Writing plan for Dec. 16, 2016

Today I’m planning to do 10 sessions of 24 minutes each. (There’s a reason.)

It’s 11:19 AM and the day is dreary but writing is going to make it more fun. On the other hand, because I’m freezing, I’ve decided my character should be freezing too, and I’ve put him in a situation that makes that possible. ;) Poor baby. I’ve made him miserable, but hey, misery loves company as they say.

Anyway, I have to get busy if I want to do 10 full sessions today and I DO.

Also, no caffeine this morning and no headache so we’ll see how long that lasts!

Somewhere in the realm of 6 hours later…

I’ve had no caffeine today. I’ve also done no writing today.

Not sure what’s going on, except that my fingers are cold and stiff even though the outside temperature is about the same as yesterday (frigid), and that’s kept me hesitating every time I think of writing because I hate feeling cold and I find it impossible to write when my fingers are cold.

I’ve turned the heat up to 72. We’ll see if that helps. I won’t hit 10 sessions today, but I’m not going to bed until I get over the 1,000 word mark.

No early bedtime for me tonight!

And it was like a scrubbed launch. Crap.

Quitting caffeine update

I drank one cup of tea this morning at about 10 a.m. because of a headache, but that’s been the extent of today’s caffeine consumption.

The weaning is working out well. I’m feeling much better than I would have been feeling (lots of experience with this) if I’d just quit it altogether. :)

Now, if only I could get my writing off the ground today! My story is not cooperating with me. I spent I don’t know how much time on breaks during one 36 minute writing session—and the countdown timer still only made it down to 24 minutes! I did get some chores done, though, so there’s that. :D

Caffeine helped but it’s time to quit again

I’m facing caffeine withdrawal again, but this time I’m trying to wean myself off caffeine instead of just eliminating it altogether. I can’t face the headaches with the holidays so near and my deadlines looming.

I’m drinking water in a cup, hoping it will satisfy the need to have a cup of something nearby. It seemed to work yesterday and is working okay this morning too.

I waited yesterday until I had a headache before I drank any coffee and I only had 6 ounces then. It took about 45 minutes for the headache to completely go away after that, but it did go away. It’s not that I plan to wait for the headache every day, but I did need to know at about what time to expect it. That would be at about 4 pm. So today, I’ll have a cup of my favorite green tea (considerably less caffeine than equal amounts of coffee) after lunch and see if it can hold off the headache. I will admit, it’s only 10 a.m. and I’m already feeling twinges over my right eye, but I’m going to wait and see if it’s a full blown headache forming earlier today, or if it’s just this sinus thing I’ve got going on.

I want to do this because I’ve been having some side effects from the caffeine that I’m ready to get away from for a while. Dry skin (so dry that it’s like I’ve developed a coating of powered sugar on my arms, LOL), possibly a stomach ulcer (something I’ve never had before, but maybe it’s something else, who knows?), jitters, and a bad habit of staying up really late but not really getting anything extra done to make up for it.

I don’t mind staying up late if I can look back and see that I’ve accomplished something during that time, but that’s not what happening. I’m planning to go to bed early, then puttering around doing much of nothing but reading stuff that’s a waste (like forums and blogs with info I’ve read a hundred or thousand times before).

I feel like I’ve been sick more often lately, too, but that might also be unrelated. Then again, sleep and dehydration probably play a roll in illness, so…

Anyway, that’s the plan. Here’s hoping I make it! The holidays are a tough time to quit anything, IMO, so I know I’m going to have to watch out for stumbles.

Experiments update

In my post about how moderation doesn’t work for me, I laid out a plan for an experiment with abstinence and a strict adherence to my schedule.

It’s been a few days. And yeah. Some of it’s working out pretty well. Some of it isn’t.

Here are the details.

The no sweets experiment is going well, if you ignore the fact that I’m having a ridiculous number of cravings. Weight is down about four pounds and I’m eating anything I want except sweets and obvious junk like potato chips (which I don’t eat often anyway). I am definitely not going hungry.

The schedule experiment still hasn’t taken off, and today doesn’t seem poised to change that. Still, I’m going to get some writing done, because I want to and that’s going to be enough to get me to the computer at 2. (I’ve already missed the window for the 8-11 block, as it’s 12:57 PM right now.)

