No more coffee—a lifelong challenge to ditch coffee for good, forever

I’ve quit and restarted my coffee habit many times over the course of my life. It’s finally time for me to commit to making a lifelong change. I like coffee but the caffeine and even the coffee itself isn’t doing me any favors these days.

This post is my written commitment to ditch coffee for good—forever.

No more coffee.

I’ll check in on this once a week or so for a while, then once a month, then only if something changes.

As an aside, I’ve also committed to eliminating as many sweets from my diet as I can. I’ve been doing pretty good with that. I use the Android app Loop – Habit Tracker to keep up with my success rate, and it seems to help.

Sweets-free days as recorded in the Loop – Habit Tracker app

I’m being pretty strict about what counts, so although I had only a few semi-sweet chocolate chips, they were enough to stop me from marking yesterday and the day before as sweet-free days. I think it’s best that way, because I don’t want half-measures to eventually derail my effort in this.

I already have a habit set up in the app for coffee-free days, but as you can see below, I haven’t made much effort at all up to this point to avoid coffee. That’s going to change going forward. :D

Coffee-free days as recorded in the Loop – Habit Tracker app

 

An experiment and a challenge: 6,000 words today

I had a plan for today.

Aiming for 3, 7, 7, 3 x 21, 300 words every 21 m

Then I realized I was getting started much later than I needed to for my original plan to work the way I wanted. It’s 11:03 am.

I need a new plan.

I’m going to stick with the 4 blocks but swap up the number of sessions for each one.

5 1,500
5 1,500
5 1,500
5 1,500
 Aiming for: 6,000

This is both a challenge and an experiment. 21 minute sessions seem to be a good length for me and doing a few of them in a row doesn’t feel like a push I can’t handle. Doing four blocks of them might be, but I’m not going to know if I don’t try.  I really want to reach this 6,000 words in a day milestone.

In fact, it’s part of a bigger challenge I want to set to finish this book I’m working on in 9 days. Today is the test to see if I’m anywhere near ready to take on something like that.

I’d say I need to work up to it, but I binge write and take very long breaks between books, so it just isn’t realistic to expect me to work up to it by writing every day a little more than the day before. I’m ready to accept this about myself and try to make the most of my ability to dive into something wholeheartedly and become a little obsessed until I’m done. That’s my real strength and I’m ready to work with it instead of against it. :)

My next post will contain my updates on today’s challenge.

Taking a break from the big challenge

I’m just updating to mention that I’ve put the challenge to reach 6,000 words in a day on hold for a while. I might try it out on specific days, but as a daily thing, I’m putting the brakes on it. I need to concentrate on getting back into a daily writing habit and that takes a more relaxed attitude than I have when I’m chasing something like 6,000 words in a day. :)

Made it to the end with the web reading challenge

February has come and gone, and I’m pretty happy with how I did with my web reading challenge. I cut out a lot of infotainment reading for more than a month.

Here’s what I think I learned. It might not be what I actually learned, but I don’t have any real way to distinguish. ;)

I didn’t write more fiction.

I didn’t read more fiction.

Not being able to read anything I wanted frustrated me.

I enjoyed writing more without all the other writers’ voices in my head telling me how I should run my career.

I got up earlier some days, but some days it didn’t seem to make any difference at all. I just found other things to read in bed.

I realized I mostly did the clicking and refreshing when I needed a break anyway. I didn’t concentrate better, or make better use of my time.

Habits take a ridiculously long time to break and if I want to break them I’m going to have to find an alternative behavior to cultivate into a habit instead of just trying to stop doing something.

That’s it, really. I don’t think it benefited me in the way I had hoped.

So come March 1, I ended the restrictions and I still managed to finish the work I needed to finish just fine. Some of it took a lot longer than I planned but clicking and refreshing articles, forums, blogs, and news sources had nothing to do with it at all.

In fact, I haven’t noticed anything different at all since I ended the restrictions, except a marked lowering of my frustration levels. (I was getting pretty frustrated there in the last few weeks of February.) Part of me wonders if this mindless reading is a coping mechanism for me, when stress starts to get to me. Possible, I think.

