My First Twenty-Five and Negative Numbers

The trend continues. My morning tea writing streak’s now seven days long. Yay!

But … I’ve had negative progress on almost every one of those seven days. Today I ended the twenty-five minutes at -189. Yikes! I think this is just because of this specific book and the problems I’m having with it and not a sign that I’m too critical of my writing in the mornings so there’s that. No way I’m giving up this streak unless I’m too sick to climb out of bed and actually have my morning tea.

I’m giving it to the end of my first one and a half hour writing session this morning and if I haven’t gotten through this tough spot, I’m going to delete the 5,462 words between where I am and the end and start over.

That’s a lot of words to delete but if I can’t get some momentum going with what I have, I’m going to assume there’s a bigger problem that I just can’t see and wipe the slate. :D I can’t take another week of agonizing over it all.

I’m starting another post with some motivational numbers-posting today. I want this to be a great writing day! It’s beautiful here at my desk, with lots of warm sunlight spilling over my hands and face, and I watched entirely too much television last night instead of writing—and oh, The Americans held my attention for six whole episodes before I got bored! I like it—but it’s time to get busy. I’ve let this book derail me from my goal for long enough.

I have one million words to write this year and by georgie, I’m going to do my best to write them. :D

Unfun, It’s a Thing

So I succeeded again today in getting to the computer and writing for 25 minutes with my morning tea. That makes this a four day streak. Yay!

My book seems to be going backwards though, because every time I sit down to write I come away with a bigger deficit. So far today, I’ve put in one hour and fifty-five minutes of timed writing. I maxed out at -256 words and I’m back down to only -113. I still think I have some stuff to delete.

This has turned out to be one of those times where I wish I’d just deleted this chapter when I realized how much momentum I’d lost, and then started over. In the end, that’s about what I’ve done. I wonder if I should still do that. I’ll lose what I’ve regained but maybe I can go in a different direction and recapture the magic.

I’m sad about this. I really thought this book would be fun but it’s just turned into an unfun* experience all around and I don’t know why.

I guess I should get back to it and see what I can get done.

*Unfun, it’s that thing that happens when you write something and it sucks.

Missing Post, Morning Tea Pomodoro Streak, & Schedules

I unpublished yesterday’s post. I added a lot to it last night and ended up with 1,300+ words. Then I looked at it and it seemed like a whole bunch of the same old thing so I put it back into draft rather than try to put it into any kind of order. :) Sorry about that! In case you want to know, I barely topped out at 3 hours of writing yesterday and my word count was dismal at 459 for the day. Procrastination wasn’t the problem as much as lost time.

It’s day 3 of writing with my morning tea. It’s going great! I love the ritual. I really see this working for me long term, even if my numbers are small that early in the day. (I’ve had most of my longed-for but rarely reached 1,000 words an hour sessions at around midday. I’m slow in the morning and less slow in the evening.)

I’ve come full circle back to my schedule, but with changes to reflect my attempt at some motivation hacking.

  • The single biggest issue I face with procrastination is impulsiveness.
  • Relying on willpower probably isn’t going to work. I know my weaknesses so I need to work around them.
  • When I rely on fixed time goals (schedule based) I lose the motivation to work efficiently because there’s no reward for getting done early.
  • When I rely on word count goals, I put off starting until it’s too late because I’m terrible at estimating how much time it takes me to do things.

So I made a new schedule that mixes time goals and word count goals.

I didn’t like the last schedule at all, but I think it goes back to the fixed time issue and lack of reward for efficiency. Also, two hours and thirty-six minutes is just too long for me to work without a break.* So the redone schedule puts me writing in chunks of 90 minutes. There’s even some interesting theory that says this is great length of time for a work session, so why not take advantage of that?

1.5 hours or 900 words
30 minute break
Repeat 3 times.

This should give me my 1,800 before lunch and 1,800 after lunch. Getting started at 8 am is the plan (I usually have my tea at 7), but if I sleep in, I can always start anytime after my tea and breakfast. But once I start, I really hope to be able to push through until I’ve done all 4 sessions. :D That’s the goal anyway!

