“Finish the Book!” Challenge Revisited—NOT Day 1

Still sick. Gah. This is one nasty cold but I am determined to persevere. I have no idea how long I’ll last today but I need to get some wordage down despite my hacking cough, the fiery burn in my throat, and the snot—oh my God, so much snot. I keep telling myself just a few more days and this cold will be behind me. 7–10 days say most sources. That’s like…aw, crap, Monday or Wednesday? Beam me up Scottie and save me from this! Oh, hey, I can’t remember but did beaming kill viruses and bacteria? No, it couldn’t have, right? All that healthy gut flora wouldn’t survive, would it? Or would it? Could the transporter inventors have accounted for that kind of thing? Wikipedia estimates say there are about 500 different species—but possibly as many as 1,000? Holy crap.

Oh, the irony.

Oh, how sick I must be to think this is a good way to start this post.

Oh—Okay, moving on! I’m going to try for 4 hours of writing today (that’s my new standard—4 hours a day of hard core writing). I can already say that 5,000 is probably a pipe dream because 5,000 words usually takes me at least 6 and a half hours, when I can even achieve it.

But here goes.

11:05 am: 0, of course.
10:52 pm: don’t even have my 100 for the day yet to keep my streak alive. The irony being if I had skipped writing this post and written something for my book instead, I would have nearly 300 words.

I’m totally moving Day 1 to tomorrow because I didn’t do anything but blow my nose and cough all day today, with a really bad movie* thrown in for fun. I seriously hope I feel better.

*The House at the End of the Street was more boring than bad. Although the last 30 minutes weren’t too terrible.

My “Finish the Book!” Challenge Revisited

Sick still—oh how I hate coughing! But my goals will not be diverted.  I need to finish my book, and soon, so I’ll be getting back to work tomorrow even if I have to sit my laptop in bed with me. No, no, I’m completely serious! I’m getting this book done, ASAP.

My faulty memory means I totally blew the 500 words a day streak I was going for. It only lasted 4 days and I didn’t even realize it until now. I barely cracked 100 on the 28th. To be honest, I’d forgotten all about the streak! Good news though. I’ve written a little every day even while I’ve been sick. I do mean a little but a hundred words here and there are better than none. My December tally sits at 781 right now and I don’t have a day under 100 words. :D Silly to be excited by that but hey, I’ll take what I can get right now.

I’m aiming for a Sunday finish on my book. So I’m starting a new Finish the Book! Challenge tomorrow.

I have no idea how long this book is going to turn out to be so I’m thinking I’d be best served to aim for 5,000 words a day until it’s done.

Weekend Challenge—Finish the Book! Sunday

Things are going well this morning, if you discount the fact that when I turned on my computer Windows told me to “consider replacing your battery.” And it won’t charge more than 61%. The good news is that I have a new one on the way. The bad news is that it’ll probably be at least Tuesday before I get it, so I’m stuck on the chord. More good news is that I have a generous number of conveniently placed power outlets in my house. And, what? I just unplugged the battery and plugged it back up and now it claims to be 100% charged. Definitely can’t wait until that new battery arrives. I’ll feel much better when it gets here!

And then there’s the fact that I’ve written about 139 words, gone online even after I swore I wasn’t going to turn on WIFI until after lunch, then keep just staring at my book wondering what the heck I’m doing.

But it’s a beautiful day and I’m sitting in the sunshine in my living room all toasty warm, and I have faith that I will get myself together shortly and write some really good stuff today.

I’ve already surprised myself with a few interesting developments and I’m contemplating another. I do think sometimes that I “contemplate” a little too often.

It’s probably time to crack out that timer again. I had hoped to just enjoy the writing this weekend without the undue pressure of timed sessions but so far that hasn’t been working. I think I need an early nap. ;)

Update: No nap. Why’d I let myself do that? And progress isn’t anything worth mentioning at this time, although I’m going to mention it anyway. 160 words and it’s 7:55 pm. I won’t be staying up late because I’m already tired, although I have no idea how that can be considering the truly lazy day I’ve had today. Oh, and I’m watching a crackling fireplace video on my television because it makes me feel warmer. :D I’m giving it another hour.

Weekend Challenge—Finish the Book! Saturday, Part 2

So, no nap. I didn’t start at 3 pm either. Make it more like 6:30 pm and my only reason was … was … yeah, I didn’t have a good reason for that. Or any reason. It’s just been one of those days. I want to finish this book but maybe I don’t really want to finish this book. It’s been a hard one. It seems I’m always saying that whatever book I’m working on is the book that’s been my hardest to write to date, and yep, again, this is the book that’s kicking my butt.