Here’s one other thing I learned but only after I let myself go back to clicking and refreshing: if I’m in a working mood, the clicking and refreshing stops. What this all means is that the clicking and refreshing is a symptom of whatever it is causing me not to want to write, not the cause.

That’s something worth knowing. :)

Anyway, consider this challenge done. It was a success, but not in the way I hoped.

 

 

Eh. Scratch that last post

I said last night I’d begin the challenge to reach 6000 words in a day again today, but I’ve decided to hold off one more day. I need to get rid of this headache I’ve got, so I think I’m just going to fiddle around with those paperbacks I never finished up. I’ll probably try to write something today at some point, but maybe later, and probably not much.

So, tomorrow, then. See you around. :)

Tomorrow I resume the challenge to reach 6000 words in a day

Today I haven’t written any fiction. I have a daily writing streak I could keep alive by writing something now, but I don’t think I’m going to. I might, when I finish writing this post, go write a little something, but I might not. I’m tired and I’m not really seeing the need.

Tomorrow I resume the challenge to write 6000 words in a day. I was SO close a few days ago but I just couldn’t get those last 200 words. I’ve been staying up too late and when you’re falling asleep at the computer, it’s time to put the computer up. ;)

I’m just about there now.

There’s a caveat to the resumption of the challenge for tomorrow though. I have to start working my way back into good sleep habits. I’m paying for the lack of them in so many ways. Increased appetite, cravings for sweets, tired eyes, that kind of thing.

Anyway, the point is that I’m still very interested in reaching 6000 words in a day but I also want to not have to work so hard at it. :D

First thing: I need to make sure I’m in a place in my head where I can write freely. I just can’t do this without a better pace. 10 hours and 33 minutes is how long it took me to write the 5,816 words that broke my previous record of 5,758 words in a day. That’s just too much time.

I don’t want to have another 10 hour day anytime in the near future. Seriously, it was rough and I felt very much like all I did was get up Sunday, start writing, and write all day long until I gave up at about 10:30 that night. I know I had times when I was away from the computer, because I only clocked 10 hours and 33 minutes, but I sure can’t remember any of them. It was write, write, write, all day.

Anyway, enough of this ramble. The TL;DR for this is I’m still chasing 6000 words a day, but I’m setting some limits. :)

Goodnight!

Two-thirds of 6000 is 4000 (challenge update)

I made it past 4000 words again. But I am done. More than nine hours of writing went into those words and I’m finally just pooped. I need to get on a better pace for this to happen. I’m taking a day off the challenge tomorrow and the next day, then I will try again.

I am still planning to write every day though so don’t go thinking I’ve given that up already. :p

Two-thirds of 6,000 is still not 6,000, especially when you have to delete (challenge update)

Well, I’d made it less than two digits away from 4,000 words when it came time to delete some more random pieces of writing at the end of my document. I’m now back down to 3,575 words, after a possible record breaking 8 hours and 39 minutes of writing.

It’s possible I’ve spent that much time in a day writing before, but without records I can’t know for sure. I find it difficult to exceed 50% efficiency when it comes to actual writing time versus time in general and since a full day is 16 hours, more than 8 hours of writing time is actually pretty damn fantastic.

And I have definitely been writing all day, with Gleeo to prove it.

I lose little bits of time here and there to breaks and interruptions. Mostly because I actually can’t sit still for too long before I go stir crazy, and all those five, ten, and twenty minute breaks really add up.

I am not a person who can sit and start typing and look up three hours later and realize it’s been, hey, three hours since I moved.

Frankly, I don’t actually envy the people who can. Too damaging to a person’s health. I’ve managed to get through life writing without suffering any writing or typing related injuries at all. No back troubles, no finger pains, and no butt sores. Life is good. :D

Now, back to work for me. I’m not ready to give up on this today, even though reason tells me I should. :D

Challenge day eleven (some books do not write themselves)

This has been a difficult book to write. I’m not sure why. At the moment my brain is trying to resolve a plotting issue that’s driving me crazy.

Time to get up and get started. If things continue as they have I need a good 14 hours of writing to reach 6000 words today.

Yeah. Hahahaha.

Let’s just try for 7.5 hours again but 800 words per hour this time, why don’t we?

