About the writing of my current book

I was looking at my word count spreadsheet today and realized that my “Worked On” column in my “Daily Log” sheet gives me the perfect opportunity to know things about my writing that I might not know otherwise.

Here are some things I found interesting about the writing of my current book (book 19).

3/9/17

I wrote a few words.

12/26/17

I wrote a few more words.

2/16/18
and
2/17/18

I tried to get started on this book in earnest. Didn’t work.

5/9/18

I wrote 100 words but I’m not certain they were all on this book.

5/25/18
to
Present

I started the real work on this book. I’ve had 23 zero word days since 5/25, but since I’m actively working on the book, I’m counting them in the total number of days I’ve been working on this book. :-)

What does that all add up to?

I’ve spent exactly 100 days working on this book (so far).

It’s been 537 days since I first started this book. And that means I’ve had this book in my head for 537 days.

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: I get bored when writing a book takes too long. I need to stop stalling when it’s time to start the next book—or just not allow myself to start writing until I’m ready to commit.  Even starting the book sets things in motion in my head that make me feel like I’m losing interest when I don’t continue to make progress.

Finally, ouch. It’s been at least 537 days since I put out the last book in this series (make that 685 to be exact). Sigh. This book is going to flop so hard.

And to tie this all up, I’ve finally found a title format I like for my accountability posts: Book 19, day 100. It ties in with both this post and the last. I can also imagine this being a nice way to keep up with just how long I’ve spent on any one book (or story) and how many books I’ve written. I like it. :-)

Book: Book 19, day 100.

Short story: Short story 13, day 2.

I only foresee one difficulty with this, if I don’t want to be doing multiple accountability posts when I work on more than one story on any particular day. I’ll just line them all up in the title or I’ll summarize at the top of the post for any I don’t want to do that with. :D

Book 19, day 100; Short story 13, day 2; Book 20, day—Oh no. That’s not going to work. I really don’t always know where some of these books are going to fall in line when I’m writing on them like this. Now I’m sad, because I really liked this idea.

Then again, I am trying not to overdo the multiple story trick. Until I can start regularly writing 2,000 plus words a day, working on more than one story at a time is just another way to take too long finishing any of them.

I’ll have to think about this some more.

Or maybe I won’t have to. I could just stick to only counting the current book as the one with a number, and list any extra work I’m doing on other books in the post sans number. Because truly, it’s only been once or twice out of all 30 titles I’ve written that I haven’t known which book I’m actively trying to finish first so I can publish it.

Whew. Crisis averted.

Now, on to finishing today’s minimum word count. I’ve really not been focused where I need to be today. Today has been a study in procrastination.

Yesterday with the book went well, so what did I do today?

I spent the day messing with my fonts library, caused Word to screw up with some of my most useful fonts, spent way too much time deleting and installing one particular font that just would not display correctly after I’d installed newer versions, deleted my font cache again, (and again), and finally got things working correctly by digging out some files I’d put into a backup folder in case I messed something up.

I do appreciate that I had the foresight to do that.

Because boy did I mess something up.

At one point I had Word displaying everything in an italic font for what was supposed to be a regular font and I have no idea how that happened.

But what a waste of a good day. I can’t even understand why I did this.

I finally started writing at 11:24 and spent most of an hour and three minutes editing stuff that probably didn’t need to be edited.

Oh, and about mid-day, I reached across my kettle while it was boiling water for my coffee and steamed the crap out of my arm. Right where it touches the edge of my keyboard when I type. Those burns hurt! Of course it blistered. It’s a very ugly burn, in fact, and will probably leave a scar.

So “Yay” for today.

I’m ending my writing session with a negative word count. I knew when I sat down today that tomorrow was not going to be a writing day and that I really needed to make some progress today.

I did none of that.

It was just not a great day. I’m glad to see it over.

Procrastinating like a pro

So I’m writing today. Or I’m supposed to be. I know the real pros never go through this. They write and write and write and curl their noses up at…

Wait a minute. This is what I do for a living. That means I’m a pro, right?

Crap.

