Daily writing – Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020

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.)

Daily writing – Monday, Jan. 27, 2020

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. :)

Daily post – Jan. 25, 2020 – Saturday

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. ;)

Daily post – Jan. 23, 2020 – Thursday – Part two

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

Daily post – Jan. 23, 2020 – Thursday – Part one

As I said in my last post, I seem to be feeling better today (those sleep habits coming into play again) so I’m expecting myself to get some real writing done today.

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.

Daily post – Jan. 22, 2020 – Wednesday

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.

And

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

 

Daily post – Jan. 21, 2020 – Tuesday

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.

:D

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?

LOL.

I don’t think so. ;)

Tomorrow, I’ll reset, and I’ll try again. 4,000 words or bust! :D

Daily post – Jan. 20, 2020

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. :)

 

Daily post – Jan. 19, 2020

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.”

From <https://www.businessinsider.com/use-procrastination-to-get-things-done-2014-6>

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.

From <http://www.structuredprocrastination.com/>

Daily post – Jan. 16, 2020

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!). :-)

Thankful yesterday wasn’t a zero word day :-)

I sat down yesterday morning on day six of my (re)start of the 2,000 words a day plan and wrote 401 words.

I’m glad I did, because I thought I’d feel like writing later and maybe get a chance to actually write my 2,000 words yesterday.

HAHAHAHAHA!

Yesterday was also day 115 of my effort to have no more zero word days. My record of consecutive days of writing is 122, as you can see in the screenshot of the sidebar below. I’m so close to surpassing that record!

Screen shot of the sidebar on 11-29-2019

(Screen shot for posterity. I’m always trying to improve these stats. Maybe by the time you read this, the numbers will have changed in the real sidebar.) :-)

Today I’ve hunkered down in my house and will start writing as soon as I publish this blog post.

(I don’t shop, except when I do, and when I do, it’s usually last minute and in a hurry—and I’m betting you could have guessed that. I am an expert procrastinator, after all.)

I need 7,827 words to end today caught up. I am not in any way saying I will get all those words today, but I do want to cut that number down by far more than the 2,000 words today if at all possible. :D

I’m going to use 15 minute timers today.

Probably won’t track any metrics, because that’s not why I’m using timers. I don’t care how fast or slow I write. I just want to stay focused and get in more time. My math bent does mean that sometimes focusing on the math is the easiest way to keep my conscious mind busy so my subconscious can have free rein of the writing itself, so we shall see. :D

Falling falling falling…

Should never had bragged about my two day streak of 1,000+ words. ;) Of course I broke it yesterday. I just had too much to do in the afternoon and I had too many interruptions in the morning.

I wrote 863 words on day five of my (re)started 2,000 words a day plan.

This morning, yes, Thanksgiving Morning, I’m going to try to get 1,000 before I have family things that are going to take all my time today. If I’m lucky, I’ll get to write this evening and get to 2,000.

It really would have helped if I’d had a few words in the bank into the holidays! I’ll just have to do my best not to fall too far behind in the next few days.

 

Another slip but a two day streak I’d like to keep alive despite the holidays

I only wrote 1,007 words yesterday. My accept-no-excuses attitude obviously needs work. I had a raging headache yesterday and never really got moving on my words until it got late, and then couldn’t stick it out when I got sleepy.

On the other hand, I wrote 1,007 words and that means I have a two day streak of 1,000+ word counts and I’m going to try to hang onto it with all I’ve got despite the upcoming holidays and my packed calendar.

I’d like 2,000 today, but I’m not sure it’s going to be possible. I should have had all morning for writing, but I’ve completed four 15 minute sprints (more about that later, because yes, I gave in and I’ve started using my timers again as of the day before yesterday*). Out of those four 15 minute blocks, I haven’t gotten through one of them without having to stop the timer at least three times.

*The timers thing: I’ve decided I had to come up with a new way of thinking about the timers. They’re my inoculation against perfectionism. They keep me aware of the passage of time. They don’t interfere with flow. They enhance it.