As a side note, I’m definitely using this blog to avoid my next writing session (30 minutes, with 5-10 minute breaks between, and wow, considering the time (7:14 pm), you can do the math. I’ve done one and this is my first break ;) which has already stretched past the 10 minute mark) and I’m rambling.

Sigh. I like this book. Mostly. I reread some sections today to check on some continuity issues and there are parts that worry me. Like, the writing just sounds so … flat. And stupid. Yeah. That too. I’ve let this book drag on too long (the writing of, not the story!) and I’m becoming critical. Bad me. But the sentences are hard to follow and the pronoun usage is out of control and the—

Yeah. Time to move on.

I’m this much closer to being done: 309 words.

Uh, I better get back to work. :)

Update: I’ve managed to prove my status as an expert procrastinator this evening because here it is 11:05 pm and I still haven’t found the will to do even one more 30 minute writing session. I feel kind of … weak-willed at the moment. I really should’ve had that nap. ;)

I think I’m going to bed and starting this one over tomorrow. I’m just going to pretend it’s possible I can finish the book in one day. :D

Tomorrow: aiming for 5,000–6,000 words because if I don’t, I have zero chance of finishing this book this weekend. Even aiming at that word count, it’s going to be iffy I’ll get there.

Weekend Challenge—Finish the Book! Saturday

No! Here it is 12:17 pm and I haven’t started my writing for the day. What am I doing? (Forums. A blog. Bought and read a book (let’s not lie, it was a short story, but I have a real weakness for regency period romance). Ate breakfast—turkey, again, yeah, weird, but I love leftover Thanksgiving food any time of the day. Forums again. Blog again. Email. Email. Email. Wrote this. Yikes! What a waste of precious brain power this morning.)

And it’s lunch time. And then nap time. And my failing laptop battery needs a charge (got a new one on the way). And if I don’t start now, I’m going to end up at 3 pm with nothing done and be so mad at myself I might as well just get mad at myself right now and save myself all that wasted time between now and then.

So, I’m going to set my timer and get at least one session done before I break for lunch.

Let’s see how much I can recover from my slow start today.

Weekend Challenge—Finish the Book!

I’m not sure how many words I have left to write to get to the end of my book. I aimed for 60,000 as an upper limit this time, and I’m currently 4,478 words away from that limit and to be honest, I’m about to blow right by it.

The book is going long unless something miraculous happens (and it could! I don’t plot in advance so I really have no idea what’s coming except in a vague sense; as in, I have some ideas but I’ll have to wait and see if they actually appear in the story).

That said, I want to finish this book and I want to finish it ASAP. This weekend, ASAP.

I know that means I’m going to have to push for some bigger word counts than I usually manage on a daily basis but I want to finish. I want to finish to the point that I need to hole up in my house, pretend I’m glued to my keyboard, and write like my life depends on it.

It doesn’t, but hey, I’m good at playing pretend!

But that’s what this challenge is about and that’s what I’m going to do.

Day 28 and 29 of NANO 2013 – My Last Update

Eh. This is going to be my last screen shot. :)
Eh. This is going to be my last screen shot. :)

I’m not done for the night by any means but it’s obvious I’m not going to get much further than I am to 50,000 words. :) I’m still trying to finish my book and the holiday has wiped me out. I’ve barely passed 500 words so far today.

Day 28: 30,133
Day 29: 30,653

Day 29 isn’t a final count, but I’m not going to update this number again so we’ll just pretend that’s as close as I made it to winning NaNoWriMo this year. I’ll have to work harder next year! Or, actually, I think I’m about to start a new challenge for myself… Ooh. ;)

Even when I don’t quite make a success of these challenges, I often feel like just putting in the effort pushes me past my comfort zone and gets more work out of me. :D

“15,000 Words in 3 Days” Challenge – Day 3

Despite my close calls both yesterday and the day before, today isn’t looking so good.

I’m one and a half hours in and I’m at 964 words, and my current pace means it will take me another eight and three-quarter hours to reach my 15,000 words 3-day goal. I don’t have that kind of time or stamina today! I have Thanksgiving traditions to participate in and I’ll be lucky if get another solid four hours before I have to give it up until much later tonight.

