Wednesday, I wrote 1,754 words.
I wrote 190 words on Tuesday, and more than half of those were on paper with a pencil. :-O What?
I used to write a lot on paper, but I really don’t work like that anymore. This is what the streak has driven me to. :D
I was out yesterday evening and tired when I came home and tried to do my words at the computer but I kept nodding (I did stay up until 3 am the night before) so I gave up. I said, nope, not doing it tonight. Don’t care about the streak. Just can’t do it.
Then I put away my computer (I was in bed), and before I knew it, I’d picked up my little notebook that I keep with me almost everywhere, and my pencil, and I’d started writing. It came so much easier than it had been coming on the computer that it took me a minute tops to write enough words to keep the challenge part of my daily writing streak alive.
In fact, I spent fifteen minutes or more staring at the computer trying to get something to come to me to write next, and yeah, I wrote 80 words, but it was hard. I was just too tired.
Only apparently I wasn’t.
So here’s my little tip of the day: If the words aren’t flowing, pick up a pencil and a notebook and try that. You might be as surprised as I was that what had felt hard a minute before felt effortless a minute after. :-)
Now, I’m ready to start my three hours of leisurely writing and get my first 1,000 words so I can get that cup of hot chocolate I mentioned a day or so ago. Yesterday was not a good day for writing, so I didn’t, but today I have no other plans and I’m kind of hoping for TWO cups before the day is over. ;-)
(Also, I changed the title format again, and left a note in Sunday’s post that explained it.)
Today I finally got back to the novel. I wrote 1,622 words on it.
I also think I found my new routine for a while: a 3.5 hour block in my calendar for writing and a timer set for 3 hours of leisurely writing. ← Leisurely is the key word there.
I don’t like pushing but I do it all the time. It ruins the fun of writing for me. It’s time I stopped that. I have to write the way that makes writing the most fun and the easiest for me. Easy writing is fun writing. (Not theme, craft, blah blah blah, I’m talking process—the actual act of writing.) I need writing to feel easy. If it doesn’t feel easy, I procrastinate and I don’t write.
I am done pushing to write faster. I write at the speed I write, and that’s that.
And now to tell you how I really did it. :D
Although all of that mentioned above helped me today, it’s not what got me to sit my butt down and stick it out today. It was just the method I chose to get me to a cup of hot chocolate. :)
Yep. Hot chocolate.
A little more than a month ago, I cut out most sweets from my diet and that has been working great. But I’ve been missing hot chocolate something fierce during these dreary winter days this week. (I had specifically forbidden hot chocolate because it’s a weakness of mine, and one cup becomes two and then I’m drinking far too much hot chocolate every day.)
So I revisited the idea of my “no sweets before 1,000 words” rule and decided that I was willing to self-sabotage the no-sweets rule for the benefit of my writing.
I made a list of things in OneNote that I thought would help focus me.
==> New rule: Hot chocolate after I write 1000 words! But only if I get there. Then I can sit down with my hot chocolate and get the rest of my quota.
It worked. :)
What is the quota, you ask? (Or maybe you don’t because you don’t really care. If so, why the hell are you reading these blog posts? There really is nothing here for you if my process doesn’t interest you at all, because that is what the vast majority of my posts are about. :D)
The quota is the number of words I need to get to meet my 2020 financial goals, based on the historical value of a word in dollars. I’ve been calculating that in a spreadsheet for years—earnings per word published. It’s a little complicated, but it’s a fun exercise for me. I happen to really love playing with numbers.
That quota is 1,616 words average. (2,000 today and 1,232 tomorrow work just as well as 1,616 every day. It’s an average. But the easiest way to hit the average is to get as close to 1,616 as I can every day.)
So I have a quota based on financial goals, and I have a goal based on how many words it would take to make me feel prolific. They’re not the same and probably shouldn’t be, because I’d hate to think I had to be highly prolific to meet my financial goals. However, being highly prolific is something I aspire to.
As for the “no sweets before 1,000 words” rule, I was following this rule back in April and May when I had my first two consecutive 50,000 word months. It’s a powerful motivator, because I love sweets just that much. Hot chocolate was often the sweet I went to the minute I had reached that 1,000 word mark even back then.
And sure enough, I started this rule yesterday evening and although I didn’t write enough words to get chocolate yesterday, I found myself making writing my priority today just so I could make sure I got my hot chocolate this evening. :D
The rule is simple: write a thousand words and get a cup of hot chocolate. That first 1,000 words is the big hump. I had toyed with making my rule more strict and tied into my daily quota, but decided against that.
