Today’s goal: 5.5 hours of timed writing (day 7)

One week in on my effort to post daily goals and I’m not disliking it. :) As long as I keep it to the point I think this is the kind of accountability post best suited to me, of all the kinds I’ve tried over the years.

Today’s goal is a little different. I’ve set a time goal in addition to my usual 3,200 words, but I’m not putting the 3,200 words goal into words. (Even though it is here, it’s not, so don’t get any ideas. :D)

I’m doing this because I want to start practicing writing more and just setting the word count goal isn’t getting me past my biggest obstacle to writing more: the number of hours of writing I manage to focus on each day.

The only thing I can think of to fix that is practice.

So, same set up, different goals.

Today’s goal: 5.5 hours of timed writing.

3 stories = ½ hour each
4 stories = 1 hour each

Or, to compare to prior day goals:

½ hour (192 words) x 1
½ hour (296 words) x 1
½ hour (301 words) x 1
1 hour (603 words) x the other 4

Swapping out stories might be just the thing that makes this attempt different from the last time I tried setting hour goals. There’s a bit of challenge and excitement in the chase to get to all the stories in one day that I really like.

Plus, as the numbers above show, this won’t interfere at all with my 3,200 words goal, because 5.5 hours is just about the right number of hours most days to get me to 3,200 words. :)

3,200 / 5.5 = about 582 words

That won’t interfere with my 3200 a day goal at all, because that actually fits right in the time range I need to get those words. 5.5 hours. I can’t think about that though because it messes with my head. So I’m just going to think about the 1 hr (and .5 hour) of writing I want to get for each of my stories.

Anyway, if I find I don’t like it, I can always go right back to chasing the word count goals (which I’ll probably be doing anyway even with the hour goals, but the truth is, this is just me trying to find a way to practice focusing for longer periods and actually getting in all the time I need so I can reach those word count goals!

What I actually ended up with: 1,109 words and 1.92 hours.

It was better than my current September daily average of 692 so it was a sort of win. It helped push my September average up above 700. :)

Today’s goal: 3,200 words (day 6)

Day 5 is missing. I know. :) I’m just not even going to bother going back and correcting it. Day 5 I wrote 130 words.

Today’s goal is identical to the day 4 goal, even though I’d like to write more. I just don’t see how that’s even going to happen. The evening of day 4 (Saturday night) I realized I’m going to have to go back and read all my books again. Some of the details are getting fuzzy and it’s time for me to refresh my brain. I’m struggling too much with my current stories because I can’t remember things I need to remember. That’s 28 books I need to reread.

I’ve read a few recently. 28 is the number I still need to reread. 18 or so of those are novels and the rest are shorter than that, thank God. :D

So, today, the goal is 3,200 words, broken down by story. :)

192 words x 1
296 words x 1
301 words x 1
603 words x the other 4

What I actually ended up with: 2,355 words.

192 words x 1 (done)
296 words x 1 (done)
301 words x 1 (done)
603 words x the other 4 (got 1 done, didn’t touch the other 3)

Today’s goal: 3,200 words (day 4)

I have afternoon plans today so I’m going to try to get my words done early today. I had planned to start at 9 AM but the power went out early and a few other things happened and my plans didn’t pan out. :)

I’m a little shocked that it’s already 11:02 am to be honest.

I have 8 stories on the go right now and I’ve been working on each of them this last week. My goal is based around that fact.

Today’s goal: 3,200 words, broken down by story. :)

192 words x 1
296 words x 1
301 words x 1
603 words x the other 4

Rounding makes it 3,201, but I don’t have to round. The silly numbers total up to exactly 3,200 based on how many months I want between the series releases. It’s both ridiculous and amazing that the number worked out so perfectly, but I took it as a sign. :D

3,200 is the perfect number.

Someday my abilities will catch up with that fact. :D

What I actually ended up with: 1,073 words.