*Just no way around it … my bladder doesn’t like long work sessions! And once I’m up and about, all bets are off when it comes to distractions.

Hacking My Motivation

Well, it’s time to get into some nitty-gritty motivation hacking, because if I don’t, I’m very much afraid I’ll be finishing this last 10,000 words of my 2014 novella #1 sometime in, say, 2015.

Not what I want!

So … last night I spent a lot of time reading about motivation and procrastination and I found some good, actionable advice I plan to make use of.

What I Read

I’ve read a lot of stuff over the years about procrastination, but I’ve got to say, these particular posts and books really gave me some new stuff to think about. I loved being able to diagnose the reasons I procrastinate instead of having to slog through trite advice that I’ve heard so many times that I’ve just started ignoring it. There’s only so many times someone can say, “Just sit down and do it,” before I realize they really have no clue what I’m facing when I start down the path of procrastination. No clue whatsoever. If they did, they’d know I’D ALREADY BE DOING IT IF I COULD JUST MAKE MYSELF SIT DOWN AND DO IT.

Ah. Sorry about that. ;) This subject hits a nerve.

Anyway, I’ve come up with some small things that I think might just help me and I’m so excited to say that I’ve already had my first success!

I decided, after a conversation with a pal on a forum, that today was going to get off to a good start, with something small and completely doable that wouldn’t tax my brain or send me fleeing in fear of having to actually work this morning.

I implemented impulse pairing, where I added something I enjoy to the thing I keep procrastinating on. I enjoy my morning tea, a lot. I enjoy relaxing with it and drinking it slowly.

So … I got up and started a new routine: I had tea at my desk and did 1 Pomodoro’s worth of writing. 25 minutes, no pressure, just a way to enjoy my morning tea before breakfast. Since I have tea every morning, this isn’t a drastic change in my habits.

It felt fantastic! And even though I barely made it to 163 words in that 25 minutes, there was no expectation of a particular word count that I needed, so I didn’t mind. It just felt really good to get going with a minimum of fuss. I didn’t have to do anything before I got that first session in: no cooking breakfast, no reading forums, blogs, books, or email—nothing.

I’m very much planning to turn this little ritual into a firm habit by tracking this and turning it into a streak. :D

The only other thing I plan to attempt at the moment is a small change in how I think of my goals. Instead of thinking of my goals as daily, I’m going to go even smaller. For some people, saying they need to write 3,000 words a day might not be a big deal. But to me, knowing that I can write that many words in a day doesn’t negate the low expectancy of reaching that goal because I know I often don’t write that many words in a day, even when I set out to do just that. In a sense, I have a lot of learned helplessness associated with my writing that I’ve let creep in over the years and it’s hurting me.

I made notes as I read, and here’s what I came up with for myself when I got to the part about setting goals.

Set smaller goals. My daily word count goal is good, and so is my daily time writing goal. But I can break it down further. I could use my schedule and have goals for each session. Or I could have a simple goal of finishing 1,800 words before lunch, and finishing 1,800 words after lunch. The goal looks smaller (but isn’t) and that’s plenty of words for what I want.

1,800 seems so small in comparison to 3,000. And yet, 1,800 + 1,800 is actually 600 more words than the 3,000. Perception of the size of my goals is an important factor here. I have very few doubts that I can write 1,800 words before lunch, because I have a spreadsheet that shows I did just that for an entire month last February, with very few missed days. But 3,000? 3,000 is a big number, and I don’t often get 3,000 words in a day, so it just feels harder to reach.

This could also easily shift to fit time goals instead of word goals, but I’ve had to accept that time goals and writing don’t mix for me. Saying I need to get in 3 hours of writing before lunch still feels more difficult, and there’s no reward for being more efficient and getting done sooner, because the goal is a fixed time goal.

