The “no timers” thing

When I revisited getting rid of my timers, I thought the beginning of 2017 and the middle of 2017 was the last time I’d addressed the issue. But I was wrong. As I published my last post and checked through it as I usually do, I clicked the “corrective action“ tag.

It showed me a post I wrote in November 2017 called, appropriately, “Done with timers” that kind of shocked me. I had forgotten all about writing it.

First, no more timers. I’m not even talking about temporarily. I’m doing away with timers.

I know that didn’t work for me at the beginning of this year, but that was because I was using timers in conjunction with no schedule and no goals either. That was a mistake.

I know what I need as far as word counts: 500 words a day minimum, 3,000 words a day goal.

The goal is there to help make a particular dream I have a reality. I want to move. I want a new house. I want a pool. I need money to make that happen. :-)

I really don’t need to track anything else. Those are the numbers I need, each day. One is easily accomplished, the other is a stretch. Tracking my daily words is the only metric I need to know if I’m doing what I need to be doing (500 a day) or want to be doing (3,000 a day).

Swap out that 3,000 a day with my 2,000 words a day plan and this is pretty much what I’m doing now. I didn’t set a 500 a day minimum this time, but now that I’m reminded of that, I think I will.

I’m not going to forget and I’m not going to go back. I am done with timers. I mean done done done.

That 500 word minimum has the benefit of making yesterday’s word count an important success (I wrote 571 words, after all) and gives me something to push for tonight that’s more realistic than 2,000 words, because I’m not even going to pretend I’ll be able to go from the 53 words that I have to 2,000 words before I call it a night considering how late it is. But 500? Definitely possible.

And to top it off, this also means I have a 500 words a day streak going that I won’t want to break tonight. I mean, it’s only two days, but it’s two days in a row!

Day 13 of 500 words a day

619 words. It was easy enough yesterday that I thought I would end the day with a whole lot more but I was tired after not getting enough sleep the night before and it showed in the latter part of the day. I watched an episode of Rizzolli & Isles on DVD when I stopped for dinner and then just kept watching…

But today I’ll do better. I’m going to aim for no less than 5 hours of writing and see where that takes me. :)

Day 12 of 500 words a day

I made it. I wrote 526 words and kept my streak alive for another day. I didn’t think I would, to be honest. It’s 2:32 am and I’m dead tired.

I started out at a negative word count of hundreds of words because of deletions and it took hours to catch back up and get above 500 words. I did too much editing and not enough fresh writing. But I didn’t want to jump ahead, so I persevered.

I really need to learn how to write a little more freely. And those thousands of words I was thinking about deleting today didn’t get deleted but I’m seriously thinking they might go in the next session.

Day 11 of 500 words a day

Yesterday I wrote 524 words. That brought my daily streak of 500+ words to day 11.

Today is looking dicey. It’s 5:53 pm and I’m sitting at -305 words right now, meaning I’ve deleted significantly more words than I’ve written, and I’m toying with the idea of deleting even more. I’m just really not sure how to handle days like today because if I delete thousands of words, as I suspect might happen, to end up with a net positive I’ll have to write thousands of words if I want my spreadsheet to show 500 words for the day.

Not great.

It’s just something I’m going to have to figure out and then stick to as a general rule.

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.

Day 9 of 500 words a day

Yesterday was day 9 of my 500 words a day streak. I wrote 2,626 words.

My daily average since beginning this effort is now 803 words. This just goes to prove that it doesn’t take much more than the 500 words a day on a few days a week to really improve my long-term average.

Through day 8, 575 words was my daily average.

Add in day 9 and my daily average shot up to 803 words, which is 188 words above my all-time daily average. Meaning that if I maintained this pace, writing mostly 500-520 a day but having 1-2 days where I write quite a bit more, I would write an additional 68,620 words in a year. Or another entire novel.

It’s something to keep in mind, for sure. For someone like me, who finds it difficult to maintain a consistent pace, having a low set minimum appears to be a great way to at least ensure a minimum of production, while increasing the chances of producing more. I’ve already talked about the benefits I’ve been seeing, so I won’t go into that, but suffice to say, I’m feeling really good about this new plan to write 500 words a day. It’s going better than I ever expected, to be honest.

