A fresh start for August

The writing has been a little slow to start this month, but I decided late last month that August would be the perfect time for a fresh start. I’ve had family obligations keeping me busy, and although I wanted to get a lot of writing done in July, it turned out to be unrealistic. One kid moved states and it was both a physically demanding month and an emotionally demanding one.

I vastly underestimated how distracting that move would be when I made plans last month for writing.

But that is behind me for the most part now (the emotional adjustment is ongoing) and I have a lot more time to myself to get some writing done. And so I’ve made plans for August.

I plan to begin writing every day. I plan to work on several stories that I already have started, and I’ll probably do it concurrently. I enjoy writing on multiple stories at a time and I usually get more writing done that way. Seems like a good way to get going again on some projects that have lain fallow for too long. :-)

It’s time for a schedule (so I can write lots of books this year)

I don’t think I’ve ever had it so hard when trying to restart my writing after a break. I’m so out of the habit of daily writing that I literally keep forgetting to get started. Last night, I decided it was time to go back to a schedule.

I don’t want to think of this as temporary, not this time.

I need to be putting in some effort each day to get to the computer and having a set number of hours to work at it is probably the only way I’m going to get moving on my books again, because I have no inner enthusiasm for them right now.

I feel like I could have, if I push myself to read through them and start actively trying to write the next part, so that’s where I’m at in my thinking.

Otherwise—if I don’t start pushing myself harder—I’m just going to abandon it all and go back to filling my creative time with the consumption of other people’s creativity instead of creating something of my own.

That’s absolutely not what I want to do. I have a lot of books I want to write this year (and half the year is already gone!).

Some of my series have been waiting years for a new story and I want to revisit them and put out something new so readers know those series aren’t dead. Because they’re not. All my series are open-ended so I can add books to them whenever I want. I like it that way, to be honest. The worlds don’t disappear just because I tie up the loose ends of one book’s story. :)

So here I am, ready to start a three hour block of time devoted to writing.

I’ll be doing this daily and I owe it to myself not to flake out and miss a bunch of days. Here’s my promise to myself to do my best. I can’t say how much I’ll get done, but I expect to have at least something to report at the end.

I’ll be back in three hours or so. See you then.

Working log: editing & publishing a short novella today

I’ve decided to resume my working log entries. I always get a little jolt of energy from logging my work as I go, and you never know, but something I write here might help someone else with their own work, even if it’s just the energy that comes from working while you know someone else is working. That works for me sometimes, so why not?

Today, I’m going to proofread/edit* a short novella and get it ready to publish sooner rather than later. ASAP, to be honest, just to get it off my back. I wrote it last year and I’ve avoided it since, for no good reason that I can name. I just didn’t feel like getting it done and out. Not great for business, but I am who I am. It’s surprisingly hard to change that aspect of my personality/character. I’ve tried. I am trying. I’ll keep trying, so I’ll leave it at that. :D

I’m doing it now, so I can get off my own back about it.

As I used to do, I’ll update this post as I progress through the day in getting this done. Later, peeps. :D

11:30 am — Starting the proofread/edit.

5:03 pm — Worked on formatting the book. Split/added chapters breaks.

*As always, this just means typo hunting and error corrections. I do minor changes for clarity (clarity is essential) but try to leave everything else alone. Editing line by line for word choice etc is a fool’s errand. When I let perfectionism win, I lose. Writing becomes too much like work I want to avoid and I just won’t do it.

Getting past feelings and into action

I’m enjoying the freedom of having a working laptop battery again. I should have replaced it sooner. I hadn’t realized just how much of a roadblock I’d let the AC cord become to me getting to the computer to write. I like writing away from my desk even more than I thought I did, obviously. I’ve been making progress finally, and I’m glad to see it.

It’s not only that I haven’t felt like writing (not in some vague, eh, don’t want to do it way, but in a deeply averse to writing anything way), it’s also that I haven’t felt like doing anything writing related.

I don’t really know what to do about that. I’ve given up trying to find a way to change how I feel. Now it’s time, I think, to just find a way to plow through it and hope I come out on the other side of it with a renewed interest in finishing the books I want to finish and writing the new books and new series I want to write.

I’m going to start writing every day again.

I just don’t think there’s any other way for me. I blink and ten days have gone by and no words have been written. I need a daily writing plan.

I’ve thought about daily word count goals and time goals, but in the end, I’ve settled on not worrying about that stuff for the moment. I will know if I’ve written something or not, and I will mark it down when I do, and make myself do some writing before I call it a day if I haven’t.

