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

Day 50 of no more zero word days

Today is day 50 of my challenge not to have any more zero word days. During that time I’ve written 41,200 words, and today isn’t over, so that number could get better, although admittedly not by huge amounts. It’s only one day after all. :)

But I really don’t see this streak ending, as long as I’m able to write, because there’s something about knowing that if I have a zero word day (two to be exact), I’ll cross that line from 998 zero word days to 1,000 of them. I really don’t want to cross that line.

That’s what you call intrinsic motivation, and it’s pretty strong in this case!

Just as a reminder, this is fiction only. I could write tons of stuff every day and not keep my streak alive, because fiction (fiction I intend to publish one day, at that) is the only thing I count for this streak.

The other big thing I have going for me this time is that I’m not limiting myself to working on what I need to work on. I work on whatever story I want to work on each time I sit down to write, as long as I suspect it will be something publishable.

That’s a hard limit for me. Even though I love reading fan fiction, I don’t love writing it any more than I love writing wholly original stories, so there’s no point to even thinking about going back to writing fan fiction now that I can publish and earn a living. :D There are story ideas I come up with for my favorite shows, but I pretty much just let them write themselves in my head and move on. I don’t bother trying to make them into cohesive stories.

Now, if I could ever crack the egg that is my slow pace and start writing enough every day that I don’t feel behind on my stories all the time, I might be tempted to write fan fiction again. Who knows? But as of right now, there’s just no way to ever find the time. I have so many stories I want to write and I take far too long to finish them.

Anyway, that’s the update for the active streaks. I’m reading fiction every day too, still, but I’m not tracking it, even though I am unfortunately still reading far, far too much fiction! :D As someone who loves reading more than writing, this is a thing I have to keep a close eye on!

 

 

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.

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.

June 2019 progress

I’m a little late posting June’s progress, but since I’m not really making progress of any kind, I haven’t been compelled to update. I’m dealing with some kind of unknown health issue at the moment and doing it with June and July temperatures in the southeast without air conditioning.

Yuck.

A doctor visit didn’t really give me any hope that I’m going to figure it out soon, or get better soon, or even relieve my anxiety over it all.

So my writing productivity has fallen off, drastically, and I wish it were otherwise, but apparently I’m totally spoiled by modern temperature control and I’m wilting (melting) (dying) in this heat. The house is staying a reasonable 80-83 degrees while it’s heading toward 90 outside every day so that’s good, but I am not doing great with the 90%+ humidity we’re dealing with right now.

June writing: 10,272 words.

Bonus: July 1–9: 0.

That said, today is the day I attempt to recover and get some real writing done. I have a couple of more things this week that’ll make it difficult to make lots of progress, but all I’m asking of myself is to make some progress.

I’m sitting in front of a fan with the laptop and it feels pretty good right now.

June 15–27 progress

Oh dear. June has really been a down month for me. After such a run of good writing days, I’m pretty bummed to be honest. However, I didn’t fall completely off the wagon. I just slowed way down.

I am kind of stuck on my current project, and I’ve been writing some short stuff while I let it rest. I need to decide if it’s time to cut back to a previous point and go at it again, or just push through. I can’t seem to make that decision, but I know something is wrong and my brain just isn’t letting me move forward until I figure it out.

This is kind of an intermediate progress post and I’m hoping that spelling it all out this way will help me move forward tomorrow.

I still have time to get to about half my monthly goal if I push myself a bit over the next three days.

We’ll see if it happens. :-)

June 15–27 words written: 4,435

June 1–14 progress

Lots of things have kept me from writing as much as I wanted to have written in the first half of the month. Was it inevitable that I would slow down after two 50,000 word months?

Hardly!

I think it’s just that there are a lot of things finally hitting now that June is in full swing, like the daughter being home from college, and the publishing of a book and a computer glitch and myriad other little things that all add up to big distractions.

The “no sweets rule before 1,000 words” is still in effect, but not even it seems to be making a dent.

I was very much right not to think I’d had some miraculous breakthrough. It’s really just been all about taking things one day at a time and letting myself write as much as I can on those days when things are going well. Unfortunately things haven’t been going well for multiple days in a row this month.

