Today’s Goals and the End of No More Zero Word Days

Well, I looked at the 50 word minimum on my 123rd day of writing every day and I quit. I have no idea why, still, but it was a conscious decision. I stared at the page, knowing I would be writing the 50 words just to keep the streak alive and I very deliberately closed my document and set my computer aside and went to bed. That was a couple of days ago.

If you want me to explain why I did that, you’ll have to ask me another day because I don’t know the answer.

Yesterday, I proofed and began formatting a book I’m preparing to publish and I didn’t write. So now I have a two day 0 word streak that I plan to end today after I finish my formatting. My biggest challenge will be staying focused enough on the formatting not to get sucked into doing related but less important tasks. I’ve already slipped off track this morning and reformatted an older story (the book I’m preparing is a bundle of the short stories I’ve written over the last few years) that needed updating (two typos, back matter updates, etc).

Now, I’m off to heat up my tea and get back to formatting the new one. I’m trying to finish by 9:30 am.

Today’s goals

I’d like to write about 3,000 words and publish that book I’m formatting by 6 pm.

Today’s progress

Well, it’s 11:24 am and I just finished that formatting. I got my EPUB, MOBI, PDF, and Smashwords DOC all fixed up, and they do look fabulous if I do say so myself. :D I use Word and Jutoh, and to be honest it was the PDF that took all my time.

I forget how finicky Word gets when you start adding in headers and footers and set the layout options to different first page and different odd and even pages. That doesn’t work well when you don’t want extra pages added into the PDF (something that’s all right when you’re doing paperback formatting but when the PDF is for general downloading, not so much). It really makes those headers and footers tricky business! But as a struggling perfectionist, I can’t seem to help the compulsion I have to get those headers just right.

I’ll be working on paperback formatting for this book and three others the rest of the week and I can tell you now, I’ve heard a lot of self-publishers talk about how they can generate their paperbacks in an hour or two, and I can only guess that they don’t bother with hyphenation, widows and orphans, fancifying, or much else or they’ve done some fantastic systemization of their process because that stuff takes some serious time.

I usually spend about 15 to 20 hours on a book to get it print ready, although I’m thinking of taking a page out of some of these other authors’ playbooks and limiting what I do. I don’t make enough on paperback sales compared to ebook sales to put as much work into the formatting as I do. I go line by line looking for hyphenation and widows and orphans issues and let me say, that takes what feels like forever.

If you have tips for how to format for print efficiently, I’m all ears. Seriously.

Well, back to work. Time to do some writing before I start publishing later. 3,000 words is probably not going to be possible today by 6 pm since I’ll have to stop around 3 pm to start publishing but I’ll take whatever I can get! :)


As soon as it came time to write, I remembered a very important thing I needed to do today—shop for a replacement health insurance plan, because my current plan is ending at the end of the month. So there went my afternoon. I’m pretty sure the dude who was answering my questions about the healthcare marketplace hung up on me. :D In the end, though, I didn’t need his help and I found what I was looking for. I admit it took me from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm to narrow it down to 9 policy options and then choose one. But I feel good about my choice. Only now I have the issue that the website went down (likely because open enrollment starts soon and they’re doing site improvements—that’d be my guess from the error message) and I either have to try to “confirm” my choice again tomorrow or call them. I really wish it was done but hey, at least I didn’t wait until the last day!

I’m going to fit in one hour of writing here shortly but that’ll probably be it for tonight. I’m actually kind of pooped right now. :)

Tomorrow, my plan is to start writing early-ish, but I’ll still probably go ahead and publish that book first since I meant to do that today. I estimate an hour and a half for the publishing. When I can get going in the mornings, I really do perform better and stay focused longer.

Somehow I think I need to figure out how to do that every day.