Small wins are great motivators. :-)
As an extra incentive to keep trying for the bigger, more aspirational goal, I can have a second cup if I make it to 4,000 words.
The second cup hump is bigger because if I’m going to self-sabotage, I’m going to have to earn it. :D
Now, off to bed. :)
I’m changing the way I title these posts for my own benefit. I want the day in there so I can keep track of where I am in the week, and I like the way “progress” fits in my mind better than “daily post” which feels like an obligation. This is a blog, and it’s a very casual one at that, so putting that feeling of obligation in there takes something I like and makes it unpleasant. I still plan to do a daily post, I’m just changing how I view them, internally. :)
(I have since changed my mind a bit on this. I’ve retitled these posts “Daily writing – ” because I think it accomplishes the same thing but separates them a little better from my “progress” posts. Basically, “Daily writing – ” doesn’t feel like an obligation to post, it feels like an opportunity to talk about the daily writing.)
Now, on to today’s progress.
I wrote 238 words today, and I had to jump to one of my other stories to get started, because I’m still not in the mood to write on my novel even though I really need to get this thing done. I wrote 104 words on the short story (same one as yesterday) and then switched to the novel and started weaving together those parts I’d written out of order that I mentioned in yesterday’s post, and that’s how I got the rest.
The No More Zero Word Days streak is up to 174 days now, far exceeding my former 122 day record. I’ve had some days where I just wanted to drop it, but I’ve managed not to do that. Re-reading that post I linked to reminded me of why this time is different and it’s given me some added motivation to keep going.
Tonight, I start reading through my previous days’ writing in the mornings and at night again. I’ve found that helpful in the past, because it keeps me grounded in my story.
This is what some people would probably call cycling, except I do it on my phone. I highlight stuff that needs fixed (missing words, etc) and then those are the things I do first when I open the computer to write. This is exactly how I do my final read through and copy edit. Send my book to my phone or Kindle tablet and read it like a book, adding highlights and notes to things that need fixed. Works like a dream. :)
On to tomorrow.
I finally gave in tonight and turned to another story to get some words in after barely wanting to look at my novel. I kept putting off even doing the 172 words I need to keep my daily writing streak alive, so switching off to something else was about the only way I was going to get to go to bed tonight. :)
The good news is that I’m not broken—I didn’t have any trouble getting in some quick words on the other story. I’d like to finish it soon anyway, so it was nice to revisit it. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be in a better frame of mind and ready to set in on the ending of the novel.
I think the big thing stopping me from moving forward with that one is that I have some written-out-of-order stuff to merge and I just don’t want to do it. That’s not how I usually write, and when I do, it’s a pain in the butt to merge it all, and I can’t really move on until I do, hence avoidance and procrastination. I will prevail! Eventually. :D
In the meantime, I wrote 233 words. The streak continues. ;)
Getting myself to write fiction this week has felt like pulling teeth. :-o
I took to a tablet tonight with an ink pen and wrote 235 words to keep my streak of daily writing going.
If I make it to tomorrow afternoon without any appreciable writing on this book, I think I’m going to have to take a break and work on my next novel for the day instead. It’s sitting at about 15,000 words and I left my characters in a fun place (high drama!) the last time I wrote on the book.
I made it past the hump. I didn’t make a lot of progress with the word count, because I deleted two chunks of story that I no longer need and that knocked down my document’s word count. Since that’s how I track my daily word count, I have ended for the day at a net 266 words.
Considering I started the day with a big ol’ negative word count, I’m pretty happy that I not only covered the deleted words, but added enough to get me into positive numbers. :D
The book is moving along. I’m still not sure how much longer the book is going to be. I do know I tend to slow down as I get to the end, while I’ve heard (and talked to) a lot of other writers who speed up as they get to the end. Don’t really know why they don’t slow down, or why I don’t speed up, but I don’t really care. I just think it’s interesting.
Anyway, I’m pleased with my progress. Didn’t find a single mistake in the entire first two chapters (but I’ve already read through them a few times since I began this book) and I made only a few minor additions. And I love it. The book is hitting all the right spots for me. That’s important to me, for the simple fact that as long as I love this book, I don’t give a flying rat’s ass what anyone else thinks about it because it makes me happy. ;D
(Not gonna lie, I’ve loved every book I’ve written. Every last one of them. I can’t be objective, but I don’t really have to be. That’s not my job. I just write them to make me happy. That is the only objective I have when I start any book: make me happy.)