Finally, after thinking about it some more last night, I decided it might be even better to start out with a goal of getting in two 900 word writing sessions before lunch and two before supper. This way my goal appears even smaller and can be split up easily if I need to make time for something besides writing in my day. :D Or I can do it all at once if I’m on a roll.

And that’s it. I’ve rambled to the point that I don’t even remember half of what I’ve written here, so I’ll go.** I’ve really put off getting started with my 1,800 before lunch way too long! Might have to skip that one today. I got up quite late after staying up late last night and I’m already hungry for lunch and ready for a nap. Wet hair, cold weather, and too little sleep… Not my most productive combination. But hey, I’ve already done some writing today! Yay! :D

*My time was limited and I didn’t want to still be in the middle of reading these books instead of doing something, so I stuck to the samples. I’m very likely to purchase these and finish reading them, but not today!

**Plus it’s kind of depressing to see I’ve written over 1,000 words on a blog post but could barely eek out 163 words on my book. Someone save me from myself…

Procrastination and Promises

So. I promised I’d shut off my internet tomorrow if I didn’t write 3,600 words before I went to sleep tonight. It’s 8:19 pm and I haven’t written any words at all. I’m starting to realize I actually, really might not have any internet tomorrow. Holy crap.

What does that mean?

I won’t have tv, because…

I won’t have wifi, which means…

I won’t have email, and…

I won’t have forums … or blogs to read … or hangouts with my sis, because I have absolutely no cell phone service where I live.

Holy CRAP.

I’ve got to get writing.

I’m going to try to use this post to keep me motivated to finish my 3,600 words tonight. 3,600 / 600 an hour = 6 hours. So I’d be done at 2:30 am. Holy crap. I don’t want to stay awake that late. If I can push myself to write 1,200 an hour I can be done in 3. So how about I just assume that’s possible and go from there?

8:40 pm: Ready, set, go…

 

One Million Words—Day 35 & 36

Day 35: 0

Day 36: In progress 24

Ha! I’ve decided (after a blinding moment of realization a couple of hours ago as I made tea) that I’m falling into a habit of writing about writing, but not actually writing. In other words, I’m getting good at telling you what I’m going to do instead of actually doing it. :D

So today, no plans. I’ll be back to update later today when I either have something or nothing to report.

That was easy. No real progress at all. Oops. :D

One Million Words—Day 34

Today I’m going to try 45 minute writing sessions, at least 5 of them. I want to get my minimum daily count of 2,950 (what I need to reach one million words at year end—976,350 words / 331 days = 2,950) and then maybe get a few extra words in there. I’m not sure 5 sessions will be enough, but that’s what I’m starting with.

It’s 9:08 am and I’m off to get started.

Session #1: 34 minutes, 96 new words. Mostly I got stuck changing up the last page of the last scene I wrote, because something was off, but I don’t know what. I’m still not real happy with it. So, my wph is going to be way down today. I can already say that 5 sessions aren’t going to be nearly enough unless I have a fabulous breakthrough.

Session #2: 24 minutes, 93 new words. Mostly I’m still stuck on the same last page of the same scene, although after adding 189 words total to the page, it’s more like I’m stuck on the last page and a half. Seriously thinking about deleting the entire last two to three pages and starting over. Usually if things are going this slow, that’s about my only choice, because something definitely isn’t working—the hazards of making it up as I go, I guess. :D Ah, well. :D It’s still fun, in a twisted sort of way.

I had a longer than it should’ve been break and now I’m about to start another session.

My next session never really got going, although I did toy with some alternate ideas for the scene. In the end, I came out 1 word down. :D

So, yeah. Not a great writing day! Tomorrow will be better.

*Also I’m tracking my time today for everything and I’m going to keep tracking it for the whole week so I can start really focusing on how much time I’m spending doing things besides writing. I have a feeling it’s going to be an eye-opener and a bit of a slap in the face. :D Ah, well. Time tracking is ridiculous, I know. But sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do!

One Million Words—Month 1 Summary

So, the end of month 1 in the One Million Words challenge for 2014 brought low numbers and sad faces all around. I ended January at 23,650.

