Writing breaks kill momentum. And typing skills. Lesson learned!
“WD: You’re terribly prolific, but a lot of writers produce one book in a lifetime. Would you advise young writers to spend all their time polishing one piece or to go for quantity?
BRADBURY: It simply follows that quantity produces quality. Only if you do a lot will you ever be any good. If you do very little, you’ll never have quality of idea or quality of output. The excitement and creativity comes from a whole lot of doing; hoping you’ll suddenly be struck by lightning. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed. The history of literature is the history of prolific people. I always say to students, give me four pages a day, every day. That’s three or four hundred thousand words a year. Most of that will be bilge, but the rest … It will save your life!”
Hilarious and so true.
I’d like a big gain today but I’ll settle for reaching my daily goal without too much drama. What am I doing here? I’m recording my progress on NaNoWriMo 2013—it’s fun! I’m finding the process more useful than I expected when I started and … it’s my website; I can do what I want. ;)
8:01 am: 8,195
10:37 am: 8,682
1:49 pm: 9,107
2:46 pm: 9,575
5:02 pm: 9,628
Between 8 and 10:30 I wrote, then I napped—I have no idea why I needed a nap this early but I assume it had to do with thoughts about my book congealing in my head. I had numerous ideas solidify while I drifted in and out of sleep over a thirty minute period. Then I had tea and stared at the beautiful sunshine through my window, wishing it weren’t just 39°F outside! I live in a mild part of the country and this is not my favorite kind of weather. I prefer a brisk 60°–65° over close-to-freezing any day of the week.
Between 10:30 and 12 I allowed myself to get distracted. Too many browser windows open! I’m shutting off the browser until I get something done. I lose track of time without the clock in my browser bar dinging but I’m just going to have to deal. Maybe that’s what’s causing me to get distracted. I don’t mind losing track of time if I’m actually writing when I do it.
Between 12 and 1:49 I made a bit of progress. I wrote about an hour and fifteen minutes during that time.
Between 1:49 and 2:46 I wrote! Not much else to say. I haven’t moved out of my chair or taken my fingers off the keyboard during that time. I know I’m slow. I write how I write, and that is apparently very, very slowly. Until I’m not. But apparently “I’m not” isn’t happening today.
Between 2:46 and 5 I did a lot of stuff that wasn’t writing. I probably got in about 30–45 minutes of writing. Ouch. That’s like 1,433 for the whole day so far.
It’s 10:06 p.m. and I’m bummed. I thought I would have some more writing time tonight but stuff happened, and all that imaginary time disappeared into the ether. I’m calling it a night and trying not to feel bad about my progress today. I have to have a few good days soon or I’m going to be in real trouble. I’ve got a book I’ve need to finish asap. ASAP.
I’m not going to waste time explaining yesterday’s bust. It’s all there in the post. Today I want to do a lot better. I’m hoping the book cooperates with me. ;)
8:56 am: 6,341
9:47 am: 6,738
10:59 am: 6,969
12:27 pm: 7,273
3:16 pm: 7,653
5:53 pm: 8,018
8:40 pm: 8,144
9:41 pm: 8,195
Between 8:56 and 9:47 I focused and wrote and although I’m off to a slow start and am under my hoped-for pace of 600 wph, I am happy with how things are going. I ruminate. A lot.
Between 10 and 11 I wrote for about 50 minutes. More slow progress, but my scene’s coming together nicely. Wish it were going faster, but I’ll take what I can get for the moment!
Between 11 and 12:30 I wrote a bit, but I also had lunch. Gotta keep my energy up because I’m hoping to get on a roll later. :)
Between 12:30 and 3 I did too much forum surfing! I wrote maybe an hour during that time? Maybe a little more, but things are still moving slowly. I’m still quite happy with my story though. I’m loving the way certain things are developing.