Now, off to sleep, and hopefully, I’ll get on a roll with this book tomorrow! :D
Luckily I woke up feeling good today and hopeful and even a little inspired so maybe I’m getting there. :-)
I’ve had a little visit from project block and normally I’d just move to another story for a while but this book is expected and I haven’t finished it yet. Since I gotta make a living, I need to work on this book, and lo and behold, that has added pressure to the writing that I don’t need—or deal well with.
I have to trick myself into changing my mindset and that’s actually pretty hard to do—although not impossible.
I’m also really not in the mood to write. And when there’s no one but me telling me I have to do this, well, we all know self-imposed deadlines and threats and promises of rewards are very unlikely to work for long. :D
They help, sometimes, but they’re no magic cure.
I just do not like writing when I’m not in a writing mood. I get bored with reading too sometimes. Like right now, I keep starting books, getting about a chapter in, and dumping them. Nothing satisfies, and I can’t concentrate on a book long enough to care.
Some of these books would probably have been perfectly fun to read, and I expect I’ll come back to some of them later. Some of them just aren’t for me and I’ll never read them. Those I’ve already deleted. Why bother keeping a book I don’t like? I’m sure not going to force myself to read them later. I couldn’t even force myself to read bad books in high school when my grades depended on it. Luckily, I was good enough at bullshitting my way through those reports and papers to do okay anyway. :D
Here’s a funny story. One of those books was The Hobbit. It’s a fantasy classic, but I just could not get into that book. I’ve never read the Lord of the Rings trilogy, although I liked the movies very much. I’ve tried, don’t get me wrong, but ugh. It was torture! But I love fantasy. I’ve read The Belgariad (ten books, plus extras) too many times to count. Those are some of my most read books.
I start books, put bookmarks in where I stopped (if it’s a printed book), and go back sometimes years later and finish them. Sometimes I never finish them. And lots of the time, once I restart, I have no idea why I stopped reading them.
I don’t go back and re-read the stuff I’ve already read. I just pick up where I left off because I usually remember everything once I’m a few pages in again. Lots of people can’t do that. But, I’ve said it before, people are different. That’s one of my superpowers. :D
Right now, I’m barely reading. I’m just not in the mood for that either.
I think I’ve said it before, somewhere probably buried within the site, that reading tends to be my bellwether for where I am creatively speaking, and if I’m not in the mood to read I’m almost never in the mood to write.
But if I gave in to my moods all the time, I’d be—wait. I kind of am poor at the moment. :D
The sad fact is, I don’t really care. When I don’t want to write, I don’t write.
Getting past that is indescribably hard. I’ll suffer a lot to keep from doing things I don’t want to do—a lot more than most people would be willing to suffer, for sure.
I binge write mostly. The same way I binge read. I want to establish a routine that will help me write more, but I only want that because I want to be more prolific. :D It’s kind of a pie-in-the-sky dream but I am doing things to help it become a reality.
My daily writing streak is now 170 days long. That’s an improvement over my former record of 122 days.
My January word count is 19,676 words (publishable only, anything I deleted hit my word count as a negative). So I’m currently at my second best January word count since I started keeping up in 2012 and that’s with nine days to go in the month.
Small wins. :D I’ll take ’em.
Right now I’m in the situation of needing to write when I’m really not in the mood and my natural inclination is not to care enough to do anything about it.
I spend a lot of time trying to get past that by introducing other things to my writing that I find exciting or motivating: challenges, goals, rewards, talking myself around, blogging until I’m sick of it, running numbers in my spreadsheets, doing what-if analysis, imaging what could happen if I did this much writing or that much publishing, etc.
The goal of the daily writing streak was to help me get over the hump of inertia when I lose interest in writing for a while. That has worked on one level, but not as much as I’d hoped.
Yesterday, I had a little fun running some numbers to assess the effectiveness of the streak.
Over the 169 days of daily writing, I wrote 125,202 words.
Over the 169 days prior to the streak, I wrote 132,296 words.
BUT the 169 days covering the same time last year (and the year before and year before, etc.) shows the streak has probably made a difference overall.
Over the previous years’ same time periods, I averaged 35,225 words less than the current streak period, and not one of those periods had a higher word count than this one.
Yay! I’m glad to know it has helped at least in that regard.