192 words x 1 (done)
296 words x 1 (done)
301 words x 1 (done)
603 words x the other 4 (barely got started)

Today’s goal: 3,200 words (day 3)

A late start today, due to a morning obligation. I have several hours of time I’d like to spend writing, so I’m going to use the timers and see what I can get done.

I’m sticking with the 3,200 word goal today because despite everything, it should be possible, especially if I can get on a roll and keep my words per hour up where it’s been the last few days.

What I actually ended up with: 643 words.

I suspected that getting a delayed start was going to hurt me. :-o

Ah well. 643 is better than my 638 daily average for 2019, so it’s still a win in a certain light. :)

Today’s goal: 3,600 words (day 2)

Most of my daily goals are probably going to be 3,200 words for a while, because that’s the number of words I’ve decided I can write each day by the math, and, therefore, should be writing each day. :) As usual, I don’t know how long this frame of mind will last, but I’m hopeful it will last a long time.

3,200 / 5 = 640 wph

Now, as usual, my struggle actually lies with getting the stupid hours I spend writing up. That’s always where I struggle. I can’t stay on one task for too long before I get antsy and have to get up and move around and the moment I do that… three hours gone!

I’ve been writing in 20 minute blocks because writing in anything longer makes it too hard to get started right now, and anything shorter means I spent way too much time on breaks. (It’s like the timer is a break trigger. I find it nearly impossible to ignore and simply restart it for another session. I have to take that break.)

All that said, today’s goal is actually 3,600 words, for reasons too convoluted to get into. :D

Anyway, I’ve dragged this out and I meant to just post a quick goal, so there. :)

What I actually ended up with: 569, working on one story.

Today’s goal: 3,200 words (day 1)

I’m thinking about starting a series of daily posts where I post my goal for the day in the morning (ish) and then try to meet it.

I have a tendency to set big goals that are hard for me to meet, but I’m thinking that’s a feature, not a flaw, of my process, because I also tend to stop the moment I reach a goal and lose all my interest in doing more. I can tell myself a hundred times that the goal is a minimum, but it doesn’t matter when I get there, I see it as goal accomplished and disengage.

This is my test run of this so we’ll see how I feel about it at the end of the day (and tomorrow, when I have to remember to do it again). :D

Today’s goal: 3,200 words.

What I actually ended up with: 2,088.

That’s a decent word count for me!

August 2019 progress

I had a nice recovery in August. Not a fantastic word count for the month by any means, but a vast improvement over June and July. In fact, in August, I wrote more words than in June and July combined.

I finally finished a short story I started a few months back, and started another one. I’m still not working on the novel I set aside for the short stories, but I’m going to try to get back to it soon.

I still just don’t know what it is about that story that has me stumped, but it’s clear to me that I’m suffering from project block of some sort on it. It might be that the only way through it is to dig in again and just keep pushing until something gives.

That worked for the short story. I restarted it something like five times before I finally wrote something I wanted to be writing.

August words: 24,113.

My August word count was nothing to be unhappy about, even if I wanted to accomplish a bit more.

  • My writing daily streak is alive and well. I haven’t had a zero word day since 8/5.
  • My editing daily streak is alive. I’ve read and edited a little something every single day since I started that on 8/7.

On the other hand, I’m not sure the daily editing is serving the purpose I want it to serve.

I’m still going to read the entire story I just finished writing, despite having read through it a number of times now as I went. In the end, I don’t trust myself not to have missed something, and I can’t let go of the need to read it through from the start right before publishing. It’s just how I have to do things to feel comfortable letting it go.

We’ll see if I continue to find the daily editing a useful habit. I don’t think it hurts anything, but I just can’t see where it’s really helping either. As I become more prolific, it might pay off. We’ll see.

Onward to September.