June 1–14: 5,823 words.

That’s an average of 416 words a day.

I can do a lot better than that. I’m hoping I can up my word counts enough in the second half of the month to still make it to 50,000.

It’ll be tough, but that’s only 16 days of writing and then things can ease up again. We shall see.

May 2019 progress

I wanted May to be my best month ever, and it wasn’t.

I did succeed in making it to 50,000 words again, so in a way it was my best month, because in May I finally broke through to two months of 50,000 words in a row and I wrote more fiction in May than in April (there was an extra day in the month but my daily average was also better by 21 words).

May also came in as my best month in 2019 (so far), and I set a new record for myself by writing 6,606 words on May 7th.

And I finally published a book this year. :-)

Of course I’m going to try to beat all that with June so maybe those records won’t last long. :)

The most amazing aspect of the no sweets until 1,000 words thing is that it helped me fight off the usual problems I have with publishing something and then getting back to writing. I wrote about some of that in my May 1–16 progress post. I didn’t lose too much time to publishing tasks (I make a huge effort to do as little as possible here anyway—I like some aspects of the publishing phase, but there are a lot of things I just don’t bother with because I hate doing them) and I didn’t get out of the habit of daily writing (which I’m doing most often in the morning now because I am usually desperate for something sweet by noon, even though I rarely get anything til later).

Forcing myself to write early (for the sweets) has meant my focus is better and has pretty much broken my habit of waiting until later in the day to write and just being too tired.

I wrote a couple of good posts here on the blog, too, one about trusting yourself with your story, and one about how to make life easier for your indie publisher self.

Words written in May: 52,460.

May 1–16 progress

I wanted to do an update here at the middle of the month because I’m transitioning from writing one book to another and that is usually where I fall behind in a month. I’m trying hard not to let that happen this time, so I’m not allowing myself days off my miracle rule right now.

Eventually, if that rule keeps working for me, I’m going to do a whole post about nothing but the rule and why it’s working so well to keep me writing.

May 1–16: 31,628 words.

That’s an average of 1,976 words a day.

I’m finally getting close to my 2,000 words a day average I’ve been aiming for since I decided that’s what it would take to make me feel prolific.

I’m not going to take for granted that I’ve had some awesome breakthrough, because it’s unlikely, but I am going to try to take advantage of my momentum and keep writing! It really is the only way to keep things going in the direction I want. :-)

April 2019 progress

I posted a few times in April about my progress, once for April 1–7, and again for April 8–20. I was right in those posts, April turned into a great writing month for me. :)

Words written in April: 50,137.

It could have been a nano month. It wasn’t. I never even got off the ground with my camp nano project, because I’m still writing the book I was writing in November, December, January, February, and March. Ah well.

I’m trying to make May my best month yet, which means I’ll need to beat April 2016’s 57,249 words. I might be able to do it, if I don’t lose too much time to publishing tasks. That could happen, because once I finish my current book (which has gone ridiculously long, as usual) I will be publishing it at some point and I’ll have a lot of non-writing things to do, which is what usually gets me out of the habit of daily writing and messes with my ability to focus.

This is the month I refuse to let that happen. I’m just not going to allow it.

I’m really enjoying my routine right now and the way I feel and how the writing is going, and so I’m going to make it work. Whatever was wrong with me the first of last year and the end of the year before (ish) is better and I’m really in a place where the writing is good.

I also really want to write my next book. Ideas are brimming over and the drive to write and finish books feels a lot like it did back in the early days of this indie publishing journey of mine. :)

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but I’ve also discovered that the better my writing month is going, the more likely it is that I won’t do much, if any, journal writing (or blog posting). I’ll deal.

So on to May. Here’s to making it a good one. :-)

April 8–20 progress

I am definitely on to something with the “no sweets before 1,000 words” thing. April has been a great writing month so far and I’m putting the credit for that entirely on that little rule I’ve been following.

