyway, I’m pretty happy with what I’ve accomplished and I’m not done for the night, although I probably am done with the trying for ten hours, since it’s not impossible to write for another five and a half hours before midnight. Theoretically I could manage maybe another four hours, but I’d rather end at a decent time so I can make good on getting a much earlier start tomorrow morning.

I’d like to write at least one to two hours before 9 am.

Also, the cold is really getting to me. I’m so stiff I could be a flagpole. :D

I’ll post a final update tonight when I close down since I fully intend to at least make it past 3000 words, but for now, my laptop battery needs a charge, and I need a break.

My “Ten Hours In a Day” Challenge

I’m writing this on Saturday evening. I’ve been sitting here listening to some really great podcasts from Writing Excuses and I had the realization that I’ve just been using these great little fifteen minute podcasts to procrastinate again. :o *

So I’m setting a challenge for myself. I want to write for ten hours tomorrow. I’m not talking about setting aside ten hours and writing with breaks during that time. I’m talking about timed writing sessions that add up to ten hours. That’s a huge challenge for me because I don’t know that I’ve ever written for ten hours in a single day.

As far as I know, I’ve not written for more than seven hours in a single day. I go back and forth on tracking my time so I don’t have good records on this but my word count output and my usual habits would say anything over those seven hours is unlikely to have ever happened. The only real possibility I can think of is one weekend in August 2012 when I wrote so much that my forearms and hands hurt for a week afterward. That hasn’t happened since, and had never happened before, so it’s possible I wrote for more than seven hours a day that weekend. It’s also possible I just didn’t take a break when I should’ve. ;)

Anyway, that’s the challenge for tomorrow. I want to write for ten hours.


Because the end of January is coming up soon, and I really don’t want to end the month at nearly 60,000 words from where I should be in the One Millions Words in 2014 challenge and that’s about where I’m sitting right now.

Also, I need to train myself to write longer hours and resist distraction. I’m not sure this is the best way, but I doubt it’s the worst, so I’m doing it.

This is going to be fun. I can do this. I know I can. If I stall out on this 2014 Novella #1 I’m working on, I’ll just switch to one of the short stories or novels I have going (and need to finish ASAP). No one said I had to devote all ten hours to the one book (although I’ll love it if that’s what ends up happening!) :D

Now, gotta go write for a few hours before I call it a night because today has been a bust so far! Too many podcasts, youtube videos, and vlogs! :D

*That was totally fake shock, because I really don’t think any of us are shocked by the revelation that I’ve been procrastinating again. If you are, then welcome to my blog! This must be the first post you’ve read. :)

Stuff Happened … Writing Didn’t

It’s been one of those weeks. I already felt like I was off my game a bit because of finishing my last book, the holidays, and several lingering snow days that changed up my routine and completely derailed my new schedule. I really don’t want to admit this, but I’m not liking my new schedule that much. But … I also haven’t had a lot of opportunity to get used to it and I’m hopeful I’ll fall into it with more enthusiasm once things settle down.

I’ve had four zero days in a row though and yesterday was supposed to be a normal day but again, snow day!, and today is a delayed start day so (of course) I didn’t get up and get to work by 7 am. :D I’m kind of bummed that I didn’t make better use of my time yesterday but the last few days have been super stressful so I’m going to let myself off easy on that. Not today though. Delayed does not mean derailed!

I really don’t like my schedule though and I’m not sure what to do about it in the long term.

Today, however, I’m just going to focus on putting the time in and getting some words written. I’ll update at the day progresses; hopefully this will keep me focused and motivated. I want to see how much time I can spend writing between now and 4 pm  7 pm.

Like a mini-challenge. It’ll be fun! :D

9:52 am: 0 hours, 0 words
2:21 pm: 0 hours, 0 words

9:52 am to 2:21 pm I had a friend call that I hadn’t talked to in months and maybe I shouldn’t have, but I spent 2 hours and 54 minutes on the phone. :D

So, 4 pm is not going to work with this little mini-challenge now. I’m changing it so I can still get my time in today. Isn’t it great how I can do that? :D

Uh, oh. It’s like my post title wrote the future instead of reported on history. I didn’t get anything today.