Wed, 1/1/14 1,192 1,192
Thu, 1/2/14 5,194 4,002
Fri, 1/3/14 8,550 3,356
Sat, 1/4/14 8,720 170
Sun, 1/5/14 8,792 72
Mon, 1/6/14 9,233 441
Tue, 1/7/14 9,220 (13)
Wed, 1/8/14 10,655 1,435
Thu, 1/9/14 10,839 184
Fri, 1/10/14 11,787 948
Sat, 1/11/14 12,150 363
Sun, 1/12/14 14,847 2,697
Mon, 1/13/14 15,259 412
Tue, 1/14/14 18,011 2,752
Wed, 1/15/14 18,234 223
Thu, 1/16/14 19,603 1,369
Fri, 1/17/14 20,096 493
Sat, 1/18/14 20,461 365
Sun, 1/19/14 20,461 0
Mon, 1/20/14 20,461 0
Tue, 1/21/14 20,461 0
Wed, 1/22/14 20,461 0
Thu, 1/23/14 20,461 0
Fri, 1/24/14 20,461 0
Sat, 1/25/14 20,737 276
Sun, 1/26/14 23,650 2,913
Mon, 1/27/14 23,650 0
Tue, 1/28/14 23,650 0
Wed, 1/29/14 23,650 0
Thu, 1/30/14 23,650 0
Fri, 1/31/14 23,650 0

I’m in the middle of a post about hours vs. words that I haven’t finished. I abandoned it when I realized I was supposed to be doing something else and never got back to it, something that’s very typical for me. :D Anyway, it does a good job of summing up why the time goals aren’t working for me. And since I actually want to get a lot of books written this year and at least one million words of fiction, I can’t keep hoping things will turn around. Since I can’t make myself write to a time goal, I’m just going to have to go back to writing to a word count goal, regardless of my theories about time goals being better. I still think they are, but if they don’t motivate me to write, they’re useless.

I don’t know if I want to try to make up the 59,683 I’m behind all in one month (I’m not even sure that’s possible for me) or if I want to just adjust to the new daily goal of 2,950. I’m thinking it might be best for me to go for the 2,950 and try to get in some extra on a couple days a week. Maybe aim for at least two 4,000 word days every week.

Well, I’m back to tracking my time again, and my timer says I’ve been on the internet for 28 minutes. Time to go do some writing!

Six Hours In a Day Challenge—Updates

Here are the updates for today’s challenge. (I realize these challenge titles are dumb. I kinda don’t care if they get me writing and keep me writing. I take motivation wherever I can get it!)

But, uh, yeah, this hasn’t gone well so far today.

3:53 pm at 0 hours, 0 words

That’s not supposed to happen, right? I blame the cold weather; it’s stealing all my mojo. Or it’s because I’m out of milk and can’t make cocoa. Or something.

I’m not exactly done for, but here’s the truth. I have only seven hours until I have to go to sleep to get eight hours and get up in the morning all ready to get back to my schedule as I thought I would do. But with breaks and the other stuff I have to do tonight, I’m not going to be able to get six hours without—ah crap. :D I just realized quite suddenly how bad this is. Excuses, excuses, excuses. :o I do recognize them. Or I do now.

I’ve been fighting going back to staying up late and just making up the sleeping time with naps and living a fairly unstructured, unscheduled life, because my daily word count spreadsheet makes it very clear that my most productive month was when I was getting up at 7 am and writing first thing, with a goal of no WIFI until I’d hit 2500 words. I didn’t always get the 2500 words before lunchtime, but I did it enough to make February 2013 my highest word count month since I started publishing. I wrote over 50,000 words that month. But now that I’m thinking about it, I know I hit 50,000 the year I won NaNoWriMo. (2010. I have a bad memory for dates! I had to go look at old emails to figure this out.) Anyway, back then I had a part-time day job and wrote at least something almost every day. I just looked at the old spreadsheet and my high and low word counts are all over the place and in no way line up to any particular day. So that would have been no schedule and I was just as successful then as I was this past February.