I should probably try to save me from myself here, but I’d rather procrastinate today. I’ve spent an hour writing and added, wait for it, 84 words to my new book.

There are days when it feels like a nap would be a better use of my time.

What does it take to be a productive writer? A journal!

I read an article today that caused me to rethink the differences between my really productive Sunday and my less productive Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (and Thursday, so far). It was the title of the piece that drew me in—interstitial is just that kind of word.

Replace Your To-Do List With Interstitial Journaling To Increase Productivity: A new journaling tactic that immediately kills procrastination and boosts creative insights” promised not to be just another article on productivity journaling (boring) but something more and I decided I really had to know what the author of the piece had to say.

(Note: you do appear to need a Medium account to read the complete article.)

I wasn’t disappointed, even though I saw right away that this was exactly the kind of journaling I already do on my more productive days. In fact (from the article):

During your day, journal every time you transition from one work project to another. Write a few sentences in your journal about what you just did, and then a few more sentences about what you’re about to do.

The author talks about this as journaling in the “interstitial moments” between projects. For me, I journal when I take breaks between sessions. The example the author showed of this kind of journaling is very close to what I do in my private journal (even down to putting in the time) and I’ve also done it some here on the blog, although not lately.

It’s also very similar to what I did Sunday, and what I didn’t do Monday through Wednesday (or even Thursday, so far).

Since I journal in so many different places, it’s been hard for me to go back and check just how many of my more productive days involved this kind of journaling and how many didn’t, but my gut tells me this has been a significant determinant of whether or not I’ve ended up having a successful writing day.

The problem I have measuring this gut feeling is that I currently log all this stuff in any of three active paper journals (not counting my cheap spiral notebooks), this blog, and my OneNote journals. Some days I write in OneNote (today) and some days I write in my hardback journal, or my 5×8 softbound journal, or my BlueSky spiral notebook (that I adore). And some days I just post to the blog and do no other journaling at all.

I might have a hard time writing a lot of fiction, but let me tell you, I write a shit ton of everything else. ;)

In the “journal everything” section of the article, I saw so much of my own journaling habits that it was a little spooky. I also suspect that many of those days were the days when I successfully overcame procrastination.

From one of my own private journal entries (November 4, 2015):

9:49 am: Started my break. Although my numbers started out low, they’ve improved a bit and the goal of having a record breaking day doesn’t look out of reach so I’m going to keep aiming in that direction.

I’ve been yawning so I hope that doesn’t turn into a problem. But I need do only two more sessions before lunch so it’s not that bad! I can nap then if I really need it.

12:02 pm: 2,021 words

I’m disappointed I’m not further along but I did hit a bit of a wall when it comes to energy earlier. I got through it though. Now I need to have a quick lunch and get back to writing. I think the story is going well and I’m looking forward to where it might go.

My pace is only 622 wph this morning, and I’m 5 minutes short of 4 full 50 minute sessions. That means that I wrote for 3.25 hours out of about 4.25 hours. That’s an average of 20 minutes between every session. Not bad. Better than I have been doing at any rate! Improvement is good. :)

Caught up with Pulp Speeders, now getting to lunch! 12:27 pm.

1:28 pm. And of course, lunch took longer than I expected. My battery isn’t changed yet either. I think I’ll take a short nap. If I can. Just a quick little eye rest. :D

1:53 pm. My quick little eye rest didn’t turn into a nap, but I do feel better and ready to get started again.

3:48pm. 2,498 words

Of course, none of that ended up here on the blog as my only November 4, 2015 entry proves.

I’ll be honest, this article came at an opportune time. I’ve been wishy-washy today about whether or not I wanted to go back to using timers to keep me focused on writing, but I kind of really don’t want to do that, not yet at any rate. This journaling could be the key to keeping me productive during the transition, and could also explain some of my former productivity.

Even the month I posted nothing here and maintained my most consistent writing pace ever (February 2013), I wrote in my private journals. I’d love to go back and read them, but they’re the ones I deleted in late 2014 and I still could kick myself for doing that. I have a note to myself at the top of my OneNote journals notebook. It says simply: REMEMBER – Do not delete journals again!