On Hold Until Monday Putting In the Time Challenge

On hold: see update at the bottom. :)

It’s a new day and it’s time for a new challenge! I’ve done a course correction, because I had a realization about the 5,000 In a Day Challenge this morning. Now I’m ready to get started, and hopefully I don’t fall down that hole again.

The biggest challenge I’ve faced so far is not getting the time in that I need so that I hit a reasonable word count range for the day. I think it’s skewing how I see my progress and making me feel like I’m writing at a slower pace than I really am overall.

Here are the rules:

  • Write 7.8 hours today. (I’d expect my word count to range from 2,340–4,680 if I actually put in all that time.)
  • Any time I lose to breaks I have to make up.  Cause there’ll be breaks. My circulation (and bladder!) depends on them. :D This is where the challenge comes in.
  • Finish the 7.8 hours before 6:36 pm. Cause I have life stuff to do this evening.

I’m working on my 2014 novella #1 today. I’ll update when I can. Good luck, me. ;)

10:31 am: 0
2:40 pm: 51 minutes, 493 words. Ouch.

I don’t even want to explain why I’m at where I am with the writing time right now. :D I’m freezing*, my fingers are numb, my nose is running, I have a headache, it’s spitting snow, and I want a nap. This might not be the right day for this challenge. In fact, I think I’m going to put this thing on hold, take a nap and some aspirin, and finish the day with a gentler attempt at writing and try this challenge again on Monday.

Sometimes I just have to recognize when something’s not working and make adjustments. I’m still going to try to get in enough time so I don’t fall further behind on my one million words goal.

Saturday and Sunday are short days, but maybe I’ll try to ramp up to the 7.8 hours on Monday by trying to get the full 5.2 on both those days in the meantime.

*Three hours and twenty minutes after washing my thick, long hair and it’s still not dry. I know, I know. Shoulda blow-dried.

What Was I Thinking?

So, yesterday I tried a 5,000 in a day challenge, not even realizing until this morning, when I was thinking about making another attempt at that challenge, that I was taking a huge step backward in my thinking.

A words per day goal has no place  in my 2014 strategy.

In my better way of looking at the numbers post, I detail how the time I spend writing is a lot more important to manage than setting daily word count goals because if I spend the time, I’ll get the words. Averages, you know. They all work out in the end.

Yesterday, I was panicking a little, thinking about how slow my writing has been going and how I haven’t been hitting anywhere near the average I’ve been counting on. But see, this was a great opportunity for me to keep going anyway and let things settle into place, and instead I immediately set myself a word count goal.

I’m really glad I realized this while I was doing a few dishes this morning, because I can course-correct before I veer off into the bushes. :D

So, I’m still going to do another challenge today, but it’s definitely not going to be “5,000 In a Day Redux.”

5,000 In a Day Challenge

Did I make it? Hahahahaha!

So, I’m starting a new challenge today. It’s a one day challenge and it’s simple. Get 5,000 words today before 10:30 pm.* (If I stay up late doing it, tomorrow will suffer and I don’t want that.)

Getting a bit of a late start, but I’ve actually already been writing this morning. That’s why I needed to find something to motivate me. I’m barely trucking along at 300 words an hour and I want to break out of this <300 words an hour streak I’ve got going on. :D This book might be a little more challenging to write, but I sure didn’t find the first one of the series to be quite this slow! So this one shouldn’t be either. I think it’s the dark side of the whole time is all that matters mindset. Because of course there’s a dark side—there’s always a dark side! :D

I’ll update as the day goes on.

10:35 am: 297
5:06 pm: 790
7:44 pm: 1,369

I Did Not Count on Distractions!

But they are everywhere! Along with exclamation points!