Halfway there (challenge update)

Before I crashed last night I made it past the halfway point, to just over 3000 words. It took over 7.5 hours of writing to do it. Or, you know, all freaking day in my time. :)

Not sure what the deal is but my pace on this book has been insanely slow.

Still, halfway there is an improvement!

(Seriously, considering how long it took to get 7.5 hours of writing done, I don’t even know if it’s possible for me to reach 10 hours of writing in a day. And if I did, at my current pace, I’d still be 2000 words short!)

Challenge day ten (double digits!)

I’ve been writing today, a lot, except it doesn’t really feel that way, because of the afternoon hour and my word count for the day.

I really shouldn’t have gotten up so late.

Task

Start-Date

Start-Time

End-Date

End-Time

Duration

Decimal Duration

Writing

2/10/17

0:00

2/10/17

0:01

0:01

0.016667

Writing

2/10/17

10:00

2/10/17

11:25

1:25

1.416667

Writing

2/10/17

11:30

2/10/17

11:57

0:27

0.45

Writing

2/10/17

11:59

2/10/17

12:20

0:21

0.35

Writing

2/10/17

13:32

2/10/17

14:14

0:42

0.7

Totals

2:56

2.933333

My word count is 1,230.

Meaning my pace is off and it’s going to take a lot of hours today to reach 6,000 words.

I’d better get back to it quick then.

Challenge day nine (yes, I’m still trying)

I got up ready to get started writing, but of course I was still having issues with the thing that stopped me last night. It took me hours to get past it this morning.

HOURS.

But I did. Finally.

It’s 7:10 pm and I’ve written 1,093 words today.

Here are my Gleeo time tracker entries. (Super easy to export from my phone to .csv and Dropbox so I can access the file quickly here on the computer, delete a few excess columns, and copy/paste it here.)

Task

Start-Date

Start-Time

End-Date

End-Time

Duration

Decimal Duration

Writing

2/9/17

11:45

2/9/17

12:26

0:41

0.683333

Writing

2/9/17

13:18

2/9/17

13:46

0:28

0.466667

Writing

2/9/17

17:29

2/9/17

18:15

0:46

0.766667

Writing

2/9/17

18:20

2/9/17

18:56

0:36

0.6

Total

2:31

2.516667

Not great, as you can see, but I’ve done worse.

Anyway, the day’s not over and I don’t have to get up early tomorrow, so I’m going to keep going for as long as I can tonight. :D

And as for the thing, well, I can say honestly that I am finally over it and the writing is going pretty well all things considered.

I’m not going to have to scrap the 4000+ words of material I was afraid I’d have to scrap if the pieces of the story didn’t join up where I’d gone back and taken things in a bit of a different direction. I just need to make a few changes to account for that change of direction for the parts that happen afterward that I had already written, and I think it’ll be okay. It’s shouldn’t require much adjustment, just a timing issue mostly.

If not, there’s always the delete key. I refuse to get bogged down at this late date in the story. ;)

Bang your head (challenge update)

After a strong(ish) start this morning, the day has fizzled. Dentist visit went well, and I got home and decided to make an early supper so I could have a longer evening of writing, but that didn’t work out. Writing has turned out to be difficult because of a message I received just as I was finishing supper. Unfortunately, I have a tendency to obsess and sure enough I started obsessing. I haven’t been able to let go of the thoughts that message set into motion and that’s killed my ability to concentrate.

I took some time out to talk with one of my kids and watch Border Security on Netflix, because it’s wild and weird and I like it. But within moments of returning to the computer, the obsessive thoughts started again.

Googling (or Binging, is that a word?) “how to stop obsessive thoughts” didn’t turn out to be the answer, surprisingly.

All I can say is that this tendency is why I try never to read reviews, because this is exactly how I’ve felt afterward, obsessing over stuff that just does not matter.

