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.

The spreadsheets that help me tame the minutia of indie publishing

I’ve been reading a lot lately about spreadsheets and inventories on The Daily Journal.

Reading about the time involved in such a massive project has made me very happy that I’ve been tracking my stuff from the very beginning.

My main “publish-list” spreadsheet is up to ten tabs of data these days, and even includes all the sales links for my books on all the retailers I upload to. It’s been a handy thing to have.

I include so much in this spreadsheet that it’s difficult to think of something I can’t find there.

Screenshot

Screenshot

Screenshot

Within those tabs, I have a sheet called “File Updates” that tells me how long it’s been since I updated a file on any particular distributor site. It was a wake up call when I added that one because I ended up with a lot of titles in the “2000+ days” category, meaning all the back matter was way out of date.

I recently decided to tackle those old files and the way I’m doing it is to have a goal of updating at least one old file each week on an ongoing basis. That’s 52 files updated in a year, so that means I will have caught up within a year or so without adding in a lot of extra work or losing a lot of writing time.

(I have 34 titles at this point. Someday it will become more than a year’s worth of weeks of updates but I’ll worry about that when it happens.)

I also have a pretty streamlined EPUB generation system these days so this first year of updates will go a long way to making future updates take minutes instead of the hour or so it will take for some of these books now and will mean I should be able to easily update multiple books at a time instead of keeping it to one a week after this first round.

I update my publish-list spreadsheet every time I publish something or make a change that needs to be recorded. And keeping this thing updated is something I force myself to do every time I do anything that affects the data I keep up with. I don’t let myself off the hook on this, ever. It’s just too probable that something will slip through the cracks if I do.

Day two of working the new mindset

Today I’ve set aside two main blocks for writing. I’m posting here for the accountability. I’ll come back and fill in my progress later today when I have the time to spare. I’m doing it again today, because it turns out I do like this planning and working to the plan thing. :)

2:00–5:30 pm

7:15–9:45 pm

The goal today is 2,995 words. I’ll write a post later talking about the new mindset and what I’m attempting to do. Right now, it’s 1:59 pm and I have to get to work on today’s writing.

End of day word count: 794 words

Update:

I mostly adhered to the schedule, except I’m still finding it difficult to stay focused. That’s a thing with me, though, and I’m trying to do my best to keep myself on task by using a timer that runs when I’m actually writing. It’s simply a way to hold myself accountable for writing during the blocks of time I’m setting aside.

As usual, I’m not actively writing nearly as much as the time allotted would suggest I am. That’s also something I’m used to happening with time blocks, so we’ll see if it improves over time.

Chopped up writing day but a writing day it will be

It’s going to be a chopped up day but writing can’t wait, so I’m setting aside several blocks of time. I’m posting here for the accountability. I’ll come back and fill in my progress later today when I have the time to spare. I think I’m going to like this planning and working to the plan thing. :)

10:15–11:15 am

I wrote 588 words during this block of time.

5:00–7:30 pm

I wasn’t even home yet. So this one didn’t work out.

9:00–10:30 pm

I was so dead tired I didn’t even bother looking at my computer. Two hours longer in the pool than I planned wiped me out.

I love swimming but I came home as wrinkled as a prune and more sunburned than I wanted. Luckily, I have skin than tans easily once I start getting a little sun, and I had been acclimating myself to the sun this year in an effort to raise my low Vitamin D levels and avoid the supplements my doctor wanted me to take for the next year.

(And I will say, today—I’m writing this update on Friday morning, the day after—I feel really good. The exercise and sun really did me a favor. :) Hopefully I’ll see the benefits in my writing stamina! I’d like to write a lot of words today. I’ll update with a link when Friday’s post goes live.)

Thursday words: 588

*I take my ending document word count and input it into my spreadsheet, which calculates the difference from the ending word count for the day before and tells me how many words I “wrote”, which of course, isn’t about how many words I wrote at all. It’s about how many words more my document contains today than it contained yesterday.

It’s by far the easiest way to track word counts and keeps me honest about the progress I’m making each day writing words that will end up published. :)

Screenshot of my word count tracker spreadsheet

As you can see in the screenshot of my spreadsheet, I’m currently trying to practice my way into writing 2,995 words a day.