Active streaks update

Active streaks:

  • Day 20 of writing fiction every day
  • Day 19 of editing my in progress fiction every day (typo hunts and continuity checks that aim to make finishing my books easier and the last read through more likely to go quickly). I really do prefer to do this away from my computer, so I’m more likely to notice missing words and other embarrassing mistakes. :D (A clock and a cock are very different things, and yet spell check doesn’t care about that at all. :D)

A follow up on the inactive stuff at this point:

I’m going to stop reading every day. I’m a binge reader and I started to notice after 3 weeks of daily reading, my reading breaks were getting longer and longer. Eight hours of reading a day is not what I had in mind when I started this streak!

I do think the regular little doses of fiction reading have helped me tame my perfectionist streak but sacrifices must be made. I have to do what I can to limit the things in my life that stop me from writing. I love reading. I would read all day every day if I could.

If I fall into a binge reading cycle now, I’ll be lucky to write a page a day for however long it lasts. In fact, these reading binges are usually what lead to my long zero word day streaks. I’m crying a little inside about that but it is what it is.

I have to start the 1,000 words a day streak over, so it’s not a streak at all yet, because I had two days where I barely wrote a thing. I don’t know that I’m going to try to get any other streaks going at this point. I think two is enough for now.

The 24 minute sprint every day before noon is dead, if only because I’ve decided I need longer sessions if I want to get into flow. And I do. And if I want to get in more writing time every day, I have to do longer sessions, because for some reason a 10 minute break for me usually ends up being more like an hour (or 6 hours of reading (told you it was a problem)) and I can’t have that either.

So, longer sessions, fewer breaks, more flow.

That’s where I’m at right now, and it’s time to get back to writing. I’ve used this to put off my second 50 minute session long enough. :)

I need my anti-perfectionism practice today

:D

What a way to start a post. Anyway, I read an interesting interview today and feel energized to get started early despite being more than two hours short on sleep.

For the last few days I’ve been using 24 minutes timers and a scribbled time log to keep me focused on writing, although yesterday I forgot to start the timer more often than not. However, it all has helped because my word counts are up and I’m feeling both productive and like I’m getting some free time to myself that doesn’t involve me feeling guilty for not writing more.

As of three days ago, I’ve started a streak of 1,000+ word days that I’d like to keep going for a while. My last 1,000+ words a day streak ended in March 2013 (you can see it in the sidebar) and lasted for 27 days. It would be nice to set a new record for 1,000+ days since it’s 6 years later now. :)

Active streaks:

  • Editing something every day (typo hunts and continuity checks that aim to make finishing my books easier and the last read through more likely to go quickly).
  • Writing fiction every day
  • Reading fiction every day
  • Writing more than 1,000 words a day

New one I’m aiming to start today: Finish at least one 24 minute sprint every day before noon.

I actually plan to go for three today but the streak I’m aiming for is just to make myself get that one sprint in every day before noon no matter what else I do.

And now it’s time to start writing fiction. My fingers are limbered up and my brain is firing nicely and I’m clear-headed. Away I go. :)

I’ll do a progress post later today with word counts! I don’t want to deal with that right now. :)

The difference between writing and rewriting

Yesterday I didn’t write as much as I really thought I would. It was my first day with the kid back at school and the house was quiet and I have no one to blame but myself. The problem is that I’m really not sure how I managed not to write more.

Still, dwelling on the past doesn’t help the present, so I’m going to put that aside and think about today.

My anti-perfectionism posting isn’t going well. I wrote about three paragraphs here that I’ve already deleted in whole. But I’m just going to have to deal with it. I also came across something in a quick reread of some posts I’ve always found helpful and it made me realize that I continue to rewrite the rules I follow in my head to be more restrictive than they should be. Of course.

This is a little bit of a rant, mostly aimed at myself, because I have always found the line between writing and rewriting hard to pinpoint. It’s a “know it when I see it” thing.

Rewriting and writing are very closely related.

If you’re actively writing a story, the first time through, still working out the story as you type, most of the stuff you do isn’t going to be rewriting, even if it fits the definition of rewriting in the most basic sense that you’re changing something you’ve already put down on the page. It just isn’t, it can’t be, it’s just a basic part of the writing process.

