Daily writing – Monday, Jan. 27, 2020

Today I finally got back to the novel. I wrote 1,622 words on it.

I also think I found my new routine for a while: a 3.5 hour block in my calendar for writing and a timer set for 3 hours of leisurely writing. ← Leisurely is the key word there.

I don’t like pushing but I do it all the time. It ruins the fun of writing for me. It’s time I stopped that. I have to write the way that makes writing the most fun and the easiest for me. Easy writing is fun writing. (Not theme, craft, blah blah blah, I’m talking process—the actual act of writing.) I need writing to feel easy. If it doesn’t feel easy, I procrastinate and I don’t write.

I am done pushing to write faster. I write at the speed I write, and that’s that.

And now to tell you how I really did it. :D

Although all of that mentioned above helped me today, it’s not what got me to sit my butt down and stick it out today. It was just the method I chose to get me to a cup of hot chocolate. :)

Yep. Hot chocolate.

A little more than a month ago, I cut out most sweets from my diet and that has been working great. But I’ve been missing hot chocolate something fierce during these dreary winter days this week. (I had specifically forbidden hot chocolate because it’s a weakness of mine, and one cup becomes two and then I’m drinking far too much hot chocolate every day.)

So I revisited the idea of my “no sweets before 1,000 words” rule and decided that I was willing to self-sabotage the no-sweets rule for the benefit of my writing.

I made a list of things in OneNote that I thought would help focus me.

==> New rule: Hot chocolate after I write 1000 words! But only if I get there. Then I can sit down with my hot chocolate and get the rest of my quota.

It worked. :)

What is the quota, you ask? (Or maybe you don’t because you don’t really care. If so, why the hell are you reading these blog posts? There really is nothing here for you if my process doesn’t interest you at all, because that is what the vast majority of my posts are about. :D)

The quota is the number of words I need to get to meet my 2020 financial goals, based on the historical value of a word in dollars. I’ve been calculating that in a spreadsheet for years—earnings per word published. It’s a little complicated, but it’s a fun exercise for me. I happen to really love playing with numbers.

That quota is 1,616 words average. (2,000 today and 1,232 tomorrow work just as well as 1,616 every day. It’s an average. But the easiest way to hit the average is to get as close to 1,616 as I can every day.)

So I have a quota based on financial goals, and I have a goal based on how many words it would take to make me feel prolific. They’re not the same and probably shouldn’t be, because I’d hate to think I had to be highly prolific to meet my financial goals. However, being highly prolific is something I aspire to.

As for the “no sweets before 1,000 words” rule, I was following this rule back in April and May when I had my first two consecutive 50,000 word months. It’s a powerful motivator, because I love sweets just that much. Hot chocolate was often the sweet I went to the minute I had reached that 1,000 word mark even back then.

And sure enough, I started this rule yesterday evening and although I didn’t write enough words to get chocolate yesterday, I found myself making writing my priority today just so I could make sure I got my hot chocolate this evening. :D

The rule is simple: write a thousand words and get a cup of hot chocolate. That first 1,000 words is the big hump. I had toyed with making my rule more strict and tied into my daily quota, but decided against that.

Small wins are great motivators. :-)

As an extra incentive to keep trying for the bigger, more aspirational goal, I can have a second cup if I make it to 4,000 words.

The second cup hump is bigger because if I’m going to self-sabotage, I’m going to have to earn it. :D

Now, off to bed. :)

Daily post – Jan. 10, 2020

Yesterday I wrote 1,286 words of fiction. I had the same plan as the day before, but after my first two sessions, I stopped for lunch and just never came back to the book.

I tried a no WiFi rule for yesterday’s sessions, but it did not work. I mean, I turned off WiFi at the beginning of the sessions, but I didn’t like how it made me feel. Suddenly writing was “work” and I was treating it like “work” and that was a bad, bad idea. I can’t say that’s why I didn’t come back to the book, because I don’t think it is, but I sure don’t think it helped.

The truth is, as soon as I start bossing myself around, I start feeling like I’m taking everything too seriously and not having fun. So I don’t think that’s a good option for most days.

So no more “no WiFi” rule. I’m really not that bad at stopping myself from going online when I’m aware. So being aware is what I need to practice. :D

This morning (Jan. 11, because I’m writing this post the morning after), I revisited the schedule I set for the six sessions of 600 words and made some adjustments based on what I learned on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Even though I know consciously that this is a FLEXIBLE schedule in the most flexible sense possible, seeing the blocks on my calendar make it feel restrictive. On the other hand, I need that, because I have to block out everything on my calendar when I need to be on time somewhere, because I just have no ability to process the passage of time accurately. I’ll allow two hours for something that takes six not realizing just how off all my estimates are, even if I’ve done the same thing twenty times before. I just can’t visualize time without doing the math.

This is probably the number one reason I fail to hit my writing goals. I wait and wait and wait to start, thinking I have plenty of time, and then it’s 8 PM and I feel like I have lots of time before bed, but the reality is, I can’t get even four hours of writing in before bed at that point, even if I go to bed at midnight, because I don’t account for the inevitable interruptions and passage of time that happens when I go heat up a drink or take a pee break. :D

It is inevitable I’ll lose time. And yet I do this again and again, day after day. So my word counts are always lower than I had hoped, and the only solution is to write early in the day, but I end up with days like today, where it’s already 11:20 am and I haven’t started because of blog posts, getting bills or household stuff done (bills today! or record-keeping, these days, since most bills kind of pay themselves), and other what-have-you things that get in the way of sitting down to concentrate.

But I want a routine, and so I’m trying to make one. We’ll see how that plays out this month.

Day 10 of 500 words a day

My 500+ words a day streak is alive and well. I wrote 563 words on day 10.

As for today, I haven’t done well avoiding distractions. It wasn’t that I got distracted during writing time so much as I just took a break for lunch and never came back.

Except that’s not exactly right, because I did come back at about five o’clock this evening, only to end up in a discussion with a family member that pulled me off track for nearly two hours.

As I said yesterday, I need to take away the potential for distraction if I want to stay focused.

That brings me to my new plan.

No more posting while I’m trying to write, because it leads me right into an area that’s rife with potential distractions. I’ll save the posting for after I’m done trying to write.

Since I’m often not in the mood to post once I start shutting down for the evening, I’ll probably end up doing a lot of morning posts, but that’s okay, as long as I do them before I start trying to write my daily quota of fiction. :-)

Also, it’s time I try a little harder to get my writing done earlier in the day. I prefer daytime writing, to be honest, and there’s just no reason I shouldn’t be doing it when I like doing it best, most of the time.

So yeah. New plan.