Now if it would just make me want to write more than I want to write, since I totally want to write more than I’m writing! ;)
There’s probably a reason December and January are usually my slow months. And to be honest, I’ve actually done really well this year. I’m currently on track (extrapolating this month’s daily word count to the whole month) for this to become my 21st best month out of 91 months of tracking even if I keep trudging along and don’t improve any more than I’ve already improved. That’s nothing to sneeze at. :)
It just goes to show that for those of us who find routine difficult and boredom a mind-killer (and a will- and motivation-killer too) that you don’t have to accept that as the status quo. You can still improve if you find something that keeps you moving, even if you’re feeling like you’re moving through molasses (it happened, 1919! (that’s an affiliate link, by the way)).
What I need is a big exciting idea to pop into my head and save me from this bored-with-everything phase I’m in. ;-)
Truly, if I had a choice, I wouldn’t write on any story right now. I’d just hole up and do absolutely nothing productive whatsoever.
But I will keep trying to move forward and get it done anyway. :D
Because there’s poor, and then there’s poor. I’d rather avoid the second one. ;)
On that note, I’m going to go stare at my book and write the next sentence and see where I end up today. :)
Since I’d rather not revisit this long post later, I named it Part one and will post my end of the day accountability post in Part two.
Short night. Went to sleep at 3 am, woke up at 8 and couldn’t go back to sleep, so I’m up early.
Today I’m coming at my writing from the angle of no schedule at all. I haven’t decided if I’ll use a timer. I guess it depends on what happens when I sit down to write. :-)
I’m going to try for a large word count today because I want to get as close to the end of this book as I can get. I can’t honestly tell you if I’m getting close or not. But my last one was well over 100k words and I just do not want that for this book. So I’m holding out hope that my muse isn’t going to do that to me again. Maybe futilely. :D
Today I’m going to write, copy edit some early chapters, follow no schedule at all, maybe use timers, maybe not, finish my cover, finish my taxes, order a washing machine, and probably take a nap at some point!
Now, off to get this day started and I’ll update later.
I wrote 210 words just to keep my streak alive thirty minutes before I went to bed. So, yeah, I’m writing this bit on Thursday morning. I tried something a little different yesterday, but it failed hard. :)
I’d call this project block, but what it really is is project boredom. ;-) My characters aren’t telling me what they want to do next and what they’re doing now is boring the hell out of me. :D
The good news is I feel a lot better today, so I think I’ll find the discipline to sit down and get my characters to make some decisions about what the hell it is they’re doing. ;-)
If they annoy me too much today, I’ll chop off the last two or three chapters and tell them they better rethink that last big decision! I’ll put the screws to them. If they want this story told, they better start talking. :D
I wrote 225 words today. That was all this morning. I generally hate dictating fiction, but I did do some dictation into my phone this morning and that’s how I logged those 225 words. Saved my daily writing streak, so that’s good.
I did no fiction writing after that at all. Never even looked at my book.
My routine is still far from being settled. I haven’t actually been able to sit down at 9 am for a three hour block of writing one time since I started this. I haven’t been able to sit down at 2 pm for a three hour block of writing since I started this, either.
Routines are hard for me. Like, quitting coffee hard. I’ve quit coffee about once a year for the last twenty-five years. At the moment, I’m drinking three cups a day again. :D
I know why routines are hard for me. I’m really hoping I can find a way around that this year.
On the other hand—because there’s a second one, so why not use it—I kind of think I’m already going to have to change something, because this is just not working. If I don’t change things when they’re not working, I risk falling into a funk and burying my head in a book and then I’m reading three books a day again and doing nothing else. :D
It’s one of my failings, this tendency to binge things, or become obsessed, or addicted, whatever you want to call it. It’s why I won’t let myself watch anything on tv right now that I haven’t already seen. I have to finish this book I’m working on. I started it early last year, for goodness’ sake. In fact, my earliest backup of my file is dated January 17, 2019. So I have officially been working on this novel for more than a year. Yikes!
I finished some other books between then and now—a giant novel, some novellas, and short stories—but I want to finish this one, and the sooner, the better.
This kind of goes back to my post about the need to maintain a high level of interest in what I’m writing so I don’t bog down. Well, it’s official. I have bogged down, and despite some really awesome moments in the writing of this book, I have lost interest and it’s time to get this one out the door! Can’t do that if the damn thing isn’t finished. So I have to finish.
I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it here because there are too many posts on this site to go through to get to it, I am not a finisher by nature. I get bored. I want to move on. It’s a chore to finish things. The one thing that helped me start finishing books was to not know what’s coming in the story. Once I know, I’m done. The book is toast. I’m fighting every step of the way to get to the writing, and yuck. I might as well be digging a ditch somewhere on a cold, rainy day.
