Not quite there but better than average

I wrote 2,285 words yesterday in 3 hours. So although I came up short on my time and my quota for word count, I still did much better than my current all-time average daily word count of 665.

If I keep beating my average, my average will go up. ;)

Anyway, I’m getting a late start today and I have no excuse for that at all (and can’t actually understand how it happened either!) so I have to get started if I don’t want to fall even further behind with the day’s writing. I’d still like to finish at about 3 pm today!

Yesterday’s session log:

Minutes Words Session WPH
33 391 391 711
47 982 591 754
60 1,794 812 812
40 2,285 491 737
180 Total minutes
2,285 Total words
762 Total WPH

Slipped but didn’t fall

I had a headache yesterday. Even so, I still wrote for 2 hours and 10 minutes and wrote 1,842 words. I have to say, I’m on a fantastic pace with this book. I’m not sure why, but I’m really going to keep trying to keep it up.

Saturday’s session logs:

Minutes Words Session WPH
36 498 498 830
53 1,289 791 895
37 1,776 487 790
4 1,842 66 990
130 Total minutes
1,842 Total words
850 Total WPH

I could have finished if not for my headache and general malaise, because I was still on a great pace with the book.

4 Hours to write
1.83333 Hours left
759 WPH needed

But I didn’t, so no point dwelling on it.

Now, to get started for today before I get too far off my suggested schedule (it’s 8:19). I’d definitely like to get 3 hours in before 11:30 today and I still have time to do that if I get started right this moment.

No plan today: I’m already there

I decided last night that I needed to focus on writing about results instead of intentions, thinking that would mean I’d have a better chance of getting started on time this morning and staying on schedule.

That didn’t exactly work, although I did manage to get my 3 hours before lunch and get my last hour started during the two o’clock hour. :) I still had a good writing day, all told. But not blogging until I had results to report didn’t make any difference in my start time this morning. I started late today because I started reading some forum posts while I had breakfast and I didn’t stop when I should have.

Here are my session logs for today.

Minutes Words Session WPH
37 556 556 902
39 1,065 509 783
60 2,122 1,057 1,057
44 2,970 848 1,156
60 3,694 724 724
240 Total minutes
3,694 Total words
924 Total WPH

Sink that nail

I’m really into the construction analogies at the moment, apparently. :D But yes, today’s plan is to do my best to repeat yesterday’s excellent performance. The only thing I can really control is how much time I spend writing and if I spend that time when I plan to spend it. The WPH is a bit out of my hands, although I will try to push for the better word counts/pace.

My timer just went off saying it’s 8, so I’m going to get started and do my best to stay caught up with the schedule/routine today. Be back with a report when I’ve finished some writing. :D

Session logs:

Minutes Words Session WPH
60 567 567 567
17 747 180 635
60 2,064 1,317 1,317
43 2,967 903 1,260
60 3,927 960 960
240 Total minutes
3,927 Total words
982 Total WPH
4 Hours to write
0 Hours left
#DIV/0! WPH needed

The writing went really well today and the book is coming along great. I no longer hate it—I love it! :D Oh how fickle I am when the writing is going well. ;)

Already in motion

Finally, I seem to be on my way to nailing the schedule/routine today!

I made a note to myself this morning in Evernote:

Remember not to try to play catch up with the writing. Just work on getting my 4 hours during my routine and reaching 3233. If I want to write more or if I’m doing well, I can either quit at 3233 or keep going. My choice. But NOT catch up. Catch up will interfere with me setting my habits and getting into a routine.

I also set a goal to write in 1 hour blocks this morning.

The schedule was:

You can see that in the image below. :)

I wasted my first half hour figuring out some book titles for one of my series but then caught myself and got started, with the intent to catch up as quickly as I could. That was at 8:34.

Here are the morning numbers:

Minutes Words Session WPH
32 412 412 773
60 1,550 1,138 1,138
60 2,492 942 942
28 2,998 506 1,084

Now, it’s 1:07 pm and I’m having lunch and going to start an episode of Midsomer Murders I won’t get to finish. :D I’ll be back at 2 pm to finish my 4th hour.