Six days now

I’ve extended my daily writing streak of 500 words or more to six days now, squeaking by with 503 words.

Here’s my log of word counts since I began the 500 words a day minimum.

10/31/17 – 517
11/1/17 – 533
11/2/17 – 520
11/3/17 – 1,004
11/4/17 – 515
11/5/17 – 503

As happened the day before and the day before that, I waited until so late last night to get started that I was falling asleep with my computer in my lap and kept having to rouse myself to write the words. It was tough, to say the least.

I’m going to try not to do that again tonight.

In fact, I want to try for 3,000 words today, and I’m going to do it by focusing on writing 600 words at a time.

(600 x 5 = 3,000)

Or, you know, I could just finish the book before I reach 3,000. I’m perfectly happy to do that too. :-)

Focus on action and small wins; a new daily minimum

Today I’m starting work on my book much later than I planned. Mostly because I’ve spent too much of the day thinking about a decision I made a couple days ago and trying to decide if it’s the right one. I’ve finally decided it is.

Tuesday, I decided to lower my minimum word count for a day to 500 words. That was a good call, I think. My average daily word count is 614 words. Since I have a complete record of every day’s word count since mid-2012, this isn’t a guess. This is my actual daily word count average for more than 5 years of writing.

That said, just because I’ve averaged 614 words a day for 5 years doesn’t mean 500 words a day should be a no-problem, no-trouble, easy daily goal for me. Averages are just that: averages. And averages never tell the whole story.

Consistent daily writing is still a major problem for me. I do not do well with long term daily writing. My longest streak to date is 122 days and I had to count many days of less than 100 words to even get that.

Writing 500 words a day, every day, will be a considerable challenge. But I don’t think I can go any lower than that, just because it doesn’t feel reasonable and it doesn’t feel like a challenge. It feels like giving up.

Daily, it’s only a small win, but 500 words a day will get me a book of average size (50,000 words) in 100 days. Meaning even if I totally fail at all else and ONLY write the 500 words a day every day and never one word more, I’ll write more words in the next 12 months than I wrote in the last two years combined by a little more than 40,000 words.

That’s a win, no matter how I look at it.

And my hope is, as always, that this small win will drive me to write more and reach some of the bigger goals I have.

Every time I write more than 500 words a day, it’s going to push my average up, and I’m going to get that much closer to my long-term goal of being a prolific writer. I can’t ask for much more than that considering where I’m starting from.

But I have to start somewhere and becoming a consistent daily writer is where I’m choosing to start.

The fact is, a small win is better than no win, and I have to start focusing on action if I want to change.

This isn’t just a post about intentions; this is a post of action! I made this minimum word count change two days ago on Tuesday. On both Tuesday and Wednesday, I successfully met this challenge with 517 words and 533 words, respectively.

Yay! I have a new writing streak going. :-)

Now, it’s time to go write and keep this thing alive.

Update: Yep, I did it. 520 words for the day.

Tomorrow I resume the challenge to reach 6000 words in a day

Today I haven’t written any fiction. I have a daily writing streak I could keep alive by writing something now, but I don’t think I’m going to. I might, when I finish writing this post, go write a little something, but I might not. I’m tired and I’m not really seeing the need.

Tomorrow I resume the challenge to write 6000 words in a day. I was SO close a few days ago but I just couldn’t get those last 200 words. I’ve been staying up too late and when you’re falling asleep at the computer, it’s time to put the computer up. ;)

I’m just about there now.

There’s a caveat to the resumption of the challenge for tomorrow though. I have to start working my way back into good sleep habits. I’m paying for the lack of them in so many ways. Increased appetite, cravings for sweets, tired eyes, that kind of thing.

Anyway, the point is that I’m still very interested in reaching 6000 words in a day but I also want to not have to work so hard at it. :D

First thing: I need to make sure I’m in a place in my head where I can write freely. I just can’t do this without a better pace. 10 hours and 33 minutes is how long it took me to write the 5,816 words that broke my previous record of 5,758 words in a day. That’s just too much time.

