Using the stopwatch instead of the timer—and epiphanies

So today I’m writing with my little timer software set to the stopwatch instead of the timer. I’ve started each session with the intention of writing until something distracts me. Surprisingly, my session lengths have been pretty regular.

This is an experiment, really, because I’ve tried straight-up timing my sessions before (versus using the timer to limit session length) and I didn’t have much luck with it. It was time to give it another try, and I’m pleased with how it’s working out.

Session 1

30 minutes. 384 words. 768 wph. I stopped because my phone dinged with a message in Hangouts.

Session 2

36 minutes. 214 words. 357 wph. Too much cycling and editing of session 1 words.

Session 3

25 minutes. 98 words. 235 wph. Way too much editing of the words from sessions 1 and 2.

Session 4

20 minutes. 106 words. 318 wph. I stopped because I’ve been drinking too much tea this morning and I had no choice. :D

Sessions 5–7

43 minutes. 399 words. 557 wph. Frustration with my plot stopped me this time. I had to have a break or I was going to break something. :D

35 minutes. 281 words. 489 wph. More plot frustrations!

16 minutes. 212 words. 795 wph. Stopped by the phone ding again.

I’ve reached my day’s minimum word count.

It should not have taken me all day to do 3.4 hours of writing, but it really did. I made a note of the start time in my journal, and it was 11:19 am. I ended session 7 at 6:52 pm. So for 3.4 hours of writing, I used about 7.5 hours of the day. I wrote out a (ridiculously) long summary of where my time went and it made me realize my expectations of how much actual, focused time I can get out of 7.5 hours in the middle of the day might be unrealistic.

Getting my expectations in line with reality might go a long way toward keeping me from coming up with ridiculous plans for myself that I have no hope of following through on. Grandiose plans, I think that book The 7 Secrets of the Prolific called them. (It was a good book, if you haven’t read it.)

Yes, I make grandiose plans. I use math to support those plans, and I never build in the time I need for writing these posts, making my notes by hand, or anything else that probably uses up significant chunks of untracked time.*

I’d like to come up with some ideas of how I can stop that from happening, but the only things coming to mind are things I’ve tried a thousand times before and found completely ineffective. And I’m not willing to make myself stop these posts. Although I should probably give some serious thought to trimming them down to basics. I ramble. A lot. And talk about stuff that doesn’t really matter. Mostly because I think better when I’m writing things out, and it’s also easier for me to remember things I’ve written out.

Anyway, I should end this post, because I’ve actually been at it since (*holy shit) 9:04 pm and it’s now 10:04. There you go, an answer to the question of what happens to all that time I lose during the day when I’m writing.

These posts really do use up significant chunks of time. This could explain why my best month ever of writing consistently was February 2013, where there’s a distinct lack of posts here on this blog (as in, none) because I wouldn’t let myself get online before I’d finished my day’s writing and by the time I was done, I just didn’t want to write anymore. (See this lone March 2013 post for February’s numbers. Ignore the rest of the post for the sake of my pride. :D)

Anyway, I now have more to think about than ever. It’s starting to look like the more I write here, the less I write there, and that’s not a good thing at all. In a sense, I’m using up my writing energy writing everything except my books.

I need new habits that prioritize my fiction writing. So tomorrow I’m going to start a little experiment. No more wordy blog posts for a while, and not even an unwordy one unless I’ve finished my day’s writing. I’ll give it a while (a week, maybe two) and see if it makes any difference, good or bad.

Session totals

  1. 384
  2. 214
  3. 98
  4. 106
  5. 399
  6. 281
  7. 212
  • 1,694 words
  • in 3.4 hours
  • for a pace of 498 wph

In fact, looking at this post now, it’s 724 words long! Seriously, ugh.

Adopting a new post style for session updates

I’ve decided to adopt a new post style for session updates, something I’ll (try to) use each day (that I feel compelled to write about my writing). :)


Session 1

I’ll write out any comments I have about the session.

I’ll mention my word count, my session length, and any other details I want to post.