One thing I’ve noticed that’s helped today is that I started adding “(+)” or “(-)” to my calendar after the event. It feels great to be able to see those pluses. :D
Calendar marks


I’ve just finished my 4th hour. I could go on, but I think I’m going to leave it here. I’d really like to get into this routine and if I push too hard, I could put myself off the routine entirely.

When I got back from lunch, but my battery was only at 39% charged. I ended up waiting until 2:30 to start writing to give it more time to charge.

I still finished a bit late, even for a 2:30 start, but I had several breaks. Too much tea this afternoon! Anyway, the pace slowed, but not too much, and I’m pretty happy with today’s progress.

Here are the final session logs.

Minutes Words Session WPH
32 412 412 773
60 1,550 1,138 1,138
60 2,492 942 942
28 2,998 506 1,084
60 3,723 725 725
240 Total minutes
3,723 Total words
931 Total WPH
4 Hours to write
0 Hours left
#DIV/0! WPH needed

I’ll be honest. The coffee and tea have helped tremendously. Mental fatigue isn’t setting in nearly as quickly as it has been. I don’t think I’m going to try to get off it again for a while. Maybe I’ll just give up on that entirely and stick to working on moderating my intake.

Now, to finish that episode of Midsomer Murders before I do some cover practice or start working on my federal taxes. I definitely need a break before tackling that last one. :D

Getting started when I have other things to do today

Today, I have a lunch date to keep. I find that when I have things to do, I usually have a lot more trouble focusing. I’m also getting started late, because I spent two hours on a thing that I was sure would take me no more than half an hour to do.

Also, I’ve had a bit of a change in thinking. I think because of the why of the how I write, it might be smart to stop focusing on my words per hour completely. The reason is that I have to do a lot of organizing of my thoughts as I write, because of how disorganized they often are—it’s not often that stuff comes out in the order it needs to be in or that even makes sense, and pushing against that limit could be entirely futile because it’s how I think. It’s something I really haven’t thought too much about, but there’s probably an upper limit to my writing speed (WPH) because of that.

Trying to change how I think—not my thoughts, but actually how I think—might be a huge waste of time. And even if I could change that—and who knows how possible that is?—why try to shore up weaknesses when I can focus on my strengths? I have a decent amount of willpower when I can see the sense in using it. A more effective plan to reach my goals might be to put 100% of my focus and effort on time.

(NOPE. NOPE. NOPE. Can’t do this right now. I really have to stick with my current plan. If I try to change things up right now, I’ll never get to 22,630 words each week. I have to have something to strive for besides just forcing myself to reach a certain number of hours of writing each day.)

It’s funny how I end up in places I’ve already visited, but maybe knowing why I keep ending up there will help me make it stick this time. :)

The fact is, every day is a new day. I can change my mind if it turns out I’ve made a mistake. (YES. I can. And I just changed it.)

I’m still not convinced a schedule should be anything more than a suggestion, but I am thinking a daily time quota should be.

Anyway, it’s 10:20 now and I’m NOT going to let myself keep screwing up today’s start. I have a lot to do, and waiting until tonight to write my first words of the day is not the right plan—it never is, tbh.

So, let’s see how much writing I can get done before I have to stop this morning. Onward!


Schedule is a suggestion, not a rule

This morning, I couldn’t seem to get started on my writing, and after thinking it over a bit, I decided that maybe I just had too much on my mind. I have an account at Dreamstime for stock photos and had signed up for a 5 images a month subscription in late December (usually I just buy credits) and it was set to renew later tonight. I didn’t want it to renew, but I couldn’t cancel it without downloading the images that had rolled over into this month or I’d have paid for January and February for nothing. :o

So I decided to get that taken care of. It took me a long, long time to pick out images!

In the end, I cancelled that subscription but decided that using credits isn’t going to be economically sound if I publish as much as I want to this year (if!), and I chose to buy their much more robust 150 images a month subscription instead.

Yes, it’s quite a bit more money. But 150(!) images a month, and I can download all in one day if I want (some stock sites won’t let you do that, instead imposing a daily download limit in addition to the monthly limit), and that means I don’t have to be so picky with images—the new subscription knocks the cost down to less than $1 each. With credits (or through the subscription I’ve been using for the last two months), those same images cost me about $8 each.