I’m sitting at my highest Amazon Author Rank ever at the moment, and as I noticed my rank climbing that little extra bit to put it there, I found myself starting to get really distracted. I’m updating this post and hoping that it will let me release this distraction into the ether so I can regain my focus. I’m about to have my last big block of free time tonight in about six minutes and I want to get my mind cleared out of these distractions before that happens.

And not to put too pointy a point on it, but the increased author rank really doesn’t mean a lot. The new book’s selling about the same as it’s been selling since I put it up. It’s just a nice little blip in my day. :D

Alrighty, time to get back to my story.

*And of course, if it were to happen (but we know it won’t) that I completed the 5,000 words before my daily writing time ended, I will continue to write until I meet my time goal.

Here’s a Dilemma

Well. Here’s a dilemma. I have this nifty new schedule for 2014 (that I mostly really like) but today I had a lot of trouble with procrastination. So now I have to decide what’s more important. Stick to the schedule so I write when I’m supposed to and deal with some missing writing time here in the beginning as I get used to making myself write only during that time? Or stick to my time goal? What’s more important? Why’d I create the schedule?

As a guideline, not a straitjacket, that’s what. I need to remember that. Note to self: remember that!

I came up with the schedule as a part of a strategy to help me write more. So maybe this isn’t really that big a dilemma after all. I mean, I don’t want to fall into a habit of never doing my writing during my writing time, because then I just feel guilty when I take time out for living. But let’s face it, I have a love/hate relationship with schedules and there are probably going to be a lot of days like today. I’m not sure how trainable I am. I’ve already dumped the time tracking, because well, let’s be honest, time tracking is ridiculous. It reminds me of Phileas Fogg* and I don’t want to be a Phileas Fogg. :D

So, I guess tonight I’ll be writing again later.

Whew! Glad I got that all worked out in my head. :D

*Main fella in Around the World in Eighty Days. Love that guy, but I definitely do not want to be him.

Procrastination Station

My new writing spot has become just what the title of this blog post says, a procrastination station. The sun makes me sleepy and I lose all my motivation to do anything but sit and bask.

It’s such a cozy spot too. :(

Today, my 2014 total is stuck at 18,234 which is a harrowing 23,000 words behind for the month.

I announced that I was going to try for 4,000 again today but I’ve self-sabotaged myself completely out of that unless I plan to write all evening. My pace has been slower than normal for the last week, barely hitting 500 words an hour at my top speed. Today I’m sitting at 297 words an hour. 4,000 words at 297 an hour? That’s like … be right back, I need my calculator … 13 and a half hours! Yikes! So technically if I stayed at that pace, I won’t even hit 4,000 before midnight and the day is officially over.

I’m also struggling to not worry about how much everyone probably hates my books. Which is stupid. I have some lovely emails from fans and blog comments and 5-star Amazon reviews and 5-star ratings on Goodreads, so all I’m doing by doubting that my books are any good is doubting the intelligence and truthfulness of those fans, which is not something I want to do. But I’m still doing it! Apparently.

Why can’t I just write and not think of all this stuff?

Why does it all have to be so hard?*

*Fake hard, because really, my dad was a mason who went out and lifted blocks and bricks and squatted in the mud and slapped mortar down and made things that looked pretty out of that mess in scalding hot weather and breath-stealing cold for many years and that was hard. This isn’t hard. Just mentally frustrating. Or I’m just a whiner today. I blame it on the sun.

Now I feel kind of like I need to show some grit, because everybody knows grit is what makes the world go round.

Slow Day

So, it’s 7:53 pm and I haven’t written for the hours I was supposed to write today. Not even close. The little time I did spend today I spent on the wrong book (probably about an hour, but that’s just a guess based on the number of words I got and how fast I felt I was writing this morning).

One thing I know: I need a new workspace. I spend too much time relocating throughout the day trying to get comfortable, and I just don’t see how that’s helping me. Can’t be. So I need to prioritize setting up some decent workspace.*

*I just moved a desk so I’d have a nice place to sit in the sun and write in the early mornings. :) So, I either wasted an hour doing it (procrastination), or I—yeah. Procrastination. But hey, it might help tomorrow!


