Done with timers; wrote more last night but can’t use any of it

So last night I had this idea that maybe what was bothering me about this story was the way I handled the climax. I took my notebook up to bed with me and made a few notes, and then before I knew it, I’d written two pages of new material (and it’s a big notebook with narrow lines).

This is the notebook I’m talking about. I love this notebook. However, I’ve since realized that for long-term preservation of my notebooks, I’m going to have to abandon the metal spirals because of the potential for rust. Ah, well. I have three more in aqua and two in charcoal. I won’t leave them unused. I just won’t buy more.

Of course, the plan this morning was to get it entered and add the word count to yesterday’s total.

Only when I looked back at the scene I’d written in the climax where I would need to insert this (and go in a somewhat different direction) I realized I have a decent scene there and that the new material just wasn’t going to work.

On the other hand, I like the new material, so as far as I’m concerned it still happens in the book, just without the intervention of my main character. It’s part of the hidden story and I’m going to use it in the next book. Probably as the opening. In fact, just typing that has made me feel certain that, yes, the stuff I wrote last night (at least a chunk of it) will be the beginning of my next book in this series. :-)

(Hidden story is the part of the story that isn’t revealed in the story but that must occur within the time frame of the story for the other things to occur—not to be confused with backstory, which occurs before the start of the story.)

Hidden story in this book could easily become backstory in the next book, but since I’m thinking this little bit of hidden story is going to become the opening scene of the next book, it won’t be hidden story or backstory. It’ll just be part of the story. :-)

So, now I just need to get to work on today’s writing and finish this story.

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).

Update #1

My internet was giving me troubles this morning so I had to delay finishing this post, but that’s okay, because I spent the time writing.

I’ve written 405 words this morning and I need another 95 before I can stop for lunch. I’ll be back with an update when I have them. :-)

Update #2

Time for lunch! My word count is now 559 words.

Taking another run at “The End” today

I’m off to a good start. Only 49 words up after two 45 minute sessions, but I’m through the editing completely and back into new words territory now. (Just finished deleting a decent chunk of several hundred words. I was up 162 words after the 1st session only to lose most of them in the 2nd.)

The plan is to keep doing the 45 minute sessions until I reach either 6 hours or the end of the book. (Hoping for the latter!)

Anyway, off to make something to drink and then I’ll be starting session three.

Here are the sessions so far.

Minutes Words Session WPH
45 162 162 216
45 49 -113 -151
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0

(Sometime very much later…)

I’m sitting here staring at my results today and more than a little disappointed that I finished only two 45 minute sessions.

I wrote three pages in my journal about not writing (typical) and then went website hopping for self-help articles to validate my feelings (also typical). It was stupid and I really don’t understand myself sometimes. Writing fiction is important to me.

One, it’s my life’s work. Two, it’s my job. Three, it keeps me from having to work as someone’s employee and live a lifestyle I absolutely hate.

The self-sabotage I’m capable of just boggles my mind. I’m destroying my chance for happiness by not sticking to a writing routine of some kind and actually putting out the words I ought to be perfectly capable of writing.

I don’t want to write. That’s just all there is to it. I look at my book, think about the writing, and just do not want to do it.

I think I know why, but I can’t seem to fix it.

Writing is a chore because I make it hard. Every time I sit down, I spend loads of time redoing sentence after sentence, word after word, trying to find my way. Trying to capture a feeling or a scene that I can’t seem to capture no matter how hard I try. Second-guessing every decision, writing for everyone except myself, even though that is exactly what I do not want to do.

I didn’t used to be this way. I’m not sure what happened or when it changed, but writing has felt hard for a couple of years now. I’ve been publishing since 2012. It’s 2017 now. Somewhere in there, something changed. It could have been a slow slide or a sudden shift, but it happened, and I’ve been left standing on a ledge. The rocks under my feet are crumbling and I’m starting to feel a little desperate.

I need to find a way off this damn ledge.

I tried changing up my formatting on my book-in-progress to see if that refreshed my feelings for the writing, but it was a wasted effort. I tried multiple formats and ended up right back where I’d started: Times New Roman 12 pt, single spaced text, first line indent.

It was a band-aid anyway.

The problem isn’t how the text looks. It isn’t the fact that I can’t get comfortable. I can get comfortable enough to web-surf for hours on end and read online articles, or read forum threads, or read a book that takes all day long to read, but I can’t get comfortable enough to type words into my computer? Give me a break. My comfort isn’t the problem.

The problem is that I don’t want to write.

But it’s not just the writing. I don’t want to do anything. That’s the real problem. I just want to be, and let me tell you, that’s the stupidest thing in the world, because I know as well as the next person that you don’t make it through life that way with your self-respect intact.