Even one of the biggest proponents of not rewriting says he puts stuff in and takes stuff out as he loops through a story he’s writing. You can read this in his Writing into the Dark book in the chapter about being unstuck in time if you don’t believe me.

The words you put down are not golden. They are words. You’re finding your way and writing the best words you can find to get the story out of your head and onto the page.

We make what feels like a bazillion decisions as we write, mostly instantly, and sometimes the wrong thing gets down, and when you come back after writing through a few pages and start adding a few things to deepen the story, it’s inevitable that you’ll realize your character is feeling a certain way, or someone left the room earlier than you thought, and you totally missed it the first time through so you have to delete a line and put in a new one. That’s not rewriting. That’s an integral part of the process of writing a story.

Very few people can take a story fully formed and write it fully formed and never change a word. That’s just not a normal thing. And if you have those kinds of expectations, you’ll drown under them. You’ll start to hate writing and maybe even yourself.

I should know. Because I often have these expectations for myself. It’s the curse of perfectionism. It works really hard to kill every ounce of love I have for writing—and everything else in my life, to be honest.

But those are my issues, not yours. I have coping mechanisms in place and I use them to the best of my ability.

Don’t let other people put those kinds of expectations of perfection on you, either. It’s just as destructive.

On the other hand, there’s a line there you do not want to cross. If you’re changing a lot of things, every time you take a pass through a story, you’re probably not just writing anymore. You’re doing what most people think of when they talk about rewriting. You’re being a critic and you’re thinking about other people and what they’ll think of you and your story when you change things.

If you’re thinking about deleting something because it feels superfluous (especially because you’ve been told that if it’s not relevant to the story it doesn’t belong), and the something you’re thinking about deleting isn’t hurting anything by being left alone, then leave it alone. Seriously. Ignore those assholes. They don’t know what they’re talking about.

How do you write a book that no one else has written? You leave in the stuff that you wanted in there. That’s your voice as a writer. It’s you.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put something in a story that seemed totally useless but I liked it so I left it and it became crucial to the story as it unfolded, or to the series even further down the road. Don’t change things for the sake of changing them. Let the story be what it will be.

All these little threads give you more opportunities to look like a genius when you do call backs three books later. ;D

If you’re worrying about getting what you want to get across in the best way possible to support the story and make the story come alive for your reader, you’re writing, not rewriting.

If you’re worrying about how stupid your sentence sounds and trying to make it sound better, then ouch, that is definitely rewriting. You are your own worst enemy when you’re writing and you need to work on getting that under control ASAP. Nobody cares how your sentences sound unless you’re looking to earn a literary award.

Even then, I’ve read some literary fiction with atrocious sentences in them. Writing good fiction is not about writing good sentences. It’s about writing a good story and pulling the reader along with you as the story unfolds.

No more zero word days—day 12

Notes on the challenge:

  • Only true zero word days count as zero word days, meaning—
    • Negative numbers aren’t zero word days because they just indicate that I deleted more than I wrote.
    • I don’t want oodles of negative word days, because forward progress matters a lot more than just logging a number that isn’t a zero, but I also don’t want the same issues that I had with my “no sweets before 1,000” to crop up either—the issue of needing to delete something but hesitating because I wanted to get my 1,000 words in so I could have a treat!

All that said, things are going well! I just need to get my daily word counts up to where I would like them to be, 1500-3000, and I’ll finally be satisfied. :D (Really? Who knows! But I’m going to pretend.)

Yesterday, I helped my daughter move back to college and now I can’t be blaming other people for my lack of concentration and writing. It’s all on me.

Today is a super quiet day here and I plan to enjoy it by writing the day away.

Days 1–11: 7,104 words*

Day 12: in progress!*

* Edited because I had those days and word counts all wrong. What the heck?! I have no idea how I messed that up. Never mind. I totally forgot this wasn’t a monthly update but was for the challenge only. The numbers were right the first time!