What does this all mean?

I don’t know.  :D

Well, that’s not quite true, because I know I didn’t succeed at this challenge and that I’ll be writing late if I want to at least get in a few thousand words before I call it a night! And I do want that, because I don’t want to give up on the one million words. :)

 

 

Ten Six Hours In a Day Challenge—Do Over

Well, since getting ten hours was a bust yesterday, I thought I’d try again, but this time go with six hours and try to work my way up to—ah, you know what? This isn’t really necessary. If I write for six hours in one day and start doing that regularly, I’m really not going to care if I ever work my way up to ten hours in a day of writing. Really. I’m just not going to care. :D

However, six hours of writing is a good goal today because I’ve done it before and although it’s not easy for me, it’s also not too much of a stretch and it’s not too late in the morning to get a good start on that goal and actually reach it before five-ish. Because I have television to watch* tonight. :D

(Yes, it does appear I’ve thrown my schedule out the window. Not gonna lie. I hate it, so I keep finding myself trying to find ways to work around it. I’ll have to make some kind of decision on it soon, despite my commitment to stick to it, but I’m waiting to see if this is just me rebelling against myself… Also, tomorrow I am going to try to stick to it, regardless of my feelings on the matter, just to give it one more week of a real trial run. Mondays just aren’t good days for my schedule because I almost never get up in time to get to work by 7 am. Shoulda probably thought about that when I made it.)

I want to write three hours before 1:00 pm and then three more before 5 pm.

So, off I go.

*Not to derail this post completely, but Grimm came on Friday night and I haven’t watched it yet! I don’t like to miss Grimm, but when the kids are gone, they don’t like me to watch it without them. Of course, I could fake it (watch and then rewatch), but they’re getting good at reading me. So, probably better all around that I usually get busy enough that I don’t mind waiting until they’re home.

Also, I tried the Helix pilot (which is currently free at Amazon if you’re interested) and eh, I wasn’t impressed. It entertained, but I definitely feel resistance about making myself watch another episode. So, although Helix has a good premise, I doubt I’ll watch more unless someone tells me it’s gotten really good in later episodes.

Ten Hours In a Day—Updates

Okay, I’m updating in a single post today, just because I want to and it’s easy. :D

10:44 am at 1.15 hours, 692 words
1:26 pm at 2.16 hours, 1408 words
3:51 pm at 3.21 hours, 2143 words
7:45 pm at 4.61 hours, 2911 words
Ended with 2913 words after deleting a few paragraphs so I didn’t quite make the 3000 I’d hoped before I quit for the night.

I completed my first hour! Yay! It took me a lot longer to get started this morning than I’d planned but I had a really good breakfast so lunch should be a ways off and I plan to write without any break longer than a few minutes between sessions until at least lunch time.

There was more delay between my first and second hour because of a family call. :D I couldn’t resist my Sunday call to my mother and it went longer than I meant for it to go. But now I’m doing lunch and will be getting back to it and sticking with it through the afternoon and evening. I hope to have hit at least five hours by 5 o’clock. I really wish I’d gotten up earlier this morning like I’d planned to do! I’ll have to be an efficient machine to get another five hours after that before midnight but I think I can do it! :D

Hour three is done, but boy am I behind! Well, my pace is quite good as far as words per hour go, but I’m only past the three hour mark and the day is well past the halfway point (for me). I have eight hours before midnight and almost seven hours of writing to go, so toodles! I gotta get back to work.

What happened to the time between 3:51 pm and 7:45 pm?! I got an hour and twenty-four minutes but that leaves about two and a half hours of lost time. Sigh. It’s always this way for me. Whatever time I want to use, I have to allow 2–3 times as much. I have no idea why. I’d track it, but, yeah, tried it and usually I forget to record something and I still end up unsure what happened to the time.

