October 2019 progress

I forgot to post my October progress post. :) That shouldn’t be a surprise. I also forgot I was going to post about NANO. That update is out of the way and now I’m going to do the October progress post. :D

October words: 19,168.

That’s far under where I wanted to be for the month, but it did continue a streak of months in the five digit word counts.

There’s not a lot else to say. I continued writing on whatever interested me, and that has been a nice change of pace. I also have stayed away from timers and schedules and I’m not feeling the pressure to go back to using them.

On the other hand, I’ve now finished two stories that I haven’t yet published and I don’t like that. I much prefer finishing one at a time, getting it published, and then getting back to writing. That’s been a side-effect of writing on more than one thing at a time. I now have a lot of stuff that if I continue with that, will end up finished in lumps. Not really a fan of that, now that it’s actually happened to me.

So that’s something I won’t be doing in the future. I’m about to drop the multiple stories thing again, but only sort of, and with a purpose.

Here’s what I mean by that. I like moving between stories, but I also need to maintain a high interest in each story and finish it as quickly as possible. So… on days when I just cannot seem to get moving, I plan to allow myself to change stories. But as a general rule, I think I’m going to have to try to keep myself working on one book, no matter what, and finish it as quickly as I can so that my interest doesn’t wane and I don’t lose a lot of time to trying to get back into the story after an extended break.

I really don’t think those extended breaks do anything good for me. I lose a lot of love for my stories when I take them, and getting restarted is a bear. Seriously, it’s the worst.

I’m now at day 99 of my writing every day streak. I can’t count today because I actually haven’t written anything yet. But as soon as I do, it’ll be 100 days long. The number to beat is 122 (in the sidebar over there somewhere if you want to see it).

The changes to my sleep habits have also been helpful, maybe. I actually can’t say. I do know I’m doing better than I did during my massive downturn, so there’s that. I don’t really know how I can quantify this in the long-term, except to continue to adhere to better sleep habits and see where things stand many months from now. If I can make it through the holidays writing, that’ll be a win. It’ll be a tough proposition once the school breaks start, so I’ll have to stay vigilant about the earlier bed times! :D

So that’s where things are.

November has been (so far) about trying to do what needs to be done to get those finished stories out, and move on. And pick my next focus and really hone in on it and plan to get it done ASAP. And stop all this dilly dallying around. It feels less like fun than you’d think. It feels more like puttering, and there’s no sense of accomplishment at all. My ability to self-motivate depends on how I feel about what I’ve done.

And finally, I’ve set a challenge for myself to make November my first 60,000 words month. I’m behind at the moment (of course), but I’m still hopeful that I’ll be able to do it.

:D

Fighting to keep up my momentum

April was a great month for writing. I wrote more than 50,000 words. May has been fantastic. But I’ve recently finished a book and now I’m fighting to keep up my momentum.

Finishing a big project leaves me feeling adrift. I have to stop letting myself feel like I’ve finished something when I finish a book. The big project is my career, not this one book, so I have to keep writing if I want to avoid a long break between books.

Implementing the plan should be easy but we all know it won’t be. But here’s what I’m doing.

1. No writing break between books.

2. No moving on to a book I “should” finish while I’m interested in writing a different book.

I’m writing the book I’m most interested in writing right now, not the book I feel like I should write right now. That particular series has waited this long for another book, and it can keep waiting.

Enthusiasm = intrinsic motivation = finishing the next book before I lose interest in it and have to work hard to regain it.

I hope it works, but I really won’t know until I’ve tried it a few times and seen the results. :)

I’m also still following my rule about sweets and 1,000 words. This little rule helped me write more than 50,000 words in April. And that momentum put me in a position to break my 6,241 words in a day record.

My new record? 6,606 words on May 7, 2019.

I don’t have a post for that day, because I’ve really been focused on writing fiction and saving the blog posts for progress updates, but I am thrilled I did it. It was awesome. It was also exhausting. I’m really not meant to write that many words in one day! :-) Next record to break? 7,000 words in a day. It’ll happen.