Yeah, I’ve had one or two days overall where I’ve not reached 1,000 words and gone to bed without any sweets at all, but that’s it. And yeah, it sounds like a phenomenally bad idea to give myself sweet treats for writing, considering how bad too much sugar is for a body, but I would have eaten the sweets anyway, and more of them, frankly, because I have a serious sweet tooth. This little rule has tamed it quite a lot.

It’s amazing what I’ll push myself through to get a cup of cocoa. :-)

April 8–20: 22,103 words.

April-to-date: 33,792 words.

Unfortunately, my current book has gone long. I’d have been done with it 18,000 words ago if it hadn’t. Now I’m just pushing to get it finished so I can start in earnest on the other book that’s desperate to get out of me. :-)

One thing I’ve noticed lately is that I really don’t like to blog or journal when the writing is going really well. I don’t know if it’s because I’m so ready to get started with the actual writing of the story that I don’t want to waste time doing this other writing, or if it’s that the journal and blog writing actually steal some of my motivation to write. Don’t know. Don’t actually care. I’m just glad to be writing my fiction regularly again.

On that note, I’m going to get back to the writing.

April 1–7 progress

The first week of April has gone really well for my writing. And my writing is going really well too. I feel like I’m on to something with the no sweets before 1,000 words thing. It’s working for me right now amazingly well. I’m surprised I haven’t tried something like this before.

Maybe I have, but it just wasn’t the time. Or I didn’t put it together quite right.

1,000 words isn’t my ultimate daily goal. That’s still 2,000 words. But it is the minimum I’d like to see myself doing every day that I haven’t planned as an actual rest day (or a true sick day).

For the moment, all I can do is keep doing what I’m doing for as long as it works. I’ve said before, many times, that I’m really at a place where I want to start finishing more of my books faster, because I’m terrified I’m going to run out of time to get them written, then I’m going to die with all these stories untold. The funny thing is, I don’t even have actual ideas for a great many of these stories, I just know they’re there, in my head and my heart, waiting to come to me. My series need me to continue them. They’re not done, and the characters aren’t ready for it to be over either.

So there you go. My motivation to get better, to learn to write faster, to keep going even when it’s hard. If I sound a little crazy, I promise you it’s just the fiction talking. :-)

April 1–7: 11,689 words.

March 2019 progress

Words written in March: 15,742.

Almost dead on ten times the number of words written in February, so that’s a win.

I’m no longer following the schedule, except in the most casual way. Five days ago I started following a new rule: no sweets until after I write 1,000 words.

Since then I’ve had five 1,000+ word days in a row. I do love my sweets. :)

This little routine has also helped me cut down my sweets, because I’m not exactly speedy when it comes to my words. I’ve eaten a lot fewer sweets because of that lack of speed. Nothing’s changed in how I write, and I have ended up working at it till the end of the day several times. But I’ve gotten started early every day and I’ve been doing a lot better with this routine than any of the others I’ve tried.

As I said before, I do love my sweets. :D

Might turn out to be the best option I’ve ever tried to get myself to work diligently earlier in the day.

I’m still aiming for 2,000 words a day (consistently), but right now, I’ll take the 1,000.

I’m not using timers except when I am. I guess I should say I’m not using timers to get me started or to keep me writing. I’m just using them occasionally because I sit down and I think I’d really like to use a timer right now. Hell if I know why I feel that need sometimes, but I do, and I let myself do it. Half the time, I turn the timer off before it’s even done. I don’t know why I do that either.

So, final verdict? March was better, despite struggling with a kidney stone and nearly poking my eye out. :)

Let’s see what April brings.

February 2019 progress

Words written in February: 1,573.

Ugh.

I don’t even want to talk about it. Okay, maybe I know what the problem was, and I’m working on correcting it.

I’ve also started trying to follow a schedule for getting my writing time in every day. I’m… not really succeeding at that. Yet. I have a lot of hope I’ll get there.

On that note, I want to wrap this up quickly because I’m really supposed to be writing fiction right now instead of messing around on the blog here, catching up all my missed progress posts.

The last three days of the month were actually really productive, even though my word count didn’t rise by much.

March will be better.