Funny, but I dare not get rid of that reminder. I also moved to expensive paper journals for the same reason. I’m much less tempted to tear out pages and throw them away when the cost is $9+ for the journal versus the $0.25 I paid for the cheap spiral notebooks I used to use. :D

Know thyself, as they say.

The thing is, this is something I’ve been doing for a long time, but not every day and not deliberately. I think it’s time I give it a deliberate place in my writing day.

Since today hasn’t been great (so far), it’s the perfect time to put this into practice and see if it leads to me writing more words tonight. Because I really need to write, and the 315 words I have so far are nowhere near where I’d imagined this day ending up when I got started this morning.

So thanks, Tony Stubblebine! Your article has made a difference in someone’s life today. :D

Resistance is killing my momentum

Have you read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield? If you have, then you know what I’m talking about when I say resistance is killing my momentum on this book.

I’ll get around to updating yesterday’s post with my final numbers (not any better than where I left it, really), but for now I’m just going to get started with today’s writing if I can. I was supposed to start at 10, then anytime after, then at 11, I was definitely going to get started, and here it is 11:39 am and I’m writing this instead.

I have a little over two hours until I have to stop for something, at which point it’ll be a while before I can get back to today’s writing.

Today I expect myself to write at least 1,557 words, and then catch up as much as I can from my previous days’ word counts. All that will take well over three hours, so I’m not concerned at all about my goal to write for three hours.

A few really good days of 4,000–5,000 words would get me to the end of this book I’m working on, so that’s what I’m going to try for.

Which, I know, sounds really dumb when I can’t even reach 1,557 words every day, but what else am I supposed to do—just give up? I don’t think so.

Anyway, off to write before I run out of time. I won’t bother updating probably until later today. I want to stay focused on the writing.

It’s well past noon and I have not finished my words today

That title says it all: it’s past noon and I still haven’t reached 1,557 words.

What happened? I couldn’t stay focused and on task today.  At ALL.

It’s 4:16 in fact and here’s what I’ve done: I have 16 minutes left on my first 45 minute timer and I’ve written 346 words. That’s actually pretty good, because eyeballing that, it means I was writing at about 700 wph.

I was really into my scene too. But I started to get anxious and I had to take a break. Sometimes that happens when I’m thinking too hard or something. I get so excited that I have to jump up and move around or I feel like my brain is going to explode. It doesn’t really make sense but it can really derail what’s shaping up to be a great work session.

Well, it derailed my session, and although I’ve had multiple hours since all to myself and perfect for writing, it’s like I’m afraid to start again.

But it’s time. I really want to reach that minimum and I’m not going to do it by avoiding that timer!

Oh, and no more forums today until after I write those words! I am officially banning myself from all other internet uses until my spreadsheet shows 1,557 words for today’s count. >:{

Grrrr!

So remember last year? No, I didn’t think you would, but here you go, a reminder.

Yes, my AC is out. Again. Not only that but somehow, someway, I’ve reset my timer 3 times on my first 45 minute session when I meant only to pause it. Probably not a bad thing, because I took a look at the numbers and I had barely cracked 100 words during those 3 aborted sessions.

On top of all that, I’ve found myself procrastinating an incredible amount today and I don’t know why.

I’m calling today’s big plans a bust. Instead, I’ll just concentrate on getting to my minimum word count, and then maybe—maybe—if I’m not just ready to give up, I’ll work on making up yesterday’s shortfall. I’ll go from there.

Update: And… the day’s total came in at 367 words in 45 minutes (three 15 minute sessions) making my pace 489 words an hour. Interesting side note: my cumulative word count since July 2012 is 1,155,620 words.

Also, for a second day in a row, I have not written my non-negotiable minimum number of words. >:(

I do not plan to let that stretch to three.

At least I’ve been consistent (challenge update)

I’ve faced a lot of procrastination today. My pace has been marginally better, but not significantly so. As it stands, I’ve written 1,841 words in 3 hours and 40 minutes. So truly, I’ve maintained my average pace today.  What I haven’t done is spend enough hours writing to get anywhere near to meeting this challenge at that pace.

