I really expected better for this month. So what happened?
The only relevant journal entries I could find for January said—
Why the self-sabotage????
I realized I’m totally just avoiding writing again.
Words written in January: 577.
I really expected better for this month. So what happened?
The only relevant journal entries I could find for January said—
Why the self-sabotage????
I realized I’m totally just avoiding writing again.
Words written in January: 577.
After publishing a book, I tend to take time off. I don’t want to do that, but it seems to be happening with alarming regularity these last few years. The time between books has been growing and I’m not that happy about it.
Sigh. I really wanted to not let that happen this time.
Words written in December: 1,046.
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.
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 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 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.
I don’t think I went into this in my last post, but I have recently made a small change to my 2,000 words a day plan.
I’m aiming for 2,400 words a day instead.
Not because I want to actually average 2,400 words a day, because that has not changed. A 2,000 words a day average is still my overarching goal. But writing 2,400 a day means I won’t have to think so much about getting ahead or playing catch up if I miss a day here and there. That’s the big reason for this and I think it will work well in the long-term.
Even though I have yet to have one 2,400 word day since I started my plan.
I haven’t had a 2,000 word day either since my last on 8/20, so yeah. :D
But I have a plan!
It almost worked yesterday, too, but in the end, I let too much come between me and the writing.
Plus, the writing is actually not going great because I had to go back to chapter nine and do something I hate doing (restart a scene that’s already part of the book), because I wrote the chapter in the wrong view point. I recognized it when I just kept going back to the start of that chapter trying to figure out why I had no interest in that scene and why I couldn’t seem to move forward and why it felt so flat. I tried a couple of different openings for the scene, and in one, it just came out in another character’s view point, and I just knew then that I had solved the problem. :D
Sometimes these things are just hard to see because we’re so tied to what’s already there.
Today, I hope my plan will get me to the 2,400 words I want.
15 minute sessions, in blocks of 4. Same set up as I mentioned in the timed sessions are back post.
It worked well yesterday to keep me writing and focused, and I’m excited to use it again today.
2,400 words at a 400 WPH (words per hour) pace is 6 hours of timed writing. That’s a lot, but that’s at the slow end of the scale.
At a more peppy 600 WPH pace, these 2,400 words will take me 4 hours of timed writing. Doable, and not an insane work load, by far, even knowing I take 1.5 to 2 hours just to get 1 hour of writing done.
If things are going really well, and it does happen, at a speedy 800 WPH pace, 2,400 words take only 3 hours. I will be pushing for this as often as I can, to give me more time for reading/studying/learning/cover design practice and publishing stuff. :D
We’ll see how this plays out during my writing sessions today, but I am hopeful.
I really need a breakthrough with this thing, because I’m serious about making this 2,400 words a day work. I have so many books to write and I want them all written yesterday! This is the next best realistic option for me.
I realized I never did my August summary post so here it is.
Words written in August: 7,840.
I’d like to make September my best yet of the year, but we’ll have to see how things go.
I wrote 723 words yesterday.
I haven’t given up on my 2,000 words a day plan, but progress doesn’t always happen in leaps and bounds, obviously. :)
I don’t know that I even care how many days I’ve been working on my current book. I know I wrote previously that it could be nice information to have and might help me stay on track, but now I’m not so sure at all. Seeing 104 or 110 doesn’t feel like much of anything: I have trouble seeing at a glance just what it means. 104 and 110 and even 200 feel like small numbers to me, so things feel like they’re going well. Yet tell me it’s been more than three months and wow, that feels like a very long time.
What I’ve concluded is that this measure is just not going to be useful to me and I’ve decided to abandon the effort.
So that didn’t last long, but hey, we have to try new things sometimes and then recognize when they’re not going to work. This one sounded book on paper but didn’t translate well to real life.
Right now, I want to keep my eye on the prize and push for that 2,000 words a day goal without all these other distractions.
Today is day 100 for this book.
I detailed out how I came up with that number in my last post about the writing of my current book. It’s a new way for me to keep track of some generally helpful metrics that isn’t about tracking time or worrying about how fast I write.
Knowing how many days I’ve spent on a book is pretty darn awesome information to have and it’ll be right where I can see it every day because I’ll also be using this post title format in OneNote and my journals. I really won’t be able to hide from reality any longer.
I think that’s a good thing. Ask me in a month. :D
Back to the topic at hand though. I’ve let the day get completely away from me, and now it’s late. Probably too late to be trying to get to 500 words before I fall asleep at my computer, but I think I can do it, so I’m going to try anyway. Why give up before I have to?