I hate writing on those days. HATE it.
I have in-progress books that I started years ago. One is from 2015. I absolutely plan to finish that book. I write a few thousand words on it every year or so.
But that right there is why I want to start writing more. Not because I actually want to write more, but because I want to have written these books. You can’t have written a book if you don’t write the damn book. :D
Look, I said in my last post that I don’t actually like the process of writing very much. Really, though, it’s more nuanced than that. Sometimes I hate writing. Sometimes I love it. Sometimes I’m not even sure how I feel about it.
And sometimes I get absolutely sick of trying to pretend it’s all fun all the time. Because it isn’t. Sometimes I just want it to be over. So I can move on.
And that means I don’t want to sit down and get started and write. And sure, I could make myself—oh, wait. Yeah, no, I can’t. Because if I could, I’d have finished this damn book months and months ago.
What I can do is keep coming at it from different angles until I find one that tricks me into getting started again, and then ride it to the end. That works. But it does tend to take time and effort and I often make a fool of myself trying one thing or another and failing again and again. I’m used to that. People will think what they will about my methods and I’ll just keep pushing and trying until I get there.
I keep thinking (maybe falsely) that if I can ever get myself to write more on a consistent basis, it will start to feed on itself: my interest levels will stay higher, boredom won’t set in, and I’ll find it easier to finish.
But I can’t get there without getting past all the other stuff first.
I keep trying. Because persistence matters and what else am I going to do—get a “real” job?
I don’t think so. ;)
Tomorrow, I’ll reset, and I’ll try again. 4,000 words or bust! :D
I’ve had some people really disappoint me lately, and it’s taking a while to get over it. Maybe I won’t. Who knows?
I’m going to be blunt for a minute here. I really don’t like writing all that much. No, no, seriously. I hate trying to find the right words to get what’s in my head out into words that make sense to other people. HATE it.
I am a reader first, writer second. Always have been, always will be. If the stuff I liked to read was easy to find, I wouldn’t have time to write at all. I’d be reading all the time. :D
It just so happens I like what I like and I’ve found it pretty hard to find enough of those things to keep me satisfied all the days of my life.
So I write to satisfy an itch.
I also do not read just to find out what happens in a story. I read to experience feelings.
That’s also why I write. I write to create a story that will make me feel things, and so that I can then read and enjoy those feelings a second, third, fourth, eighteenth time.
I love reading my own books. I mean, I love it. LOVE, love, love it. I’d just as soon read something I wrote as write something new. That’s no harder to understand than understanding why someone wouldn’t want to do that. Some people enjoy the excitement of new, new, new, while some people enjoy the anticipation of something they already know is coming. If this weren’t true, roller coasters would be a one-ride event. Most people who love roller coasters do not just ride once. :D
People are different. People claim to understand that, and then they make all these mistakes of thinking everyone should experience life and the world just like they do, as if they have no concept of what it actually means that people are different.
I want to write more in my series, but to tell the truth, I’d probably never get around to it if I didn’t have people waiting for those books. It’s not that I don’t want to write them; it’s that I don’t need to write them. Except I do. Because money. :D
But internally? I’m not driven to write stories. I want to write stories. But I only want to write what I want to write when I want to write it.
I am a die-hard re-reader. I have books I’ve read twenty or thirty times easy and that I’ll probably re-read again. I have books I re-read every year or two.
Frankly, my own books fall into that category.
I really do write for myself. And that means I write just as much as I want, and when I need to write more than that because of external factors, it is very definitely work. And honestly, once it gets above the level of want, it’s also not fun. And it’s a chore to try to make it fun all the time.
I want to have written all the books in my series that I know are coming so I can read them. More than once, preferably. :D If I couldn’t enjoy one of my own books more than once, I absolutely would consider it a failure. The only reason I write them is to read them.
But I do understand. People are different. Some writers love writing to the exclusion of all else, and would do nothing but write, and some just like to do it when the itch strikes and tolerate it as a means to an end the rest of the time. Not recognizing that fact is the first step to becoming an asshole. :D
But making the definition of a writer contingent on the why of it is also one more step to becoming an asshole.