I’m nowhere near close to that as a daily average, so don’t get goggly-eyed at it. I’m not there and who knows if I ever will be. I’d like to be, for reasons I won’t get into in this post, and that’s why that number is there. :)

Finally, those word count lengths in my spreadsheet for novel, novella, and novelette are my personal goals. The SFWA sets novels at 40,000+, novellas at 17,500+, and novelettes at 7,500+ words, and I use something very close to those definitions as my own guide when categorizing my stories. :)

Screenshot of the Nebula Award rules from the SFWA website

My length categorizations are only slightly different and at this point I can’t remember exactly why that is. :)

Novel > 40,000 words
Novella = 15,000 to 40,000 words
Novelette = 7,000 to 15,000 words
Short story < 7,000 words

In all honesty, I think it’s because I have more stories than not that fall at the upper edges of those word counts and I felt like they fit the category above more than they fit the category below so I adjusted the numbers to fit my writing style. :)

July 1–23 progress

It’s full on summer now and distractions abound.

I don’t do well with distractions. Or I haven’t been doing well. The problem is that I can’t ignore distractions. I’ve been trying for years to train myself to do that, but all I’ve done is waste a lot of time trying to shore up a weakness that’s probably inherent to my nature.

Words written July 1–22: 2,611.

Words written for July as of July 23: -746 words.

Ouch.

I was just facing too much project block on this short story I’m working on while I try to get past the project block I’m facing with the novel I’m working on, and deleting was the only way to go. I chopped off the last 3,400 words of the story last night (the 23rd) and started again today from the 925 words I had left.

Problems to overcome:

  1. Can’t be perfect.
  2. Procrastination is a weapon in the fight against perfectionism. Putting something off makes it a lot easier to push aside the need to be perfect in the effort to just get things done on time.
  3. Can’t wait until the last minute to write a book because it’s not realistic to do that. If I could write a book in a day or two this would work, but I can’t, so this is not doing anything but getting in my way.
  4. The struggle to be perfect leads to procrastination which leads to disappointment in myself which leads to self-recriminations which leads to depression which leads to a lack of interest which leads to no writing which leads to self-recriminations which starts the whole circle all over again and the only way out is to jump the tracks and get back to writing.
  5. STOP TRYING TO BE PERFECT
  6. Perfect doesn’t exist.
  7. DOES NOT EXIST
  8. Time to try treating my writing as a job. For real. I need to move on from this idea that thinking of my writing as work is going to kill my desire to do it. Honestly, the feeling like something is wrong with me for not actually wanting to do it all the time is already enough of a drag on my motivation.

New plan because July needs rescued

So July has been a terrible month for writing, but I haven’t given up on rescuing it yet. Starting tomorrow I’m going to just plow into my most appealing current story in progress and try to pick up some momentum.

The plan is simple. Start writing and don’t stop until I’m done, or 4 pm.

The 4 pm thing might seem like a cop out, but I know if I don’t allow myself a break at some point if the writing isn’t going well, I’ll give up completely. So 4 pm is my fail safe.

If I’m doing my best and I can’t seem to get up any momentum and can’t reach my word count goal (of 2,995 words, reasons for which I don’t want to get into in this supposed-to-be-short post right before bed) then I’m allowed to quit at 4 pm for a longish break and make another run at it later in the evening.

If I’m not doing my best to write and do nothing but write until I reach my word count goal, then the experiment failed anyway so none of this will matter. :-o

I’ll update this post after the fact and let you know how it went.

Update: It did not go well. I tried again the next day and it didn’t go well either. I’m currently trying again and it is going better today. A little. But I’m not giving up on this just yet. I’m in the midst of a mindset change and that can take a bit of time.

PayPal hassles are pushing me to switch from Smashwords to Draft2Digital

I divorced some-odd years ago, and I’ve lagged with the name change for an online bank account and my PayPal account. I finally got around to it recently, and dear lord, it’s obvious to me now why I waited.

PayPal changes are a hassle. Their (new) website is glitchy and won’t accept my documents for the name change, and the email support is a run around, as is the chat support. First you get automated responses that make it near impossible to get hold of anyone real to deal with issues and then when you do, the wait time is interminable and the notifications to let you know the issue is being dealt with are nonexistent.

The only money I get through PayPal are my Smashwords deposits. Draft2Digital will do direct deposit to a bank account.