But I can certainly claim consistency over the last four days, with word counts of 1495, 1905, 1575, and 1841, respectively. My daily average is 1707.

Yes, tomorrow I will be trying one more time to meet this challenge.

As for tonight, I am winding down. My energry levels have reached a point of no return; I’m almost to the point of dozing at the computer.

Which is funny given the hours I’ve logged writing today. Despite that, I’ve spent most of the day at the computer and I’m feeling it.

Until tomorrow.

Challenge day four

I didn’t even bother with a post this morning because I got right to writing after breakfast. Unfortunately, I’m online now and that’s a really bad sign for things to come. I’m getting off as soon as I post this post though, so maybe I’ll recover.

I’m at 947 words and it took me 1 hour and 43 minutes to get there, not counting the several times I forgot to restart Gleeo after a break.

This morning started off well, and but I stopped writing at 10:09, when I had a family interruption. With the kids older now, and busy, one at college and one on the way there, as long as school is in there fewer than ever reasons to accept excuses from myself about family distractions. However, that means when they are around, it’s harder to put them off in favor of writing.

I had lunch, made a few backups and copied some files to OneDrive and Dropbox (which never have my only copies of anything important, EVER). Then I checked out some library books, because I had some holds come through. I have a few weeks to read them, so I’m not going to start that now, but I didn’t want to forget about them. I’ve also moved some OneNote notebooks to my computer and back, because I can’t make up my mind about “everywhere” access.

It’s 2:35 pm and I have to get back to writing now or I’m just not going to have a chance. I let myself lose over 4 hours of writing time this morning and early afternoon, but perseverance matters and this day is far from over.

Why am I writing this post instead of writing my book?

I wish I knew the answer to the question in the title of this blog post, but I do not.

I have a suspicion, though, and it’s a bit unnerving to think about.

I don’t think I’m having fun with writing at the moment.

Not with this book, not with writing fiction in general, not with publishing and the biz.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I think I know why but I’m having trouble getting past it.

I worry too much about writing a good story. I worry too much about perfectionism. I worry too much about the procrastination I do and feel guilty because I do it instead of writing.

I worry about what other people will think of my story when it’s finished and finally out in the world. Even though I really don’t care what people think of it. Except obviously I do. But I don’t! But I must.

Too much worry!

How can one have fun when it’s all worry, worry, worry?

Anyway, time to go do some writing, because I’ve been feeling guilty for not doing any. And because I really need to finish a book and I’ve let myself get into a situation that I’m not sure I can get out of.

I’ll let you know if it works out.

Oh, and by the way, I updated this site to use HTTPS but I’ll be honest, part of me really regrets even having thought it was necessary. I’m really bothered by the idea that older browsers will throw a certificate warning with my particular set up (a free Let’s Encrypt certificate and no unique IP because this site earns $0 toward its own upkeep). I mean, I like having this site and I do throw the occasional affiliate link up for a book or product I feel good about, but earnings to date? Still $0. :)

The reason the certificate warning bothers me so much is because I personally still have and use occasionally two older Vista computers, an Android phone using Android 2.3.4 (as a media device, because it’s not my primary phone anymore), and a laptop running Windows ME (I know, but yes, it really still works! Believe it or not, it will load Word and Excel faster than any other computer I have, although they are the 2000 versions). I checked out my site on the old Android device and sure enough, error, error, error with the certificate. I tried Vista, and same thing, error, error, error. I don’t get online with the Windows ME computer, just because it requires a cable and I’d hate to see what kind of trouble the outdated browsers would get into if I did. ;)

But I really don’t like knowing people using older software are going to get scary warnings when they visit my website.

Finally, the site is just slower on first load. It really speeds up after that, but frankly, if I was a visitor to a random site that took that long to load at first, it’s very possible I’d have already hit the back button.

All that to say I’m this close to just scrapping the whole project and going back to HTTP.

It wouldn’t be that difficult. I’d just reverse what I did to set it up.