New laptop battery

Today I got the new laptop battery I was waiting on. I messed up my daily writing streak yesterday by not writing, but I’m planning to restart it tonight now that I have a mobile laptop again. I’ve been needing to replace my battery for a while, but the first one I ordered didn’t arrive, and the replacement they sent was the wrong battery (however that happened, it made no sense).

After that, I put off ordering again for a while, I’m not sure why, but this weekend, I finally ordered a new one and it came today. It’s the right battery and it seems to be working well. Fingers crossed!

I’ve almost convinced myself that some of my reluctance to write lately stems from not being able to write comfortably in the places I like to write because I’ve been stuck using the AC adapter for the laptop. We shall see if this week proves the hypothesis. :)

It’s pretty amazing that my fresh start died so quickly

I didn’t even make it one day. That’s the bad news. (I’ve heard bad news should always come before good news.)

The good news is that I’m in the midst of a new fresh start for 2021 and it’s going okay for the moment. I’ve written fiction three days in a row and messed around with some publishing stuff for a change.

This year might not be a bust after all. :)

We’ll see how it goes from here. Will I be back to post tomorrow, later this week, or sometime next month? Who knows!

I’m definitely working on getting back on track with a daily writing streak. I’ll update as the desire hits.

Time for a fresh start

One: I activated the block editor. I hate it. I’ll probably get used to it. :)

Two: In 2020, I wrote the fewest words I’ve written in a year since I started self-publishing.

Three: I would like to write more words in 2021 than I’ve ever written in a year.

Four: January was a negative month. I didn’t write, and the little bit I touched my books, all I managed to do was delete 24 words. Yippee. That means I have 11 months to write at least 300,000 words. (That’s a bit more than 30,000 words above my best year.) (That’s about 909 words a day until the end of the year.)

Five: I am so far from motivated to do this that I really regret writing number four.

Six: I’ve added a 3 hour block for writing to my calendar. (Since I currently have a word count goal that I’ve been successfully ignoring for more than a month.)

Seven: No matter what else I do tomorrow, I want to spend that three hours writing, in one block of time. I mean, I could split it up, but I see no reason to, and I want to take advantage of momentum.

Eight: I really really regret writing number seven.

Nine: It doesn’t matter if I’m productive, if I putter or sprint, if I proofread or write. I have a completed story that I should publish and get out of the way, and if that’s what I end up doing in those three hours, that’s fine by me.

Ten: The point of this post is to come back tomorrow and see if I’ve done anything about this.

It’s a fresh start.

Days 1–12 of NANOWRIMO 2020

I’ve been trying to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I’m pretty far behind, to be honest, but I’m not giving up. :-)

Even if I fall short, I’ll probably do significantly better with my word count than I did last month, and that’s a win any way I look at it.

November: 6,540 words.

There are some prolific authors who caution against participating in NaNoWriMo. I’m not all that prolific (even though I’d like to be), but I have exactly the opposite experience and recommendation.

During NaNoWriMo 2010 is when I finally realized I could write a book significantly faster than in a year. Yes, a YEAR. I was on the cusp of finishing my first full novel that wasn’t going to require edits because I actually paid attention to my gut and wrote it the way I wanted it as I went, making sure it wasn’t sloppy, and I wasn’t telling myself constantly that I could always go back and fix something if it wasn’t good enough.

I say cusp, because something happened that year that led me to put aside the book until the following May, but in May, I went back at it with the same NaNoWriMo attitude I’d used in November and I finished the book.

All told, I wrote 80,000 words of a finished book (that required nothing but a few little typo fixes here and there) over the course of one November and part of May—in less than 60 days, total.

Until that happened, I had no idea this was possible for me.

;D

I credit NaNoWriMo for giving me the push I needed to learn something about myself and writing. So, even though I would love to write 50,000 words every month, and would do it if I could figure out why I can’t do it (it’s an ongoing self-castigating angst-fest, so don’t ask), I always like to try to give a little extra of myself come November and NaNoWriMo. :-)

Here’s what I do to make the most of it for me.

I ignore any and all advice that suggests I should just slop words onto the page. I write with purpose—that purpose being to finish a book that is clean and ready to go after a decent copy edit.

I take advantage of all the sprint companionship I can.

This is probably the biggest help for me. I have real trouble staying focused and getting self-motivated (and this is not a writing problem for me, it’s a life problem). These opportunities don’t come around all the time. People are excited about NaNoWriMo and I can find way more fellow sprinters than usual in the various NaNoWriMo Forums, Discord servers, etc.