I haven’t wanted to switch, for a variety of reasons, but this might just be the thing that does it. If PayPal doesn’t get this done soon and right, I’m just going to close the account. If I close the account, Smashwords no longer makes sense as a distributor. And getting paid for Smashwords sales will become a hassle because I’ll have to go to a check.

However, if that’s what it takes, then so be it.

I do like that Smashwords is not just a distributor, but also a storefront. I do make money from that storefront and I do use the Smashwords coupons sometimes. Still, I’m not that happy with the payment set up because PayPal or check are the only options.

Smashwords really needs to get their house in order and start offering direct deposit.

*Despite the run-around, PayPal actually got this fixed. Crisis averted for the time being.

June 2019 progress

I’m a little late posting June’s progress, but since I’m not really making progress of any kind, I haven’t been compelled to update. I’m dealing with some kind of unknown health issue at the moment and doing it with June and July temperatures in the southeast without air conditioning.

Yuck.

A doctor visit didn’t really give me any hope that I’m going to figure it out soon, or get better soon, or even relieve my anxiety over it all.

So my writing productivity has fallen off, drastically, and I wish it were otherwise, but apparently I’m totally spoiled by modern temperature control and I’m wilting (melting) (dying) in this heat. The house is staying a reasonable 80-83 degrees while it’s heading toward 90 outside every day so that’s good, but I am not doing great with the 90%+ humidity we’re dealing with right now.

June writing: 10,272 words.

Bonus: July 1–9: 0.

That said, today is the day I attempt to recover and get some real writing done. I have a couple of more things this week that’ll make it difficult to make lots of progress, but all I’m asking of myself is to make some progress.

I’m sitting in front of a fan with the laptop and it feels pretty good right now.

June 15–27 progress

Oh dear. June has really been a down month for me. After such a run of good writing days, I’m pretty bummed to be honest. However, I didn’t fall completely off the wagon. I just slowed way down.

I am kind of stuck on my current project, and I’ve been writing some short stuff while I let it rest. I need to decide if it’s time to cut back to a previous point and go at it again, or just push through. I can’t seem to make that decision, but I know something is wrong and my brain just isn’t letting me move forward until I figure it out.

This is kind of an intermediate progress post and I’m hoping that spelling it all out this way will help me move forward tomorrow.

I still have time to get to about half my monthly goal if I push myself a bit over the next three days.

We’ll see if it happens. :-)

June 15–27 words written: 4,435

June 1–14 progress

Lots of things have kept me from writing as much as I wanted to have written in the first half of the month. Was it inevitable that I would slow down after two 50,000 word months?

Hardly!

I think it’s just that there are a lot of things finally hitting now that June is in full swing, like the daughter being home from college, and the publishing of a book and a computer glitch and myriad other little things that all add up to big distractions.

The “no sweets rule before 1,000 words” is still in effect, but not even it seems to be making a dent.

I was very much right not to think I’d had some miraculous breakthrough. It’s really just been all about taking things one day at a time and letting myself write as much as I can on those days when things are going well. Unfortunately things haven’t been going well for multiple days in a row this month.

June 1–14: 5,823 words.

That’s an average of 416 words a day.

I can do a lot better than that. I’m hoping I can up my word counts enough in the second half of the month to still make it to 50,000.

It’ll be tough, but that’s only 16 days of writing and then things can ease up again. We shall see.

On the topic of speed

I read a lot. I think I’ve mentioned that. :)

I use feedly to keep up with blogs and magazines that interest me, and Pocket to keep articles for later reading, and I still do a lot of reading in my web browser on my phone and at the computer, too. I don’t do much of this reading on my tablets, but that’s because if I have a tablet in hand, I’m usually either reading a book, or I’m proofreading one of my own books. :D

A newer follow for me is The Daily Journal. Like Dean Wesley Smith, Harvey (The Daily Journal’s writer) is an advocate of the “writing should be fun and don’t let the critical voice get in your way” philosophy of writing, one I happen to follow myself.

If you can, take the time to read The Daily Journal. It’s full of interesting tidbits of writing knowledge, distilled into small daily topics.

I don’t always agree with everything he says, but that’s mostly by degrees.

In one of his recent entries, he mentions speed (a topic I have written at length about here on the site in one post or another), bringing up the 1,000 words an hour thing.

