Breakfast musings

To prevent myself from continuing the patterns that have led to me writing less than I want over the last two weeks, I’m writing this post while I have breakfast. :D Usually I read during that time, but that reading has been leading me to put off writing much longer than I should each day. I finished reading a book yesterday and started another, and I’m now halfway through that one too. So no more reading, at least until I get some more writing done.

I did write yesterday, but my word count only reached 207 words for 2.25 hours of writing, mostly because I went back to chapter 9 and started making my way forward through the book. I haven’t made it very far because I was trying to figure out why I didn’t like some of what was there. I think I fixed it, but I still have to make it through another 7 chapters before I’m free to write all new material. :)

I will say I haven’t gotten off to a great start today. I started this post sometime around 11 this morning, and because of letting myself get sidetracked, I’m just now finishing it and it’s 2:37.

I’ll have to spend the rest of the day writing if I want to end up with an appreciable number of words. I’d like at least 6 hours of timed writing today, and I’d like to not stay up until 2 am to get them.

I’m thinking I might try a challenge, but I won’t decide for sure until after I finish the read-through edits and get to the new material.

Taking advantage of changes

I’ve banned binge-watching until my book is done. So night before last, what did I do? I binge-watched at least 8 episodes of Black Sails. Might have been 9, but double-checking that number probably isn’t a good use of my time.

I ended up somewhere in the middle of season two at any rate. Really good show, even though I’m not going to pretend that any of the characters are all that likeable. But they’re some of the most interesting I’ve come across in a while, and boy does that seem to be working for me as a viewer. I also had to keep reminding myself not to cheer for the bad guys. :D The buildup of mysterious backstory for some of these characters is fantastic and kept me watching way too long.

I ended up going to bed at 6 am yesterday morning.

Then I had to go back to bed early last night because I had to be up at 6:15 this morning because it was move-in day at college for my youngest. It’s been a rough week. I think the binge-watching and binge-reading were part of an attempt to cope with the changes going on around me. I do tend to bury myself when I’m feeling overwhelmed. It would be nice if that could be in writing, but writing apparently takes too much focus—focus I don’t have when I’m feeling overwhelmed.

I had hoped to restart my writing on this book this evening now that I’m home again but it didn’t happen.

Tomorrow, I’m going to take advantage of the changes to try to slip back into a routine with my writing. We’ll see how it goes. :)

Why I now write my notes in high-quality journals

No writing yesterday. I was out and about and at the localish Books-A-Million came across a good deal on some very pretty journals I can use for my writing.

In actuality, this one has a gold bookmark (both have two strands so I can mark two spots!).
This one has a pale pink ribbon for a bookmark, not this bright pink reddish color, and it also has two strands so I can mark two spots in the book. :)

I looked up the publisher (flametreepublishing.com) to see just how good a deal I got and was very pleased. :) Plus, the journals are so worth it. They’re unlined and labeled as sketchbooks but the paper is so smooth and nice, and I’ve been wanting to try an unlined journal, so I couldn’t pass them up. They’re beside me right now and I keep touching them because I think they’re so gorgeous. ;D

(The images link to Amazon because they’re less expensive there than on the Books-A-Million website. Even at Amazon, they’re still not as good a deal as what I got in store.)

The fact is, I love writing my notes in pretty journals. It took me a while to get there, because I’ve used cheap little tablets for years, and the few quality journals I’ve bought, I’ve hoarded and never could work up the nerve to actually scribble notes in them. I always felt like I should only write important things in the pretty journals and notebooks. But I’ve finally overcome that feeling and I’m glad. I like having these things on my bookshelves and I’m much less likely to rip out all the pages and toss them, which is what I’ve done in the past with many of my cheap notebooks.

I want to keep these things on my bookshelves so I can look back at what I was thinking and feeling and noting when I worked on a particular book. :D

If you’re tempted to do the same, give in. It’s so much easier to justify hanging on to what feel like silly little notes to yourself when they’re written in beautiful or high-quality notebooks. :)

Binge reading means no writing

I’ve been binge reading again. Unfortunately, when that happens, I don’t write. I don’t have time. I read in every spare moment I have and I can’t seem to pull myself away. I’ve read a lot of books in the last several days and started even more that I didn’t finish for one reason or another.

However, I have to get some real writing done today no matter how desperate I am to finish reading the book I started a few hours ago (The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick) (after I finished reading How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks).

I mean it. I have to write today.

I haven’t written a word of fiction in two days and it’s bumming me out. Unfortunately, that hasn’t actually made it easier to do any writing. I think I’m avoiding my book.

I don’t have a time machine so there’s no point in dwelling on it, but I do have to do better today.

I have to stop avoiding my book. >:-{

8-10-17 Thursday

Getting lazy on titles today. :)

The plan is 3 hours and 1,557 words. I’m going to read for a few minutes and then get started. Somehow it’s already 12:58 pm and I have no idea how that happened.


Okay, I’ve procrastinated like nobody’s business today, so I’m going to have to nail this word count today in record time or it’s not going to get done. Needless to say (I’m saying it anyway), it needs to get done.


Holy crap.

Would you believe I’m still procrastinating? :o

All is not lost. I did actually work on my timeline for this book (it’s a mess) and brainstorm a bit. That counts, right? It did get me 138 words.