Honestly, I don’t even sign up at the NaNoWriMo website anymore. I just hang out in the Discord server for my area’s NaNoWriMo group and sprint with fellow writers and try to hit 50,000 words, whether that’s a new book or something I already had started. I’m a bit of a rebel these days. :D

About the lack of daily posts for the 180 day plan

I’m still tracking the number of days passed and remaining of my 180 day plan. I don’t know that I’ve had a worse start to a plan. I don’t know that I haven’t, so I’m not going to give too much of my thinking time to figuring it out.

The daily posts have fallen by the wayside, mostly because I decided that keeping the number in my head daily was hurting more than helping my motivation to get started every day.

I’ll post an update at every 30 day mark instead of daily and let it go at that. The next one will be at day 60.

As for now, I’ve decided I need something a little more immediate to get me to the keyboard since my love of the story isn’t doing it. I couldn’t care less about writing much of anything right now, for whatever reason, but not caring doesn’t build a habit, and it sure doesn’t keep me moving toward my goal.

I’ve come up with a plan, and I’m excited about it, because I think it has real potential.

Post about that coming up. :-)

Day 11 in review (180 day plan)

Last night, I made a (loose) schedule for today. I followed the first block of time. After that, I mostly just kept going back to the story and tinkering, six minutes at a time.

I started at the beginning of my story yesterday and started working through it. I was still on that today, and it’s a short story. In fact, I’m still on that. Yikes.

I don’t know why it’s been such slow going unless it’s just because it’s been so long since I began this that I’ve lost the feeling for it and needed the time to really get into my characters again. After thinking about that for two seconds and taking a few more to go look at the date that I started this one (10/29/19), I’m going to say yes, that’s exactly what’s going on.* (Never mind. See below.) (Where has the year gone? Holy crap. I can’t believe it’s been 11 months.)

Anyway, I did 17 six minute sprints, worked through about 2,700 words, and ended up with 144 more words than I had to start with.

Tomorrow I’ll probably do a lot better. I have about 2,000 words to get through and I don’t think they’ll need me to touch them that much, if at all, so I might even read them on my phone tonight and highlight anything that needs fixed. Otherwise, I’m leaving the rest of this thing alone.

I really don’t even know what I’ve been doing to the rest of it that it took me almost 2 hours to get through fewer than 3,000 words. Maybe this is a case of those six minute sprints making me feel like I’m doing more than I am. :-o

*Actually, after seeing that my 6 minutes x 17 = less than two hours, I’ve realized that I have no idea what I’m talking about. The most disappointing thing about it all is that I didn’t get more 6 minute sessions in. I spent a LOT of time at the keyboard today.

**Why 6 minutes? Because it takes 10 of them to make an hour. :D This is just a new version of the 5 minute sessions that I use to help me focus when it feels especially hard. I do what I can.

Day in review posts for the 180 day plan

Okay, no looking backward. I wrote out a whole post for yesterday (Day 11 in review), explaining some of what’s been going on that has severely interfered with my 180 day plan this first week and a half, but then I realized it was all in the past.

I want to leave it in the past.

What’s the purpose of writing day-after posts that do nothing more than discuss what’s gone wrong and list out excuses? Valid reasons for not being able to write or not, revisiting them doesn’t help my motivation to do better today.

There are missing days already, and writing day-after posts doesn’t offer any benefit to me and has no real purpose. I want to be thinking forward and moving forward, and focus on how to get the words I want instead of agonizing about the words I haven’t gotten.

Missed posts are just missed posts and nothing to worry about.

Some days I might go back to doing some of my writing log posts, where I detail sprints or sessions. I feel a little out of sorts and a lot out of routine and that kind of thing might be helpful. :)

Now, on to today’s writing. :)

 

Day 9 in review (180 day plan)

I ended day 9 with 219 words.

That isn’t anywhere near where I need to be. However, I did go back through the story I’m trying to finish and made some adjustments and fixed some things and that is where I spent most of my writing time today.

I’m very happy with the story right now, but I had wanted to get into some new writing and it just didn’t happen.

Day 8 was a zero word day.

Day 7 in review (180 day plan)

Today, my word count came in at 220 words. It wasn’t what I wanted when I started this morning, but it’s what I’ve ended up with.

I did read a previous story in this series today for the sake of continuity, and I worked my way back through the beginning of the story I’m trying to finish until I hit on what it was that felt off. I fixed that.

I think I’ll finish this story tomorrow.

I am not adjusting my start date of my plan, but I’m not going to focus on trying to catch up either. I figure moving forward is the best use of my time. The one thing I’ve done is decide that writing will be my only priority every day until it’s done and everything else will come after that.