Then at the end I’ll post a list of session word counts and my average wph (when I have it).

We’ll see how this works out. I’ve tried using tables and other formatting in the past, but sometimes it doesn’t paste well from Excel or I don’t have the numbers in excel and have to type them in.

Session totals

  1. 247 words
  2. 144 words
  3. 336 words
  4. some more words
  • 1,557 total words
  • in 3 hours
  • for a pace of 519 words per hour

I like it. I think I’ll give it a try. :D

F2 to BIOS: Save and Exit

I have no idea how to craft blog post titles, so for the foreseeable future I’m going to input whatever I happen to be thinking or whatever I see on my notebook beside me as my title. No one reads these things anyway, so yeah. I get to do what I want. :D

The titles I was using before sucked anyway. I’ve only rarely been able to go back and find something I wrote in a post based on my recollection of the title. I have a few posts that make sense, most are just notes about my writing progress for the day and random thoughts that collected and found their way out of my head and onto the page as I made those updates.

So why “F2 to BIOS: Save and Exit?”

Simple really. I installed Lubuntu on a slow netbook and an old Pentium D desktop formerly running Vista. Gotta stay on top of those security issues since everything I do to make a living is stored on my computers. Vista was alright as far as I’m concerned, but Windows has stopped supporting it with security updates so it was time to move on. The computer still has a lot of life left in it for the kind of use I give it, though, so I decided Lubuntu would be just the ticket after having installed it on the netbook. It’ll run Libre Office, which is relatively compatible with Word. It’ll also run Sigil, GIMP, Jutoh, Calibre, Firefox, Thunderbird, and VLC, so I saw no reason to go with a heftier install since I actually quite liked the Lubuntu interface. (More than quite liked, to be honest. I think it’s great.)

Of course, all that meant I needed to go into BIOS on the machine in question and update the boot order to get the new OS installed. Hence my note to myself on the tablet sitting beside me: F2 to BIOS: Save and Exit has Boot Override option.

The update went great. Both computers are running like new machines. Fast and responsive, and I’m really liking that. Next up: figure out how to get my new Lubuntu machines back on the network so I can make backups to them from my Windows 7 baby. :-)

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.

How I’m building my new pen name: Eighteen months (and two books) in

I have a pen name I’m hoping to build into a nice second earner. Some diversification if you want to call it that to keep me from relying on only one genre to keep me afloat and happy as a writer.

The only problem is that I’ve written so much slower than I had planned to write that the pen name has suffered—a lot.

My main focus has always been my main pen name, and I don’t ever see that changing. Those are the books I most want to write. I really want to write this pen name series too, but the drive just isn’t as strong as it is for some of my other series. And there’s the fact that the other series pay the bills, so I also have to take that into consideration.

Since I don’t do promotions* as a general rule, my promotion of choice has always been to write more books. It’s a great strategy if you have a series, and I have multiple series. Every time I release a new book in a series, I get sales of the previous books and some crossover sales of my other series too. So it works.

But you’ve got to release books!

I’ve released exactly two books for this pen name since I began this experiment back in June 2015. :o

I released book two a full year after book one. It looks like book three is going to be eight months behind book two. Releasing this slowly isn’t going to generate momentum. I know this, and my earnings for the series prove it.

On the other hand, I have earned some money on these two books even if it’s not a lot, and I’m quite happy about that. I do believe if I could speed up releases, the series might do all right in the long term.

So that’s something I’m hoping for in 2017. To write more of these books and see if it helps earnings. I love this series and I don’t want to have to ignore it just so I don’t go broke.

The details

I pulled the first book out of KDP select the moment I knew about when I’d be releasing the second book.

When I released the second book, it was DOA on Amazon. I was disappointed. I’d hoped for more.

Going wide with both books at once did generate some momentum on Apple and I sold a few copies there.

I really did intend to experiment with price on these books when I started this experiment but I just haven’t done it. I might still do it when I release book three.

