Restarting

Sometimes things stop us from writing. This year has been a strange one and there has been more than one thing getting in my head and interfering with my desire and ability to create.

It’s hard to believe we’re on the downward slope of 2020. My word count for the year has been the lowest I’ve logged since I started keeping track in 2012. It’s a repeat of 2018, only worse by about 6,000 words.

That said, I have something I want (something big and important and necessary) and to get that, I need to produce new writing on a much more regular basis.

My old motivations have stopped working for me in the last couple of years and I’ve been struggling to find something else to push me to write (when I would almost always rather be reading, because I love reading and frankly, it’s easier). This goal is much more immediate, and the payoff will happen within the year.

I have a 180 day plan, and it means regular writing of about 2,000 words a day to maintain a 2,000 words a day average.

You know what would help that? A weekly attempt at my lofty 7,000 words in a day goal. ;D That is something I’m definitely going to do. The more times I try, the more likely I might make it there before the end of 2020. :D

For now, I’m going to use my blog to post daily updates at the end of the day on the writing, starting with “Day 1”. That’ll start this evening.

Day two of working the new mindset

Today I’ve set aside two main blocks for writing. I’m posting here for the accountability. I’ll come back and fill in my progress later today when I have the time to spare. I’m doing it again today, because it turns out I do like this planning and working to the plan thing. :)

2:00–5:30 pm

7:15–9:45 pm

The goal today is 2,995 words. I’ll write a post later talking about the new mindset and what I’m attempting to do. Right now, it’s 1:59 pm and I have to get to work on today’s writing.

End of day word count: 794 words

Update:

I mostly adhered to the schedule, except I’m still finding it difficult to stay focused. That’s a thing with me, though, and I’m trying to do my best to keep myself on task by using a timer that runs when I’m actually writing. It’s simply a way to hold myself accountable for writing during the blocks of time I’m setting aside.

As usual, I’m not actively writing nearly as much as the time allotted would suggest I am. That’s also something I’m used to happening with time blocks, so we’ll see if it improves over time.

Chopped up writing day but a writing day it will be

It’s going to be a chopped up day but writing can’t wait, so I’m setting aside several blocks of time. I’m posting here for the accountability. I’ll come back and fill in my progress later today when I have the time to spare. I think I’m going to like this planning and working to the plan thing. :)

10:15–11:15 am

I wrote 588 words during this block of time.

5:00–7:30 pm

I wasn’t even home yet. So this one didn’t work out.

9:00–10:30 pm

I was so dead tired I didn’t even bother looking at my computer. Two hours longer in the pool than I planned wiped me out.

I love swimming but I came home as wrinkled as a prune and more sunburned than I wanted. Luckily, I have skin than tans easily once I start getting a little sun, and I had been acclimating myself to the sun this year in an effort to raise my low Vitamin D levels and avoid the supplements my doctor wanted me to take for the next year.

(And I will say, today—I’m writing this update on Friday morning, the day after—I feel really good. The exercise and sun really did me a favor. :) Hopefully I’ll see the benefits in my writing stamina! I’d like to write a lot of words today. I’ll update with a link when Friday’s post goes live.)

Thursday words: 588

*I take my ending document word count and input it into my spreadsheet, which calculates the difference from the ending word count for the day before and tells me how many words I “wrote”, which of course, isn’t about how many words I wrote at all. It’s about how many words more my document contains today than it contained yesterday.

It’s by far the easiest way to track word counts and keeps me honest about the progress I’m making each day writing words that will end up published. :)

Screenshot of my word count tracker spreadsheet

As you can see in the screenshot of my spreadsheet, I’m currently trying to practice my way into writing 2,995 words a day.

I’m nowhere near close to that as a daily average, so don’t get goggly-eyed at it. I’m not there and who knows if I ever will be. I’d like to be, for reasons I won’t get into in this post, and that’s why that number is there. :)

Finally, those word count lengths in my spreadsheet for novel, novella, and novelette are my personal goals. The SFWA sets novels at 40,000+, novellas at 17,500+, and novelettes at 7,500+ words, and I use something very close to those definitions as my own guide when categorizing my stories. :)

Screenshot of the Nebula Award rules from the SFWA website

My length categorizations are only slightly different and at this point I can’t remember exactly why that is. :)

Novel > 40,000 words
Novella = 15,000 to 40,000 words
Novelette = 7,000 to 15,000 words
Short story < 7,000 words

In all honesty, I think it’s because I have more stories than not that fall at the upper edges of those word counts and I felt like they fit the category above more than they fit the category below so I adjusted the numbers to fit my writing style. :)