I’m going to spend a couple of months picking a wide selection of images and then see what I’ve got. But it’s a good deal and I need the stock if I’m going to keep trying to learn to design better covers for my books. :)

Now, with that many images at my disposal, I’m really looking forward to my cover design practice. Lots of great images to play around with without spending a fortune buying up credits—and I don’t have to spend time using comp images and then redo all my work when I hit on a clever design I want to use for real. :)

I didn’t end up getting any writing done today, and I’ve had to remind myself: the schedule is a suggestion, not a rule. My ultimate goal is 28 hours a week of timed writing and 22,630 words. I can have days where I just have to do other things.

See you back here tomorrow for some make up writing. :D


Write longer

I didn’t write for 4 hours yesterday. Not even close. Today I will try again. It really shouldn’t be as hard as it always seems to be. It doesn’t make sense.

So, today—even though I don’t like doing it this way—I’m setting my morning timer for 3 hours and I’m not doing separate sessions of shorter time periods. I’ll just pause (this is why I don’t like doing it this way, I either forget to pause or I forget to unpause) and restart when I need a quick break. But no actual stopping point until I’ve done my 8–11 time this morning.

It will also make it really easy to see how much time I lose to breaks, because I’ll be stopping when the 3 hours are up. The further from 11 that is, the more time I’ve wasted! Also, no WIFI this morning. It’s just asking for trouble and I’m not going to do that.

As soon as I’ve finished that first 3 hours I’ll update with my session logs.

See you then. :)

403 words at 8:52 and 2:25 left on timer*
392 words at 10:32 and 1:31 left on timer**
863 words at 11:10 and 58 minutes left on timer***
1,145 words at 9:03 pm and finished 3 hours
1,439 words at 9:57 and finished 3.5 hours

Basically, my word count sucked today, but I got much closer to my 4 hours of writing goal. :D Progress is great, so I’ll take it! Maybe tomorrow I’ll conquer both time and speed.

Session logs:

Minutes Words Session WPH
180 1,145 1,145 382
30 1,439 294 588
Tomorrow I’m going to do 1 hour timers back to back. I don’t like not being able to track my progress and my pace. My goal will still be to get my 3 hours before lunch AND to get AT LEAST 3/4 of my word count goal done.
Random notes:

*Spent way too long on a break – back at 9:33.
**I seem to be going backwards but I rearranged some chapter breaks and tidied up some stuff. I’ve realized that there’s really no separation between edits and writing in my process. It’s all just writing and it’s all necessary for me to tell a story the way I want to tell it.
***I wanted to finish my 3 hours before I stopped, but crap, I’m really hungry. :o Yep, I’m stopping for lunch.

Pick up the hammer and try again

I didn’t nail it yesterday. I didn’t even come close. Today, I’m trying again. I’m not worrying about the schedule. I’m worrying about my 4 hours.

I want to get them done by 2 pm if I can. After that, I’ll coast, maybe even do some playing around with covers. :)

I’ll try to take as few breaks as possible this morning so I can get my 4 hours in as quickly as possible. The goal is 3,233 words plus a few extra to start chipping away at my deficit. I restarted the 1,180,000 words in 12 months challenge on Sunday, February 14, and I’m 18,244 words behind at this point. An extra hundred for 3,333 sounds like a good round number. :D

Okay, now time to get started. I’ve dragged this out long enough. :)

Session log:

Minutes Words Session WPH
10 219 219 1,314
10 335 116 696
10 554 219 1,314
10 648 94 564
40 868 220 330
25 893 25 60
5 984 91 1,092
5 1,150 166 1,992
4 1,229 79 1,185

Random notes:

I’ve done 4 sessions of 10 minutes each at this point and things are going well. 10 minute sessions seem to be working for me right now. Gonna stick with them for a bit.

Yeah. I didn’t nail it today either. 4 hours shouldn’t have been that hard, but I just couldn’t stay on task today. At least I broke the 1,000 word barrier. I’ll take it.

Nail it

It’s a beautiful day outside my window today. I’m sitting in my study / sitting room (no longer a library as I moved all the books out into my former office upstairs that’s about to become my library as soon as I can afford the bookcases I need for all those books!) and I have my music playing and I’m ready to get started on this pain in the ass scene that’s been stalling me for two months.