First, I changed the General site settings in WordPress, changing my site url from https://www.perpetualized.com to https://www.perpetualized.com.

Second, I ran a couple of SQL queries on my WordPress database to change out the http for https where it was needed.

Third, I’d need to take out a few lines I had to add to my .htaccess file.

I could undo it all in half an hour or less.

Gah. I’m really considering it.

Anyway, time to go write and get this crap off my mind. It’s driving me bonkers.

 

Feeling the need for some accountability tonight

I’ve managed to make it until 8:28 pm without writing a word and I’m not even sure how. But no, that’s not really true. I know how, but I don’t understand how what I’ve done today added up to about 10 hours of distracted time.

I started messing around with my email set up this morning and BLAH BLAH BLAH.

Not going to waste time going down that rabbit hole. Just typing that out distracted me and sent me off to fix something else and it’s now 9:50 pm. >:(

Holy crap! I did it again. Now it’s 10:29 pm! And unfortunately I’m in the middle of moving a bunch of email to a different account so I’m not actually done enough to be able to close Thunderbird and move on!

I have literally not even managed to finish this post and publish it.

Anyway, I’m going to finish this email thing ASAP and I AM going to work on my book before I go to sleep tonight.

I’ll be updating this post before I shut off the computer tonight, one way or another.

Okay, I did it! Streak is still alive.

Now, tomorrow, I absolutely need to stay away from every distraction I can imagine!

Web reading challenge: day 4

I started this challenge on January 23rd, making today day four.

I haven’t cracked once since I started it, but it sure hasn’t been easy. I seek out distractions when my brain gets tired of focusing on one thing and it’s been interesting to notice just how often that really is.

That said, I think this is a powerful and important challenge for me and I have every intention of sticking it out until the end of February.

A challenge to end the endless clicking and refreshing

I’ve made a rash decision I’ll probably hate tomorrow, but I’ve decided to give up infotainment for a while—indefinitely would be better. I’ll accept the rest of this month and February as a compromise.

To say I spend too much time clicking and refreshing is minimizing the amount of clicking and refreshing of web pages that I do. Most of that content falls squarely into the infotainment category of content, stuff that I can pretend is important but that’s really just something to read to pass the time.

I go to forums and refresh to see if new threads have started or new replies have appeared. By the time I finish reading through the new ones, I get to go back and start all over because there’s always somebody that’s replied to the previous replies or started another new thread.

I go to blogs and refresh to see if new posts have been posted or new comments have been made. Oh, those comments. So many comments.

I hit trending on my Fire to see the news items of the day because I’m addicted to the easy click. Then NPR.org. They got rid of comments. I used to read those too, even though I cringed every time I did it.

I have easily spent hours on this. I mean, seriously, hours. I use the Mind the Time add-on for Firefox, so I know. In the last seven days, I’ve spent 5 hours and 56 minutes at one particular forum and one particular blog (Kboards and The Passive Voice). That’s only part of the story, a small part, in fact, because I do the vast majority of my infotainment reading on one of several tablets and my phone and I have no records of that time spent/squandered. :o

In December, I spent over 24 hours on these two particular sites on the computer alone, and January isn’t over and it isn’t any better.

It’s disheartening to see it itemized like this.

For Kboards in particular, clicking refresh is addictive. I can’t claim to learn much there because I mostly do my own thing and it doesn’t fit with the advice most frequently put forth there.

For The Passive Voice, I mostly like it because there are interesting discussions. Sometimes. Sometimes things get a bit ridiculous, but hey, it’s the internet, and that’s probably why the comments are so entertaining.

Anyway, all good reasons why I need a break from the infotainment that has me hooked. I don’t like being addicted to things. (Caffeine, remember? Still quit this time, by the way.)

Finally, I don’t like the fact that I’m not living up to my potential. Even at my slowest pace (when I’m actually writing, and you know, not this read through stuff I’m doing now) I can write a thousand words a day in a mere four hours.

If I’d spent those 24 hours in December writing at that slowest pace, I would have written an extra 6,000 words. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but considering that my December word count was only 10,659 words and that it’s unlikely I’d be stuck at my slowest pace for all those hours, I could have doubled my word count.