The numbers

(I’ll have to consolidate all my reports of individual title sales into one, which I haven’t done yet, because it’s going to be so much work. I really never thought I’d need that much detail…)

*** I’m back! That took a long time! (Two entire days, to be exact.) I’m not breaking sales down by date, just by title, because anything more is just more trouble than it’s worth when working with so many different vendors.

*** In fact, adding up sales for the titles is more trouble than it’s worth—because I’m not really interested in those numbers even now that I’ve done it through the end of 2016. I don’t think I’ll update the spreadsheet going forward. I just don’t care about title sales. Nothing in the report surprised me. My brain has obviously been doing just fine consolidating the information I see in my sales reports and keeping me informed in a general sort of way about the profitability of my various series.

Sales of the pen name books for 2015 & 2016

Book One 984.29
Book Two 371.70
Series Total Earnings 1,355.98

There are a few numbers that aren’t in yet, but any changes to these numbers for the end part of 2016 will be minor.

As for expenses, all I have invested in these books are my time and skill, some stock art, and the domain fee for the pen name website.

Not sure I’ll bother with another update unless (until) the pen name takes off (a thought I haven’t given up on at all). I just need to write more to get there!

*I hate promoting. If it ever becomes 100% necessary to success, I guess my writing career is going to bite the dust, because I’m just not interested.

I have two writing streaks going!

Addendum to the aside about my writing streak: I have two writing streaks going now.

  1. >100 words a day for three days
  2. increasing words per day for three days

So—awesome?! start to the new year. ;) (Stop laughing! *evil glare*)

Not only that, but I don’t feel feverish today, don’t feel sick, and don’t feel all that tired either. So good health too.

I think I’m losing weight but since I’ve abandoned my scale (it’s in the closet) I can’t say for sure.

I’m pretty happy with abandoning all these metrics of success and failure and the goal setting stuff. I feel free.

I need, now, to translate that into more writing and some real weight loss. 2017 seems like just the year for it. :D

Happy new year, everyone!

Coming up next: a new year’s update on the progress I’ve had building a pen name. Spoiler! I should’ve just written more books for my main name.

New year, no plan

Today begins the new year. On the other hand, my plan hasn’t changed. In case I haven’t done a good enough job of laying out that plan, here it is again.

There is no plan.

Here’s what I wrote in one of the Google+ communities I’m in.

2016 words written: 220,071

Definitely want to see some improvement in 2017, but this is the year of no goals and no timers! I’m ready to fall in love with writing again.

I’m hopeful a little less focus on goals and a little more focus on just writing as much as I can will prove to be a winning combination.

In fact, I just told my daughter I’m making year 2017 the year I quit trying stuff I’ve already tried (goals, schedules, timers, sprints, etc). My word counts have actually gone down, not up, since I started in 2012 and I’m done with beating myself over the head with this stuff.

I think the best shot I have for writing lots and lots of words is making sure I’m having so much fun doing it that I can’t stop myself. :)

Truly, no joke, that is my plan. That’s this year’s big experiment. It came about because of yesterday’s thinking about goals, and how much they haven’t helped me progress as a writer.

Here’s to a happy 2017 and lots of words written. :)

Why 24 minute sessions?

I’m writing in 24 minute sessions today (and yesterday) and I thought I’d explain why.

24 minutes = .4 hours.

That’s why. :D .4 hours is very close to my favorite session length of 20 minutes but has a nice and even decimal equivalent in hours, much like 30 minutes at .5 hours.

Really, that’s it. That’s the reason for 24 minutes instead of 20 minutes or 25 minutes.

As for why it’s not just an even 30 minutes… Well. 30 minutes feels so much longer than 24.

It does! I’m not kidding. 30 minutes throws up all kinds of mental blocks for me that 24 minutes doesn’t. So there you go. Who said humans were rational beings? We really aren’t. :)

An experiment for today

I wrote a post or two yesterday but decided after posting to delete them because they just didn’t feel like they represented what I was really thinking and feeling even just a few hours later. That happens sometimes, so the best way to deal with it seemed to be DELETE. :D

I’m doing an experiment today, with breaking up my writing into chunks that I’ve scattered throughout my day. I’m really hoping to get 12 sessions of 24 minutes each done by the end of the day. I’ve already completed two.

