Day 2 of the daily accountability challenge

Accountability for 9/10/23

Yesterday, I worked on multiple stories for my multiple stories challenge. My plan is set up around working on multiple stories concurrently, instead of focusing on only one project until it’s done. This is still something that seems to work very well for me.

I’m happy to have found that out. The creative dry spell I’ve been stuck in really felt like it was never going to end, but this has really sparked my interest in all my in-progress stories again.

Something I’m realizing from this (and probably not for the first time, but I never seem to remember the first time, or the second, or third) is that my interest is tied very closely to how often I am active within a particular story. The longer I go between writing days, the more my interest in that story wanes.

I finally reached 1,300 words in a day.

Before I called it a night, I had written 2,286 words, across 2 stories.

That’s my best single day word count since 12/16/2021. It felt like it took all day (and looking back, it really did for the most part), but I’m probably rusty. ;D

The reason I was focused so tightly on just two stories is because I was pushing to finish a short story I’d started a while back (May, I think?). I also wrote a chapter for the serial I have going. These were the specific goals I set out to reach yesterday, and I’m so happy I finally had a win. :D

Day 1 of the daily accountability challenge

Accountability for 9/9/23

I was going to write a big post detailing how I’ve decided to tackle the goals I’ve set myself going forward. But no. It’s a waste of time. :D Best just to sprinkle it in a little like backstory. Info dumps never do anyone any favors. They kill momentum, and drag out the pacing.

Yesterday, I worked on multiple stories. I think I’ll call this my multiple stories challenge. It’s simply that I have set my plan up around working on multiple stories concurrently, instead of focusing on only one project until it’s done. This works best for me, most of the time, as I’ve detailed extensively in the past.

I haven’t yet reached 1,300 words a day. But before I called it a night, I had written 844 words, across 6 stories. Some of those were just corrections I needed to make, most were new words.

First things first, everything else last

I posted about my goals in the last post. The first hurdle is to get to a sustained average of 1,300 words a day.

It doesn’t really matter if it’s just an average or a daily minimum word count, as long as I’m writing about 9,100 words a week.

Based on my own history, expecting myself to binge write a whole bunch of words two or three days a week is unrealistic. I will need to write daily or at least most days to reach this goal.

Getting myself to maintain any kind of consistency with the writing itself has never been easy for me. For the last several years, it’s been unbelievably tough. But I’m persistent, and I’m here to try again. :)

Time to get comfortable

Last night, I sat down and played with some numbers. I really wanted to see what it would take to get myself to a point where I am earning a really comfortable living from writing my fiction, using somewhat conservative numbers but not so conservative that it is depressing.

The outcome wasn’t unexpected.

But as usual, even though the numbers are hopeful and seem realistically possible, they are the same numbers I keep coming back to—and that I have yet to be able to reach and sustain for more than a few days in a row.

To make a living, I need to write about 1,300 words a day if sales stay about the same for the number of words written based on historical earnings for 2022–2023. To live very comfortably, I need to write about 3,600 words a day. Both these numbers are rounded up to the nearest 100 words.

I’ve tried in the past to reach and sustain a 3,600 words a day streak and failed at it even though it only requires about 600 words an hour for 6 hours a day. I can write 600 words an hour, and it’s not a terrible stretch for me. But the 6 hours a day, or even the routine of maintaining daily writing, is where I hit a wall.

All that said, I am here today, writing this, because I want to give it another go. I really want to live more comfortably than I do now and anything averaged out long term between 1,300 and 3,600 words a day has the potential to get me there.

Today’s overarching goal: write 3,600 words.

Today’s specific goals:

  • Finish a short story
  • Finish a chapter in a serialized WIP
  • Finish about half of another short story

With that in mind…

With the last post in mind (It’s a blog), I’ve decided to revisit a theme I used a while back but that I really liked because it showcased my blog posts better. Libre by Automattic is a theme that focuses on long-form writing, and that’s definitely a better fit for me than a theme that highlights images. I don’t take pictures.

I really don’t like photos. Family photos, especially. I don’t like looking at them, and when I do, they usually make me cry. Not sure what that says about me, but even if I’m happy when I start flipping through them, I will be crying by the end. Therefore, I have gotten really good at not taking photos, and not looking at them. :D

I also much, much prefer a sidebar on a website. I don’t know why so many themes don’t have them by default, but it makes it a pain to refit a theme so that I can have my sidebar. Libre has a sidebar on every page except the homepage, which is a setup I like! :)

It’s a blog

Perpetualized is a blog in the traditional sense of the word. I don’t write articles; I write daily logs that I post on the web. Sometimes I fall off and don’t write for a while, and sometimes I write more than once a day.

After giving it a little thought, that’s really all I want from this site—a place to chat with whoever happens to drop by and a place to post about whatever is on my mind at the moment when I sit down to type. :)

May 2023 progress

I’ve written a few posts throughout May that explains some of the reason why my May writing wasn’t on part with March or April.

Those problems alone don’t seem like a good enough reason, logically, or rationally, for my reduced output. But if you add in all the things they touched off, I’m comfortable calling those things the root cause.

The bats in the attic have caused some secondary problems with the house, which has caused me a great deal of stress. I had a period of about two weeks where I was getting far too little sleep. Without enough sleep, I don’t focus well, and I don’t have energy. It was easy to just say screw it and skip the writing.

The problem isn’t solved, but I have reached a place mentally where I’m finally getting more sleep, and that has made a marked difference in my energy levels and my desire to write. I expect June to be a lot better.

May words: 1,579

And even though I don’t have many words to show for May, I did have some good ideas and do some other stuff related to publishing. I also learned a lot about generative AI and spent a decent amount of time playing with story ideas and words that I didn’t count with ChatGPT. (It doesn’t mesh with my storytelling style or process at all, but it was fun to play with until it got boring.)

Sometimes, my well still feels empty, and writing the next sentence feels like walking through wet concrete, but I still think I am much improved, and I hope that all I need to do is keep doing my best. I do believe that the more you use it, the more you have when it comes to creativity, so moving forward is the best way to get out of the hole!

June’s plans are basic. Write about 1,000 words a day every day if I can, try to reach 2,000 words at least half the time, and maybe hit 3,000–4,000 words a few times a month. That’s about 50,000 words a month, which is somewhere I’d be very happy to be.

I’m going to end this here, because I feel like I’m wasting time that I should be spending on my next story. :)

Why there isn’t going to be a May 2023 accountability post

I liked April’s accountability post. But not enough to continue with them. To be honest, I forgot to update the post multiple times, and I felt that it didn’t help me in any way stay accountable to my writing or publishing goals.

I also liked the table format in April, but I felt myself missing the individual posts I used to do, so there wasn’t even any benefit in that regard.

So on that note, I’m not going to bother posting a table of daily word counts this month at all. I have my LibreOffice Calc spreadsheet for that (yeah, I keep trying to go back to Excel, because I do have a subscription to Microsoft 365 that I pay for, but I really just like Calc).

So the accountability post experiment has come to an end.

At the end of this month, I’ll just do a progress post as I’ve done in the past. I do like them. I might revisit April’s post and pull parts of it out for a progress post to start things off in that direction again.