A daily dose of anti-perfectionism

It’s time for my daily dose of anti-perfectionism. I allow myself to type a post or journal entry without editing except to fix typos and actual mistakes. No revising my words. Actually, it’s not so much that I allow it, as I make myself. :D I wanted to go back and change that, but I said, nope, you have to leave it and move on. It’s a lot harder to do that than you’d think with a brain like mine!

I wrote 1,887 words yesterday, which is the most I’ve logged since 5/28. That was the day I finished my last piece of work. Today I plan to finish my current piece of work, that short story that I restarted five times. It’s up to over 7,000 words now and I’m going to write until it’s done today. I hope. :)

My daily writing streak is 6 days long now. So is my daily fiction reading (longer, actually, but it’s easier to keep up with like this), and my daily editing streak is five days long. And by editing I mean proofreading and typo hunting, continuity checking, and error fixing. That’s all. I’m really trying to avoid touching the stuff too much. I do not allow myself to change things for the sake of change. The fact that I can reread these stories this many times and not be bored with them yet bodes well for my state of mind. :)

When I’m feeling creative, I love rereading my own work. When my inner critic is running free, or I’m suffering from a resurgence of perfectionism, I start to hate it. Everything reads stilted and flat and I get no joy from the humor and no excitement from the adventure. I really don’t like being in that state of mind.

And holy crap. I revised this thing to death. I think I need to start over and do this exercise again. :-o

Maybe I’ll just save it for the journal entry I started. I’ve been using the journal as a daily log, recording time stamps and what I was doing and plan to do at each entry. I started that a few days ago and it seems to be helping me concentrate and stay focused.

Now, off to write before it’s 10 am and I haven’t done a thing but this silly post.

And maybe it wasn’t really revising so much as it’s just a pure example of my writing process. I really don’t write things in order. My thoughts aren’t always complete and I do confuse people in conversation by jumping around as I talk. I have to go back and fill in and expand things that I know but didn’t quite get out of my head and into the conversation. :D That’s pretty much how I write too. :)

AM writing and anti-perfectionism

It’s 9:06 and I’m just about to write my first fiction words of the day. This little detour is me practicing anti-perfectionism. I’m deliberately allowing myself to correct only typos, but not revise anything I type here this morning. I think I’m going to practice this daily, although that might not always mean a blog post.

Yesterday I didn’t write much fiction at all. But I did keep my streaks alive.

50 words of fiction on one story.

Read and edited parts of two stories.

Read some fiction.

The book I’m reading is entertaining and it has definitely made me think about whether or not I’ve been doing a good job of reining in my inner critic. I rephrase things in my head a lot before I write them down and I shouldn’t do that. I know it’s the critic inside me telling me I’m doing it wrong so I have to redo it before it even sees the page. That makes for really slow writing, when I let that part of me win.

Anyway, no point dragging this out. I’m ready to write some fiction this morning.

I’ve found my new writing challenge

Yesterday, I logged my day so I could try to keep my concentration focused on writing. Didn’t work exactly the way I hoped, because I only ended up with 1,075 words for the day when I’d aimed for considerably more. But—

I did write the following note for myself in OneNote and I wanted to post it here because it’s relevant to a couple of my previous posts. :)

I have found my new challenge. I did a quick little formula in my word count spreadsheet today and realized that the number of zero word days I have is exactly 999. One look at that number and I knew I wanted to see how long I could keep that from turning over to 1,000 zero word days. So that’s my 2019 challenge. I don’t want that number to tip over to 1,000.

Simply put, the “no more zero word days” challenge is back. It’s one of my oldest and I’m happy to bring it back to life.

This little challenge is all the motivation I need to keep my current fiction writing streak alive.

8/5 was the 999th zero word day I’ve had since I started my daily tracking.

8/6 I wrote 119 words and that day began my current streak of daily fiction writing.