If you’re wondering what happened to days 4–6, I put that below. Suffice to say, I’m not in a happy place right now about my house!

Day 4 in review: Drowning under home maintenance issues.

Day 5 in review: Still.

Day 6 in review: I decided that this was going to be the last day I lose to unplanned home maintenance. There’s only so much I can do in a day, and writing has to come first. It’s how I pay my bills.

Day 3 in review (180 day plan)

It’s been a slow start on this 180 day plan, but today I finally made some progress. The short story I want to finish got a few new words. I got the opening right, finally, after coming back to it multiple times over the last few weeks trying to figure out what my hind-brain was trying to tell me about it.

I’m happy about that.

I’m not happy that I didn’t reach my goal word count for the day.

Tomorrow should be better.

Day 2 in review (180 day plan)

This is going to be short because I’ve been sick most of the day. Tomorrow will have to be my first attempt for 7,000 words (and sorely needed at this point). I don’t think it’s the mold (yesterday’s problem) but who knows. All I do know is that I’ve only started to feel like doing anything in the last hour or so. I have done no writing at all today and I’m going to bed anyway. I’ve been unusually sleepy today on top of feeling sick, so everything is just going to have to wait until tomorrow.

(Yesterday and today is basically how the last few months have played out. Every day feels like some new interruption or distraction from writing. I am feeling the stress of not writing up to my eyeballs.)

Tomorrow will be better. I hold out hope that all I need is another night of rest and to skip the oatmeal in the morning. (I’ve just started to notice that lately every time I eat oatmeal I get sick. I’m just going to stop eating oatmeal altogether, because why not?)

Day 1 in review (180 day plan)

A stumble right out of the gate.

Found some mold that had to be taken care of right away, because mold is one of those things that does not get better if you ignore it and will grow wildly fast if left alone. The humidity here has been insane this year. It’s been wet all summer.

I spent the entire day on my feet working on this problem. Writing did not happen, and now that I’m done, I cannot bring myself to even think about writing more than this short post.

Tomorrow should be a relatively stress free day now though. Wishing myself a better tomorrow, and thinking I might make it my first attempt at 7,000 words.

Restarting

Sometimes things stop us from writing. This year has been a strange one and there has been more than one thing getting in my head and interfering with my desire and ability to create.

It’s hard to believe we’re on the downward slope of 2020. My word count for the year has been the lowest I’ve logged since I started keeping track in 2012. It’s a repeat of 2018, only worse by about 6,000 words.

That said, I have something I want (something big and important and necessary) and to get that, I need to produce new writing on a much more regular basis.

My old motivations have stopped working for me in the last couple of years and I’ve been struggling to find something else to push me to write (when I would almost always rather be reading, because I love reading and frankly, it’s easier). This goal is much more immediate, and the payoff will happen within the year.

I have a 180 day plan, and it means regular writing of about 2,000 words a day to maintain a 2,000 words a day average.

You know what would help that? A weekly attempt at my lofty 7,000 words in a day goal. ;D That is something I’m definitely going to do. The more times I try, the more likely I might make it there before the end of 2020. :D

For now, I’m going to use my blog to post daily updates at the end of the day on the writing, starting with “Day 1”. That’ll start this evening.

Finally hit my limit on the news

I blocked the news sites I visit from my phone’s web browser (the built in apps for news have always been disabled so no worries there) and blocked the writer forum I visit because most of the active threads there are about the news at the moment. I’ve also blocked all those same sites from my computer. All so I can devote myself to my creative pursuits this weekend. :)

In other words, it’s time to get back to writing!

Distractions and the creative muse

With so much going on in the world right now, I’m finding it hard to concentrate on writing fictional stories. I tend to fixate on issues and only action makes it better. There isn’t any action I can take right now for the vast majority of issues going on in the world around me, other than the actions I’ve already taken, so I’m stewing in the uncertainties of what’s to come.

I have a lot of family in the at-risk category for this COVID-19 virus and that worries me. I am self-employed as a writer who doesn’t find it easy to write when my mind is occupied and that worries me.

I’m going to have to put off the next book in one series longer than I planned because I just don’t think I can write it right now. It’s a book that touches on the deaths of millions of people because of a virus, so that worries me. Do people really want to read about a virus killing everybody when there’s a real virus out there killing loved ones?

As for the books in my several other series, I’m having no luck getting to the computer and writing, or even reading the rest of the book I’m copyediting, because I’m too busy stewing in all these worries. A lot of my books are light and humorous (not all) and I’m just not in that headspace.

Maybe I’ll find a way. I hope so, because it would be nice to get lost in another world right now.