Anyway, I’m pretty happy with what I’ve accomplished and I’m not done for the night, although I probably am done with the trying for ten hours, since it’s not impossible to write for another five and a half hours before midnight. Theoretically I could manage maybe another four hours, but I’d rather end at a decent time so I can make good on getting a much earlier start tomorrow morning.

I’d like to write at least one to two hours before 9 am.

Also, the cold is really getting to me. I’m so stiff I could be a flagpole. :D

I’ll post a final update tonight when I close down since I fully intend to at least make it past 3000 words, but for now, my laptop battery needs a charge, and I need a break.

My “Ten Hours In a Day” Challenge

I’m writing this on Saturday evening. I’ve been sitting here listening to some really great podcasts from Writing Excuses and I had the realization that I’ve just been using these great little fifteen minute podcasts to procrastinate again. :o *

So I’m setting a challenge for myself. I want to write for ten hours tomorrow. I’m not talking about setting aside ten hours and writing with breaks during that time. I’m talking about timed writing sessions that add up to ten hours. That’s a huge challenge for me because I don’t know that I’ve ever written for ten hours in a single day.

As far as I know, I’ve not written for more than seven hours in a single day. I go back and forth on tracking my time so I don’t have good records on this but my word count output and my usual habits would say anything over those seven hours is unlikely to have ever happened. The only real possibility I can think of is one weekend in August 2012 when I wrote so much that my forearms and hands hurt for a week afterward. That hasn’t happened since, and had never happened before, so it’s possible I wrote for more than seven hours a day that weekend. It’s also possible I just didn’t take a break when I should’ve. ;)

Anyway, that’s the challenge for tomorrow. I want to write for ten hours.

Why?

Because the end of January is coming up soon, and I really don’t want to end the month at nearly 60,000 words from where I should be in the One Millions Words in 2014 challenge and that’s about where I’m sitting right now.

Also, I need to train myself to write longer hours and resist distraction. I’m not sure this is the best way, but I doubt it’s the worst, so I’m doing it.

This is going to be fun. I can do this. I know I can. If I stall out on this 2014 Novella #1 I’m working on, I’ll just switch to one of the short stories or novels I have going (and need to finish ASAP). No one said I had to devote all ten hours to the one book (although I’ll love it if that’s what ends up happening!) :D

Now, gotta go write for a few hours before I call it a night because today has been a bust so far! Too many podcasts, youtube videos, and vlogs! :D

*That was totally fake shock, because I really don’t think any of us are shocked by the revelation that I’ve been procrastinating again. If you are, then welcome to my blog! This must be the first post you’ve read. :)

Stuff Happened … Writing Didn’t

It’s been one of those weeks. I already felt like I was off my game a bit because of finishing my last book, the holidays, and several lingering snow days that changed up my routine and completely derailed my new schedule. I really don’t want to admit this, but I’m not liking my new schedule that much. But … I also haven’t had a lot of opportunity to get used to it and I’m hopeful I’ll fall into it with more enthusiasm once things settle down.

I’ve had four zero days in a row though and yesterday was supposed to be a normal day but again, snow day!, and today is a delayed start day so (of course) I didn’t get up and get to work by 7 am. :D I’m kind of bummed that I didn’t make better use of my time yesterday but the last few days have been super stressful so I’m going to let myself off easy on that. Not today though. Delayed does not mean derailed!

I really don’t like my schedule though and I’m not sure what to do about it in the long term.

Today, however, I’m just going to focus on putting the time in and getting some words written. I’ll update at the day progresses; hopefully this will keep me focused and motivated. I want to see how much time I can spend writing between now and 4 pm  7 pm.

Like a mini-challenge. It’ll be fun! :D

9:52 am: 0 hours, 0 words
2:21 pm: 0 hours, 0 words

9:52 am to 2:21 pm I had a friend call that I hadn’t talked to in months and maybe I shouldn’t have, but I spent 2 hours and 54 minutes on the phone. :D

So, 4 pm is not going to work with this little mini-challenge now. I’m changing it so I can still get my time in today. Isn’t it great how I can do that? :D

Uh, oh. It’s like my post title wrote the future instead of reported on history. I didn’t get anything today.