If I don’t get past it today, I’m deleting the whole thing and starting over with some other scene altogether. That’s a fact. That’s gonna happen and it’s a damn promise—to myself, to you, to the whole damn universe. :D

So here’s the writing plan for today. Write 3,233 words in 4 hours. It’s a challenge, but I’m certainly going to try to get it all done in 4 hours. If I can’t, then I’m going to work more hours today. Just one of those kinds of days. I feel a need to prove I can get the words when I want to.

8:30–11:30 am
2–3 pm

I’ll start with 15 minute sessions and keep an eye on my pace. I’ll update when I have something to report.

Session record:

Minutes Words Session WPH
15 99 99 396
30 358 259 518
15 516 158 632
5 602 86 1,032
5 607 5 60
10 845 238 1,428

Random notes:

Love triangle! I just created one for a secondary character (not the main characters). That’s something I hadn’t thought about before. I’ll see how it goes.

Okay, love the triangle. It’s going to work. Something else (!) came up that I’m very happy with too. :) The scene is moving again, and I’m speeding up. Considering how long I’ve been away, I can’t say I’m surprised I’m going so slow.

I’ve lost 45 minutes to breaks and a phone call. I’m going to try not to take a break between now and 11:30.

Okay, I’m really  behind, but I’ve finally got some momentum going and this pain in the ass scene has just ended! And it’s a strong, awesome ending too, I might add. ;) Now to keep up the momentum and try to catch up a bit. I need to hit and maintain a pace of 906 words to finish within the parameters of my goal (4 hours of writing, 3,233 words). I won’t finish within the parameters of my schedule, but I can live with that. Oh, and I’m on my second cup of coffee this morning. I can’t decide if I’m okay with that or not. Or, that’s not exactly true. I’m okay with it right now, but I can predict I won’t be okay with it later. So, yeah. :o

Okay, so I got excited about an idea I had and I called my sister. I shouldn’t have, because I was supposed to be writing, but I did and I can’t go back and undo it, so moving on… It’s 2:54 pm, I’ve had lunch, and I need to get back to my book. I also want another cup of coffee and I’m wondering just how badly I will regret that if I go for it. Might do green tea instead.

I did coffee.

Also, it’s kind of embarrassing that I’ve only recorded 1.33 hours of writing and it’s already 4:08 pm. :o


Skip reading the book and just write

Yesterday, I had planned to read through my entire book (in about 3 hours) to get the story back into my head. I didn’t do it. I can’t explain why, because I don’t really know. I just didn’t do it.

Today I don’t want to do it. I want to write. So that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll reread what’s necessary to go forward with the story, and read the rest later tonight (maybe).

It’s 8 am. My phone alarm just went off, so I’ll give myself 5 minutes to finish this post and then I am switching immediately to my book’s Word doc and getting to work.*

9:15 am–12:15 pm
2:00–3:00 pm

*Oops. This took longer than expected so I adjusted my start times to match reality. :)

Now, time to get to work.

11:30 am: Crap! I got busy figuring out the titles for my upcoming books in a couple of my series and adding them to my word count spreadsheet and I totally screwed up my morning writing time schedule. So… resetting myself here and I’m going to break for lunch, then come back to it. I’m still planning to write for 4 hours despite screwing up this morning. Today is actually not a bad day to screw up the schedule because I have extra time this evening to myself that I can use to make sure I get in my 4 hours.

1–4 pm
5–6 pm

I’ll be back to update when I start writing (after I get something to report, I should say.) :)

2:23 pm: I’m 45 minutes in (the rest of the time I’ve wasted on breaks) and at 267 words. I’d be sad, but the fact is, the story has been stalled for a good long time (more than 2 months) so I’m just glad it’s moving. I will say I need to write myself out of this scene I’m in ASAP. It’s really not working for me!

9:45 pm: Alright. I really didn’t work as hard as I should have today. I gave up early and never even bothered with the last hour at all. Just didn’t do it. The earlier writing was a huge struggle—I managed 308 words in 47 long minutes. Still, for having been away for so long, I think I made progress. I’m going to take it and try again to do better tomorrow. See you then.

There’s still time

I have a plan for today, although it’s not the plan I started with this morning.

