April 8–20 progress

I am definitely on to something with the “no sweets before 1,000 words” thing. April has been a great writing month so far and I’m putting the credit for that entirely on that little rule I’ve been following.

Yeah, I’ve had one or two days overall where I’ve not reached 1,000 words and gone to bed without any sweets at all, but that’s it. And yeah, it sounds like a phenomenally bad idea to give myself sweet treats for writing, considering how bad too much sugar is for a body, but I would have eaten the sweets anyway, and more of them, frankly, because I have a serious sweet tooth. This little rule has tamed it quite a lot.

It’s amazing what I’ll push myself through to get a cup of cocoa. :-)

April 8–20: 22,103 words.

April-to-date: 33,792 words.

Unfortunately, my current book has gone long. I’d have been done with it 18,000 words ago if it hadn’t. Now I’m just pushing to get it finished so I can start in earnest on the other book that’s desperate to get out of me. :-)

One thing I’ve noticed lately is that I really don’t like to blog or journal when the writing is going really well. I don’t know if it’s because I’m so ready to get started with the actual writing of the story that I don’t want to waste time doing this other writing, or if it’s that the journal and blog writing actually steal some of my motivation to write. Don’t know. Don’t actually care. I’m just glad to be writing my fiction regularly again.

On that note, I’m going to get back to the writing.

Writing weather

Very much looking forward to warmer weather tomorrow.

I’ve heard lots of writers talk about winter as writing weather, but that’s just not for me.

1. I hate the cold and I especially hate trying to type with cold fingers.

2. I don’t mind the heat of warmer weather at all. Sweat is always preferable to chill-bumps. :D

3. I hate getting outside in the heat. Mostly because I’m terribly allergic to mosquito bites (welts that itch like a son of a bitch) and I somehow attract every mosquito within a mile of my “swampy” mountain property. (I live in a low lying area at the top of a mountain. Weird, I know, but yes, it actually is swampy.) So staying in and writing is a perfect alternative for me. :D

4. Sunlight. It gives me energy, makes me feel better, and improves my mood dramatically. So I sit outside in the sun long enough to get some sun each day that I can, and I don’t mind a tan. In fact, my skin tone is particularly appreciative of a little daily sun. It improves my writing and I do more writing in the summer as a general rule. (Well, I ran the numbers and discovered that this is only sort of true. My worst months are January, December, and June, in that order. My best months are July, November, and April. It’s a strange thing. It looks like I have one good month a quarter and one bad and one mediocre. How fitting. Goes to show that what we think we know, we don’t actually know.)

5. That’s it! I don’t like winter for writing and I do like summer. :-) Might just be my overall preference for warm weather and the summer months.

April 1–7 progress

The first week of April has gone really well for my writing. And my writing is going really well too. I feel like I’m on to something with the no sweets before 1,000 words thing. It’s working for me right now amazingly well. I’m surprised I haven’t tried something like this before.

Maybe I have, but it just wasn’t the time. Or I didn’t put it together quite right.

1,000 words isn’t my ultimate daily goal. That’s still 2,000 words. But it is the minimum I’d like to see myself doing every day that I haven’t planned as an actual rest day (or a true sick day).

For the moment, all I can do is keep doing what I’m doing for as long as it works. I’ve said before, many times, that I’m really at a place where I want to start finishing more of my books faster, because I’m terrified I’m going to run out of time to get them written, then I’m going to die with all these stories untold. The funny thing is, I don’t even have actual ideas for a great many of these stories, I just know they’re there, in my head and my heart, waiting to come to me. My series need me to continue them. They’re not done, and the characters aren’t ready for it to be over either.

So there you go. My motivation to get better, to learn to write faster, to keep going even when it’s hard. If I sound a little crazy, I promise you it’s just the fiction talking. :-)

April 1–7: 11,689 words.

March 2019 progress

Words written in March: 15,742.

Almost dead on ten times the number of words written in February, so that’s a win.

I’m no longer following the schedule, except in the most casual way. Five days ago I started following a new rule: no sweets until after I write 1,000 words.