I’m a slow writer, for reasons that probably have a lot to do with the fact that I’d rather be reading, and the fact that I have perfectionist tendencies that I have to fight all the damn time, and the fact that I don’t actually like the process of writing very much at all, even though I swear to God, I write every damn thought in my head down at least forty times, so you have to wonder if I’m deluding myself about not liking to write. :D
And here goes. I know the drill. Why write? Why not get a different job that isn’t so hard for me?
Because I like writing, that’s why. :D
I can’t help it, but I have to say this. Why is it anyone else’s business what I choose to do to earn my living? Why do I have to LOVE it to the exclusion of all else if what I’m doing is working just fine for me?
I make my living on the things I write, but hey, don’t call me a writer, if that’s what it takes to make you feel better. What do I care?
I’m a writer and I get to choose to disagree with you on that. :D I write, and I’m a writer, and why I write is no one’s business but my own.
Basically, this is a kiss my ass post. :D
It’s for all the people who want to define writer in a way that excludes me just because I don’t approach writing from the same angle they do.
Because they’re big fat liars. Because they say they don’t care, but they spend so much time defining what a writer is and is not that it’s clear to anyone with half a brain that they care very much who gets to call themselves a writer.
Go on, then, if you’re one of those people on the road to being an asshole. Maybe you’re already there. Who knows? Kiss my ass. :D
I am a writer.
Crazy, crazy, crazy day yesterday. I had a two day streak of 1000+ words and I wanted to keep it going, but it wasn’t looking likely. I was sitting at 529 words for the day at 11 pm and I was in pain and more tired than I’ve been in ages.
So I took my phone to bed with me and did some dictation, even though I really, really hate dictating fiction. I waited on this post so I could put those words in and see where I stood with my word count.
I made it to 758 words before I fell asleep.
Ah, well. It was worth a shot.
Guess I’ll be restarting that 1000+ day streak today. :)
Intention: Write 4,000 words today. Preferably within the three hour blocks I’ve set aside for writing. (I wrote this as a draft this morning.)
What actually happened: I wrote 1,388 words today. My routine was a mess, but I liked it.
I mostly overloaded my calendar with stuff to do, filled every minute of the day and accomplished more than I’ve done in a while as I procrastinated everything. :D
I did half my 2019 taxes while procrastinating on writing.
I shopped for a new washing machine and picked out a couple to decide on by Tuesday, while procrastinating on more writing. Since my current washing machine is broken and has been for a month now, this was an essential task I’ve been putting off for more than a week, after already having put it off until after the holidays!
I’ve procrastinated going to bed early by doing the writing I was supposed to do earlier (some of it anyway) and by writing this post on time.
And I successfully procrastinated on dinner until it was just too late to have it, so I’m one meal closer to losing a pound this week—or just making up for the meal out I’m going to be having with a friend tomorrow.
All in all, not a bad day.
This reminds me of something I read about procrastination once. I should probably try this more often. :-)
(It was important enough to me that I had saved it to OneNote, because a quick search found it for me to share.) :D
Counterintuitively, Perry says the biggest mistake procrastinators make is minimizing their commitments in an attempt to quit procrastinating. “It destroys their most important source of motivation. If you only have one thing to do, you won’t get anything else done — you’ll probably just lie on the couch to avoid it.”
Procrastinators often follow exactly the wrong tack. They try to minimize their commitments, assuming that if they have only a few things to do, they will quit procrastinating and get them done. But this goes contrary to the basic nature of the procrastinator and destroys his most important source of motivation. The few tasks on his list will be by definition the most important, and the only way to avoid doing them will be to do nothing. This is a way to become a couch potato, not an effective human being.
This post is a few days old, but there’s value here I think so I’ve decided to post it even though I wasn’t going to originally.
First thing I did after I woke up this morning was open OneNote and type a note to myself (this was after recognizing that I just didn’t have what it took to hit 3,600 words every day).
I think I’m going to settle on a daily goal of 2400 words. As much as I’d like to write 3600 words every day I’m just not sure that kind of pressure is going to work.
Then I looked at my calendar to adjust my goals and saw what 3,600 words looks like every day as a time commitment. I re-opened OneNote.
After looking again at my calendar, it’s obvious that I’m just getting scared. But even if I have a bad day if I do all six sessions I’m almost guaranteed to keep a 2000-2400 words a day average which is something I’ve wanted for a very long time.
I can do this.
And I can. I can do this.
The fact is, it’s not just fear. It’s also perfectionism. I don’t have to throw away my goal for 3,600 words just because I might not reach it every day. And if I don’t reach it every day, well, failing at something is better than not trying at all. :D
It’s the only way to stretch and grow.