From 2:30 to 3:30 pm and 6:30 to 8:30 pm, I’m going to work on my new book. The goal would normally be to write 3,233 words (which would be really difficult for me to do in 3 hours of writing time but not impossible), but today, it’s much more about reading through the chapters I’ve already written, fixing boo-boos, and getting back into the story than it is about new words.

My original schedule today would have allowed me 4 hours for this, but if I don’t get caught in the perfectionism trap, I might get everything I want done today in the 3 hours I’m setting aside. The story sits at 27,804 words, and 3 hours seems like just enough time to get through it if I block out interruptions.

Looking forward: plans for 2016

I posted about my new plans for the year in another post and then decided I should highlight them in a post of their own.

Last night I sat down and reevaluated. I decided I absolutely didn’t want to give up on my big plans for the year, despite the month and a half I’ve fallen behind.

I want to challenge myself to do something amazing this year. So here’s what I ended up with.

I set aside the following time for writing, daily, including weekends: 8–11 am & 2–3 pm. It adds up to 28 hours a week.

I figured it based on some ridiculously grand plans I have for the year. But those plans aren’t so ridiculous at all, if I actually put in the damn writing time. The only reason they’re “ridiculously grand” is because I still haven’t shown that I can write more than 268,191 in a year. In fact, my average for 3.5 years is 252,190 because I appear to be quite regular on an annual basis with my irregular output!

But I want 2016 to be the year that changes. Therefore, the plans…

Novels: 6 x 60,000
Novels: 12 x 50,000
Short stories: 12 x 10,000
Novellas: 4 x 25,000

1,180,000 words / 12 months = 98,333 words / 4 hours a day = 3,233 @ 808 wph

Yes, that’s a higher WPH than my average. But there’s a benefit to squeezing the amount of work you need to do into a shorter amount of time. It’s been proven time and again that if most people have time to waste, they’ll waste it. I want to stop wasting so much time so I can write more.

Because there are two variables to the writing more equation: time and speed.

Spend more time and do it faster. Combine the two and you have two multipliers instead of one.

Yes, these are big plans. But I can do it if I get out of my own way.

This is a challenge and I’m going to give it a name—as soon as I think of one! :D

If you don’t look, it’s not real, right?

You know how you avoid looking at your schedule and the clock because you know if you do, you’ll find out it’s way past time for you to start writing on the new schedule you made for yourself last night and how you get this feeling that as long as you don’t look, you haven’t screwed up yet?

That’s me, this morning.

I just looked at the clock and my calendar and I am now having to admit that I’m two and a half hours late getting started.


FYI, it’s a nice schedule too.

I set aside the following time for writing, daily, including weekends: 8–11 am & 2–3 pm. It adds up to 28 hours a week.

I figured it based on some ridiculously grand plans I have for the year. But those plans aren’t so ridiculous at all, if I actually put in the damn writing time. The only reason they’re “ridiculously grand” is because I still haven’t shown that I can write more than 268,191 in a year. In fact, my average for 3.5 years is 252,190 because I appear to be quite regular on an annual basis with my irregular output!

But I want 2016 to be the year that changes. Therefore, the plans…

Novels: 6 x 60,000
Novels: 12 x 50,000
Short stories: 12 x 10,000
Novellas: 4 x 25,000

1,180,000 words / 12 months = 98,333 words / 4 hours a day = 3,233 @ 808 wph

Yes, that’s a higher WPH than my average. But there’s a benefit to squeezing the amount of work you need to do into a shorter amount of time. It’s been proven time and again that if most people have time to waste, they’ll waste it. I want to stop wasting so much time so I can write more.

Because there are two variables to the writing more equation: time and speed.

Spend more time and do it faster. Combine the two and you have two multipliers instead of one.

But anyway, today was to be day one of getting back to it, and I’ve already screwed up. Cue the silent screaming while I remind myself that I don’t have to give up on today just because the schedule is a bust.

The insidiousness of perfectionism

For days my thoughts have been centered on figuring out what categories and tags to create to best organize the posts on this blog. Without admitting it to myself until now, I have very much been looking for the perfect categories and tags, so I can have a perfectly organized blog.

Perfectionism is insidious.

It’s hard to recognize perfectionism for what it is sometimes. I see it now though.

I’ll leave my categories as they are, and I’ll stick with the tags I have now.