I don’t even think about it on a conscious level when I have one running. But somehow, someway, the timer keeps me aware of what I’m doing and keeps me from falling into a circular thinking pattern that ends with me redoing the same sentence twenty times for no good reason. I’m serious. The timers aren’t about pressure, they’re about awareness. And I need them. I’m ready to accept that. I need the timers to stay aware of time and that’s just not going to change no matter how much I want it to.

Another fail but I’m not giving up

So yesterday, day two of my no-excuses-accepted plan to write 2,000 words a day, was a fail. Stuff happened, but I can in all honesty say that I still should have gotten those words written, and that’s not me being too hard on myself. That’s me being honest. I wrote a mere 538 words of fiction.

However—

Today I’m starting early, and I’m going to get in today’s 2,000 words, and then I’m going to catch up and get ahead. I know I can do it. :D

That said, I’m not going to waste any more time on this post, and I’ll see you back here later, when I have a report to make. Accountability is probably going to be essential to this plan ever getting off the ground! :-)

September 2019 progress

September passed much too quickly. I wanted to finish more projects in September and it didn’t happen.

September words: 24,609.

I did keep my “no more zero word days” streak alive. Yesterday marked 62 days of daily writing. But there were a few days there when I’m not sure I like how I did it. I didn’t cheat, because my only rule is that I write something but I still don’t like the way I went about it.

On the other hand, I really don’t want to set a minimum, because it messes with my head when I know I need to delete stuff and don’t want to because it’ll leave me with a negative word count and I need a positive word count for some streak or other (like the 1,000 words before sweets rule I had for a while).

Maybe I’m going to have to set a minimum of some sort whether I like it or not. If that happens, I’m sure I’ll go with a time based minimum, because the word count is pretty much out of my control. Some days are productive and good and some days I struggle to move forward in my stories no matter how much time I devote to it. Time is a good compromise. In fact, as I type this, I’m becoming convinced I need to set that minimum time.

I stopped editing my work every day. I think mostly because I kept getting far ahead of my writing and there’s no point reading something twenty times! I just need to read for errors or things to fix, because I edit as I go when I write, and that meant I was often rereading stuff I’d read the very day before for the third or fourth time.

That said, I might pick it up again, because there were some benefits to it (it kept my stories very alive in my mind).

October is already passing quickly, so I’m hoping today to regain some momentum I lost at the beginning of the month because my refrigerator died on me and I had to deal with that and get it replaced when the repairs didn’t fix it. :)

It’s just been one thing after another lately but I am determined to get back on track and have a 50,000 word month! I want to make October–December all 50,000 word months. April and May were my last two 50,000 word months and I was disappointed when I didn’t make June another one. But it did set a new personal best for me, because I’d never had two 50,000 word months back to back.

Now it’s time to set another personal best and have three 50,000 word months back to back. :D

August 2019 progress

I had a nice recovery in August. Not a fantastic word count for the month by any means, but a vast improvement over June and July. In fact, in August, I wrote more words than in June and July combined.

I finally finished a short story I started a few months back, and started another one. I’m still not working on the novel I set aside for the short stories, but I’m going to try to get back to it soon.

I still just don’t know what it is about that story that has me stumped, but it’s clear to me that I’m suffering from project block of some sort on it. It might be that the only way through it is to dig in again and just keep pushing until something gives.

That worked for the short story. I restarted it something like five times before I finally wrote something I wanted to be writing.

August words: 24,113.

My August word count was nothing to be unhappy about, even if I wanted to accomplish a bit more.

  • My writing daily streak is alive and well. I haven’t had a zero word day since 8/5.
  • My editing daily streak is alive. I’ve read and edited a little something every single day since I started that on 8/7.

On the other hand, I’m not sure the daily editing is serving the purpose I want it to serve.

I’m still going to read the entire story I just finished writing, despite having read through it a number of times now as I went. In the end, I don’t trust myself not to have missed something, and I can’t let go of the need to read it through from the start right before publishing. It’s just how I have to do things to feel comfortable letting it go.