So, I don’t know if this was the right thing to do, but I deleted some email addresses off my mobile devices, because that’s where I saw the message. Of course, I went ahead and deleted all related addresses from my devices (I have quite a few addresses) because it made sense in context. If my devices hadn’t been set up to check those addresses (pretty needlessly, I might add), I wouldn’t have seen the message at that time because WiFi was off on my computer. Then I wouldn’t have become distracted from writing by the obsessive thoughts. Maybe I would have turned on WiFi and checked my email client later, before I was finished writing, but at least I would have had the chance to restart and recover my momentum from this morning before I was derailed.

I feel lighter after doing that, although I admit it was an impulsive decision. Maybe having access to everything all the time just isn’t for me. Compartmentalization of the various parts of my life might be more my style.

Challenge day eight (seriously!)

This could take all month! Yesterday, unfortunately, I really underestimated how long the taxes thing would take. I left at 11 am and returned at 4:30 pm. By the time I ate an early supper, it was 5:30 and I was so brain tired I had a difficult time even thinking about getting started again.

I came not even close to 6,000 words yesterday.

Today I am at it again. It’s 10:23 am, I’m about to go make my hot honey lemon water for a boost, and I’ve already spent 1 hour and 20 minutes writing.

Sadly, that’s added up to a very paltry 107 words! I am so off my pace I can’t even understand what’s going on. Last night, I had a 52 minute stretch where I averaged less than one word per minute when all was said and done. I know I wrote more than that, but it was write, delete, write, delete, write, delete until all I’d done was increase my word count by 50 words.

I just cannot figure out why my pace is so bad on this book. I’m dealing with SO MUCH hesitation with everything I write for it that I’m spending TONS of time editing/cycling through/rewriting as I go. I just can’t get a handle on it.

I have a dentist appointment today that’s really going to mess up my day, but I’m going to do my best to finish out the day with 7 more hours at 842 words per hour.

For that to happen, something’s really going to have to break loose soon, but I am ever hopeful.

Challenge day seven (today’s going to be the day)

I failed on many levels yesterday. I have a headache this morning so maybe I’m getting sick, but I didn’t have one yesterday so it’s not a good excuse for yesterday’s failures. 

As for the headache, the sun is rising earlier, daybreak is already here at six in the morning and I’m waking with the sun again. Staying up, even until eleven thirty to midnight is obviously not working for me now that the morning light is getting stronger. I just can’t thrive on six hours of sleep anymore. Haven’t been able to do it in quite a few years, tbh. Tonight I will call it a night around nine thirty and try to be asleep by ten thirty. Just going to have to make myself do it.

Today I go help someone with taxes but I’m still going for 6000 words today because I think I can do it. 

Yesterday was a fluke, not a sign. I am going to break through to 6000 words and I’m not going to stop until I do. And then I’m going to do it again. (But maybe not too soon.)

I’m going for breakfast, and then it’s writing that I shall do.

Toodles peeps. :D

No update (challenge update)

Basically, this isn’t an update.

Well, technically, it is an update, but it’s an update to say I don’t have anything to update. Despite my plans for the day, it’s 8:06 pm and I’ve written about a nib’s worth of words. I guess it’s gonna be a long night, because I’m not going to bed until I’ve at least kept my >1,000 words streak alive.

I can say with certainty that today will not be a 6000 word day.

Here I go again (challenge update)

It’s 11:09 AM and I’m ready to start now, after a delay I should have expected but for some reason didn’t.

There are lots of options for completing this challenge, but considering the time, I’m going to have to hope for this one: 750 words x 8 hours.

Writing faster will be as important today as writing more, it turns out. I’d hoped differently, but I probably should have realized it was a Monday when I wrote my first post this morning. Monday mornings are difficult because my college bound kid spends it getting ready to head out for the week and I spend the morning distracted.

Now to recover, turn off WiFi, and get myself back into a writing groove before I let the day slip away.

Challenge day six (this could go on for a while)

If I count the words I deleted yesterday (which I don’t), my word count was in line with the previous four days of this challenge to reach 6000 words.

Meaning today is day six of the attempt.

I have to do some stuff differently today, because yesterday was my worst day for time logged since I started the challenge.

On the one hand, taxes filed. Done. Complete. Yay. On the other, almost three hours fixing a Windows error that was having no effect on my ability to work whatsoever.

I’m going to try focusing on the accumulation of time today instead of worrying about the words. We’ll see how that goes.