I’ll keep the number of general tags I have low. If that means renaming a tag in the future so that more posts fit into it, I’ll do that.

I’ll still allow myself to create specific tags for challenges and things like that to make finding related posts easier. I might cull them every year or so, just to eliminate excess over time; then again, I might not.

Perfectionism is hard to get over. The important thing for me to do is to recognize it when it strikes so I can take measures to mitigate the damage. :)

Accountability check-in: I had coffee today

I’m not supposed to be drinking coffee. It’s something I gave up—again—after finally admitting just how negatively caffeine affects me.

But today I gave in to the urge and had two cups of coffee right after lunch. I’m very awake right now and I do regret giving in to the urge, but impulsive behavior isn’t that new to me—I’m not exactly shocked that I gave in.

I knew better than to assume I had finally kicked the coffee habit for good. And knowing that, I had a backup plan that kicked in the moment I gave in!

The backup rule? If I have caffeine, for whatever reason, I can never have it more than once a week. Meaning I might have given in today, but the backup rule will keep me from giving in tomorrow or the next day or the next, keeping my safe from any future caffeine addiction.

Impulsivity strikes again

I came close to deleting every post on this site this morning. I did delete most of the tags (not the first time I’ve done this) and deleted and renamed some categories.

The fact is, I have no idea how to categorize most of the posts on this blog, but I would like to group things together in a more useful way. Most of what I write is just about my writing woes of the moment, and I often don’t realize I’m revisiting a particular line of thought until I can’t remember when (or in what post) I mentioned it before.

So, today I’m organizing this blog. (Yes, it’s also procrastination. I should be working on my latest book.)

Revisiting time as a measure of productivity

I’ve had some thoughts about time spent writing versus word count quotas that I’m thinking might help me break out of this no-writing funk I’m stuck in.

A while back—more than two years ago, actually—I tried to improve my daily word count by setting myself a daily writing time quota. Although it didn’t work out in the long-run, it did work for a little while. I’m thinking it might be time to revisit “time” as a measuring stick for my dedication to my craft.

I think it might work out better now, and the reason is that I’ve been developing a different attitude about the value of work.

The biggest problem I’ve identified with having a word count quota still exists.

When I rely on word count goals, I put off starting until it’s too late because I’m terrible at estimating how much time it takes me to do things.


When I rely on fixed time goals (schedule based) I lose the motivation to work efficiently because there’s no reward for getting done early.

This particular problem no longer resonates with me, and I believe that’s because of the attitude change which has given me a different perspective.

There is no good version of perfectionism

I’ve decided: there is no good version of perfectionism. I used to think differently. I used to believe that some level of perfectionism was okay, or good even. I don’t think that way anymore. Perfectionism is an “ism” because it’s a problem.

Perfectionism isn’t about doing your best. It’s about the fantasy of being perfect. Doing your best is exactly what it sounds like: doing your best. That’s not perfectionism. Conflating the two is dangerous, because you can never win; you’ll never reach perfection even if you do your best every single time.

From there, it’s only a short step to never being good enough. Doing your best won’t matter, because you’ll still feel like you failed.

Perfectionism isn’t about striving to be better, it’s about striving to be perfect. I can easily imagine someone objecting to my rejection of perfectionism with the excuse that it’s okay to try to be better, but that’s the thing. Striving to be better, striving to improve is about improving, not about perfection. Taking it to the place where you need to be perfect isn’t going to do you any favors for the very reason I talked about above: if perfect is your goal, you’ll never get there.

That’s why I no longer believe there’s any good version of perfectionism. None. Perfectionism is a problem that I need to get out of my life in every possible way I can.

Perfection will hold you back. It definitely holds me back. It slows me down when I write and it steals the fun from writing. It often keeps me from enjoying what I do.

There is no good version of perfectionism.

Progress, in a roundabout way

The two minute rule is holding up. I’ve also started watching more television and reading more fiction to stave off the desire to read fluff. Maybe not the best use of my time, but if it breaks the forum and blog habit that’s developing, I’ll take it (temporarily).

And as a note, I had no idea “round about” was a single word until I checked. Well.

Also, I’ve been watching Wallander and found myself surprised when I realized one of the cops was played by Tom Hiddleston (Loki in the Thor and Avenger movies). It’s really weird to see him looking so ordinary.