Since then I’ve had five 1,000+ word days in a row. I do love my sweets. :)

This little routine has also helped me cut down my sweets, because I’m not exactly speedy when it comes to my words. I’ve eaten a lot fewer sweets because of that lack of speed. Nothing’s changed in how I write, and I have ended up working at it till the end of the day several times. But I’ve gotten started early every day and I’ve been doing a lot better with this routine than any of the others I’ve tried.

As I said before, I do love my sweets. :D

Might turn out to be the best option I’ve ever tried to get myself to work diligently earlier in the day.

I’m still aiming for 2,000 words a day (consistently), but right now, I’ll take the 1,000.

I’m not using timers except when I am. I guess I should say I’m not using timers to get me started or to keep me writing. I’m just using them occasionally because I sit down and I think I’d really like to use a timer right now. Hell if I know why I feel that need sometimes, but I do, and I let myself do it. Half the time, I turn the timer off before it’s even done. I don’t know why I do that either.

So, final verdict? March was better, despite struggling with a kidney stone and nearly poking my eye out. :)

Let’s see what April brings.

I have a question

Here’s a good article about the craft of writing: Business Musings: Punctuation, Voice, And Control.

I don’t recommend craft articles here very often, probably because most of them that I read aren’t really that good. Or they cover the basics, and I’m just not there anymore when it comes to my fiction.

I have plenty left to learn, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve been writing fiction for 30 years now. It takes something a little better than average to get my attention. Rusch always writes craft articles that catch my attention. She is exceedingly good at distilling knowledge into something a writer can learn from.

This one caught my attention not because of the content—I was kind of just nodding my head in agreement all the way to the end—but because of the implications of it needing to be written.

So, how many writers of fiction just do not read fiction? Or read so little that they haven’t really learned anything from it?

I mean, if you’re a reader, you should know everything that article has to teach you, if only because you’ve seen it done so many times through your reading. Seriously!

Come on.

But the comments on the article were such that I honestly wonder. I guess I should expect that some writers write for reasons other than a love of reading, but it’s a little tough for me to understand.

I can’t imagine wanting to write if I didn’t love to read.

So maybe I learned something new from that article too: that there are a lot of writers out there that just don’t care about reading.

I kind of hope I never read one of them.

:D

A little challenge for today

Here’s the thing: I think I have a kidney stone. I also think it’s making its way out of my body so I’m not in as much pain as I could be and the worst of it was definitely back on Tuesday/Wednesday. It’s Sunday now and I’ve lost oodles of writing time to this, even though I’ve actually written more than usual!

Uh, what?

Well, I’m in a particularly good place mentally for the writing I think and would have probably written a lot more if I hadn’t been hurting.

That’s what I think. I could be totally wrong. I do seem to perk up when I’m in pain. Weird, I know. So maybe the pain itself is causing me to be more focused (in pain, not sick—there is a definite difference—if I were sick, there would be no focus!).

Anyway, long story short, I really need to finish this book, so today I am going to try to stay focused on writing and write as much of this book as I can. My record word count for a day is 6,241 words. I don’t know that I can beat it, but I think it’s the right day to try.

I’m going to post my progress as the day goes on to try to keep myself focused on the writing and moving the book forward.

My biggest concern is that I’ll fall into a cycle of perfectionism, become too critical of what I’ve written / am writing and end up rewriting or redrafting stuff. That kind of thing will make it impossible for me to write more than a couple hundred words an hour, and that’s a fact. That kind of pace will not let me make the kind of progress I want to make today, so I’m saying it now: NO SECOND GUESSING MYSELF TODAY.

It’s time to let the words flow!

1st check-in: 674 words.

Things are going well enough. I had a longer break than I should have taken when I stopped for lunch so I’m just now getting back to the writing, but I did start at noon and have a lot of day left so it’s not the end of the dream by any means.

2nd check-in: 1,149 words.

A sudden surge in word count accounts for the change. Things are going well so far. Not in the direction I had thought but I’ll take it. :)

3rd check-in: 1,530 words.

