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.

Fiction writing log: August 2, 2019

Still trying to think up an interesting and fun challenge for myself. In the meantime, my attempt to be more workman like with my writing did not fare as well on the second of August. I fell far short of my goal, and even though I was away for several hours, I could have made time to write more and didn’t.

Coffee was an issue. I forgot to drink a cup yesterday morning (sounds crazy, but I really just forgot) and ended up with a bad headache yesterday evening. I didn’t want to risk messing up my sleep because I just went off an allergy pill that was helping me get drowsy in the evenings and sleep harder, so I skipped having any coffee at all. I really don’t have any self-discipline when I don’t feel well.

I did not reach my daily minimum word count.

Word count: 319

Daily goal range: 275–1,000 words an hour.

Three hours x 275 words = 825 words.

Six hours x 1,000 words = 6,000 words.

Anything within that range is a win, small or large.

I did not have a win yesterday so -1 for me. :(

Today’s plan is to get my 3–6 hours of timed writing in early and I’m giving the no sweets rule another try.

It worked well for a while but I started to get too frustrated with it when the writing wasn’t progressing well and I had words to delete. But really, I still need to lose some weight that I’ve gained since I started writing (it’s the working-from-home weight, really) and the no sweets rule had double duty. I don’t do well with free access to sweet treats.

So—I’ve made an adjustment that ties it in to my new goal: No sweets until I’ve logged 3 hours of writing, or 1,000 words. We’ll see how it goes today.

Now I’m off to write. :)

Fiction writing log: August 1, 2019

I’m trying to think up an interesting and fun challenge for myself. In the meantime, my attempt to be more workman like with my writing is going well. I fell short of the 3 to 6 hour goal, but I had a five hour commitment today, so I’m pretty happy with my 2 hours of writing, especially because even though I didn’t reach my minimum hours, I did reach my minimum word count.

Word count: 1,516

I used to keep up with my words per hour average, but the truth is, after all this time, I’ve come to realize averages don’t really tell me anything so I don’t pay attention to that any longer. I have a range I want to push for when it comes to how many words I write during my hours, and that’s the information I need to set minimum word count expectations. That range is 275–1,000 words an hour.

Three hours x 275 words = 825 words.

Six hours x 1,000 words = 6,000 words.

Anything within that range is a win, small or large.

I exceeded my minimum today, so +1 for me.

:)

Days 28–30 of NANO 2018

Days 28–30: I wrote 0 words for the NANO book.

I finished out NANO with 20,368 words. I really meant to do better but I got wrapped up in finishing the project I set aside to work on the NANO book and in the end I can’t regret that. Finishing is important.

In fact, finishing is the most important part of being a writer. :)

So… onward to December.

Days 24–27 of NANO 2018

Days 24–27: I wrote 0 words for the NANO book.

I have 20,368 words for NANO this year so far. I do think I’ll get a few more because I’m absolutely planning to write today, tomorrow, and Friday. But I ended up finishing up my finished book instead of focusing on the NANO book and I’m glad I did, really.

I think I’m just going to call this done, but I’m still going to post here with my results. I might not bother posting on the NANO website.

Days 20–23 of NANO 2018

I wish it weren’t so, but I have fallen terribly far behind on my NANO goals. All it took was a week and a half of less than good writing days and suddenly I need 29,620 words to finish and I need them in eight days (seven if you don’t count today, and I can’t really, because today I am finally working on proofreading the book I finished last week and don’t expect to have time to write anything, much less the 3,703 words I should be aiming for today on the NANO book).

Days 20–22: I wrote -12 words for the NANO book (yep, I deleted more than I wrote, and I didn’t do much of that to be honest).

This was the week I followed up with my GP doctor and there has been the Thanksgiving holiday, but mostly, my downfall began on the 10th when I started to refocus on finishing the book I set aside to start November strong. Until then, I was still doing okay and staying on top of my word counts.

Day 23: I wrote 0 words for the NANO book (50 words total for all my fiction).

I’ll have to update this one at the end of the day but as of now, I’m pretty sure the NANO count is going to be 0, and the all fiction count is going to be some small number that results from copy edits to my finished book. I’m proofreading today and it’s taking such a long time that it is very unlikely I’ll get anything more than that done. (If even all of that!)

As of right now, I am not on track for a NANO win. But there is such a thing as a miracle, so I’m not calling it a loss until next week.

Day 19 of NANO 2018

Day 19: I wrote 1,109 words for the NANO book (1,299 words total for all my fiction).