Is depression something that can last for years? Because I’m seriously starting to wonder if there’s something serious behind this weird combination of worry, apathy, and lack of motivation I’ve had going on for so long.

Something’s just not right.

You know the funniest part of this all? This post is 669 words long.

I’m not laughing.

Accountability post for Saturday

I’m going back to normal (if somewhat random) titles for my posts. Although, this title isn’t so random.

I’m pushing to finish a book tonight.

I’m also making an exception for my quit at 9 PM rule. Ha! And on the third day, too. I didn’t follow it last night either, honestly. But I’m going to—in the future! As soon as I finish this book I’m working on and get into a groove with my 500 words a day plan.

Here are tonight’s sessions so far.

Minutes Words Session WPH
45 24 24 32
45 251 227 303
0 0
0 0
0 0

I’m going to try to finish another 3 minimum (all 45 minutes each). That’ll put me finishing at around 11 PM. Which is kind of late, but I’m really hoping to make some good progress, if not outright finish my book. :-) And if I don’t finish it tonight, tomorrow morning, I’ll be doing my best to get it done by lunchtime.

Oh, if you’re wondering, yes I did have lunch today. I wrote a lot during that 1st session, despite how it looks, but I also deleted a lot (lots of words to delete, I said) and then I did the second session after my late lunch.

Somehow it’s taken me all afternoon and into the evening to get here, but I’m going to put some real effort into focusing now, and I’m going to finish those sessions I have planned.

See you soon with updates. :-)

(The next morning…)

Ugh. 294 words for the day.

I timed one of my breaks. 2:33:35.2.

What a complete and total ridiculous result. I have to do better than that.

Moving the goal post on 500 words a day

I am a procrastinator. I think I’ve said that many, many times, and it’s right up there in the site description in case I haven’t.

I’m having trouble restarting my 500 words a day streak, and although I know there are reasons beyond the fact that I just want to procrastinate (there are!), I’ve decided that giving myself the opportunity to procrastinate until I’m too tired to hold me feet to the fire isn’t doing me any favors.

So from now on, my 500 words a day minimum (goal, what-have-you) is due before I have lunch.

I could do with skipping a few meals anyway if I’m being honest. :-o I need to lose some weight and I’m not making progress on that either lately, but that’s a story for another day.

As of right now, it’s 2:03 pm and I have to get my 500 words before I have lunch. I had leftover tacos for breakfast, so it’s taken me a while to even start to get hungry. :-) But now that I am, it’s taken my attention away from the tweaks I was doing on this site’s theme (all done, I hope!) and put it back on the fact that I haven’t started writing today.

Since I want to clock six full hours of timed writing today (or finish my book), I do need to get started sooner rather than later.

Making myself do the 500 words a day minimum by lunch might just be the extra push I need to stop this chronic procrastination thing I’ve got going on.

Side note: One reason I was tweaking my theme is because I wanted to change the back-end font to match the front-end font (the composing area in the admin, specifically), and I figured out how to do it by creating a child theme and changing the editor-style.css.

I LOVE composing in this font (PT Sans). I swear it feels like it makes writing easier. I’m considering making this change in my draft style in Word. Who knows? It might make a difference, and I can use all the help I can get.

Anyway, off to write now, so I can eat when I’m actually hungry and not hours later. I know what to do with this story; I just have to make myself sit down and do it.

A theme change

I’m a little bored with the Twenty Seventeen theme I’ve been using here on the site, so today I started messing around with themes, figured out how to change the font to PT Sans, tried it out on several of the themes I have installed, deleted a bunch of them after realizing I was never going to use them again, and finally settled on changing my theme to Twenty Fifteen, a theme especially suited to a blog like mine (heavy on text, uses tables sometimes, and is pretty much just a blog).

Twenty Seventeen has a terrible layout for tables, puts the numbers and bullets for lists outside the margins of the paragraphs, and has a so-so default font (Libre Franklin). (I know, I know! It’s not that different from PT Sans—but it is!)

I also didn’t like that you can’t see tags or categories for posts on the home page. You had to click through to the post. That’s just an extra click that’s not needed for diary style posts.

I need to update my favicon. It’s been ages since I made the one I’m using now, and it matches the color and font styles of the old Twenty Thirteen theme, which was awful and I’m not sure why I even used it for a while. :D

Since I need to start another writing session, I’m going to stop this ramble right there. I have a scene to gut and words to write. :-)

There’ll be no zero word day today

Zero word day? Or zero words day?

Eh, no one cares anyway.

Today I will write 500 words—maybe not net of deletions but I will write them. I happen to know that for a fact. I’ve already finished one session and am about to start another.