The story is still going well. I’m going to have to be careful of my critical side because if I start wanting to turn back and go a different direction I’ll lose a lot of momentum (and words!).

4th check-in: 1,732 words.

5th check-in: 1,832 words.

I need a break for supper soon so I’m going to get a few more words then stop for a little while. I can’t say I’ll be back. I’d definitely like to continue but I don’t think I’m going reach my challenge word count. Miracles happen, sure, but I’m still suffering here with frequent bathroom visits (kidney stone, remember?) and some unpleasant back pain, and I’m really starting to itch for a long break.

Because it’s getting on into the evening, I’m not sure how I’ll cope with stopping and restarting. But that’s for a later worry. Right now, more words. I have twenty or so minutes before my oven timer goes off for some small red potatoes and zucchini I put in to roast. Good food to make me feel better. :)

6th (and final) check-in: 1,883 words.

It’s the next day that I’m writing this final check-in note, because I was right to suspect I wouldn’t make it back. I ended up going to bed early (for me) and sleeping off and on for 10 hours. I felt worse last night but better today so I’m going to try this little challenge again.

Mid-month progress check-in for March

I decided early in the month that this is it, I’m finishing my next book this month. I set out a schedule and I’ve been doing my best to follow it. I like it, too, so that’s a plus.

Three days ago, I started having massive back pain and I think it’s a kidney stone.

I’ve had my best word counts for the whole month since the pain started. :-o (What?)

Silver linings and all that, I guess! I’ve found that the only comfortable place to sit in my house at the moment is at my desk because it keeps my back straighter, and a straighter back seems to be a lot less painful for me than the alternative.

I’ve written more words in the last three days than I wrote in the entirety of February.

That’s not to say I didn’t do any writing in February but it was writing related to working out details for another book that wouldn’t leave me alone and stuff like that. It was just part of the process I’ve found myself repeating time after time. I write a lot, then take a break, then struggle to get back to writing, and then do it all over again.

Sometimes it takes longer between books than others, apparently.

Also, turns out I did not make a wrong turn in my story. I rewrote (redrafted) sections of chapter 9 and chapter 10 for my current book but overall everything is the same and I’m taking the same path in the story that I thought I would be taking. What changed was how I got to where I am through the characters’ dialogue and some of the narrative. What was there just wasn’t working for me, and what’s there now has changed the way I view the characters, so there was a definite point to it. Basically, I just needed to keep working that section until things felt right and I wasn’t doing that. I was looking for some big thing that wasn’t there. In other words: the problem was the bugs in the trees, not the trees in the forest. :D

Looking back and I see a pattern

I was looking back at my most consistent year (based on variations between monthly word counts) and randomly reading some journal entries and blog posts that I did around that time and it seems all of them were about schedules (those that I picked at random, not all my entries). But I came across this one and it really brings back memories and seems like the perfect accompaniment to my current thinking: “Reasons matter: a rambling essay.”

I think it’s an interesting coincidence that scheduling my writing were the topics of those posts and entries, considering how I’m revisiting a schedule now. And the post linked above really does still apply. I could write the same things today and it would be just as true. Added to the things about a daily schedule that I wrote a couple of days ago, I see a path to success if I can just keep reminding myself that detours are okay as long as I always make my way back to the main path.

Perfectionism has no place in my life.

On that note, it’s past time to get started with the daily writing, so I’m going to leave this post here. :)

February 2019 progress

Words written in February: 1,573.

Ugh.

I don’t even want to talk about it. Okay, maybe I know what the problem was, and I’m working on correcting it.

I’ve also started trying to follow a schedule for getting my writing time in every day. I’m… not really succeeding at that. Yet. I have a lot of hope I’ll get there.

On that note, I want to wrap this up quickly because I’m really supposed to be writing fiction right now instead of messing around on the blog here, catching up all my missed progress posts.

The last three days of the month were actually really productive, even though my word count didn’t rise by much.

March will be better.