So here goes. I’ll be back whenever I need a concentration break so I can refocus. Or tomorrow if I fall asleep at the computer—or just don’t have the energy after writing 468 words in the shortest amount of time possible. (I have 32 words already, because I did actually try to work on my book today.)
I fail a lot. I think the overwhelming number of posts I’ve put on this site where I candidly admit that I haven’t reached some goal I’ve set for the day tells that story well.
Night before last, I failed again. I didn’t write 500 words or 2,000 words, and I didn’t end up staying awake for a night of writing.
Yesterday, I didn’t do any writing at all. I’m not sure why, because I intended to write, but it didn’t happen.
But here’s how I see failure: it’s a chance for a fresh start.
Today, that’s what I’ve done. I’ve given myself a fresh start.
⇒ I will write a minimum of 500 words (255 already written and 245 to go).
⇒ I’ll do everything I can to write at least 2,000 words.
However, I have also come to the conclusion that I do have to start taking my stated goals more seriously. I’m not doing myself any favors by constantly failing to meet them. This easy acceptance of failure has set a bad precedent and become a habit I didn’t want to cultivate.
On that note, I’m going back to my writing. I have a book I haven’t given up hope of finishing this month and I need a lot of words for that to happen.
Update: I wrote 565 words. Not as many as I wanted but beyond that minimum. That’s an okay result. Definitely happy to have stuck to my resolve to get that minimum.
First, does it count as a late night writing spree if it starts at 9:32 pm? That doesn’t feel like late night to me. However, this is likely to take a while, so I’m predicting a late night here.
I have a 500 word daily minimum to hit. I didn’t hit it yesterday or the day before and I don’t want to let that streak get out of hand.
My reasons for not writing that daily minimum of words is the usual. I just couldn’t get started yesterday at all.
I looked at my story before I wrote this, so I’ve gotten a head start, technically. In actuality, I deleted the last few paragraphs of chapter 9 and lost 97 words, starting me off in the hole. It doesn’t affect any of the opening of chapter 10, so that’s okay. I won’t be getting sucked into any revision because of that decision. In fact, I’m pretty sure that might be a sign that I needed to get rid of those paragraphs all along.
I seem to get stuck a lot and I’m not sure why or what that says about me or my writing process.
Now, it’s time to go write. I’ll be back with updates.
And… that failed spectacularly. As soon as I settled down and stopped moving around much, I got sleepy. So sleepy that I finally just gave up, hibernated the computer, and went to bed.
So I accomplished almost nothing last night.
My ending word count on my book: 21,161.
Meaning I didn’t even write enough to cover the 97 words I deleted.
August word count to date = 7,258*
That’s a far cry from where I wanted to be by now when I started August. I’ve had a few good days, though. Specifically, the 16th and the 20th.
8/16 – 1,685
8/20 – 2,198
The rest of the days of this month have been mediocre at best.
Yesterday, I’d hoped for a repeat of my 2,000+ words day, but it didn’t happen. And today is looking even worse.
8/21 – 571 words
8/22 – 53 words (so far)
*Today is still in progress, although I’m not sure it’s going to get much better if I can’t find some way to convince myself to finish writing the scene I’m in the middle of. I just do not want to write the rest of this scene.
I’m trying very hard to decide if I want to delete the portion of the scene that I haven’t wanted to write today or to push on through. There’s also the fact that if I delete it and write, even though the words will be gone, I’ll at least be writing again. But it could lead me to end the day with in a negative position if I don’t write enough. However, the words aren’t doing me any good if they’re just getting in the way of my brain coming up with an alternative so getting rid of them could be my best way forward.
The best way to figure this all out is to start back through the chapter and just go with it, changing or deleting if I need to so the story can move forward again, but I’m just feeling very resistant to that and have been all day.
But… it’s time to decide and do something, because this book isn’t going to write itself and I’m trying to end the week with 14,000 words.
(I really love how you can type math into OneNote and it solves it for you.) :D
I have 11,178 words still to write this week, and I should probably try to get a least a few (more) of them written tonight.
Yesterday’s attempt at writing 2,000 words was a bust. Of all the legitimate things that got in the way, none of them were significant enough to physically stop me from sitting down and writing 2,000 words. My inability to focus came from my mental reaction to the day’s events.
A lot of little things just got in the way in my head and really made it difficult for me to concentrate on writing.
I don’t want that to happen again today.
I actually started off strong this morning. I’ve already written 357 words today.
But… it’s now apparent that the air conditioner might not be fixed, and that’s really got a hold on my brain, and my kid is leaving for college this weekend and is packing and interrupting me at regular intervals, and that’s distracting in a big way.