I haven’t relapsed with the coffee, despite several strong cravings.

I haven’t been back to Kboards or TPV.

No more coffee—really!

I’ve quit coffee again. I’m not having a hard time of it this time, no coffee cravings, I mean, and maybe that’s because I was off it for a while—and all these withdrawal symptoms have just made me stubborn.

I’m tired of coffee/caffeine having this power over me and making me feel this way just because I decide to skip it for a day or two. I’m done with it. I’m not going back. Not even for the occasional, recreational coffee when I’m out. I’m just done, done, done.

I had my last cup of coffee on Saturday and it’s Tuesday afternoon now. The headache didn’t get bad until yesterday. Now it’s just lingering, annoying me when I move my head. The worst symptom has been a surprise, because I don’t remember having it before, but for the last three days, I’ve felt like I’m starving. Absolute, stomach-growling starvation. I cannot get enough food. It’s crazy!

Luckily, I track my food intake because I’ve been working for a year to lose the weight I gained when I swapped the job for the writing, so I’m monitoring the problem. But as I said, it’s been a surprise withdrawal symptom this time, because I don’t remember having dealt with this one before. Usually it’s just the headache and neck ache, a feverish feeling, and maybe some irritability.

I had hoped to do a better job with the writing today, but it didn’t happen, so I can either be mad at myself about that—or be mad at the caffeine. I choose caffeine.

Caffeine is a drug and withdrawal sucks.

Now I’m going to cook up some dinner and think about how to get myself writing again before I have to give up entirely on my 12-month 1,180,000 words plan. >:(

 

Fake tea works for me

I decided to try a fake-out this morning, and I’m surprised but it actually seems to be working. I boiled up some water in my teapot as usual (I love my little blue teapot!) and poured it into a tea cup on top of 1/2 tsp of lemon juice and 1 drop of lemon essential oil. It feels like I’m drinking herbal tea. I’m not, but it has definitely worked to fake out my need for something hot by my side as I work.

I wasn’t sure it would work, but there you have it: fake tea has done the trick.

I think I’ll buy a fresh lemon and try a slice of it in my water instead of the juice and essential oil. Maybe a slice of orange would trick me into thinking I’d had my orange jasmine green tea? I think I’ll try it next! :)

Accountability check-in: I had coffee today

I’m not supposed to be drinking coffee. It’s something I gave up—again—after finally admitting just how negatively caffeine affects me.

But today I gave in to the urge and had two cups of coffee right after lunch. I’m very awake right now and I do regret giving in to the urge, but impulsive behavior isn’t that new to me—I’m not exactly shocked that I gave in.

I knew better than to assume I had finally kicked the coffee habit for good. And knowing that, I had a backup plan that kicked in the moment I gave in!

The backup rule? If I have caffeine, for whatever reason, I can never have it more than once a week. Meaning I might have given in today, but the backup rule will keep me from giving in tomorrow or the next day or the next, keeping my safe from any future caffeine addiction.

Caffeine Withdrawal—Again

Last night I decided I had to give up coffee again. I started slipping up about a month or two ago, having a home-brewed cup every so often. Then I gave up grinding beans and using my coffee press in favor of single-serving bags as a way to drink just a bit without the hassle. Just a bit turned into morning coffee 6 days in a row and afternoon coffee once. And yesterday, I had an episode of irritability that really reminded me of one of the benefits of quitting caffeine/coffee for me: mood stability.

So here I am, going through withdrawal—again—and struggling with a headache when I’m supposed to be writing.

I hope this is the last time. It might not be, but I have so many reasons to stay away from caffeine, if I can only remember them (and think them as important!) in the moment.

Still sick, stayed up too late again, had caffeine

Hmm. I have to wonder about the cause of my rash of bad decisions. :) I had caffeine again yesterday, although it wasn’t coffee. After another sick day away from writing, I didn’t want to cook, so we had take out, and that included sweet tea. Shouldn’t have done it, but I did.

So last night, despite being tired, feeling bad, and needing to get to bed early, I stayed up about an hour and a half longer than I should have.

Six and a half hours sleep is not enough for me! Especially when I’m not feeling well.

Yesterday was all about sore sinuses, sneezing, and nostrils; today is all about snot.