Hours Words WPH
1 0.4 86 215
2 0.4 213 533

.4 hours = 24 minutes :)

I’ve scattered them out with breaks between pairs, but the breaks aren’t really meant to be breaks as much as opportunities to do other things—distractions, in other words, but useful distractions.

The hope is that by allowing the distractions, and planning for them, I will accomplish a lot more and not feel a bit of guilt about any of it! Let’s just call them structured distractions. :D

And I did put these on my calendar, but it’s not a schedule, it’s a plan. :D

Schedules feel so set, don’t they? As if you miss a start time, you’ve failed. Plans feel flexible. Sure, it’s a bit of a game, but all of life is in our heads, and I’m just playing to the referee.

I have several things to do today that ARE on my schedule, and those can’t change, so I’ve used it to see how many sessions I should do at various points in the day to stay on track. It’s working well so far.

I need to finish 4 before lunch, 4 before dinner, and 4 more before bedtime. If I finish all these today, I’ll end up with 4.8 hours of timed writing.

Anyway, off to write more, because I do want to finish the next two by lunch and stay on track. :)

3 0.4 276 690
4 0.4 299 748

And the numbers continue to improve. :D

Hours Words WPH
1 0.4 86 215
2 0.4 213 533
3 0.4 276 690
4 0.4 299 748
5 0.4 287 718
6 0.233333 207 887

My final numbers. Unfortunately, I had to take a nap. The caffeine withdrawal is getting to me. I had a cup of decaf coffee hoping that would be enough to stave off the headache, but it didn’t work. Just not enough caffeine. I finally ended up drinking about 3/4 a cup of green tea when I was supposed to be finishing session #8 but was in actuality only on session #6 because of the desperately needed nap. Said session was interrupted when I had to leave for a family event.

The event lasted longer than I thought it would and made me more tired than I expected. I came home and did some puttering around online and didn’t even finish session #6 (as you can see in the table above).

Well. Tomorrow is a new day. :) I can only aim to fit in 10 sessions because of more family obligations, but I’m going to try for a full 10 sessions! :D Wish me luck.

Changing how I monitor my daily average word count

I track my daily average word count in a number of ways, including yearly and monthly, and more recently, since 9/19. You see that last one in my word count posts. I’ve been adamant that I’m not going to change the start date for that count and I haven’t. Until today.

I decided today to change that column in my spreadsheet to hold a 30 day rolling average instead.

What I realized today is that there’s a problem with using a set start date for the average I’m using to monitor improvements to my daily word count. Over time the average becomes weighed down by the past and the present gets lost. If I have 90 days of numbers, the current 30 days are 1/3 of the average. If I have 180 days of numbers, the current 30 days are only 1/6 of the average. As the history of numbers grows larger, the average becomes less representative of the present and how I’m doing now.

A 30 day rolling average will be much more focused on current progress and will tell me if I’m doing well now and let me to see course corrections more clearly.

Update: This was a fail. I no longer even include this in my spreadsheet at all. :)

New schedule update

So is this a new schedule update or a new schedule update?

Just pretend it’s either. It is a new schedule, and this is a new update.

Here’s the thing: I really like the new schedule. Here’s the next thing: I haven’t been able to stick to it for an entire day once since I set it. Not all three blocks for all three 2 hour sessions. That was Sunday. This is Wednesday.

Today I’ve managed to miss hitting the 2 hour goal for the first block (by 14 minutes) and skip the second block of time (1:00–3:30) altogether. I’m still okay for the third block to start at 6:00 and run to 8:30, so that’s good, but I really need to make up that second block, so I’ve planned to give it a second attempt at 9:00 pm.

If all this is true, why do I like this schedule?

  1. Because I really feel the need for structured work hours right now, while everything else seems to unstructured around me (and it is).
  2. Because it’s helping me rein in the time I spend not writing during writing time.
  3. Because it’s nice to have time where I don’t expect myself to be writing.