Between 5 to about 5:50 I wrote. I don’t have any idea what happened to the rest of the time, except that some normal day-to-day living was going on. I’ll be back later. I still have at least a thousand words I’d like to write tonight. Or at least 621, because that’s what NaNo says is my minimum to finish on time. :)
Between 8 and 8:40 I wrote but s.l.o.w.l.y. until I finally gave up for the night.
What have I learned about myself over the last few days? Quite a lot actually. I wouldn’t have thought I’d find these little posts useful like that, but I have. I do believe I need to get an earlier start writing in the mornings before I let myself get distracted (going to try that in the morning) and stick with it until I get some real momentum going. Stop taking breaks that last more than a few minutes, and stop skipping my nap! Because here it is 8:42 and I’m so sleepy I can hardly keep my eyes open. It doesn’t help that at this time of year sunset is at 4:36 PM where I live (according to Google). Did you know you can type “sunset at xxxxx” where xxxxx is your zip code and Google will tell you that? How fun!
Between 9 and 9:40 I squeezed in a few more words and cleaned up a messy scene when I meant to be shutting down the computer! Who knew I had any left for the day?
^ I was wrong.
This has been one of those days where every time I thought I was going to get started, I didn’t.
1:01 pm: 6,170
2:12 pm: 6,341
9:11 pm 6,341
Between 1 and 2:12 I wrote for about 45 minutes. 171 words during that time means I’m off to a really slow start. As usual. Sigh.
Between 2:12 and 3:22 I have no idea what happened but I don’t think I did much writing! I got completely sidetracked and lost every bit of focus I had. :(
The rest of the day didn’t go any better.
Today has been a very frustrating day.
I’m still having fun with these little progress posts, so I’m going to keep them up until I get bored with them or I forget to do one.
7:19 am: 3,533
9:00 am: 3,873
10:42 am: 4,140
11:59 am: 4,762
3:00 pm: 5,436
5:53 pm: 5,773
Between 7 and 8:30 I didn’t write.
Between 8:30 and 9 I wrote at more than my average pace of 600 words an hour. If I keep it up and actually get in the number of hours I plan to write today, then I should make my 6,000. What a great way to start the morning!
Between 9 and 10:42 I wrote some but did some other things too. I moved my writing location to take advantage of the morning sun, soaked up a little fresh cool air outside and called my Mom for a quickie talk. Now I’m ready to settle in until lunch.
Between 11 and 12 I wrote.
Between 2 and 3 I wrote.
Between 5 and almost 6 I wrote. I’ve had a lot of gaps in my time today that I don’t really know how to explain because the time just seemed to disappear! I plan to write more today but it won’t be just now. Got things to do. :)
Between 7 and 10 I wrote some more. I’m calling it a night though, so 6,000 or bust was a bust. That said, I’m still happy because today’s word count is the highest word count I’ve gotten in a day since August 16, which was my last 5,000 word day.
I did say I needed to work on consistency, didn’t I? That’s one reason I always enjoy NaNoWriMo. It forces me to be consistent if I want to have any chance of winning. I’m enjoying the challenge!
I can’t believe how much I’m enjoying this. Not NaNoWriMo, but the posting of my progress here. So, I’m going to keep on doing it until I don’t want to anymore. :p
8:03 am: 3,161
9:00 am: 3,181
10:00 am: 3,181
12:00 pm: 3,296
9:38 pm: 3,533
Between 8 and 9 I wrote. I know, 20 words? But I was still working through the very last of a chapter that was already written. It should have been faster. I don’t even know why it wasn’t. I needed it to go differently but I couldn’t figure out what different exactly meant. Just, it wasn’t right. That’s all I know.
Between 9 and 10 I goofed off. Yeah. There’s no better way to describe this that doesn’t make me into a liar. I’m so sorry! I was supposed to write from 8 to 12 today because I only have these two blocks of time to make good on some decent word counts for NaNo this weekend. So, back to it. No more goofing off!