I don’t even want to think about how many words it could have been if I were to count the time I’ve spent on all my daily sources of infotainment.

I shudder to think of it.

That’s the part I really don’t like facing. All this clicking and refreshing has been nothing more than a form of self-justified procrastination in the name of learning, keeping up with industry news, and distracting myself with news I don’t even care about, and I’ve let it go on too long.

What’ll I do with all the time I get back? Write more fiction, I hope. Read more fiction, if the writing more doesn’t work out. Either way, I’ll be doing something truly worthwhile.

And maybe clearing out some of the clutter in my brain will help in other ways too. We’ll see.

Procrastination as a productivity booster

So I posted about wanting to write every day and the very next day I finally start those paperbacks I’ve been putting off for half a year.

Funny how procrastinating on one thing can lead to a boost in productivity on another. My guilt over not writing pushed me to work hard on the formatting and kept me working until it was done.

I became a little obsessed with them to be frank. But I finished the formatting last night and now I need only to finish up the paperback covers to go with those newly formatted books.

I’d still like to reformat my older books, but writing needs to take priority now.

I also spent yesterday preparing my tax return. I just about finished it. :) I’ll confirm my numbers when the 1099s come in but I’m confident in my record keeping and am glad to have this out of the way early this year!

Today I intend to start letting myself write every day.

Random thoughts: File naming conventions

First, a new column for the blog, if you can call anything here columns: Random thoughts.

Second, I had one. :D

It led me to researching the accepted wisdom for naming files. I have a very confused set of file name conventions I just haven’t been happy with for a while.

Almost everything I’ve read over the years says to avoid spaces in file names, so a while back I started naming folders and files like this:

c:\Writing\MySeries\MyBookTitle\MyBookTitle.docx

I did that not just because of having read a lot of advice saying to avoid spaces. I also had an instance where a file on my computer wouldn’t delete. I had to use the command prompt to get rid of it, and oh boy, was that a headache. So I don’t use spaces in file names in most instances anymore.

Some folders are like this though:

c:\Writing\MySeries\MyBookTitle\cover

In fact, all the subfolders inside my book folders are lowercase and use _ for spaces like_this, but all the folders outside those book folders are LikeThis or Like This.

I hate it.

It’s not very readable, and it’s definitely not consistent, although it is more readable than my first iteration:

c:\writing\myseries\mybooktitle\mybooktitle.docx

It was a nightmare with filenames like:

myseriesbookcovertemplate5x8.xcf

So I continually find myself looking for a better way, and yet internet searches never turn up anything I find particularly useful.

At some point, I read something that said to avoid hyphens because of cross OS compatibility. Underscores were the winner, but I can’t remember why, and so I started using _ whenever I needed a space.

I still don’t like spaces in file names because of the internet issue. And they’re ugly. Seeing %20 mixed into a long file name makes that filename look ridiculous and difficult to read.

So mostly I tried to stick with PascalCase.

PascalCase was a new term to me when I came across it. I thought I was using camel case, but apparently thisIsCamelCase, because it uses a lowercase first character.

Today I came across loads of people recommending ‐ instead of _ as a space replacement. So I’m back to wondering why hyphens aren’t a good idea in file names, because I still don’t remember why underscores were the winner, only I didn’t run across anyone talking about that issue this time around so I still don’t know!

And really, I think they’re mostly talking about filenames and folder names for the web, and that doesn’t matter much to me except in a very few specific instances (like book cover file names).

One reason I don’t like the dash as much as the underscore is because the dash isn’t as easy for me parse out as a space in a column of file names. But an underscore, if used in a hyperlink with an underline, is unreadable. You won’t even know it’s there sometimes.

:o

Really, this whole this is just one big annoying mess.

However, I have finally settled on a file naming convention this time, one that I’m pretty happy with, despite everything (and after two days of letting this obsession occupy brain space). Although to be honest it doesn’t solve the readability problem of PascalCase.