A new writing schedule

I have a new writing schedule. I wasn’t sure I was going to try a schedule again so soon, but I realized I just wasn’t getting anything done without one right now. So I created this one. (I’ve been sick and I’ve found it’s really hard to work when you feel sick.)

9 to 11:30
1 to 3:30
6 to 8:30

Of course, I keep finding myself wanting to push all the writing time closer together, with very short breaks between, but I stop myself, because it feels pretty obvious to me that one reason this one is working for me (and it really is at the moment) is because of those generous breaks. They give me time to breathe and they help keep writing from feeling like all work and no play.

My goal for each 2.5 hour block is finishing a 2 hour timed session, during which I pause for breaks and come right back to the computer.

I didn’t finish all the time yesterday, and I haven’t (and won’t) finish it all today, but I have finished considerably more than I’ve been doing and I’m really happy with that.

Trying something different

So, yesterday I set a goal to write for 8 hours. I set my countdown timer for 8 hours, and I started it whenever I wrote.

I made it to just under 4 hours to go and 3,073 words for the day before I gave up and went to bed. :)

It sounds like a fail, but it was very much a win. I needed 3,417 words yesterday and I got the closest to reaching my goal since I set it.

I’m trying to do the same again today, hoping to reach 6,000 words.

My pace is off, so even if I reach 8 hours of writing, I might not make it, but I’ll definitely end up with something worth crowing about. I’m already down to 6 hours and 26 minutes, and I have 744 words written. I believe I’ll at least make it to 3,000 again today, and I haven’t given up hope my pace will improve and I’ll reach the record-breaking 6,000 words I’d like to reach. I only need to speed up to 817 words an hour for the rest of the time to do it.

1. My writing sessions are as long as I can make them before I have to stop for a break.
2. Timers are no longer interrupting me when the words are flowing, reminding me I need a break (I don’t need the reminder because my bladder makes it so that breaks happen too frequently already.)
3. I am more aware of total time invested in writing for the day and how much total time I have left to reach my goal.
4. I’ve tried it before and it didn’t work, but it’s been a few years, and it’s working now, so I’m going to keep it up until it doesn’t work. :)

Why I’m (mostly) forcing myself to stick to writing one book at a time

I’m writing this down because I’m sure I’m going to forget it, just when I need to remember it most.

Taking too long to finish a book is a sure way to bore me! I have to start finishing my books faster, if I want to save my love of writing.

Because honestly, it’s starting to bore me. I’ve written a lot of books. There aren’t many things in life that hold my attention after I’ve finished—hell, half the time I can’t even finish.

I’m not a finisher by nature. It’s a real chore to finish.

But books aren’t books if they don’t get finished, and I sure can’t sell unfinished books.

If I lose interest in a story, the story loses out, and the quality does not improve, trust me on that. Writing slow causes me to lose the threads of the story, and to lose motivation, while writing fast keeps my brain in the story, excited and creative. This even applies at the micro level, because my sentences flow better when I don’t constantly tinker with them. I know this is true. I still have to fight that desire regularly. :)

I come up with more ideas, faster, when I’m writing a lot. And I enjoy writing so much more when I’m writing often and fast than I do when it’s a slog and I’m agonizing over plot decisions or worrying about word choices.

If it’s not fun, I’m not going to do it. That’s just the truth.

Blame it on ADHD or laziness, or whatever, but it’s true. If it’s not fun for me, I will do everything in my power to avoid doing it, and when you’re your own boss, that gets to be a problem.


Well, I feel better having gotten that out. Now, on to the next post and the day’s writing.

New goal: more average and moderate word count days, fewer low word count days

I have to stop reevaluating my daily word count goal.

It’s kind of stupid really, all this number crunching I do. I’ve approached it in so many different ways that it doesn’t even make sense to keep redoing the calculations. I already know about where the numbers are going to end up.

I guess I keep hoping I’ll discover I’ve done something wrong and I’ll be able to write 500 words a day and make a killing and finish all the books I want finish in as little as a few months or a year at the most. :D Totally unrealistic, honestly, but I keep trying anyway.