Since I wrote that, I realized (this morning) that the 999 included yesterday’s zero before I started writing, so in actuality, I have 998 zero word days. I’m just going to count that extra day as a cushion that I hope not to need before the end of the year.

My last zero word day was 8/5, so I now have a four day writing streak. It’ll be five in about five minutes. :)

July 2019 progress

Ah! I forgot to post my monthly progress post for July. :) I’m forgetting a lot of things lately, but I blame it on the fact that my brain has been full of plans to make the writing work and the worry that maybe the boredom is deeper than any one book. I realized yesterday that was probably not true, and I had that proven today.

Yesterday, I dropped the plans and goals and quotas, and lo and behold, I had no trouble at all getting started today. I’ve already been writing and I even did some reading of two of my works in progress and found no errors to correct at all. :)

July words: 995.

OUCH. So many ouches.

As you can see, all those things I’ve been trying to do to get myself to producing more words again have not been working. You’d think I’d double down on those plans now that July numbers are in, but nope.

I am apparently allergic to goals and quotas. :-o

In lieu of all those things, here’s what I’m doing for August.

At the top of my calendar I have three recurring all-day events.

Screenshot of calendar events

1. Read some fiction every day – This keeps me in the creative frame of mind and makes me a lot less critical of my own writing. I read a lot, but this is meant to keep me reading fiction every day. If I’m going to be writing fiction every day, I need to be reading fiction every day to dull the bleat of my inner critic.

2. Edit some of my fiction every day – This is to ease the burden of the final proofreading and copy editing I do right at publish time. I find all that reading right after I’ve finished a book a lot tedious, and keeping things done ahead of time makes that last read through before publishing go much quicker (fewer typos, continuity issues, or other errors to mark and correct). Mostly, though, this is to keep me focused on my stories, and why I like writing. I love to read my own work, and when I don’t love to read it, I know something’s going wrong in my head. I only ever don’t like it when my critical self gets control of my brain.

3. Write some fiction every day – This is there so I can put my “+” beside it and feel a little thrill that my streak is still alive. It’s also got three separate reminders on it so I get a little notification three different times of the day. That’s to help me be aware if I’m frittering the day away. :)

This little set up will create three separate streaks for me to track and that will keep my analytical self happy and occupied. :)

I’m really happy with this set up and I’m feeling good about it.

I am still worried about the novel that I’m bored with, but I’m going to read it today sometime, mark any errors that need correcting, and look for the place where I might have taken a wrong turn.

I don’t think it’s the first few chapters. A bit of a niggle of an idea has been coalescing in the back of my brain since early this morning, and I have a feeling I know where I need to chop off the book and restart from. :D

Fingers crossed!

I’ll lose a lot of words but in the time I’ve been away from the book, I could have written another novel. I don’t want to let that drag on.

So, although July was the pits, really, I’m pretty happy with the course corrections I’m implementing for August. I’ve written more already this month than last, and I’m going to consider that a good sign this early in the month. :)

It’s still entirely possible this will become my best (most productive) year ever, with approximately half the year to go.

Unthinking my writing plans and making adjustments

So. I’m in a tough spot right now. I keep going over things in my head, trying to come up with some process that will help me get past my boredom to do the writing I need and want (but don’t want) to do. I want to do it, but I don’t want to sit down and do the work of it.

A conundrum, I know. It isn’t the sitting down, or the typing, that keeps me from getting started. It’s the expectation and the thinking I have to do.

My brain is just so tired of all this thinking.

So tonight, after another day of agonizing about not writing but never getting to the point where I could make myself sit down and write (I even canceled a doctors’ appointment today for this), I have finally come to the conclusion that I’m making this so much harder than it has to be.

I’m going to take a step back from all the various plans I’ve come up with in the last few weeks to try to get me moving on my books again, and just… go easy on myself.

The new plan is so simple I feel ridiculous even calling it a plan.

I’m going to write some fiction every day.

I’m going to try to write enough to keep me happy when I look at my daily and weekly and monthly word counts.