So, yeah, still trying. 2020 is the year of the 3,600 words a day goal. :D
Since I wrote that, I’ve made some changes to my goals and have decided not to micro plan my writing time so strictly but the one thing I haven’t done is back away from the big numbers. I intend to grow this year, and I intend to learn, and I do not intend to let the fear of failure keep me from trying to stretch myself.
Whatever your goals, you shouldn’t let it stop you either.
1,071 words and excellent progress out of the weeds. :-)
Also, I totally forgot to write this post last night for no particular reason at all. I think I need to add this to my calendar. It’s where I put anything else I actually want to remember.
Now, back to sleep. I still need three hours of it or I’m going to be a zombie today.
I wrote 268 words today. It was just a lost cause from the start. I won’t bore you with the details.
Suffice to say, I’m not going to let this happen again tomorrow: I think it’s clear I’m avoiding the book. I think I know why. Hopefully, I will get over that hurdle tomorrow and move on.
And here I am doing a morning post. :)
Let’s see, yesterday’s word count was 190 words, just enough to keep my streak alive (I needed 163 per the new rules).
Today I’m trying something a little different. Yesterday was a disaster and I think it’s because I let the numbers get in my head.
I did a brain dump last night right before bed and decided it was time to scratch the goal based schedule. I knew it was a bad idea when I created it, even though it seemed like a really good idea at the time (as is always the case).
Since the schedule didn’t work and I’m not willing to give it even more time to get in my head and make me hate my life :D, I’m getting back to basics today.
Writing is fun.
Writing is what I want to do.
All I have to do is let everything else go for a while and sit down and enjoy it.
Toward that end, I’ve blocked out some time today (6 hours in two big 3 hour chunks) for writing and only writing. :-)
I have a goal to get to 2,000 words in the first block and to make it to 4,000 in the second.
I’m sure some of you are thinking a schedule is a schedule, right, so what’s the deal?, but I’m an overthinker by nature, and there is a world of difference between these kinds of schedules to me and my muse.
Most of the time when I’m taking about schedules, I’m specifically talking about that micro-planning thing I tend to do. I’m almost never talking about the simple process of blocking out a larger, unstructured chunk of time on my calendar that tells me I need to get myself to the computer and do some writing.
That kind of schedule is almost certainly going to be necessary for me to make sure I don’t continue to let time get away from me. I’m not good with time. I’ve mentioned that before. I gotta have something to keep me in line or I’m doomed to live by mood alone–and we all know where that’ll get me.
In the middle of a big fat streak of zero word days, that’s where. ;-)
I’ve set a hard deadline to finish one of my novels by Monday, and that’s going to take some focus. I need to put in the time to get another 5,000 to 10,000 words probably.
This current one, as usual, has decided to go long. It’s currently 8,000 words longer than I had hoped, and 63 words longer than my maximum length goal, and I just have a feeling I’m going to need all those extra words to wrap this one up.
Now, time to start on today’s writing.
(A 40 minute power outage just as I was finishing this post nixed that idea, but the power is back on now, so I’m getting ready to dig in!). :-)
As of today, my daily writing streak is now 163 days long. In light of a new rule I’ve added to the streak, that means that to keep the streak alive, I have to write at least 163 words tomorrow.
I’m tightening the screws a little at a time to see how far I can push it, I guess. :D But hey, at least it makes things interesting.
Today’s goal was to write 4,000 words OR log 6 hours of timed writing. Today’s actual was 534 words. Those numbers are worlds apart. (Make that 1,065 after some late night writing into a notebook that I added to my document the day after.)
On the other hand, if I didn’t have a big goal, I can guarantee you I would have a string of zero word days behind me. January is a notoriously low word count month for me. At 15,026 words so far this month, this January is already my third best since I started my daily tracking in 2012.
Also, I barely remembered to make this post tonight. (I’d already written bits of it and thought I’d saved it as a draft, but it seems I’d already posted it earlier today by mistake. Oops.) I’ve added a bit to it and posted it now, for real. So yay for remembering, and for starting off on the right foot tonight after today’s earlier post about making the effort. :-)
I’m sure there are times when morning posts could work to my advantage—say I’m going to do some interstitial journaling as I write, or I just want to post along. But as a general rule, I’m nixing the morning posting so I can save all that finger flexibility for typing my fiction. :D
One last thing. I’m going to save the goals thing I mentioned in the last post for a later post, because it’s late and I don’t have it in me to write it up tonight. :) Later!