We’ll see if I continue to find the daily editing a useful habit. I don’t think it hurts anything, but I just can’t see where it’s really helping either. As I become more prolific, it might pay off. We’ll see.

Onward to September.

No more zero word days—day 12

Notes on the challenge:

  • Only true zero word days count as zero word days, meaning—
    • Negative numbers aren’t zero word days because they just indicate that I deleted more than I wrote.
    • I don’t want oodles of negative word days, because forward progress matters a lot more than just logging a number that isn’t a zero, but I also don’t want the same issues that I had with my “no sweets before 1,000” to crop up either—the issue of needing to delete something but hesitating because I wanted to get my 1,000 words in so I could have a treat!

All that said, things are going well! I just need to get my daily word counts up to where I would like them to be, 1500-3000, and I’ll finally be satisfied. :D (Really? Who knows! But I’m going to pretend.)

Yesterday, I helped my daughter move back to college and now I can’t be blaming other people for my lack of concentration and writing. It’s all on me.

Today is a super quiet day here and I plan to enjoy it by writing the day away.

Days 1–11: 7,104 words*

Day 12: in progress!*

* Edited because I had those days and word counts all wrong. What the heck?! I have no idea how I messed that up. Never mind. I totally forgot this wasn’t a monthly update but was for the challenge only. The numbers were right the first time!

July 2019 progress

Ah! I forgot to post my monthly progress post for July. :) I’m forgetting a lot of things lately, but I blame it on the fact that my brain has been full of plans to make the writing work and the worry that maybe the boredom is deeper than any one book. I realized yesterday that was probably not true, and I had that proven today.

Yesterday, I dropped the plans and goals and quotas, and lo and behold, I had no trouble at all getting started today. I’ve already been writing and I even did some reading of two of my works in progress and found no errors to correct at all. :)

July words: 995.

OUCH. So many ouches.

As you can see, all those things I’ve been trying to do to get myself to producing more words again have not been working. You’d think I’d double down on those plans now that July numbers are in, but nope.

I am apparently allergic to goals and quotas. :-o

In lieu of all those things, here’s what I’m doing for August.

At the top of my calendar I have three recurring all-day events.

Screenshot of calendar events

1. Read some fiction every day – This keeps me in the creative frame of mind and makes me a lot less critical of my own writing. I read a lot, but this is meant to keep me reading fiction every day. If I’m going to be writing fiction every day, I need to be reading fiction every day to dull the bleat of my inner critic.

2. Edit some of my fiction every day – This is to ease the burden of the final proofreading and copy editing I do right at publish time. I find all that reading right after I’ve finished a book a lot tedious, and keeping things done ahead of time makes that last read through before publishing go much quicker (fewer typos, continuity issues, or other errors to mark and correct). Mostly, though, this is to keep me focused on my stories, and why I like writing. I love to read my own work, and when I don’t love to read it, I know something’s going wrong in my head. I only ever don’t like it when my critical self gets control of my brain.

3. Write some fiction every day – This is there so I can put my “+” beside it and feel a little thrill that my streak is still alive. It’s also got three separate reminders on it so I get a little notification three different times of the day. That’s to help me be aware if I’m frittering the day away. :)

This little set up will create three separate streaks for me to track and that will keep my analytical self happy and occupied. :)

I’m really happy with this set up and I’m feeling good about it.

I am still worried about the novel that I’m bored with, but I’m going to read it today sometime, mark any errors that need correcting, and look for the place where I might have taken a wrong turn.

I don’t think it’s the first few chapters. A bit of a niggle of an idea has been coalescing in the back of my brain since early this morning, and I have a feeling I know where I need to chop off the book and restart from. :D

Fingers crossed!

I’ll lose a lot of words but in the time I’ve been away from the book, I could have written another novel. I don’t want to let that drag on.

So, although July was the pits, really, I’m pretty happy with the course corrections I’m implementing for August. I’ve written more already this month than last, and I’m going to consider that a good sign this early in the month. :)

It’s still entirely possible this will become my best (most productive) year ever, with approximately half the year to go.