Between 10 and 11:30 I totally goofed off some more. But no more!
Between 11:30 and 12 I wrote! I was just getting up some momentum too but had to cut it short because I have things to do now. I’ll be back later to put in some real writing time. ;)
Between 9 and 9:38 I wrote even though I’m really tired. I get up too early most days to stay up late without feeling it in the worst way. I need my 8–9 hours to operate at anything resembling my peak. So, it’s off to bed shortly and I’m done writing for the day.
Tomorrow is going to be a good day because it’s all blank pages ahead finally!
Yesterday’s fun little exercise in posting my word count progress as the day went on turned out really well. I stayed more focused than I’ve been able to stay all week and I really had fun doing it. So … I’m going to do it again today.
8:00 am: 2,580
9:05 am: 3,003
10:28 am: 3,047
1:03 pm: 3,047
2:01 pm: 3,135
9:01 pm: 3,161
Between 8 and 9 I wrote the entire time, except for 10 minutes at the end when I took a short break. Today’s looking to be better than yesterday and I’m finding it a lot easier to concentrate for some reason. Although I am freezing right now and have stiff fingers to show for it.
Between 9 and 10ish a friend called so I only wrote for a little bit, not sure how long.
Whoa! What happened to 10ish to 1?
Between 1 and 2 I’m not really sure. I feel like I wrote the whole time but that’s some terrible progress there. I seem to be stuck in a chapter and just keep cycling back through it. Not sure why.
Between 2 and 9 I didn’t write much of anything. Too much living going on. I’m very sleepy and now I’m calling it a night.
Sigh. I really expected to do better today. Tomorrow I have a block in the morning and in the evening when I can get back to it; hopefully I’ll do better!
Check here first: http://howmanyofme.com/search/
This interesting little site claims to tell you how many others in the U.S. share your name. For me, this indicated that both my real name and each of my pseudonyms are unique enough that only 1 person in the U.S. has each of those names. And that would be me.
Today I’m going to mark my word counts as the day goes by. I don’t have a specific schedule but it’s going to be a full day of writing so I’ll try to remember to drop in every hour or so and add my wordcount. Let’s see if this helps me stay focused. Oh and you’ll get to see just how slowly I write.
8:31 am: 1,315
9:01 am: 1,338
10:02 am: 1,454
11:04 am: 1,580
11:54 am: 1,863
2:08 pm: 2,441
7:11 pm: 2,580
(*Oops, revised my starting time because somehow it went from 7:34 to 8:31 in the blink of an eye. I’m settled now. Time to focus.)
Between 8:30 and 9 I don’t even know what happened.
Between 9 and 10 I probably didn’t get but 15-20 minutes of writing time because of … stuff I can’t even remember at the moment. Focus is clearly a problem for me.
Between 10 and 11 I actually spent more time writing, in between staring at the sunshine coming in my dining room windows (after a quick change of location, hoping I’d be able to settle in—nada).
Between 11 and 12 I finally started to make some progress. I’ve been fighting a two-chapter span where I really didn’t know where things were going and had ended up going back over it a couple of times just to try to get some forward momentum. Seems like I might be getting there! :) Very happy at the moment. My knee won’t stop jiggling.
Between 12 and 1 I didn’t write. I went out and got some sunshine since it was so beautiful outside and then … I tried to rest on the couch. I didn’t actually nap. I rarely do although I’m trying to get better at it.
Between 1 and 2 I wrote pretty much the whole time. Although I did sneak in a piece of pecan pie. :)
Between 2 and 3 I checked my email. I had one message that I didn’t outright delete, and it contained a link and then … at 2:55 I realized what time it was and freaked out, because that was supposed to take like 5 minutes. So, no more email today until I am done writing! No exceptions! ! ! <– extra emphasis necessary before my brain will take me seriously, thank you very much.
Between 3 and 6 I didn’t write at all. Life went on. I also checked email. Gah. I forgot all about the no exception rule! Now back to writing.