Now, off to write. Today is the first day of the new book. (Which I started in January, and wrote a few thousand on between then and now, so I’m not actually starting the book at zero words. I really want to write this book! It’s going to be so much fun.)

And I really want one of the brownies my daughter made so I’m definitely about to start writing. :D

That didn’t last

I made plans before I finished my last book not to start the next in that series until I’d written the book that I already have in progress. I’m attempting to keep my enthusiasm for my projects high by managing them better. It’s easy to lose enthusiasm when I write a few thousand words and then move to something else for months at a time before I get back to it.

The last book I finished? I wrote about that delay. I also wrote about how much more of a chore writing is when I have delays like that because I get bored and lose interest in what I started and have difficulties getting that interest back.

To be technical about it, writing that last book took me from March 2017 to November 2018. That’s more than a year, and that’s a long time to try to keep up interest in writing one story.

That said, my plans to avoid doing that again aren’t working out—which is a total bummer. :-|

I got an awesome idea this morning for the direction I want to go in the series I finished that last book for. At the same time, I’ve had no ideas for the series and book I’m currently supposed to be writing. I haven’t had much interest at all in finishing this book—the same one I was flying through just months ago while still trying to finish the other book.

I wrote down the idea for the series and my thoughts about it, or some of them anyway, and I went ahead and started the document for the next book in that series. I haven’t gone so far as to write words for that book yet, but it is calling to me something fierce. The idea for the opening scene is right there in my brain and it wouldn’t take any effort at all to just let myself explore it a little.

It doesn’t pay to ignore the muse, but I’m trying.

It’s a conundrum. Miss out on harnessing the enthusiasm I have for the one series to struggle with the other book instead? Or write what I want while the little bit of enthusiasm I still have for the other book continues to wane?

The only right choice seems to be to let go and allow myself to work on two books at a time again. Or to make myself. Call it what you will.

But hey, it worked for the last book.

Sort of.

I finally finished it, at any rate, and I enjoyed doing it, and I broke through to a 6,000 word day. I didn’t push myself to do it, either. It just happened.

Breaking patterns

I had to take some drastic measures to get myself working again, and it’s turned out to be a pretty simple thing. What I’ve done, I think, is just break some patterns I’d slipped into.

First, I bought a couple of books, after writing a blog post I never posted.

I would resolve not to make excuses for these behaviors but I’ve already done that. And I don’t often make excuses. I just don’t do the work.

That’s what’s going to have to change. I have to become someone who does the work.

Which brings to mind a book I’ve been meaning to read for a long time but haven’t.

Do the Work by Steven Pressfield at Amazon.

Turning Pro at Amazon.

Reading books about writing is always motivational for me. I need to spend more time doing it. Even when I feel like it’s using up writing time, because the alternative is a low interest in writing and using none of that bountiful writing time to write anyway.

Do the Work is interesting. A little hype-y at times, but I’ve picked up a few thoughts from it that I really want to remember. I’m really looking forward to reading Turning Pro, but Do the Work felt much more like it was what I was meant to be reading at that moment. :-)

I’m just over halfway through it now, 56% according to my Kindle, and my goal is to keep reading it and Turning Pro (and The Warrior Ethos) until I’ve finished them all before I move on to reading anything else.

Second, I’m listening to writer podcasts, something I used to do but stopped when I decided I was probably wasting time doing it. I think it was a mistake to stop, because listening to them makes me excited about writing even when it’s material I’ve heard before. Yes, they use up a lot of time, but since I listen while I cook, eat, and do other things, that keeps my interest in writing high even when I’m distracted with other things.

I credit listening to these yesterday and the day before with my sudden increase in discipline and my renewed interest in writing. I stuck to a schedule yesterday, even if it was a loose schedule, and I really put some effort into writing for the first time in nearly two weeks.

:D

So there, that’s what I’m doing to break the patterns that I’ve felt like I was trapped in for the last few weeks, and I’m finally making progress on my current book again.

If you’re having difficulties sitting down to write, not because you don’t have time, but because your interest has waned (especially for reasons you don’t understand), try something like this. It really has helped. :-)