I need to write…

  • 2,085 words a day to earn my ideal income.
  • 2,192 words a day to write 4 books in 4 series each year (16 novels of about 50,000 words each).
  • 1,644 words a day to write a book a month (12 novels of about 50,000 words each).
  • 2,466 words a day to write a book a month for one pen name and a book every other month for a second pen name (18 novels of about 50,000 words each).
  • 2,164 words a day if I write for 4 hours a day at my average 541 words an hour pace.
  • 1,623 words a day if I write for 3 hours a day at my average pace.

See where I’m going with this?

I have to stop reevaluating these numbers! It isn’t helping me in any way that I can see. None. It’s nothing more than a way to pass the time and distract myself from what I really need to be doing: writing.

I need to just write as much as I can each day, but that attitude never seems to work out for me. I need a bit of structure, but not too much. I don’t want another schedule, and I hate the arbitrariness of picking one of these numbers as a daily quota. How do I decide? (I’m remarkably indecisive. Impulsive too, but that’s another post.)

After a bit of thought, I’ve come up with a possible solution.

I’ve created a scale to help me keep things in perspective. :)

1,000 = low word count day
2,000 = average word count day
3,000 = moderate word count day
4,000 = high word count day
5,000 = record breaking word count day (always, because 5k is such a push for me)

My goal is to have more average and moderate word count days, sprinkled with high and record breaking days, and as few low word count days as possible.

I can track this by monitoring how I’m doing keeping my average daily word count at or above 2,000 words a day.

Easy, right?

Okay, maybe not so much easy as simple. :D

The concept makes sense, anyway. :)

That means today’s goal is to reach 2,000 words, and this week’s goal is to keep it there. And the month’s goal is the same, and so is the year’s goal. Like I said, simple.

Wish me luck.

Conclusion: daily word count is more important than time spent writing

After many experiments detailed here on this blog over the years, and much reading of articles about processes and systems versus goals and quotas, I’ve decided that forevermore I will consider working daily toward a word count goal more important than how much time I spend writing.

Here’s why.

No matter how I look at it, it’s all metrics. A system that says I need to write for a certain length of time (daily or weekly) is no different to me than having a goal to write 2,192 words a day or 15,344 words a week or 66,667 words a month or 800,000 words a year.

A daily word count goal and a daily time goal are exactly the same in all the ways that matter to me and they require exactly the same amount of mental energy from me.

Finally, I’ve concluded after a great many experiments detailed here on this blog, that I prefer to work to word count goals, not time goals, because, one, I have difficulties perceiving the passage of time, and two, I like numbers that reflect progress in a form I can visualize. What does it mean that I’ve spent three hours working on my book? I can’t see my book’s progress in time invested, but I can certainly see it in words written. YMMV.

Tracking time wastes a lot of time

I tried tracking my time for a couple of days, intent on finding out how much time I spend doing the various things I do. What I discovered is that I really know how to waste time: I sure wasted a lot of it on time tracking.

Maybe there’s value in detailed time tracking for someone with a brain that works differently than mine. Maybe I didn’t give it enough time.

My gut tells me that if I had given it any more time, I would have just ended up with more time wasted.

Ah well. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I tried a spreadsheet, created a time log, installed apps and tried out different configurations in those apps. Then I spent too much time trying to find the best arrangement of projects and tasks to track. Everything I tried felt wrong: too detailed, not detailed enough. It didn’t help that my idea of what kind of detail I might get the most help from changed every time I managed to get one system set up and tracking.

In the end, I gave up on time tracking to increase productivity.

What I didn’t give up was tracking the time I sleep (which seems kind of weird, I know).

Let me be blunt. I already know what I’m wasting my time on and having it broken down into little increments in a chart doesn’t really add much to that—other than make me feel a bit sick.

If I was capable of using this kind of data to stop those behaviors, I’d have already stopped them. Tracking time doesn’t help me be more efficient, and it doesn’t help my productivity. In fact, all it does is waste my time.