Today it’s back to the schedule

It feels like such a waste of time that I have to do this, but the daily progress posts are back. I just do better when I’m accountable for what I do, even if that accountability isn’t all that real (it’s a mind game).

(No one who reads this blog cares one whit if I write. Frankly, I’m pretty sure I’m the only reader this blog has. :D But it’s a mind game that works, so what do I care about reality?)

So anyway. I didn’t reach my goals yesterday on my current book but I did write more than the day before. Yay! for that. I’m not sure why I ended up with so few words, because I don’t remember any big distractions, but the fact remains that I just didn’t get much done.

Today it’s back to the schedule I’ve set up to try to get me back into the rhythm of daily writing. It hasn’t really helped so far, but I also haven’t been making myself stick to it. Today I aim to do that.

It’s writing time from 11 to 5 and I’m going to stick it out even if I spend a lot of time staring at a blinking cursor.

(I started this post right before 11. I’ve sorta cheated already, gone for coffee, and come back to finish this post before I actually start writing fiction.)

Revisiting what worked to get me started writing again

My hiatus after my last book is stretching out into a third month now and I’m not too happy about that, so I’ve decided to revisit something that worked in the past to get me started writing again: a temporary schedule.

The one thing that I won’t be doing is revisiting the timers. I am confident in saying that I really am done with timing my writing. It didn’t make a difference in my output in the long-run and it stole some of the joy of writing from me. My monthly word counts might have fallen over the last couple of months, but that is pretty clearly because of the funk that came on after finishing and publishing my last book.

This is the getting started again phase and I’m obviously still having troubles with that.

One day I’ll conquer it. Until then, I’ll keep trying whatever it takes to get me writing again.

11 am to 5 pm is going to be my daily writing time for a while. And if I like it and can stick with it, maybe for a little longer than a while.*

I’ve just about decided that perfectionism is the reason I hate schedules. I made a note about this in my catch-all journal. Let me see if I can dig it up.

Found it! I’m just going to quote the whole bit I typed into OneNote so I can finish this post quickly (I’m practicing that too). I highlighted the part that really resonated with me the most when I read back through it.

Type up my thoughts from last night about discipline and a plan and how I don’t have to let perfection hold me back from having a plan.

Maybe, just maybe, I have to stop believing that anything anyone else has to say about how to work has nothing to do with me and no bearing on my life.

What do I want for myself? And stop thinking an inability to be perfect at whatever it is means it can’t or won’t work.

When I imagine myself going through my ideal day, the routine is very schedule-like. I get up, get coffee, do stuff, sit down and write, then do other stuff. I can picture it all really clearly. Having a writing day all broken up and spread out is not the ideal.

My days are calm and split into parts. Reading and writing and leisure and TV and some other work. Maybe a project or two sometimes but always this core routine. So that’s what I should do—for me, my way. Whatever time(s) of day I like best.

This was the point at which I decided 11 am to 5 pm was best for me. I’ve been having sleep cycle issues and getting up later and later, and 11 am keeps me from stressing about what time I get up in an effort to “stick to the schedule”.

This schedule is a little more ambitious than the one I used last time because it blocks out six hours a day for writing time, although I’m not expecting myself to actually write nonstop for the duration, just do as much writing and thinking about writing as I can around necessary, and hopefully short, breaks.

The most important thing I realized was that sometimes I just get stressed because I can’t stick to the schedule, but the reality is that there’s not ever going to be a schedule I can stick with better than any other. It’s all about accepting that I won’t stick to it some days but that some days I really will—and those are the days that will add up over time and keep me working and keep my word counts going up and keep me from having excessively long stretches where I fall into the habit of not writing.

*Update

I’ve since adjusted this to 11 am to 3 pm and some days I do move it later in the day instead of strictly enforcing the start time as 11 am. This works because I can’t stand the idea of missing the time just because I’ve decided I have to start at 11 and end at 3. That feels too much like a straitjacket and very detrimental to my long-term success with the schedule. But I do try not to change things every day and I do try to start at 11 as often as I can.