Between 6 and 7 I wrote for about 30 minutes. I had to call my mom. I told her to hang up on me if I talked more than 5 minutes, but alas, she didn’t, and I kept talking for another 15. Sigh. Another thing that is clearly a problem for me.
Between 7 and 8 I wrote for about 15 minutes. I got distracted by an email I swore I wasn’t going to check and ended up writing a forum post and reply that I swear is longer than the words I’ve managed on my book today. Why did I do that? Seriously. Why?
And then life interrupted again, and I decided to give it up for the night.
Yes, I’m Going to Panic Soon
Oh, my, oh, my, oh, my. I’m in trouble here. I’m at 1,315 on DAY 6 of NaNo. I know I can catch up if I can get on a roll, but I’ve been saying that for days. Time to put up or shut up.
My current playlist is made up of Let Her Go by Passenger.
You got it. That song, on repeat. I’ve listened to it enough that you’d think I’d know it by heart, and yet … there is a reason I will never be a musician. I can’t ever remember lyrics! Ever! I get them wrong no matter how many times I hear a song.
I listened to Stubborn Love (The Lumineers) for 10 hours straight one day and … yeah, I can’t remember the words even when it’s playing and I’m trying to sing along. But I was getting close to the end of a book and keeping the same song going helps me focus. :)
Maybe it’ll work for NaNo. Time to get back to writing. If you haven’t noticed, my posting here is usually a sign I’m avoid writing. :)
Another day of procrastination. I have a plot problem that put me into a tizzy last night and it took me most of the day of randomly updating my various websites to come to terms with the notion that I’m going to have to get over myself and just write it. I’m so terribly worried that I’m making a mistake. One moment I’m sure it’s wrong, wrong, wrong, and the next I’m telling myself to trust my gut. I called and whined to my mother for a good half-hour, until she got tired of my circular arguments both for and against my decision and finally just told me to get busy, she was taking a nap. :o
It’s going to be brutal this year, after a nearly two-month dry spell where I couldn’t—okay, wouldn’t—put my butt in a chair and work my fingers to the bone.
Let’s see, I write about 600-750 words an hour on a good day, so that’s like…OMG, two and a half to three hours of writing. It’s going to kill me.*
*Please accept my apologies for the OTT sarcasm. :D I’m feeling peppy today.
*No, really, it is, because making myself stay focused that long is going to take a lot of work!
I feel purple today. Purple header, purple prose… It’s all the same difference. :o
I have read lots on book design over the last few months, but today I felt out of sorts and needed a refresher because I’m in the middle of formatting a book for print. When I typed in my search terms, I ended up at several different places, until I found this one and settled in. The site is full of good information on book design and typography, and I enjoyed reading it immensely.
Here’s the link again: http://theworldsgreatestbook.com/book-design-part-1/
I loved the articles I read, and I feel like I picked up a lot of good information.
Oops, I realized I had an error in the link but it’s fixed now!
The link takes you to a very specific point in the YouTube edition of the Self Publishing Podcast. (Fun podcast. Watch out for vulgar language if that bothers you.)
I love this section. I’ve listened to it several times because they are so right about drive and having a work ethic—doing the work. It’s the thing I’ve been working on with myself, trying to improve my consistency and getting my butt into the chair and typing more.
Clarification: After putting a new post up where I talk about writing Novel #6, I skimmed my posts and came across this. This IS Novel #6, but that’s if you count one of the titles that I specifically exclude from the count in the newer post. So, to make this easier, let’s just say this is really Novel #5.
I’m thinking about writing up a series of posts about my books. Since I can’t give away anything about the book itself because it might lead to questions about my pseudonyms or genres I write in (which might also give away my pseudonyms) I’m just going to number the books and stories with a simple numbering system.
If you look to the sidebar, you’ll see I have “Accomplishments” listed and I have the numbers of published books and stories I’ve done to date. (This is on the Progress page now.)