First up, this is a catch up post for the days I haven’t posted the daily post. I’m not going back and adding one for each day. There’s just no point.
Second up, I’m not posting in the mornings anymore as a general rule and that is what’s to blame for the lack of daily posts the last few days. I’m having a lot of trouble getting myself to sit down and do a post in the evening after I finish writing—or as is more often the case, just calling it done.
I’ll be honest. It’s actually really hard for me to write “after the fact” posts. I’m much more comfortable writing about what I want to do rather than what I’ve done. Because what I want to do feels inspiring, but what I’ve done is usually disappointing.
I’m not sure how I feel about that now that I’ve typed it out, but it’s a piece of truth probably worth putting in writing.
Are my goals too high for what I have proven myself capable of doing? Probably. But I just don’t want to give up on the notion that I can do it, if I just find the right motivator, or the right schedule, or the right—
That sounds like perfectionism, doesn’t it?
Hm. Something to think about later.
I’m still trying to find a routine that will get me to 3,600 words a day. Except I’ve changed that to 4,000 words a day. Except sort of not, because I’ve decided I need a minimum goal and a stretch goal, and the 4,000 is the stretch goal and 1,800 words a day is the minimum, for reasons I won’t bore you with.
Let me just say that I spent a lot of hours playing with my spreadsheets before I settled on that, but only after realizing that, as usual, it all comes back to about 2,000 words a day. 1,836 is more exact, as is 2,404, but 2,036 is a good one too. All those numbers get me something I want, whether it’s income or numbers of books written in all the series I have going, or something else.
I really spend far too much time playing with numbers, but for some reason they inspire me to keep believing that I can figure out how to get myself to write more—even though it’s been seven years and seven months since I first decided I was going to write to sell again and I haven’t been able to get even one of those years’ daily averages above 1,000 words a day.
There’s no reason I can’t get there. I just can’t seem to get there already.
All I know is I’m very mood driven and that’s probably an integral part of my personality. If I’m not in the mood to sit down and focus, I damn well don’t sit down and focus and nothing I promise or threaten can make me.
Being self-employed is both a blessing and a curse for someone like me. It’s the only lifestyle I’ve ever lived that didn’t make me utterly miserable, and yet… I can’t self-motivate worth shit. :)
On that note, I’m calling this post done with a quick summary of word counts for the missed posts.
Jan 12: 376
Jan 13: 212
Jan 14: 1,569
Sunday I kind of wanted the day off and it shows. I went to my Mom’s and spent 5 hours there, and didn’t do any writing at all when I got back.
Monday I wrote those words at the last minute, right before I shut down my computer for the day after doing no writing at all that day. I did come up with a new writing schedule. I won’t tell you how many hours I played around with different options before settling on the one I’ve been trying to make work this week.
First order of business was to stop trying to micro-plan and micromanage my sessions on a calendar and just go back to blocking out some reasonable blocks for writing time!
Tuesday I finally sat my butt down in the chair and tried to stay focused. I stuck out two blocks of 2 hours each (the plan was for three) and ended up with a mere 2.33 hours of timed writing because I couldn’t stay in the chair for the full two hours of either block. I kept jumping up to reheat coffee or go talk to my son or check the weather forecast or feed the cat or… well, you get the idea. I vacuumed the floor. So some good came of it.
And what the hell, I’ll bore you with the details of the goals in tonight’s post after I finish my daily writing. :-)
Ah, yesterday. It was a day.
I wrote 121 words at about midnight. If I didn’t have that 100 word minimum that I require for a day to count in my daily fiction writing streak (159 days), I wouldn’t have bothered with more than 2 words, guaranteed. :D
I just had either a great idea or a stupid one that’s going to be the end of this thing. I think I’m going to require the number of words of the number of days long the streak is for the day to count. So, if I want today to count, I’ll need 160 words.
Maybe it’ll keep me from getting more bored. I’m already a bit bored with the daily writing as it is. Something about requiring myself to write just really makes me want to not do it. I hate being told what to do, even by myself. I’m contrary like that. ;D And I really hate arbitrary numbers. I try to always find a reason to pick the numbers I do for my goals.
As for today, I already have half my post written, and I’ll post it later tonight.
I’m trying to get into a routine here: daily writing, evening posting of the blog, so I’m not distracted from fiction writing by the blogging. It’s not going so well so far.
I wrote a massively long post then deleted it, because it was too personal and too rambling, so I guess that means I need to hop on over to the writing and let myself work out my issues there. :)