Maybe you don’t have trouble reading it, but I sure do!

Anyway, here’s what I came up with:

Stop using [ ] and other special characters in file names

Use hyphen instead of space when needed

MyFile-2016-01-09.txt

Dates like 20160109 are impossible for me to read, so I don’t use them.

Stick to title case for most things with no spaces

MyBookTitleNotes.docx
MySeries
MyBookTitlePbCover.xcf

When using 1–9, use 01–09

01-MyBookTitle

MyBookTitle root directory

MyBookTitle.docx
MyBookTitleMeta.docx
MyBookTitleNotes.txt

Folders (when needed)

backups
cover
ebooks
paperback
research

Folders are lowercase because they’re less distracting that way.

I know this is inconsistent with my other folders, but I actually do find them less distracting when they’re lowercase and they’re all one word names, and these particular folders are inside folders where I have to differentiate between a lot of similarly named files. I just won’t use two word file names here. If it ever does become necessary, I’ll just use a hyphen.

Files inside these folders

\cover\

MyBookTitleCover.xcf
MyBookTitlePbCover.xcf
my-book-title-1000.jpg

For jpg, png, gif, tif, use all lowercase, no space, no underscore, since these files are more likely to be used online.

\ebooks\

MyBookTitle.jutoh
MyBookTitle.epub

\paperback\

MyBookTitlePb.docx
MyBookTitlePb.pdf
MyBookTitlePbCover.pdf

Add a version number to the old file when replacing it so that it doesn’t overwrite old file in \backups\ folder if it is moved there later

MyBookTitlePb.docx (current)
MyBookTitlePb1.docx (oldest)
MyBookTitlePb2.docx (second oldest)

And that’s it. I did some cleanup to rename the files and my directories now look a lot better and everything is much more consistent. Now I’m satisfied, at least for a while. :D

Oh, and if you’re wondering how I changed all these names quickly and easily, I used a bulk renaming utility for the majority of the work. They’re very handy to have around!

Let me say that although I feel very satisfied with the changes I’ve made, I’m completely aware of the fact that spending two days on this was two days too many.

It’s procrastination, plain and simple, most likely to deal with the writer’s block I’ve got going on, and the only way to solve that is to get this obsession out of my system. Honestly, I almost believe these episodes are a way for my subconscious to keep my conscious thoughts occupied so it can work out whatever issues are going on with my writing. :)

Here’s hoping I’m correct about that and that when I finally put this obsession to bed, I’ll be ready to get past the current part in my book that has me completely stumped.

Not a strong start today

I’ve yet to do the edits I talked about in my previous post. I’m disappointed that I’ve been at the computer most of the afternoon and have nothing to show for it other than… well, this post.

Oh, and a journal entry, because I’ve been doing those again. I have a notebook for that, and I’ve taken to handwriting my thoughts again, because of the supposed benefit that you remember more if you hand write things.

I need all the help I can get remembering this stuff. I’ve gone back and forth with writing down my thoughts into the note keeping software I use, but when I go back through my notes, I’m always amazed that I’ve had this thought and that thought and that I should really remember those thoughts but haven’t.

On that note, I think it’s time I make an effort to put in my 15 minutes before I regret letting more of the day slip away on me. Maybe it’ll lead to some real writing today!

All I can do is hope, anyway. This creative dry spell has to end sometime.

Distracted today by an anti-distraction add-on for my browser

This morning I installed Leechblock, an anti-distraction, anti-procrastination site blocker add-on for my web browser. So far, I really like it, even though I lost edits to this post TWICE because I couldn’t stick to the time limits I set for myself and got blocked before I saved my edits. Totally my fault, because I turned on the menu item in the browser that tells me exactly how much time I have left on a site and I knew I was letting myself get too close to the limits each time it happened. :o

I set up some fairly complex blocks and delays, and I’ve spent a lot more time on it than I’d planned. I’m a little unsure if it’s going to turn out to be worth the time I’ve spent, but I’m hopeful. Unfortunately, there are still some tweaks to be made, but I think I’ve mostly got it how I want it.