(Who started the myth that to be a pro you need to write 1,000 words an hour or consider yourself inadequate? I’m going to have to go looking for that one day, just to see if I can figure it out.)

I happen to wish I wrote at 1,000 words an hour with any kind of consistency at all but, alas, I do not. My brain just isn’t wired that way, and I’ve only finally come to that conclusion in the last year or three, after trying for many, many years to write faster.

Have I mentioned that I’ve been writing fiction since I was a teenager (pre-teen, even) and that I was a teenager when Quantum Leap was a first run show? Yeah, it’s been a while. :D

Anyway, I feel like I do have enough lifetime experience to know myself in this, and I am sad to say that 1,000 words an hour is a blazing fast speed to me, and I reach it only in the most intense writing sessions. Some writers are blessed to be able to get their thoughts in order and get them down in a coherent fashion at speed. I am apparently not one of those writers.

I make do.

I don’t get to write for 1–3 hours a day and call it done—it’s certainly more like 8-10 for me if I can keep myself sitting still for that long. But I’m okay with that. I enjoy what I do, and I have fun with my characters and I don’t spend much time anymore comparing myself to other people.

The number one thing that gets in the heads of most writers is that tendency to compare themselves to other writers.

Don’t do it. Really. You aren’t likely to find anything good at the end of that rainbow. :)

And if you don’t write at the blazing fast speed of 1,000 words an hour, but you enjoy your writing, and you aren’t slowing down because you think you need to fix things and are cycling back through your text excessively, then really, really don’t let the myth of the 1,000 words an hour writer get in your head.

That’s all. :D

Now, I’m going to go write my book. I’ll probably get a few short bursts in that reach 1,000 words an hour, but by the end of the day, I’ll probably be in the 500 words an hour range, as usual. :)

But I’m going to get lost in my story, and I’m going to have fun anyway.

Not so fast, a Joplin versus OneNote update

Joplin, as much as I wanted to love it, just isn’t ready for me. I’ve been testing it pretty heavily to look for break points that could be a deal breaker for me, and I’ve had several issues crop up with the program that have made me finally decide I’m going to have to pass on this for a while and maybe check it out again in the future. Maybe.

It’s taken me a while to get to this point, but I’ve learned my lesson more times than I should have about jumping wholesale into something new if it’s not super easy to go back, and while there are things about OneNote that I don’t like, there are also a lot of things I do like.* So there was no reason to jump too fast and I’m glad I didn’t.

I suspected something was going on recently, and had finally committed to copying the notes and web clippings that I’d taken exclusively in Joplin out to OneNote, when I came across the biggest issue to date for me.

Joplin lost images from the web clippings I took. I was able to go back and reclip the pages into OneNote, but yeah, I really can’t have things go missing once I save them. The issue is a known issue that’s since been fixed, but the problem is that all the notes that lost the images can’t really be recovered, since I would have to go through them one by one and figure out which had lost images and then import from the backups. Definitely not worth the trouble, and not necessary, for me.

So there you go. Consider this my update on Joplin. I’m not switching. It’s just not ready for me. I definitely prefer a set it and let it go solution for my notekeeping.

* I like that OneNote can export entire sections to a Word file. I do my backups of OneNote not as OneNote files (I have a backup of that but I don’t consider it my notes backup, if that makes sense) but as Word docs.

May 2019 progress

I wanted May to be my best month ever, and it wasn’t.

I did succeed in making it to 50,000 words again, so in a way it was my best month, because in May I finally broke through to two months of 50,000 words in a row and I wrote more fiction in May than in April (there was an extra day in the month but my daily average was also better by 21 words).

May also came in as my best month in 2019 (so far), and I set a new record for myself by writing 6,606 words on May 7th.

And I finally published a book this year. :-)

Of course I’m going to try to beat all that with June so maybe those records won’t last long. :)

The most amazing aspect of the no sweets until 1,000 words thing is that it helped me fight off the usual problems I have with publishing something and then getting back to writing. I wrote about some of that in my May 1–16 progress post. I didn’t lose too much time to publishing tasks (I make a huge effort to do as little as possible here anyway—I like some aspects of the publishing phase, but there are a lot of things I just don’t bother with because I hate doing them) and I didn’t get out of the habit of daily writing (which I’m doing most often in the morning now because I am usually desperate for something sweet by noon, even though I rarely get anything til later).