Writing nonfiction is a pain in the ass

I don’t know if it’s because of the way I think or something else, but I always struggle when I try to write anything meaningful for this blog.

With fiction, I do spend a lot of time rereading my sentences, paragraphs, and scenes as I write so that I don’t confuse myself, but I can string a story along well enough. I manage to earn my living so I do okay.

Not so for nonfiction.

That’s why I mostly ramble here on this site. Anytime I try to put together a more complete post, it usually starts to fall apart about halfway through and veers into something else entirely.

Or I run out of steam and just don’t want to finish what I started. That happens too.

All that was just to say that I suck at writing nonfiction and essays and I never did well with school papers. I can write a review but only if I stick to how I feel and don’t start trying to do any kind of critical analysis of the thing.

I’d blame my teachers but that wouldn’t be honest. They tried to teach me. I just couldn’t seem to learn it. Which is pretty ironic looking back, because I tested out of Comp I in college, so I didn’t even have to take that class. I probably really needed it. :-)

I think it’s a common misconception that all writers must be able to write all things. But that’s certainly not true for me. I absolutely despise trying to write anything nonfiction that isn’t pure rambling. Even this piece seems to have lost its way.

On that note, I’ll end this to go work on my book.

I’m actually getting started on it again, after having a lot of trouble getting myself back to it, and I’m up to chapter three in an editing read-through meant to get me back on track with the story. I’m reading it as an HTML file on my phone after using my little batch file to convert it with pandoc and save it in Dropbox. :-)

I’ve discovered pandoc

I have discovered pandoc. Oh dear.

It has garnered an immediate place in my backup routine and has filled a gap that my switch from Microsoft Word to LibreOffice Writer created in my editing and proofreading routine.

And I’ve discovered that I like reading the HTML version of my document better than the EPUB when I’m proofreading because paragraphs are spaced automatically instead of appearing in book form and that makes for really easy reading to pick out mistakes.

It’s also super easy to open an HTML file from Dropbox on my phone and tablets.

So, here’s how I made it work for me, in my routine. Maybe you’ll get a few ideas from this that’ll work for you.

First I installed pandoc. It is a command line tool so that’s a big deal for me. I don’t do command line work. I can, if I have to, but only if I’m looking at a cheat sheet. I have no advanced knowledge of command line stuff so what I present here is what I found in the pandoc documentation that worked for me.

One thing I do know how to do is create a .bat file for windows. I know only a few things about that, though, too.

That said, I know just enough to know it would be possible to do the thing I wanted to do once I realized how cool pandoc was.

So, let me start again: I installed pandoc. https://pandoc.org/

I followed the super easy installation method. I downloaded the windows installation file and ran it. :-)

The pandoc website is super easy to browse and I browsed right through the About, Installing, and Getting started pages. I skimmed the Demos and searched a bit of the Documenation at points too, but pandoc is really easy to use if you can just get the command line stuff right.

So here’s a cheat sheet. :D

It’s nothing special, but maybe seeing it will give you ideas.

I store my working files in a structure like this:

\users\myusername\files\publishing\works\series-name\01-book-title\

I do it that way so all my book folders are in the order I wrote them and not in some other random order.

I don’t even bother with the command line / terminal. I put my stuff in a .bat file that I created in notepad. Seriously.

I knew about .bat files and have used them for backing up files in the past. So I combined that with the stuff I discovered about pandoc and made a file that will generate a format for me and save it somewhere just by me clicking the file and “opening” it. .bat files don’t really open so much as they “run” so that’s what’s actually happening.

I click the file to open it and it runs. :D

Oh, and just to note, I’m using Windows 7. I don’t use Windows 10 so I have no idea if this stuff is just as easy there or not.

Once pandoc is installed, just right click in the folder where you store your book file and choose New Text Document from the context menu.

Here are supporting pictures to show me walking through what I did last night but in a dummy folder this time.

I made a new text file.

I named it “formats.bat”.

The file tries to default to “formats.bat.txt,” but I just deleted .txt so that the file is a .bat file. You’ll get a warning. Tell it you know what you’re doing and to rename the file extension.