Yippee. :o

I’m going to doze this morning while I read/copy edit that short story/novelette I wrote a few months back and then I’m going to write. I’m saving the writing for after the nap and other work because my brain just doesn’t feel up to it at the moment.

Conundrum

Conundrum. Give up on the experiment or keep trying?

My experiment hasn’t had one successful moment yet. I see the beauty of the possible results, but so far, those results are as elusive as the perfect lipstick color.

Some days I cannot believe some of the stuff I write. This is one of those days. I keep reading this sentence in my current work in progress and laughing and I can’t decide if I’m laughing because it’s funny or because it’s so outrageous that I have no choice but to laugh or I’ll freak out about how stupid it is.

In light of my results so far, I’ve tweaked my experiment.

I set my timer for a full 4 hours. (Revised down from the 4.5 hours I would have been writing if you added up the six 45 minute sessions.) I also stuck with setting aside the same 5 hours as before.

If I don’t finish my timed session in the 5 hour block, I’ll schedule an extra block of time to finish later, but still as one single block (to keep the number of breaks down, since that’s kind of the whole point).

At the moment, I’m sitting at 1:59:37.9 left on the timer for today, with 1,155 words completed. Meaning my pace is approximately 578 wph.

I’m not going to finish my 4 hours of writing in my 5 hour block today. It was supposed to go from 9 am to 2 pm (and here I am writing this at 1:08 but I absolutely could not maintain my concentration for another moment) and as I said above, I have almost 2 hours left on my timer. I’ll be getting back to it in just a minute or two but this says I used up my 1 hour of built in time for breaks and then somehow also managed to use another hour. I have no idea how; I haven’t done anything time consuming except drink too much tea.

I admit I’ve had to pee a ridiculous number of times this morning, but that’s not that unusual. I have a bit of a bladder condition that makes this a regular thing. What makes this tough for me is how easily I’m distracted once I’m away from the computer.

I should resolve to drink less tea in the morning, but since I have a rule not to drink tea after 2 pm (or at least not my green tea because it does have a minor amount of caffeine in it), I hate to skip it. I like my green tea. Still, I think I’m going to have to cut back. I gave up coffee completely about a month ago and made the 2 pm tea rule. My sleep’s been better so I’m not going back on that rule because it’s clearly working.

I just wish I found it as easy to employ my willpower with my writing as I do with these other things.

I quit snacking between meals in late May 2014. I haven’t eaten anything outside of meal time since.

You’d think willpower like that would be easily adapted to work for other things, but nope. I can give up coffee. I can give up snacking. I can give up tea after 2. I can’t make myself write when I don’t want to or stick to a writing schedule to save my life.

Sigh.

Coffee and Me

Holy crap. I just went through every post on this site checking the “excerpt” and updating it if there wasn’t one. I found a surprisingly large number of posts where I skipped adding an excerpt, which I use for a short description of the post and which shows up on the search results pages.

Why’d I bother with this? I have no idea, but this reminds me of something I’ve read that said caffeine helps you focus but doesn’t help you focus by priority. I’m very sensitive to caffeine. One cup of coffee can send my heart racing and make me very mentally hyper—and talkative. :D

I had a cup of coffee this morning just before I started messing with a spreadsheet and thinking about writing a blog post. Decaf is my friend. This was not decaf.

I ended up going through all my 359 posts.

So, oops.

I caught myself when I had done about 3/4 of the posts but I was so close to being done I couldn’t stop.

Literally could not stop myself from clicking the button to go on to the next few pages (40 posts each) and finish.

However, it’s done, and I’m trying to find a way to get back on track before the day is gone. I was supposed to start writing at 7 am. It’s now 11:22.

There are a couple of tasks I would like to finish before I start writing, but I’m going to have to try to make it quick.

ONE: I want to finish that spreadsheet project I started. If it works like I plan, it’ll let me easily break down sales by book title. I’d kind of like to know some details I don’t have access to at the moment. I’ve been studying the market, trying to get some insight before I start into my new books, because I’m not feeling pulled any particular way and I’d like to make a few guesses about what might give me the best return on my time at the moment. (And I got enough of this done today for some preliminary insight. Boy, did I.)

TWO: I’m trying to rewrite one of my blurbs that I think could use some serious work. It’s taking a while but I hope it will help the book sell better. I really like this book and I think everyone should read it. :D