[removed for edits and pasted below with changes]

Well, that’s it. I gotta go or I’m going to find myself blocked! :D.

Update

That lasted about 30 minutes. And it’s obvious I’m going to be doing most of my work outside my ideal time span, so the time blocks I set up aren’t going to work to help me at all.

Time to do a little rethinking on this. I’ll update when I settle on something.

All right. I’ve made some tweaks.

I’ve set up 5 block sets.

  1. Distractions – blocked outright from 0700-1400 (7am to 2pm), with a 20 minute limit for the rest of the day
  2. Sales reports – blocked after 15 minutes between 0700-1400 (7am to 2pm) – on publishing days, I’ll deactivate the add-on because I’ll need unfettered internet access, and there’s no easy way to account for that
  3. Internet limits – limited everything except weather.gov and Google calendar between 0700-1400 (7am to 2pm) to 60 minutes total – if I’m spending that long browsing websites, I’m probably just procrastinating, which can wait until after 2pm :)
  4. Strict limits  blocked outright from 0700-1400 (7am to 2pm), with a 10 minute limit for the rest of the day
  5. Blogging – blocked after 30 minutes between 0700-1400 (7am to 2pm) – this is me trying to make Parkinson’s Law work in my favor – I don’t want to cut off my blogging on days when I need the accountability, but I also don’t want to spend too much of my writing time updating a blog post

What this comes to each day is that in total I’ll spend no more than 60 minutes of my day between 7am and 2pm doing things in my browser. There’s still email, since I don’t use my browser to check, but I really am hoping this will cut down on how much time I spend online distracting myself from writing. :)

It’s a bit late now and I want to get up before noon tomorrow, so I’m going to go. But I’m excited to see how this works tomorrow. First goal: not to override the add-on and see how it works. It’ll be a fun experiment!

Oh, and yeah, I can totally get online with my phone or a tablet, but I believe there’s still benefit to this: I can try to break some bad habits; morning time is my best writing time and I’ve been spending lots of it jumping around online on the computer.

June 21 no sessions

Not much to report, other than the fact that I didn’t write today. I meant to. I just didn’t.

In light of that, I’ve decided to plan out tomorrow.

  • 7 to 8
  • 8:15 to 9:15
  • 9:30 to 10:30
  • 10:45 to 11:45
  • 3:30 to 4:30
  • 6 to 7
  • 7:15 to 8:15

I’m interested to see how closely I can adhere to this. I don’t plan to return to scheduled writing—not at all—but tomorrow is a bit special, and I think I could use the focus.

I’m most interested in working on one particular story tomorrow, although I do plan to allow myself to switch to something else if the words just aren’t coming.

So there it is, all laid out. Wish me luck. :)

I am an object at rest

Three things

  1. I become an object at rest after I publish a book. (Current streak of 0 words proves it.)
  2. Procrastination is a habit.
  3. I’ve already forgotten the third thing.

If I want to get the law of inertia working in my favor, I need a plan. I’ve let some bad habits slip into my routine over the last several weeks. Time to stop them. I’ve let procrastination become a habit.

My challenge

  • No more visiting forums or blogs for a while—preferably until I’ve completed the four books I most need to finish.
  • No more reading articles about procrastination. :o
  • No more reading the “Trending” tab on my Kindle Fire* or my other Fire tablets. Worst use of my time ever. I don’t know why I have so much trouble resisting a look at it every time I open the browser.

The secret to this plan is to get boredom working in my favor.

If I find myself turning to fiction reading to relieve said boredom, at least then it’s somewhat productive, because any fiction writer should consider fiction reading a necessary part of the job. !

Plus, reading good fiction has a major tendency to make me want to write. So there’s that.

I know that as soon as I get back into one of my stories momentum will take over and save me from myself for at least a little while. :)

*My Kindle Fire is one of the 2nd generation devices. I won it in a drawing at a local restaurant, after eating there for the first time (and last time to be honest). I love it and I still prefer it over the newest generation Fire tablet I bought in December. It’s a much better device, to be honest, all around. Still doesn’t have a scratch on it.