I spend more time focused on perfecting systems than I spend on the work the systems are supposed to help me focus on.

As far as tracking time, I’m tracking my sleep time because I want to know how much I’m sleeping every night. If I find out I’m not sleeping enough and I can correct that, then maybe that will help my productivity.

Of course, the tracking app can’t tell me if I’m actually asleep while it’s tracking, but it can tell me I’m trying to sleep and that’s enough for me. I start the timer when I’m ready to close my eyes at night, and I stop it when I’m ready to get up. For me, that means the logged time is a fairly accurate representation of the amount of time I’m trying to sleep.

I started out using Gleeo Time Tracker for this, but I’m currently using aTimeLogger.

Today starts a two week experiment with a new schedule

Here’s the writing schedule I’m going to follow for the next two weeks.


Why have I changed my schedule yet again?

The other schedule wasn’t working for me. At all. I didn’t write one single time during my scheduled writing time. Right now, in particular, I’m having trouble with getting started, and the large blocks of time weren’t helping that. Even two hours felt like too much of a commitment when there wasn’t a lot of time empty between the sessions.

So I created this new schedule with one thing in mind: making sure I don’t feel like I have a job.

That’s important. I don’t ever want writing to feel like a job.

  • I split the time blocks up so that I have huge breaks between writing sessions.
  • I made the sessions as short as I could while making them long enough that I can still get into flow during them.
  • I gave myself 3 of them so my total writing time each day fits into my long-term goals. 3 × 1.5 = 4.5 hours.
  • I started the first one later in the morning so I can sleep late if I have a bad night of sleep.
  • I’m not going to move the scheduled times if something comes up to preempt the time. I’ll just assume that I’ll miss one or two of these a month and live with that knowledge. (I won’t schedule anything during these times unless there’s no other choice.)
  • I’m not going to skip a session and claim that as a preempted time. I’ll just start writing as soon as I can near the time I was supposed to start and write for 1.5 hours. There’s enough time between sessions that this shouldn’t be a big deal.

I’m feeling hopeful this morning that this is the right thing to do.

Now, I’m off to get that first session done. I’ll post later today with the results for the first day of this experiment.

Here’s an update on a few other ongoing experiments

The no sweets experiment has been working really well (I’m down 4 pounds in two weeks), and I’ve decided to extend it indefinitely. The only exception is that I will allow myself sweets if I go to a birthday party, which is rarely more often than once a month, and usually less often. I’ll also allow myself sweets at my family’s annual Christmas party, but that’s it. These exceptions are clearly defined so they shouldn’t put any decision-making stress on me. That’s something I’ve liked about this experiment: no decisions. If it’s a sweet, the answer to “Can I?” is simple: “No.”

No caffeine: I haven’t had any coffee and I haven’t had any other caffeinated drinks either.

No Kboards or TPV: I haven’t been back to Kboards or TPV since I started that experiment. The fear of missing out is what was keeping me clicking on links. I’ve read a few author blogs I’d begun to ignore and checked out a podcast or two, but I don’t really feel like I’m missing anything, other than the entertainment factor I get from reading the posts themselves. This experiment has been good for me.

Experiments update

In my post about how moderation doesn’t work for me, I laid out a plan for an experiment with abstinence and a strict adherence to my schedule.

It’s been a few days. And yeah. Some of it’s working out pretty well. Some of it isn’t.

Here are the details.

The no sweets experiment is going well, if you ignore the fact that I’m having a ridiculous number of cravings. Weight is down about four pounds and I’m eating anything I want except sweets and obvious junk like potato chips (which I don’t eat often anyway). I am definitely not going hungry.

The schedule experiment still hasn’t taken off, and today doesn’t seem poised to change that. Still, I’m going to get some writing done, because I want to and that’s going to be enough to get me to the computer at 2. (I’ve already missed the window for the 8-11 block, as it’s 12:57 PM right now.)

I haven’t relapsed with the coffee, despite several strong cravings.

I haven’t been back to Kboards or TPV.