I’m steering a boat and the rudder is broken

My self-discipline experiment had a bad day yesterday. Really bad. I wrote for 2 minutes and 11.4 seconds. I got 33 words.

Can I explain what happened? No, I really can’t. I’m not stuck and I’m not bored—as far as I’m consciously aware—and I had more time to myself yesterday than I’ve had in ages. There was just no good reason for me to have stumbled so badly. The only excuse I have is that I was out of the house for a couple of hours, and when I was in, I couldn’t seem to pull myself away from news about Irma.

Trust me when I say there’s only so many times you should watch the same video clips and not wonder what’s wrong with you. Distractions like those really make it hard for me to focus on anything, so although I wish yesterday had gone differently, I can’t say I’m surprised. I just wish I knew why these distractions are so distracting for me.

I also ended up staying up until 3:30 am. Not watching TV, not reading, not doing much of anything, to be honest. I don’t even know where the times goes on nights like that.

I really want to write a lot of words today, because I really want to finish this book. And yet I can’t seem to get going on it.

To get myself moving today, I’ve come up with a plan.

I calculated the number of words I want to write based on 1,557 a day for seven days and the number I actually wrote over the last 6 days. I divided that into 8 blocks and I’m going to run my timer and try to write that number of words 8 different times today (898 words). I’ll stop every so often and check my word count, and as soon as I realize I’ve gone past 898 words, I’ll reset the timer and take a short break. Then I’ll do it again. My plan is to do this 8 times. I just need to stay focused each time until I’ve hit that initial 898 words.

Really, since I am in all new territory with this story now, I should be able to write 898 words in a reasonable amount of time.* My single biggest challenge is staying focused on writing while I’m supposed to be writing.

But it’s practice and I need the practice.

*Should—but I’ve already been writing for 33 minutes and I’ve only managed to add 43 words to my book, although admittedly, I was actually fixing the last few paragraphs of the day before yesterday’s writing so I remain hopeful.