On the other hand, 500 words is going to be tough to get. My first session got me up to 33 words. Yeah. Not kidding there. I spent most of that first session editing out some stuff that was bogging down my scene. I’ve also realized I’m going to have to delete a large chunk of the rest of the scene, too.

These are the words I considered deleting a few days ago but didn’t delete. I probably should have done it right away. I have a feeling these words are why I’ve been stalled for four days and broke my 500 words a day streak.

Despite all the editing I seem to do, let me take a moment to say that I do believe Dean Wesley Smith has the right of it when it comes to rewriting. On the other hand, because of the way I put scenes together on the page, sometimes I have no choice but to edit stuff.

I don’t like to rewrite (which is to me just taking a sentence and trying to recompose it using different words and which usually does take your natural voice right out of your work) and I try not to do it. But I do fight myself a lot and end up doing it more than I should.

But I’m not talking about rewriting when I’m talking about editing. When I talk about editing, I mean I’m working with my text, trying to figure out where I’m going and how to get there.

Since I don’t do that in my head as often as I do it on the page, there have to be additions and deletions on the page.

Generally, when I start doing this, it means I’m stuck. Call it writer’s block, call it project block, it’s all the same to me. I can’t go forward, so I just start messing with the book, trying to figure stuff out.

I should trust the process more often and stop avoiding it. I have a feeling I would get through these little phases so much quicker that way.

Some people would probably just say this is part of the writing. And it is. But I can’t seem to stop calling it editing.

There are other reasons I get stuck editing, too, but it’s all kind of hard to explain. I’ve written a lot of books this way, so something about it must work for me, even if it’s not very efficient.

Don’t want a fourth

I’ve somehow managed to turn my early start today into a slow start—or more accurately, a no start—and I need a quick turnaround. Since I don’t want a fourth day of inadequate fiction ramblings, I guess I’m going to have to get to work.

First up, one 48 minute session.

Goal: at least 500 words.

So, limited editing. I’m just going to have to figure this scene out and do it in a hurry. I need 500 words.

I have a new rule to end my days at 9 PM so I can stop staying up late and start feeling better. I’m going to stick by that. And that means I can’t wait until 9 PM to start writing.

Update: Honesty is the best policy, right? Yeah. I didn’t do this writing. In fact, for the first time in a while, I had a zero word day.

Just three of those days?

Yeah, it’s a streak.

Definitely not the good kind.

I set out yesterday to write early, and I did. But I also quit early and then didn’t restart. My one 48 minute session was all I did and my word count for day 16 of my 500 words a day effort was 230 words.

Today, on the other hand, is going to be great.

I got more sleep last night, albeit just a little; however, it was enough to make me feel better and I feel like I can get back on track today.

First things first: I have to trim the fingernails. It’s time. Then I’m going to sit back down and write for as long as I can today, in 48 minute blocks. There’s a reason I picked 48 minutes and I might explain later. Right now I just need to get started before I waste the morning.

Just two of those days… ugh

Well, the streak is well and truly dead. Yesterday wasn’t any better than the day before and I failed to go right back to 500+ word days.

Word counts

11/13 -9
11/14 -57

I wrote both days, but only a little, and in both cases think I probably could have made my 500 word minimum if I’d tried a little harder.

At no point yesterday did my word count rise above zero. I started out in the hole and stayed there, because of too much deleting and editing and too few new words.

I thought I had a chance today to get a lot done early, but I’ve also blown that.

I spent 48 minutes writing this morning and wrote 230 words. I did make progress with a scene that’s being a pain in the ass, but the fact is, it’s time to finish this book and yet I seem to just be trucking along with it as if it’s never going to end.

 

Just one of those days

Yesterday was day 14 of my 500 words a day streak. Only I didn’t keep the streak alive, so it was just day 14 since I began the 500 words a day minimum.

My attempt to draw how I feel.

I’m debating whether or not to abandon the day notation, start over at day 1, or continue as is because my don’t use “streak” in any of my titles, so it could just be titled for the length of the—what the heck is this? It’s not an experiment, a challenge, or a goal. It’s a minimum expectation, so I’m just not sure what to call it.

It was a shitty day. There’s just no other way to label it. I had a headache, caused by an early morning hangouts message that set off a morning of drama that I just don’t even want to think about. I hate the holidays right now, because every year it’s the same conflicts, and it just feels like it’s getting worse year over year instead of better, and the expectations of others are growing instead of shrinking.

I let it get to me and I shouldn’t have. But I slipped up and ended my streak. I’m very disappointed, but I know I can restart it today and keep going. I haven’t failed. Yesterday was just one day out of fourteen.

I’m putting it behind me and moving on.