December 1–12 progress

I sat down tonight to write something after another day of not writing anything. I haven’t so far. Instead, here I am writing this, after spending about forty minutes looking at reports, messing with Gmail (I had forgotten you can still access Gmail through the basic HTML link for slow connections, so that was entertaining) and my calendar, and a few other trivialities. Not my best decision, by far. That forty minutes was supposed to be spent writing something for my book.

As a reminder, I pulled up my June 1–15 progress post.

The fact is, I need to start finishing books again. I’ve had way too much time off on the whole over the last couple of years and it’s time for me to start pushing myself again to do more.

I’m worried that I’m falling into the same patterns I seem to fall into after every book I finish lately, where I don’t write, and I start feeling more and more disconnected from the desire to write.

That June progress post is relevant in other ways too, because just this week one of my kids returned from college for the winter break and my routines have been completely upended. The quiet, distraction free environment I seem to need to be able to write is gone. It’ll be three more weeks of in-house disarray before things go back to what passes for normal for me these days.

I’ve written only 1,009 words from December 1 to December 12.

I’d like to take that time off and just say forget it until after the new year but I can’t. I know what will happen, because I saw it happen last year after I released a book. I didn’t write more than a few hundred words for five months. I know it might not happen again, but I don’t want to risk that, and besides, I want new routines. I want to spend my time writing another book. I want to go from one book to the next and not get caught up in this morass of feelings I’m feeling about the struggle to write.

No more struggle.

It’s not real. It’s not worthy of the angst it causes me.

But right now, unfortunately, I’m tired after a couple of really bad nights of sleep, this morning’s interrupted by an earthquake of all things and I’m going to bed instead of write something for my book. That 1,009 words won’t change because of anything I did tonight.

(Yes, a real earthquake. Doors jiggled and stuff rattled downstairs but I didn’t hear much up in my room, just a kind of whoosh after a hard shake. I pulled up the USGS Earthquakes website and just as I did, the earthquake showed up on the list of latest earthquakes.)

I’m falling asleep here, so goodnight.

 

November 2018 progress

Despite my apparent failure when it came to NANO this year, November was actually a really solid month of writing. I did better than October. To find a better month when it comes to sheer word count, I have to go all the way back to October 2016.

So yeah, I’m pretty happy with November.

Words written in November: 31,928.

Most of those words were written the first half of the month. It was a strange month, for sure. But I finished a book in November too, so that’s good. It was my first of the year, so I’m especially happy about that.

And another bright note is that even as I finished that first book of 2018, I was getting deep into a second. That second book reached 21,886 words in November.

And! This was the month I finally broke through to a 6,000 word day. I’ve been after that goal for a while and it was nice to finally reach it.

I’m not going to link to the other November progress posts since they’re the NANO posts, but here’s a link to that tag: NANO 2018. (Tags get reordered here a little too often so it’s possible this link will be defunct at some future date, so I’m saying sorry in advance. I love the idea of linking to tags but practically speaking, the links all break the moment I start futzing around with the tags.)

October 2018 progress

October was a nice month for my writing. It probably could have been better, but I started feeling bad and even reached a point when I wrote a note to myself in my word count spreadsheet that said simply, “Gave up on daily writing. It sucks.”

I did, in fact, give up on my daily writing streak.

But it was still my best month since September 2017.

Words written in October: 20,602.

Despite the end of the daily writing streak and a nice little streak of zero words days that came about when I started feeling bad (not quite sick but definitely under the weather) I feel like my recovery from whatever was interfering with my writing is almost complete.

September 2018 progress

September was an interesting month. I needed to write a lot of words and I didn’t, really, but I still did reach my goal of September becoming my best month of writing I’d had all year. November 2017 is the last time I had a better word count.

I feel like I’m still recovering, but I’m definitely making progress. I still haven’t finished my first book of the year, but I’m getting close. So close, in fact, that I’m making a push to finish it today. We’ll see how it goes. :)

Written in September: 13,358 words.

It’s October now, and I’m just under two thousand words shy of beating September’s word count. With a little hard work, I’ll surpass that number today.

Oh, and today is the 38th day in my streak of writing every day which started on September 4th. That’s good too.