Since I didn’t want to have to type up a crazy long file path, I had to make sure my file was actually in the directory where I put the .bat file.

If I’d been using one of my real book files like I did last night, this wouldn’t have been necessary because the file would have already been there. But that’s the problem wtih dummy folders. You’ve got to fill them with dummy files. :-)

Now I edit the file and put the pandoc command line stuff in it so that it’ll generate a couple of alternate formats and spit them out.

Here’s what’s in that file for easy copying and pasting:

pandoc book-title.odt -s -o book-title-draft.epub --metadata title="Book Title draft" --metadata author="Your Name"
pandoc book-title.odt -s -o book-title-draft.html --metadata title="Book Title draft" --metadata author="Your Name"

It won’t ask about overwriting files. So BE SURE you don’t mess up those file names and that you don’t mind having the files overwritten.

Just swap out “book-title.odt” for your file name.

Pandoc does handle .docx files too so you could start from that rather than an .odt file like I do. Also swap out the “book-title-draft.epub” (and .html) file for whatever name you’d like. Finally, the –metadata stuff is only relevant to certain file types so it isn’t needed for all conversions, say book-title.odt to book-title.txt. :-)

I use this to generate backup formats for my book, including a plain .txt file, and I actually have the EPUB and HTML files saved to my Dropbox folder instead of the directory it’s in so that I can open that file on my phone and do my editing read-through there or on a tablet.

These will be basic files, nothing fancy, but they are perfect for me to do my editing read-throughs that I do as I go, or as backup formats.

If you’re the type that prefers to start with something other than a blank document, you can take the EPUB or HTML into Sigil or Jutoh and tweak it there at the end if need be. I prefer to import my formatted word processing file for that into Jutoh, but it’s something I might look at just to see about when I get that far with my current book. :-)

It’s a one-click document generation and backup solution.

It is so easy. I love it. :D

Pencil, paper, and a few questions answered

I’m trying to get back into a writing groove but nothing has been working to reignite my interest in this story. I make plans every day (and sometimes the day before) and I keep not following through.

So I sat down today with a pencil and cheap spiral tablet and asked myself some questions about my current book and realized—

Maybe the real problem is that I took a wrong turn in the story and my subconscious mind doesn’t want me to continue.

If that’s possible, where might I have made the wrong turn?

The answer to that was me writing down a few options, working my way backward. I wrote down three possible turning points worth taking a look at.

A little while later, I turned to my manuscript to see if I could pinpoint a good spot to shift directions, and found—

[START HERE – not sure I even like this. Why does xxxxxxx jump to this conclusion? Or mention it, at any rate?]

This note to myself was buried about 1,500 words from where I left off.

So now I think my subconscious has probably been trying to tell me something for a while.

I haven’t deleted anything yet, but I’m ready to go back to the book and see what needs to be done.

I guess I’ll figure that out when I start.

But it feels like progress, so I’ll take it and run.

That didn’t last

I made plans before I finished my last book not to start the next in that series until I’d written the book that I already have in progress. I’m attempting to keep my enthusiasm for my projects high by managing them better. It’s easy to lose enthusiasm when I write a few thousand words and then move to something else for months at a time before I get back to it.

The last book I finished? I wrote about that delay. I also wrote about how much more of a chore writing is when I have delays like that because I get bored and lose interest in what I started and have difficulties getting that interest back.

To be technical about it, writing that last book took me from March 2017 to November 2018. That’s more than a year, and that’s a long time to try to keep up interest in writing one story.

That said, my plans to avoid doing that again aren’t working out—which is a total bummer. :-|

I got an awesome idea this morning for the direction I want to go in the series I finished that last book for. At the same time, I’ve had no ideas for the series and book I’m currently supposed to be writing. I haven’t had much interest at all in finishing this book—the same one I was flying through just months ago while still trying to finish the other book.