I’m going to focus on getting a streak of daily writing going.

That’s it, really. Just write, and stop thinking so much.

Too much thinking gets in the way of a lot of things. It can also set us on a path we don’t need to be on.

A creative writing craft resource: Writing Commons

I came across what looks like an interesting resource for newer writers, or anyone who wants a refresher in some basic craft lessons while I was searching for something else.

I originally sent the link to my college student kid because college writing is always a chore and lessons to help with that seem like a good resource to share. Then I realized the resource also included creative writing resources.

https://writingcommons.org/chapters/creative-writing

I haven’t examined every article at this site, and I don’t necessarily recommend anything there, but it looks like a really good resource for someone who wants to explore learning craft. There are some interesting articles about writing short stories and about the technical aspects of writing like point of view and plot and characterization.

I’ll probably check it out in more detail myself later, because I am the first to admit I will never learn enough about writing, and it doesn’t matter that I’ve been writing fiction for almost 30 years at this point. There’s always something new to learn—or something old to remember. :)

Also, just to clarify, I estimate I started writing fiction at 14 so I’m not that old. :D Yet!

Fiction writing log: August 2, 2019

Still trying to think up an interesting and fun challenge for myself. In the meantime, my attempt to be more workman like with my writing did not fare as well on the second of August. I fell far short of my goal, and even though I was away for several hours, I could have made time to write more and didn’t.

Coffee was an issue. I forgot to drink a cup yesterday morning (sounds crazy, but I really just forgot) and ended up with a bad headache yesterday evening. I didn’t want to risk messing up my sleep because I just went off an allergy pill that was helping me get drowsy in the evenings and sleep harder, so I skipped having any coffee at all. I really don’t have any self-discipline when I don’t feel well.

I did not reach my daily minimum word count.

Word count: 319

Daily goal range: 275–1,000 words an hour.

Three hours x 275 words = 825 words.

Six hours x 1,000 words = 6,000 words.

Anything within that range is a win, small or large.

I did not have a win yesterday so -1 for me. :(

Today’s plan is to get my 3–6 hours of timed writing in early and I’m giving the no sweets rule another try.

It worked well for a while but I started to get too frustrated with it when the writing wasn’t progressing well and I had words to delete. But really, I still need to lose some weight that I’ve gained since I started writing (it’s the working-from-home weight, really) and the no sweets rule had double duty. I don’t do well with free access to sweet treats.

So—I’ve made an adjustment that ties it in to my new goal: No sweets until I’ve logged 3 hours of writing, or 1,000 words. We’ll see how it goes today.

Now I’m off to write. :)

Fiction writing log: August 1, 2019

I’m trying to think up an interesting and fun challenge for myself. In the meantime, my attempt to be more workman like with my writing is going well. I fell short of the 3 to 6 hour goal, but I had a five hour commitment today, so I’m pretty happy with my 2 hours of writing, especially because even though I didn’t reach my minimum hours, I did reach my minimum word count.

Word count: 1,516

I used to keep up with my words per hour average, but the truth is, after all this time, I’ve come to realize averages don’t really tell me anything so I don’t pay attention to that any longer. I have a range I want to push for when it comes to how many words I write during my hours, and that’s the information I need to set minimum word count expectations. That range is 275–1,000 words an hour.

Three hours x 275 words = 825 words.

Six hours x 1,000 words = 6,000 words.

Anything within that range is a win, small or large.

I exceeded my minimum today, so +1 for me.

:)

Peppermint tea, coffee, and an epiphany

Back on the peppermint tea today. I mixed it with a bag of my “I Love Lemon” and it makes a great minty lemony tea. Better than either one alone.

I’m trying not to overdo the coffee. I’m back down to one 6-8 oz cup a day. And I have avoided the sweet tea the last few days. Not enough sleep lately, so I’m doing what I can. Sleep has a major impact on how steady my nerves feel. I need them steady right now or I’m never going to get back in a groove with my writing. :D

Holy shit, I just had an epiphany while writing this post. I’ve deleted everything I had written here so that I can get this out before it disappears.