Started 2014 Novella #1

I’m writing 2014 novella #1 instead of 2014 novel #1 because I wanted to write something short but I couldn’t get into 2014 short story #1. :o Technically, I started this novella back in 2012, but only made it about 600 words in before I set it aside. I do that a lot, write one or two pages and then move on. I track the words, and some stories get picked up later and some get deleted when I finally decide I’m never going to write that one after all.

My pace could be better. I’ve spent the majority of the time I’ve been at the computer either goofing off, reading the previous stories in the novella’s series, or writing s.l.o.w.l.y and wishing I could write faster.

I’m really letting myself fall behind here on the one million words challenge, and I’m kind of sad about that. And mad. At myself. So tomorrow (because it’s always easiest to say tomorrow) I’m going to watch my time diligently* and do what needs to be done. I will aim to write at least 4,000 words tomorrow. Maybe I’ll be very dedicated (and lucky) and hit one of my rare 5,000 word days.

But for tonight, this is it, because I need to spend at least the rest of the time between now and sleepy time writing what I can. I already know the chance of me writing my full 2,750 words today is slim to none. I’d have to write six times my normal speed to get what I still needed in half an hour. But I might be able to hit 500 more before I crash.

I’ve averaged 1,096 words per day so far. I need to average 2,750.

*I installed a time tracking app on my phone, set it up, and started tracking my time into work (writing, learning, publishing) and personal (leisure, chores, personal) categories. This is ridiculous and I know it, but I’m willing to try anything if I think it will increase my chances of writing more! I plan to use this for at least a few days, maybe a week, and if it works, who knows? Maybe all year. :)

One Million Words Challenge One Week In

I joined the One Million Words community on Google+. We’re a group of writers who are trying to write one million words in 2014. It’s a great place if you’re seriously trying to write a lot of words this year! Which is something I’m working on. The group is great. I love it. It’s very motivational to be around other writers striving for the same goal.

Current total: 10,837
Should be:  24,750 (actually 24,194 but I’m rounding to a daily average of 2,750)

So … I’m behind. But if I can stick to my schedule going forward most days, I should make it up by the end of the month assuming my 500 wph averages out and I do most of the hours I’m supposed to do between then and now.

Why am I already behind?

I published a book! And wow, did that take some serious time away from writing. It was the fastest I’ve ever published a novel length book, but my deadline hit and it had to be done. And wow again, but that was something I don’t ever want to repeat. The stress! The worry! The tossing and turning! Also, the weather forced schools to close, so my schedule’s been hit and miss this week—mostly miss. But that ends tomorrow, so we’ll see how I do getting back into the groove.

It’s completely obvious to me now that I need one place to write about writing and as long as I have that place, I’m a happy person. :-) I used to send long, meandering emails to a friend, but decided the time had come to cut that out. No sense piling up someone’s email like that when a blog would work just fine. And lo and behold, I happened to have a couple of them available for whatever I wanted to post. :D

Finally, I’m having trouble settling on my next project. There are a couple of novels I want to write before spring, but I also wanted to take a short break and write something short, but nothing is really working for me except one of the novels. So. Sigh. I’ll eventually figure it out. I hope. You know, before spring. :o

Oh My! I’m Almost Done With 2013 Novel #5

This week’s been weird. I’d hoped desperately to finish 2013 novel #5 in, you know, 2013. :D Didn’t happen. But! I finally figured out my problem, chopped off 2,844 words at the end, and started over and now—nowfinally!—I think I’m just about at the end. I have a bit more wrap up to do, but I’m really, really hopeful it will be done by 8pm tonight.

Why 8pm? Because if I don’t finish by 8pm, I’m going to be late on this book, that’s why. I’ve squeezed my publishing tasks into the tiniest realistic allotment of hours possible and I have to start meeting those deadlines with a precision that’d scare a computer.

So. Deep breath and back to work for me. But I was so excited to realize the end was actually happening that I had to share. :D