I wrote down the idea for the series and my thoughts about it, or some of them anyway, and I went ahead and started the document for the next book in that series. I haven’t gone so far as to write words for that book yet, but it is calling to me something fierce. The idea for the opening scene is right there in my brain and it wouldn’t take any effort at all to just let myself explore it a little.

It doesn’t pay to ignore the muse, but I’m trying.

It’s a conundrum. Miss out on harnessing the enthusiasm I have for the one series to struggle with the other book instead? Or write what I want while the little bit of enthusiasm I still have for the other book continues to wane?

The only right choice seems to be to let go and allow myself to work on two books at a time again. Or to make myself. Call it what you will.

But hey, it worked for the last book.

Sort of.

I finally finished it, at any rate, and I enjoyed doing it, and I broke through to a 6,000 word day. I didn’t push myself to do it, either. It just happened.

I was all set to be a rebel and then I realized I don’t have time

I wrote a long post about how I was abandoning WordPress a few days ago, and then I started the process by creating some HTML5 templates for one of my websites (the easiest to convert), but after two days of fiddling, it hit me hard that I don’t really have time for this. I am as much a perfectionist with the websites as I am with the writing and what should take one hour takes ten. Not my favorite confession. But—

1. I plan to finish a book this month. And by gosh I’m doing it.
2. The classic editor plugin isn’t going anywhere for a while, so for me nothing’s changed. If it changes suddenly, well, then, I can start moving on this project again (make no mistake, it’s a project for the future, because I am going to do it eventually)
3. The time will come, but maybe jumping right into it right now when I’m actively looking for things to tear me away from writing (but shouldn’t be!) isn’t what I need to do.
4. It feels like an obsession in the making. It took all day yesterday of doing other things and distracting myself to not think obsessively about it. I feel like I’m borderline this morning. A stray thought here or there could pull me right back in. So I’m going to have to do something this morning that is distracting in itself. Writing fits that bill. And since I need to write to finish that book this month, yep, that’s the one I’m going to aim for, right after I do a little morning reading (there’s a fan fiction story for Psych calling my name).

December 1–12 progress

I sat down tonight to write something after another day of not writing anything. I haven’t so far. Instead, here I am writing this, after spending about forty minutes looking at reports, messing with Gmail (I had forgotten you can still access Gmail through the basic HTML link for slow connections, so that was entertaining) and my calendar, and a few other trivialities. Not my best decision, by far. That forty minutes was supposed to be spent writing something for my book.

As a reminder, I pulled up my June 1–15 progress post.

The fact is, I need to start finishing books again. I’ve had way too much time off on the whole over the last couple of years and it’s time for me to start pushing myself again to do more.

I’m worried that I’m falling into the same patterns I seem to fall into after every book I finish lately, where I don’t write, and I start feeling more and more disconnected from the desire to write.

That June progress post is relevant in other ways too, because just this week one of my kids returned from college for the winter break and my routines have been completely upended. The quiet, distraction free environment I seem to need to be able to write is gone. It’ll be three more weeks of in-house disarray before things go back to what passes for normal for me these days.

I’ve written only 1,009 words from December 1 to December 12.

I’d like to take that time off and just say forget it until after the new year but I can’t. I know what will happen, because I saw it happen last year after I released a book. I didn’t write more than a few hundred words for five months. I know it might not happen again, but I don’t want to risk that, and besides, I want new routines. I want to spend my time writing another book. I want to go from one book to the next and not get caught up in this morass of feelings I’m feeling about the struggle to write.

No more struggle.

It’s not real. It’s not worthy of the angst it causes me.

But right now, unfortunately, I’m tired after a couple of really bad nights of sleep, this morning’s interrupted by an earthquake of all things and I’m going to bed instead of write something for my book. That 1,009 words won’t change because of anything I did tonight.

(Yes, a real earthquake. Doors jiggled and stuff rattled downstairs but I didn’t hear much up in my room, just a kind of whoosh after a hard shake. I pulled up the USGS Earthquakes website and just as I did, the earthquake showed up on the list of latest earthquakes.)

I’m falling asleep here, so goodnight.