So, either I need to seriously speed up my pace or I need to make some contingency plans! But—I can’t spend a lot of time mulling this over because I need to write, so I’ll have to let my subconscious stew it over while I stay busy. ;)

And…things have gone even worse than I imagined. Two and a half hours in and I’m at 1,450 words, which is a big drop from my former nearly 800 wph down to about 580 wph. I’m struggling. Not gonna lie. And now I have to leave. I’m hoping the break will give me some mental pep back and I’ll at least get an other few thousand when I get home even if I have to stay up. :D

Unfortunately, there’s really no way to know if staying up late last night is partly to blame for today’s slowdown. Or if it was because my kids were home—I had real trouble staying focused with the noise and the distractions. Plus, I didn’t get my nap. :(

Recap: My three day total is currently at 3,936 + 4,486 + 1,450 = 9,872

“15,000 Words in 3 Days” Challenge – Day 2

I’m 2 hours in (writing hours!) and I have 1,952 words done. I’m on pace to finish my 5,000 and then some in about four more hours. Of course, I know better than to count on that with my track record. ;)

I want to do today’s 5,000 and at least half of yesterday’s shortfall. Yesterday I came up 1,064 words short on my 5,000. I’ve been very pleased so far though. I’m not sure why, but I’ve hit a real stride on this book and it’s just breezing along! Lots of action, dialogue, and some judicious narration are keeping things going nicely.

It’s totally nap time though. Lunch on the other hand is long over so I should have a really good, productive afternoon once I get my nap out of the way.

Update #2: Three and a half hours in (writing hours!) at 3:32 pm and I’ve got 2,814 words. That’s a better than average pace for me at about 800 wph and I’m on track to finish in about three and a half hours if I keep it up. So, I’m half the way there.

Update #3: Five and a half hours in (writing hours! ) at 10:45 pm and I’ve got 3,843 words. I’m going to push for my goal even though I’d rather be sleeping. I already know I’ll probably sleep in. :o

Update #4: Well over six hours and midnight has come and gone. So, I’m calling it at 4,486 words. Now off to bed so I can at least attempt to do this again tomorrow!

A “15,000 Words in 3 Days” Challenge for Myself

I don’t know if I mentioned that my participation this year in NaNoWriMo is as a NaNo Rebel. I didn’t plan that but when November rolled around, I hadn’t finished the book I was already writing, and I knew I couldn’t abandon it to start something new.

Well, I’m about 15,000 from the end of my book. (I hope!) So. I’m going to try to challenge myself to write 5,000 words a day for the next three days and see if I can finish this thing before Thanksgiving. ;)

That’s 15,000 words in 3 days. I don’t have a great track record for these kinds of challenges, but I want to give it a shot. I’ve dragged the writing of this book out longer than I should’ve and I really want to finish it by the end of the month.

Here’s the thing. Because I track my daily word counts in a spreadsheet, I can tell you exactly how many times I’ve managed to write 5,000 words in one day and when that was.

August 16, 2013
June 17, 2013
April 19, 2013
November 8, 2012

And that’s it.

So this really is a big personal challenge for me.

5,000 words in a day has usually taken me about 6.5 hours of hard core writing. But I’ve written for 6.5 hours many days and not reached 5,000 words. It all seems to depend on if I get in a zone and stay there. I’m going to write in 30 minute blocks today with 5–10 minutes between them, and lunch and a nap in there too.

I’m getting a late start today at 11 am on a Monday morning but let’s go! I know I can do this if I can keep this story moving.

Update: Two hours in (in writing time!) at 3:46 pm and I’m at 1,606 for the day. At this pace I have another four and a half hours or so to go. In writing time. Which definitely does not translate to me finishing at 7:46 pm without divine intervention. ;)

Update #2: Three and a half hours in (in writing time!) at 7:51 pm and I’m at 2,919 words for the day. At my current pace it’ll take me two and half more hours to get to 5,000. Which would put me finishing at 10:30 pm without any breaks. Uh. I’m not really counting on that but we’ll see. Maybe I’ll be able to pick up my pace if I push a little harder. :)

Update #3: Another hour in (writing hours!) at 9:48 pm and I’m at 3,705. My pace has slowed and I’ll have to write for another hour and a half to hit 5,000. Not sure I’ll make it. It’s almost past my bedtime already! I sent the kids up half an hour ago… I definitely don’t want to feel rough tomorrow because I’ve got to do this again!

Final update: I finished at 3,936 and went to bed. I’m actually quite happy with that number because it’s still the most I’ve written in one day since August!