On Hold Until Monday Putting In the Time Challenge

On hold: see update at the bottom. :)

It’s a new day and it’s time for a new challenge! I’ve done a course correction, because I had a realization about the 5,000 In a Day Challenge this morning. Now I’m ready to get started, and hopefully I don’t fall down that hole again.

The biggest challenge I’ve faced so far is not getting the time in that I need so that I hit a reasonable word count range for the day. I think it’s skewing how I see my progress and making me feel like I’m writing at a slower pace than I really am overall.

Here are the rules:

  • Write 7.8 hours today. (I’d expect my word count to range from 2,340–4,680 if I actually put in all that time.)
  • Any time I lose to breaks I have to make up.  Cause there’ll be breaks. My circulation (and bladder!) depends on them. :D This is where the challenge comes in.
  • Finish the 7.8 hours before 6:36 pm. Cause I have life stuff to do this evening.

I’m working on my 2014 novella #1 today. I’ll update when I can. Good luck, me. ;)

10:31 am: 0
2:40 pm: 51 minutes, 493 words. Ouch.

I don’t even want to explain why I’m at where I am with the writing time right now. :D I’m freezing*, my fingers are numb, my nose is running, I have a headache, it’s spitting snow, and I want a nap. This might not be the right day for this challenge. In fact, I think I’m going to put this thing on hold, take a nap and some aspirin, and finish the day with a gentler attempt at writing and try this challenge again on Monday.

Sometimes I just have to recognize when something’s not working and make adjustments. I’m still going to try to get in enough time so I don’t fall further behind on my one million words goal.

Saturday and Sunday are short days, but maybe I’ll try to ramp up to the 7.8 hours on Monday by trying to get the full 5.2 on both those days in the meantime.

*Three hours and twenty minutes after washing my thick, long hair and it’s still not dry. I know, I know. Shoulda blow-dried.

What Was I Thinking?

So, yesterday I tried a 5,000 in a day challenge, not even realizing until this morning, when I was thinking about making another attempt at that challenge, that I was taking a huge step backward in my thinking.

A words per day goal has no place  in my 2014 strategy.

In my better way of looking at the numbers post, I detail how the time I spend writing is a lot more important to manage than setting daily word count goals because if I spend the time, I’ll get the words. Averages, you know. They all work out in the end.

Yesterday, I was panicking a little, thinking about how slow my writing has been going and how I haven’t been hitting anywhere near the average I’ve been counting on. But see, this was a great opportunity for me to keep going anyway and let things settle into place, and instead I immediately set myself a word count goal.

I’m really glad I realized this while I was doing a few dishes this morning, because I can course-correct before I veer off into the bushes. :D

So, I’m still going to do another challenge today, but it’s definitely not going to be “5,000 In a Day Redux.”

5,000 In a Day Challenge

Did I make it? Hahahahaha!

So, I’m starting a new challenge today. It’s a one day challenge and it’s simple. Get 5,000 words today before 10:30 pm.* (If I stay up late doing it, tomorrow will suffer and I don’t want that.)

Getting a bit of a late start, but I’ve actually already been writing this morning. That’s why I needed to find something to motivate me. I’m barely trucking along at 300 words an hour and I want to break out of this <300 words an hour streak I’ve got going on. :D This book might be a little more challenging to write, but I sure didn’t find the first one of the series to be quite this slow! So this one shouldn’t be either. I think it’s the dark side of the whole time is all that matters mindset. Because of course there’s a dark side—there’s always a dark side! :D

I’ll update as the day goes on.

10:35 am: 297
5:06 pm: 790
7:44 pm: 1,369

I Did Not Count on Distractions!

But they are everywhere! Along with exclamation points!

I’m sitting at my highest Amazon Author Rank ever at the moment, and as I noticed my rank climbing that little extra bit to put it there, I found myself starting to get really distracted. I’m updating this post and hoping that it will let me release this distraction into the ether so I can regain my focus. I’m about to have my last big block of free time tonight in about six minutes and I want to get my mind cleared out of these distractions before that happens.

