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.

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.