I don’t want to have another 10 hour day anytime in the near future. Seriously, it was rough and I felt very much like all I did was get up Sunday, start writing, and write all day long until I gave up at about 10:30 that night. I know I had times when I was away from the computer, because I only clocked 10 hours and 33 minutes, but I sure can’t remember any of them. It was write, write, write, all day.

Anyway, enough of this ramble. The TL;DR for this is I’m still chasing 6000 words a day, but I’m setting some limits. :)

Goodnight!

The last writing streak ended yesterday

I ended yesterday with zero words written for the day. I had a full day away from home and I just didn’t have the energy to get started. I actually consciously looked at my writing streak in my daily word count log, said, “Neh,” and closed the computer.

Wondering what that big number is in the image? That’s my cumulative word count since I started tracking in 2012.

Anyway, on to make today the beginning of a new streak. I both want and need to make some significant progress today on this book I’m working on.

Today is the first day this year that both of my kids are back in school. I have no reason to put off getting back into this book and fixing the problems it’s giving me. I’m ready.

The writing streaks are dead—sort of

I’ve let the writing streaks end. Last night, I wrote, but I deleted and then wrote and then deleted, and I had a negative day and just couldn’t climb out of it before I was too tired to continue. I’ve been staying up way too late and 1 a.m. last night did me in.

However! There is a however. :D

I wrote. So technically I have a new writing streak to replace the old two.

148 – 12/30
172 – 12/31
203 – 1/1
209 – 1/2
246 – 1/3
277 – 1/4
345 – 1/5
470 – 1/6
(35) – 1/7

 

  1. I’ve written fiction every day

I’d love to know how much I wrote yesterday, because I have a feeling my >100 words streak would still be alive, but that’s not how I count words and I’m not going to change that. It’s not necessary anyway. I have no goals, am using no timers, and following no schedule. A broken writing streak isn’t breaking any kind of commitment to myself.

I’ll just let a new one happen.

The writing streaks live on

Yesterday, at the twelfth hour, I did some writing and managed 470 words.

Another small win and another day to add to my streaks.

148 – 12/30
172 – 12/31
203 – 1/1
209 – 1/2
246 – 1/3
277 – 1/4
345 – 1/5
470 – 1/6

The streaks are:

  1. > 100 words each day
  2. increasing number of words each day

At some point, the increasing words per day streak will end. There’s no way around that, because I do want to write a lot of words on a daily basis. But for now this is a great motivation to keep going.

I’m finding the challenge of doing better every single day not to be much of a challenge at all. Part of that is probably because I’ve let myself write on a variety of stories (all stories I hope to finish writing and publish within the first three to four months of this year assuming I eventually reach four digits with my daily word count). That’s led to me having no trouble at all getting out some new words each day.

I don’t know, it’s kind of making me rethink my ban on writing concurrently on multiple stories.

I’m not sold on backing off the ban yet, but I do notice my motivation to write everything increases when I’m writing on anything. That matters when I’m having a tough time getting myself started. I’ve said it before: Getting started is the single most difficult thing for me when it comes to writing (or anything else).

Anyway, off to work on paperback formatting for some books and then to do some writing.

(By the way, I love this font. Firefox says it’s Libre Franklin, and I’m seriously considering downloading this to my computer and using it for my notes.)

(And I did, and yes, it definitely wasted some time, because I got lost looking at fonts. But I’m away from there now and clicking publish here! Time to get to work.)

Another day goes down in favor of the streak(s)

And another day goes down in favor of the streak(s).

148 – 12/30
172 – 12/31
203 – 1/1
209 – 1/2
246 – 1/3
277 – 1/4
345 – 1/5

  1. > 100 words each day
  2. increasing number of words each day

Although I thought I would write more today, in the end, I’m pretty satisfied that at least I wrote something.

Maybe tomorrow will be the day I break out and write lots of words.

Now, I must go to sleep. It’s 12:55 p.m. and that’s already much later than I wanted to conk out tonight.