The fact remains that I still need to do my writing today. I’m behind on this book, and I need to finish it so I can publish it and move on to the next book. I also really need to publish a few books this year for the sake of my bank account. :)
Things are going well with the story and I think I can make a lot of progress today if I can just stay focused on writing the book. I also need to get that first 2,000 word day to start off that 2,000 words a day plan of mine.
I’ve used this little break to clear my head, I hope, and now I’m going back to writing. My book is sitting at 19,756 words right now. I’d like not to stop for lunch until I’m above 21,000 words.
Update: It’s 9:08 pm and I’m sitting at 890 words for the day.
I wanted to be at or above 2,000 words by now, but that hasn’t happened. Obviously. :) But! The air conditioner is working again (repairman came) and that worry is gone and I’m finally feeling able to concentrate again.
Since I don’t want to end tonight without reaching 2,000 words, I’m here at the computer to write another 1,110 words.
Update: 1,506 words. Man, this is getting hard. I’m sooooo sleepy. It’s 12:01 and I have 494 words to go. I don’t know if I’m going to make it.
Update: I settled for 1,685 words. I was too sleepy to continue. This morning, looking at that, it’s easy to say I should have kept going, but last night? There was just no way.
On the bright side, that number of words is above the lower limit I’d set for myself in some calculations I did when I decided to write 2,000 words a day. I ended up settling on 2,000, which is between the two values.
The only part of my list of want-to-dos I accomplished yesterday was to write something for my new book and work on my paperback for my last release. I’m not going to dwell on the failures though. I’m coming at today with the attitude of a fresh start and a new commitment to my daily word count quota.
That quota is 2,000 words. (Of course.)
I’m writing this new book much too slowly and I need to finish it sooner rather than later if I don’t want to go broke, so I’m going to push for more than that.
I’m just saying. Reality is about to smack me in the face if I don’t start writing more, very soon. My last 12 months word count (September to August) is 78,051 words. That doesn’t sound like the end of the world but add to that my last published book came out late last year. Money is an issue.
Dreams will buoy you through tough times, but you don’t want to set your sail in an ocean of them.
The life of a writer isn’t one of steady paychecks and Castle-esque wealth. If that’s what you’re hoping for, well, keep hoping, but plan for something quite different. Those plans might be the only thing keeping your fridge full.
On that note, I’m off here to go write some fiction. Time is short and I have a book to write.
Update: the day was a bit of a fail (okay, a lot of a fail). I had air conditioner troubles, and so many interruptions, but mostly, I just failed to start the writing. I did get 177 words, but it was on one of my book projects I’m not even sure when I’m going to get around to writing. I have so many other projects to finish first.
Touch all of my main stories, but focus on #1 (the book I want to finish first).
It’s fun for me to write on multiple stories. I also usually end up with more words at the end of the day than I would otherwise.
Then, work on my last published book’s paperback today. I’ll do it in LibreOffice so I can take advantage of the more robust widows and orphans and hyphenation settings.
Once it is done (focus on finishing!) I can try it in Word 2016 if I feel I must. Don’t even bother with Word 2007, the hyphenation is horrible.
Word produces really decent print books for me. I think LibreOffice Writer will probably do just as well, and will definitely be easier on me with the extra hyphenation options and finer control over widows and orphans. I don’t mind first lines of new paragraphs ending a page (orphans); it’s the last lines of a paragraph beginning a new page that I try hardest to eliminate (widows).
Read back through ALL of today’s writing, looking for stuff to fix so I can safely ignore it all tomorrow and just start writing from wherever I left off (and not feel like I’m leaving things undone).
Word count check-ins
|Time||Words (book)||Words (today)|
|11:56 am||19,070 words||84 words|
|12:35 pm||19,173 words||187 words|
|11:01 pm||19,285 words||299 words|
That’s it! I’ll update my word counts as the day goes on but anything more than that will probably end up in its own post. :D
I’ve had another dry spell with the writing but I’m trying to get things moving again. It all started with the space bar failure and snowballed from there. I had several things happen around that time that that kept interfering with my daily routine and distracted me from writing.
I relocated the stray cat and her three litters of kittens/cats to a cozy barn where they can live in peace and so can I. I’ve had to heal from that burn on my wrist that might not leave a scar after all. I don’t know. I seem to be healing well, just have some weird sensation around the edges of the new skin that twinges.
But all in all, several things have really taken my focus off writing and it’s taken me this long to get going again.
So in the end, I didn’t do nearly as well in July as I’d hoped to do.