I’m currently writing novel #6. Now, the problem is that I got all the way to the end and then just hit a wall. I love the book. But I’m tired of the book. I want it to be done. I have a couple of thousand words left on it, tops, and I have spent the last week and a half working insanely hard to avoid writing those couple thousand words. (DONE! Yea, yea, yea!)
Novel 6 is a good story. I have a little tiny bit of fear related to the story that might be part of the problem but I find it hard to believe that’s the real issue because I’ve had that fear before. I still published my other books.
I’ve also realized perfectionism is messing with my head, but not about the things you might think. No book is ever going to be perfect, and I know that, but I don’t care. Me, writing on a perfect schedule, every day, hitting the goals I set for myself? That’s the problem. I keep searching for answers, and as a friend told me, I seem to be hoping to find someone who can tell me what the perfect system is, the perfect schedule. I’m looking for the best, most efficient way to work, and that search is doing me a whole lot more harm than good.
How that all relates to the writing of novel 6?
I reached my ideal of 1000 words an hour writing 2 days before I hit the wall. I hated it, hated the pressure and the rush, and the absolute certainty that I could do it but that I didn’t want to do it. So now I know that I write at about 600 words an hour because I want to, not because I can’t write faster.
I realized the next day I didn’t want to write. The thought of putting myself into a chair and trying to write 1000 an hour was too much work, felt too hard, too intense. I don’t like that kind of intensity. So now, even though I’ve given myself permission to forego that push for 1000 words an hour for the time being, I still don’t want to write. I stole all my joy and made myself think of writing as work, and I haven’t yet been able to let that thought go.
When I do, I’m sure I’ll be back at it, writing the couple thousand words I need to finish novel 6.
Until then, I’m going to make lunch and trim my fingernails. It’s a ritual. As long as my nails touch the keyboard, I can’t concentrate on anything else. Since I haven’t been able to stop thinking about my nails since I started typing, I know it’s time. :)
So, I spent a lot of time getting myself to the point of writing 1,000 words an hour. I longed for the days when I could easily associate 1 hour of writing time to 1,000 words. It makes math super easy when I’m trying to figure out how much longer I have on a book. I can guarantee 15–30 minutes downtime for every 1 hour I spend writing … so calculations are easy.
The problem is, the writing for those days read the same as my long-running 600 words an hour average, but the joy I got from writing the words decreased significantly. I felt an unaccountable level of pressure as I typed out every word, forcing myself to keep typing when I would have taken a break and let my fingers rest on the keys. I think the writing was the same, but the process was completely unnatural for me.
I write in bursts: I sit, think, my mind wanders, and then I type, type, type, and then I do the same thing all over again. Catch my wind, so to speak.
Was I just experiencing the natural phase of fatigue and pain as my metaphorical writing muscles stretch and burn before they strengthen? I have no idea. I’m not sure I want to find out. I actually found myself avoiding writing in the days following those 1,000 words an hour days, because I didn’t want to have to work that hard again.
Sigh. I think I need to push through though. I think of my family and friends working at their jobs and I imagine they’re not going to be that sympathetic to me not being able to keep my fingers moving at a rate of 16.6 words per minute. In fact, they might laugh at me.*
My typing speed is around 66–78 words a minute so if I were typing up a dictated report in a different kind of job, the 16.6 words per minute rate implies I’d be spending 13 minutes at my normal typing speed to write those 1000 words and do that 1 hour’s worth of work. Then I’d sit in the break room or surf the internet the other 47 minutes.
I definitely have to strengthen those muscles. It’s idiocy to settle for 600 words an hour. I just need more practice getting to 1,000 so it becomes as easy as the 600 has.**
*I’d laugh at me.
**Update: Failure with this goal has plagued me for most of the year! I wonder if I have what it takes to ever write more than 500–600 words an hour. :(