Another day, another win

148 – 12/30
172 – 12/31
203 – 1/1
209 – 1/2
246 – 1/3
277 – 1/4

Last night I made time to write again and in the process managed to keep both my streaks going for another day. :)

  1. > 100 words a day
  2. Increasing word count every day

Another small win for me in the new year. :D

Hey, small wins are serious business!*

Today I’d like to write quite a lot more but I had another late night despite hopes otherwise and I have a headache this morning. Only it’s really not morning anymore. It’s noon and looks so dreary out that I don’t doubt for a minute snow’s on the way.

It’s time for an evil glare out my window. I really don’t like snow. >_<

Anyway, off to do some writing or paperback formatting. Haven’t decided yet. The truth is if I procrastinate writing to do the paperbacks, I’m okay with that. One of them has needed to be done since June. :o

*I read an article about small wins a long time ago that has stuck with me… Ah, I think I’ve found it: https://hbr.org/2011/05/the-power-of-small-wins

Another day to add to my streaks!

The streaks continue. :)

148 – 12/30
172 – 12/31
203 – 1/1
209 – 1/2
246 – 1/3

  1. >100 words a day, and
  2. increasing words per day

I’m up to almost a page a day now. :)

I’ve been writing so few words because (1) kids are still home for the holiday/winter break and (2) I spent the last two days working on a massive spreadsheet project I’d been putting off for a couple of years now.

I thought having all my title sales in one Excel workbook would benefit me, but after getting it done, I’m just not sure I didn’t waste a lot of time on this. As someone who will write a book I want to write regardless of the possible payoff, I don’t have any need to see my sales broken down by title or series (which is what I did).

Not only that, but there weren’t any surprises there either. I’ve apparently been doing just fine consolidating in my head the information I gather from the individual sales reports from each vendor. I’d created a very realistic picture of where my money was coming from and the books were all doing just about what I thought they were as far as revenues go.

I don’t think I’ll update the spreadsheet going forward. I won’t delete it outright, but I see no need to keep it current.

I just don’t care how much each specific book brings in, and I don’t even really care how much each series is bringing in. I write these books because I really want to and I’m willing to take my chances with them.

Now, time to go write some words for today. I have to get to bed earlier tonight. I’ve stayed up two nights in a row until 2 a.m. working on that stupid spreadsheet. I need a better night’s sleep tonight so I’ll feel liking writing lots of words tomorrow if I decide that’s what I want to do. :D

The streaks continue!

I’ve added another day to my two writing streaks. My word counts are minuscule but I’m trying to build momentum during a time when I have a lot of distractions going on around me and I’m settling into a new year.

148 – 12/30
172 – 12/31
203 – 1/1
209 – 1/2

  1. >100 words a day, and
  2. increasing words per day

I have two writing streaks going!

Addendum to the aside about my writing streak: I have two writing streaks going now.

  1. >100 words a day for three days
  2. increasing words per day for three days

So—awesome?! start to the new year. ;) (Stop laughing! *evil glare*)

Not only that, but I don’t feel feverish today, don’t feel sick, and don’t feel all that tired either. So good health too.

I think I’m losing weight but since I’ve abandoned my scale (it’s in the closet) I can’t say for sure.

I’m pretty happy with abandoning all these metrics of success and failure and the goal setting stuff. I feel free.

I need, now, to translate that into more writing and some real weight loss. 2017 seems like just the year for it. :D

Happy new year, everyone!

Coming up next: a new year’s update on the progress I’ve had building a pen name. Spoiler! I should’ve just written more books for my main name.

My “no more zero word days” streak

So I mentioned a week or so ago that I’d broken my no more zero word days  (aka write every day) streak, unintentionally. I really have had a hard time getting started again, but a few days ago I managed.

Today is day number 3 of the new streak. I figure since I’ve made it 3 days and today wasn’t a “token” day, I’ll start counting up again.

Here’s what the last three days have looked like:

372
77
1,522

Yesterday was a token day—I admit it. But today I feel like, despite the tiredness and giving up early, I’m back at it. From now until I finish another book, I’m going to be working every day trying to hit that reasonable daily word count I know I should be capable of.