Day 23 and 24 of NANO 2013

Still making progress but embarrassingly s.l.o.w… ;)

Nov 23: 18,390
Nov 24: 20,157

Also, I’ve noticed on my spreadsheet that I now have a streak going. I’ve written every day since November 5th. Gonna see how long I can keep that going.

Next I’m going to see how many days in a row I can write a minimum of 500 words, but that one will have to start today because yesterday I only netted 279 words with all the type, delete, type, delete I did trying to get the story to move forward. :o

Of course, my ideal word counts would be, oh, say … 5,000–6,000 a day. Pfft. I’ll get there someday.

Day 19 of NANO 2013

Ouch.
Ouch.

I’m making progress, but it’s slow. Maybe too slow… I bought some new music to help me zone out in my writing. Thought maybe my current batch wasn’t working for me. Now, let’s see what the new music does for me today. 

8:36 am: 14,581
9:45 pm: 15,147

Between 8:30 AM and 9:45 PM I don’t even know how much time I spent writing, but I know it wasn’t much. I spent a lot of time reading forums and blogs today and … I don’t have a good excuse for that when I know I should have been writing! I’m going to write for a few more minutes before I call it a night but I doubt I’ll bother updating here again tonight. Maybe tomorrow I’ll just keep it simple with a short little progress post at the end of the day.

Day 18 of NANO 2013

Sunny and back into the 60°s again. Yes! It's going to be a beautiful day. Can't wait to get started up this hill again.
Sunny and back into the 60°s again. Yes! Can’t wait to get started up this hill today. It’s going to be a beautiful day.

Today’s going to be a great day! Let’s skip the preamble and get right to the point of this post.

8:32 am: 13,305
10:45 am: 13,880
1:28 pm: 14,165
2:29 pm: 14,426
9:40 pm: 14,581

Between 8:30 and 10:45 I wrote for 1 hour (timer). The other hour and fifteen minutes has dispersed into nothingness… Or maybe I spent too much time up and wandering around, having breakfast, and reading forums I’m not supposed to be visiting until I’m done writing. Bad me! Bad, bad, bad. My pace is off too. I’m tracking at 575 wph. I wanted to hit 1000 wph. It makes a huge difference in how much word count I’ll accumulate. Sigh. Perking up! Moving on! At least the writing is going well. :)

Between 10:45 and 1:30 I wrote for … 15 minutes? What? That’s right, though, and I’m deeply disturbed that I have no clue where the rest of that time has gone. I just had to knock myself off an embarrassingly gossip-laden website where I ended up after searching for I don’t even remember what and following links until I was staring at an article about [redacted for the sake of not embarrassing myself further]. O—ka—y. Done. Getting back to writing. I was feeling good about my progress today and I want that feeling back!

Between 1:30 and 2:30 I wrote for 30 minutes. Pace is now 561 wph. Yikes! I must try to relax more as I write. Too judgmental. Too critical. See, I’m even being critical of how critical I’m being. And now I’m judging myself for that. :p I need lunch. Then back to writing.

Between 2:30 and 9:40 I wrote for 15 minutes (timer). Had things to do, not the least of which was getting myself to a grocery store before my kids decided to revolt because of the lack of food in the house. :D I’m going to try to get just a little more written today because I’d really love to hit 2000 before I call it a night, so I’m outta here before I waste what little time I have left rambling.

And calling it a night even though I got nothing else written. Oh, well. Tomorrow will be here soon enough to try again. ;)

Why NaNoWriMo Excites Me

I know it seems odd that as a full-time writer I’d be so excited about NaNoWriMo, but NaNoWriMo 2010 was the year I first discovered that I could actually write 50,000 words in one month. Until I decided to participate in that year’s NaNo, I had no idea that I could actually sit down and write that many words in that short an amount of time.

Even now, writing full-time, I very rarely hit 50,000 in one month. I think the last time was in February. Too bad that wasn’t NaNoWriMo, I’d have been a winner for sure. :P

But I digress.

I love NaNo because it showed me that writing a novel wasn’t necessarily a one- or two-year long process. It could happen much faster than that. And I wouldn’t be where I am today (writing fiction full-time) if it weren’t for that year’s NaNoWriMo. So thank you NaNoWriMo! You were a blessing to me and I hope you’ll be a blessing to many other writers in the future. <3*

*I’m sorry, but I have to mention that this heart emoticon always makes me think of butts. I know. I am sorry, honest. Sometimes I feel so immature. And now my asterisk is making me think of something else… Gah! What’s wrong with me? I’d hate to have to take one of those Rorschach tests.