Words written in July: 6,478.
That’s definitely a slowdown from June. Still, it’s better than nothing, and I’m trying to do better in August. I’m also trying to finish this next book of mine. Wish me luck.
Time for another progress post. (Progress on what? Go here.)
As usual, the moment I made a plan for myself, I backed away from it—not in thought but in action.
Little things tend to disrupt me in big ways. That’s what seems to have happened with the keyboard issue I had to deal with this week.
I have the new keyboard installed. I have the new fan installed. I’m not liking the new fan, because it’s noisier than the old one and there’s a weird static-y feeling sometimes as I’m typing, and I think it’s the fan causing it. But overall, my computer and desk are once again set up the way I prefer for them to be.
Yet I’m still feeling disrupted.
Yesterday, I spent some time getting my little netbook that’s running on Lubuntu up to date with the latest LTS distribution. That led me to test a new idea I had for writing away from my desk. I liked it. The keyboard is small but I have small fingers. I used my backup file that I send to Dropbox every day when I finish writing, opened it in LibreOffice Writer, renamed it immediately and saved it in a different Dropbox folder, then just started writing in it.
The big thing for me about working on the same book in multiple places is that I like to see what I’ve written as I work but I do not want to move my master document off my main computer or into Dropbox. Dropbox is for my backup files or for copies of files I want to access elsewhere. I just do not want my master book files stored in any cloud-syncing folder on my computer. I sync my files to my Dropbox folder using yCopy2 and that’s the way I like it.
This means I can’t edit the file I opened on the little netbook, though, or I’ll have a mess on my hands.
It’s one thing to just copy and paste some text from one file to another, but if I were to have to incorporate edited and changed text…? No way am I going to do that. On the other hand, I don’t mind being forced to stop editing and just write, because I do have a tendency to edit and rewrite a lot even when I don’t plan to.
I quite liked this other option for working on my books. It means I can get away from distractions of my main computer while not losing access to the whole document I’m working on, also without risking the integrity of my master document.
All that said, though, I need to be writing more. The disruptions I’ve dealt with this month hasn’t been good for the word counts.
I’ve had too many days this month where I just haven’t forced myself to sit down and write, even though I needed to.
My July-to-date word count: 4,968.
For the moment, I’m going to focus on my 2,000 words a day and go from there.
So the writing has actually started going well again. June turned out to be a decent month, especially when I compare it to so many of the months that preceded it.
I had a slow down at the end of the month that kept me from reaching the word counts I would have liked, but the book I’m working on now is finally sorted out and I’m up to chapter 5.
I wrote 11,281 words in June (net of lots of deleted stuff).
The majority of those words were for one particular project: my new book went from 317 words to 11,137 words in June.
I did a lot of writing and deleting, so I wrote a lot more than 11,281 words total. The 11,281 is the net total words by which my manuscript documents increased. I only worked on two documents in June, and one of those only once, but it counts. :-)
Today’s writing plan was simple: time myself as I read through what I already had written (chapters one through four) and then use my timer for some 45 minute writing sessions.
I use the timer when I’m doing my proofreading check at the end (for publishing).* I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about that here before. It really helps keep me focused on reading and not getting distracted the way I used to do when I did my final read through.** This is one of those coping mechanisms I’ve come up with over the years to deal with the fact that I don’t always find it easy to focus, even when it’s something I want to do.
Today was the first time I’ve tried the timed reading thing while going back to read through and fix things during actual story creation.
I liked it. I think I’ll do it again when I need to.
But there was a definite difference in speed. My proofread usually takes 15-20 minutes per chapter. This was much more time consuming! I ended up spending most of the day on this. Focusing is hard work (for me), no joke!
Now that I’ve done that, I’m going to go off and write for a few minutes, then pack it in for the night. I just don’t think I have it in me to do any 45 minute sessions. It’s 10:48 pm and I’ve been at it all day.
I do think I’ve cleared out all the deleted stuff in my head so that when I really get into the next scene I’m not going to be confused. I do hope so.
Maybe I’ll reread on my Kindle in bed tonight where I can’t touch it except to highlight errors and just try to settle it more firmly in my thoughts.
* I have a spreadsheet for this stage. I have a column with my chapter number and I sit down with that chapter, turn on my stopwatch timer, and read. I record the time. I move on to the next chapter. Breaks are optional.
** I used to just keep up with my percentage read based on my Kindle locations in the final manuscript (after sending it to my Kindle). I tried to read in long stretches of time, sometimes setting hour long goals for myself to read as much as I could in that time. Trust me when I say that I really like my current spreadsheet method much better. :)