Forcing myself to write early (for the sweets) has meant my focus is better and has pretty much broken my habit of waiting until later in the day to write and just being too tired.

I wrote a couple of good posts here on the blog, too, one about trusting yourself with your story, and one about how to make life easier for your indie publisher self.

Words written in May: 52,460.

A new record—50,000 words, two months in a row

I did it! The goal I set out to meet this month has been met. But not only did I cross the 50,000 word mark for May after having written 50,000 words in April, I also finished a short story last night doing it. :)

Now, there are three writing days left in this month, and I’m not sure I’ll reach the 2,000 words per day average I had hoped to reach this month, but I can still make this my best month to date.

My current record high word count for a month (fiction only, remember!) is 57,249 from back in April 2016. As of last night, I’m sitting at 50,262 words for May. I need 6,988 words to beat that. A solid 7,000 would be better than a one word bump. :) So I need to write more than 2,333 each day of these last three days to do it.

I’m going to try.

A little word count challenge for today to get me to 50,000 words for May

I have five days left in May. I’m 5,286 words from reaching 50,000 for the month. That’ll be a record set, because I’ve never written 50,000 words of fiction two months in a row.

So of course, I really want to get those words. Restarting would mean two months of writing to get close again.

I’m also still hopeful I can bring up May’s average to 2,000 words a day, although every day that passes this close to the end makes it quite a bit harder.

But there’s hope!

If I can go ahead and reach 50,000 today, I would have the first record set and out of the way, and I would be a lot closer to that 2,000 words per day average I want for May. :-)

So today I’m giving myself a challenge to write 5,286 words, which will put me at 50,000 words for May.

Writing 5,286 words in one day is a stretch for me even when the writing is going really well.

But it’s a challenge, and I’m going to try, and that’s all I can ask from myself. Besides, anything over 2,000 will help. :)

I’ll post results sometime later.

In other news, yesterday marked 60 days in a row of finding time to write every day. I credit the new rule about sweets for that. Without a doubt, it has made a huge difference for my recent word counts and daily writing efforts. (And I’ve lost weight instead of gained, which is really nice—morning sweets were obviously more of an issue for me than I had even realized.

Update: I didn’t do it this day, but I did get my 50,000 in May!

My writing process in five sentences (and some words about those sentences)

I write a book. I start at the beginning. I write through to the end, taking a few detours along the way usually but always ending up at the end. (3)

I read the book and mark errors and continuity issues to check or fix and make sure nothing sounds wrong (that’s a totally subjective thing for me but it’s just something that sometimes happens because I often write my sentences out of order, leave them half completed, come back to them, finish them, and then realize I just repeated myself—can’t seem to help that this is the way my brain often puts a sentence/paragraph/page together—on the other hand, it’s definitely not how I put a chapter together because I can’t get from one unfinished scene to another!—but sometimes the remnants of this process gets left behind to be found during later read throughs). (4)

I fix all that stuff I mentioned in the previous sentence (which, yes, was just one sentence!) and call my book done. (5)

That was it. Five sentences.

If you think there are steps missing, you haven’t been reading this blog very long. :-)

I indie publish because I like to be in control of my works. I do what I want to do with them. I choose to do what I do, not because of necessity, but because it pleases me. That’s the beauty of indie published works. I can be an artisan.

I’ll be blunt here: I am an artist.

There are people out there who’ll say that back to me with a sneer. But I’ve made my choices and they’ve made theirs and my choices should mean nothing to them. And if they do, maybe those people should rethink whatever it is that makes them feel like they have the right to expect me to live by their rules.

I don’t use first readers, second readers, beta readers, alpha readers, or, in fact, any readers at all other than me during the writing and publishing of my books. I am my own editor. And yes, that includes copy editor, and yes again, I know some people will scream at me about this and claim I’m disrespecting my readers by doing that.

I disagree. I’m an indie publisher with a system that happens to run counter to the majority. That doesn’t make my system wrong. Only different.

If someone picks up one of my books and thinks it isn’t edited properly they can (1) get a refund, (2) never buy another book from me, (3) complain and/or review the book and tell everyone the editing is nonexistent and the book sucks, and/or (4) write me a nasty letter and tell me what they really think.