I’d talk about the day but really there’s nothing to say. It was a day. I wrote some. I wish I’d been more focused and written more. I also wish I wasn’t dealing with being sick. And that the holidays weren’t already almost upon me. And that my finished book was already proofread.

Day 17 of NANO 2018

Not only did I not have time to write until nearly 4 pm, after that I was sick. Well, I was sick before that, too, but I was also not here and had no opportunity to write before then.

The vertigo returned, probably because of continued sinus and ear problems. All I’m going to say about that is that doctors do not listen. I remember now why it had been since 2010 since I’d gone to my GP.

So I didn’t write even one word of fiction on day 17 of NANO, although I thought about it. Thinking isn’t doing, though, so no prize for that!

Day 17: I wrote 0 words for the NANO book (0 words total for all my fiction).

Day 16 of NANO 2018

I woke up this morning with a big chunk of backstory for the nano book in my head. I also had some bits of scenes that I might want to use for the current part of the story, but we’ll see.

As for now, I’m going to spend the afternoon sitting in front of my sunny window and see how far I can get in making up some of the words I need for the nano book. It’s 11:59 and the days are short so this sun isn’t going to last.

Hm. I didn’t make it nearly as far as I wanted, but I also didn’t do as badly as I could have. Tomorrow I won’t have much time to devote to writing at all.

Day 16: I wrote 1,906 words for the NANO book.

Day 15 of NANO 2018

Day 15: I wrote 496 words for the NANO book (1,569 words total for all my fiction).

I really did plan to write more for the NANO book today after I finished my other book (which I did, so YAY!), but in the end I think I was just too tired after all the writing yesterday and the mad dash this morning to finish.

Unfortunately, this means I’m still behind, and falling further.

I am hoping for a better tomorrow.

Currently, my words per day average for November is 1,861. Let’s see if I can get it up to 2,000 and get this newly finished book ready to publish before the end of the month.

ETA: added a few more words after the fact, so I’ve updated the totals. :)

Day 14 of NANO 2018

Day 14: I wrote 0 words for the NANO book (6,241 words total for all my fiction).

YES! You got that right. I finally broke through that 6,000 words barrier today, breaking my own one-day word count record. For the first time since I started tracking my daily word counts, I have written more than 6,000 words in a day. :-)

But as you can see in the screenshot below, my NANO word counts have suffered quite dramatically because of this focus on ending my other book. However, I do believe I can catch up. The book is still moving along swiftly when I work on it, and I don’t feel any particular anxiety about how things are going. Fingers crossed.

Day 13 of NANO 2018

Day 13: I wrote 123 words for the NANO book (623 words total for all my fiction).

I revisited the ending of the one book I’m trying to finish, and I revisited the book I’m working on in a series that I want to write, but that in all honesty, I have no need to write at any particular speed. The books in that series hardly sell, so I’ll just keep puttering along with it until I feel compelled to do more. It’ll happen, eventually. I spent too much time reading part of the first book in the series in a hunt for information, and I should regret it, but I really don’t. I love that story. :-)

I’m behind in NANO quite a bit now, but I keep thinking I’m going to get this ending of this other book finished so I allowed myself to focus on that today. I wish my word count proved that to be a good decision, but as you can see, it does not.

Day 12 of NANO 2018

Well, it’s official. I’m behind. Today is rainy and cold and I’m dressed warmly and it feels like a good day to catch up so that’s what I’m going to try to do.

Day 12: I wrote 0 words for the NANO book (1,353 words total for all my fiction).

I went back to the book I’ve been trying to finish and spent some time on the ending. I had hoped to finish it, but I didn’t. Definitely still have a chapter or two to write for it.

I’m just going to have to try to catch up with the NANO book once it’s done.

Day 10 of NANO 2018

Very slow start today. I’m actually sitting here at 6:52 pm knowing that I haven’t started yet and that I need to write the full daily goal of 1,667 words just to stay caught up. I can do it, but I’m going to have to get in a hurry. I have a few things to finish first and time just keeps slipping away…

Will update this after I write.

Oh dear.

Day 10: I wrote 97 words for the NANO book.

I didn’t work on other books. Just those few words. Really, I’m not even sure I remember when I did those. It was not a productive night. I guess my brain just needed a day to contemplate the book or something. :)

Day 9 of NANO 2018

Slow start today, but a short nap turned things around. Naps are almost like little miracle cures.

Day 9: I wrote 1,521 words for the NANO book.

That means I am just where I need to be at 15,159 words total for the NANO book.

That also means I need to try to get ahead so I have a cushion in case I don’t write one day for whatever reason. I don’t want to be playing catch up. I want to win. :)