I know what my problem is now, finally, after never really understanding what was going on after I finished a project.

I’m bored.

I was writing about how I am dedicated to becoming a working writer, which I defined as someone who writes every day instead of someone like me who struggles and struggles and struggles until a story catches hold and then things take off and I write for 60 days in a row before taking another 60 days to get moving on something else because everything I write bores me to tears. That was when the epiphany hit. I’m bored. I am so bored.

I have no idea how to address this issue, but it is nice to finally know what’s going on. It’s not the let-down of having finished a big project that is throwing me for this loop and knocking me out of my routines. It’s boredom.

Boredom is a killer of all motivation and desire.

Now I just need to figure out how to work around this so I can get back into another project sooner–one that doesn’t bore me to tears.

I admit, I’ve restarted the story I’m trying to write at the moment five different times and that is no exaggeration. I’ve also redrafted parts of it multiple times during those restarts. I’ve written considerably more words than my spreadsheet shows, because deleted words disappear from the totals as if they were never written in the first place, but boy, were those words hard to get out the first time.

The story is interesting and I can see this on an intellectual sense, but it isn’t interesting to me at this point in time. So I keep deleting stuff trying to find that story that I want to be writing, the story that will pull me along so it all doesn’t feel like such a damn chore right now.

I keep taking wrong turns, getting bored again, and stalling out.

I really do think I’ve figured this out.

BOREDOM.

I have the kind of mind that resists anything that I find tedious or boring, and as of this moment, that is exactly how writing feels. It feels hard, and it feels hard because I’m bored. When I sit down to write, it’s hard to be creative. My subconscious isn’t engaged—I might not have realized I was bored until this moment, but my subconscious has known all along. It doesn’t know how to label these feelings (I hypothesize) but it knows something isn’t right.

I’m looking for novelty and excitement and I’m not finding it in my writing. So I’m looking outside the writing and finding distractions everywhere.

It’s not that I’m distractible. It’s that I’m bored. Which makes total sense, because when I’m really into something, nothing can pull me away. I sink into my mind so firmly that I can’t get out without truly wrenching myself free.

It’s so painfully obvious now.

My problem is that I’m bored out of my damn mind.

I need to shake myself loose from this and spend my time writing something else, whatever that might be.

The big problem I’ll have to overcome is that I’m not usually in control of how I feel. I have a history of abandoned hobbies that prove it. Once I do what I set out to do, I get bored out of my mind with it. Quilting, scrapbooks, collecting, photography, home decorating, home improvement, designing websites, building websites, learning coding, learning lots of things to be honest.

I am a novelty seeker.

I have to figure out how to make writing into reading, where I never get permanently bored. I just get a little bored, and I start reading other things to spice it back up.

But to be honest, even with reading, I have spells where I go months without reading anything, then spend 6 months reading hundreds of stories and novels. That was last year, in fact.

If I can’t figure this out, I might have a real problem here with my career. I need to give this some serious thought.

In the meantime, I intended to write about my new plan. It’s pretty simple.

    1. Remember that writing fiction is how I’m making a living and treat it as such—as something nonnegotiable, in other words.
    2. Do 3–6 hours of timed writing each day using one hour timers, aiming for 275–1,000 words per hour.

275 words per hour is a good fit for the bad days, and 1,000 words per hour is a good fit for my good days. This means that I can expect at least my 1,000 words a day and possibly my 2,000 words a day most days, with some not great days and some really fantastic days mixed in.

I’m not sure how this plan is going to work with what I’ve realized today, so I guess I’m going to have to give that some thought too.

However, I should probably do that after I sit down and try to do a few of those daily hours. Hm. :-o

*The crazy thing is that I reread a post while trying to find that link above, and wow, the clues are all there! Boredom, mentioned by name. I am blown away that I didn’t recognize this choke point sooner.