And not to put too pointy a point on it, but the increased author rank really doesn’t mean a lot. The new book’s selling about the same as it’s been selling since I put it up. It’s just a nice little blip in my day. :D

Alrighty, time to get back to my story.

*And of course, if it were to happen (but we know it won’t) that I completed the 5,000 words before my daily writing time ended, I will continue to write until I meet my time goal.

Here’s a Dilemma

Well. Here’s a dilemma. I have this nifty new schedule for 2014 (that I mostly really like) but today I had a lot of trouble with procrastination. So now I have to decide what’s more important. Stick to the schedule so I write when I’m supposed to and deal with some missing writing time here in the beginning as I get used to making myself write only during that time? Or stick to my time goal? What’s more important? Why’d I create the schedule?

As a guideline, not a straitjacket, that’s what. I need to remember that. Note to self: remember that!

I came up with the schedule as a part of a strategy to help me write more. So maybe this isn’t really that big a dilemma after all. I mean, I don’t want to fall into a habit of never doing my writing during my writing time, because then I just feel guilty when I take time out for living. But let’s face it, I have a love/hate relationship with schedules and there are probably going to be a lot of days like today. I’m not sure how trainable I am. I’ve already dumped the time tracking, because well, let’s be honest, time tracking is ridiculous. It reminds me of Phileas Fogg* and I don’t want to be a Phileas Fogg. :D

So, I guess tonight I’ll be writing again later.

Whew! Glad I got that all worked out in my head. :D

*Main fella in Around the World in Eighty Days. Love that guy, but I definitely do not want to be him.

Procrastination Station

My new writing spot has become just what the title of this blog post says, a procrastination station. The sun makes me sleepy and I lose all my motivation to do anything but sit and bask.

It’s such a cozy spot too. :(

Today, my 2014 total is stuck at 18,234 which is a harrowing 23,000 words behind for the month.

I announced that I was going to try for 4,000 again today but I’ve self-sabotaged myself completely out of that unless I plan to write all evening. My pace has been slower than normal for the last week, barely hitting 500 words an hour at my top speed. Today I’m sitting at 297 words an hour. 4,000 words at 297 an hour? That’s like … be right back, I need my calculator … 13 and a half hours! Yikes! So technically if I stayed at that pace, I won’t even hit 4,000 before midnight and the day is officially over.

I’m also struggling to not worry about how much everyone probably hates my books. Which is stupid. I have some lovely emails from fans and blog comments and 5-star Amazon reviews and 5-star ratings on Goodreads, so all I’m doing by doubting that my books are any good is doubting the intelligence and truthfulness of those fans, which is not something I want to do. But I’m still doing it! Apparently.

Why can’t I just write and not think of all this stuff?

Why does it all have to be so hard?*

*Fake hard, because really, my dad was a mason who went out and lifted blocks and bricks and squatted in the mud and slapped mortar down and made things that looked pretty out of that mess in scalding hot weather and breath-stealing cold for many years and that was hard. This isn’t hard. Just mentally frustrating. Or I’m just a whiner today. I blame it on the sun.

Now I feel kind of like I need to show some grit, because everybody knows grit is what makes the world go round.

Slow Day

So, it’s 7:53 pm and I haven’t written for the hours I was supposed to write today. Not even close. The little time I did spend today I spent on the wrong book (probably about an hour, but that’s just a guess based on the number of words I got and how fast I felt I was writing this morning).

One thing I know: I need a new workspace. I spend too much time relocating throughout the day trying to get comfortable, and I just don’t see how that’s helping me. Can’t be. So I need to prioritize setting up some decent workspace.*

*I just moved a desk so I’d have a nice place to sit in the sun and write in the early mornings. :) So, I either wasted an hour doing it (procrastination), or I—yeah. Procrastination. But hey, it might help tomorrow!