Sadly, they’re mostly just notes-to-self so I don’t forget some of the stuff I figured out and they’ll be deleted as soon as I don’t need them anymore.


Updates

54 minutes, 141 words.

Total words: 279.

Well, not great, but it’s something, right?

Will have to do better tomorrow.

Read another book and learned something about writing

I didn’t write anything yesterday, after a really late start to the day, reading half a book, then going off to do stuff that has to be done when you’re running a household. But reading that book yesterday and today—which I really enjoyed, by the way—taught me something I know but seem unable to learn.

When writing, you have to allow yourself to write what comes naturally.

I keep trying to find a way to explain this but it’s not coming to me easily, even though I know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s about phrases and sentences and letting the words come the way they want to come and avoiding the urge to go back and fix them, when the truth is, they don’t need to be fixed.

I’m not talking about letting myself write sub-par prose because it’s good enough. This is nothing like that. I’m talking about writing good prose. Strong prose. Stuff that upon reading it creates vivid images in my mind, but that when I write it feels like bad writing. It’s not bad writing. That’s what I saw in this book. So many of the phrases I’ve taken to rewriting worked great just as they were in that book. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Those phrases would have come—do come—naturally to me, but then I change them for reasons that I’ve only now realized are problematic at best. It’s me trying to force a style on the words, a style the words don’t need. I had started to feel like maybe this was what I was doing, but I wasn’t sure. But I can see it clearly now after reading something that reminded me a lot of my own natural writing style.

This—this thing I’ve just realized, maybe not for the first time, probably not for the last either—is the main reason why I can’t stop writing slowly: I can’t write what comes to me naturally and leave it alone.

It’s just another way perfectionism has slipped into my writing and slowed me down.

I spend too much time parsing every word I write and trying to control every phrasing, every sentence, every paragraph break. This makes writing hard, and is it any wonder I don’t want to do it when I’m fighting myself the entire time I’m trying to write a story? Writing isn’t fun when you can’t let go.

After a few days of reading, it’s so easy to see this problem in my writing. The sad thing is that I know to watch out for this kind of thing, this second-guessing of myself as I write, and yet I still haven’t learned not to do it.

But at least for today, for now, I feel a little more free than I did yesterday, and I’m hopeful today’s writing will come easier because of it.

Now, it’s 5:11 pm and I have 1,557 words to write, and I’m going to do it. I’m not looking back at what I didn’t accomplish yesterday, but moving forward toward what I can accomplish today.

One hour sessions, starting now. I’ll post updates below.


Updates

Session 1: 60 minutes, 367 words

I’m just going to say right off, and hope I’m not wrong, that the reason for the slow writing in this session was that I just didn’t (still don’t) know where this scene is going. I actually felt I was writing pretty fast for a while, and I wasn’t second-guessing myself, but then I kind of hit a wall and my brain wasn’t ready to tell me where to go next. I can hope I’m right about that, anyway. Also, I did straight up delete 115 words. Still, that only improves the numbers marginally. I’d have liked to have written about two times faster than I did.

Session 2: 77 minutes, 260 words

After that, I gave up for the night. This scene is just kicking my butt and I don’t even know why.

Word count: 644 (added a few more words after I stopped counting the time)

I’m frustrated, but I’m not really sure what else I can do to get past this other than practice and push on.

Practicing longer session lengths today

Writing longer is a problem I need to tackle. So today I am writing in one hour blocks. Practice is the key to improvement, right? So practice I will!

Also, I might reach a higher wph with a shorter session but I have a real problem doing a great many sessions. At least with the one hour blocks, even if I just finish one, I’m almost guaranteed to have a few more words than I’ll get from fifteen minutes. ;)

On that note, though, I am planning to do three of them, for three hours of timed writing today, minimum. As long as I reach 519 wph, I’ll reach 1,557 words. I have stuff to do today that isn’t writing, so I also want to finish those three hours relatively early. Relative, because it’s already 11:20 and I’m just about to have breakfast.

Yes, I did stay up too late, and I don’t have any writing to show for it. Kind of sad, huh?


Update

Well, I didn’t write. I started reading a book and it was good, and I just never got started writing. Then I had things to do and came home tired. I would have gone to bed early but the spider infestation made itself known again (another spider tried to crawl up my bed—the third one in four days!) and I started vacuuming ceilings at 10:30 and finished at about midnight. Really shouldn’t have procrastinated that the night before. :o After that I had to take a shower because I was ridiculously hot and sweaty. Got in bed at 1 a.m. All I can say is that if they’re using old webs to travel the skies, the spiders are going to have to build some new ones. Maybe I’ll get a few days of peace out of that. This is the problem with living in the middle of the woods on a mountain. Ortho can’t save you, unfortunately. Spiders are everywhere. I hate spiders.

Will this rainy morning translate into more words?

Last night was a bit of a bust for words. I ended up with 329 net after I deleted a few of the one’s I’d written earlier.

I have this habit, you see, of writing something, then going back in and adding a line or two that takes the entire scene off track. Then I have to either incorporate what comes after or delete. I don’t know why I do this. It’s like I can’t decide which way to go with the story until I see it written down. Anyway, I’d like to stop doing this but it seems to be the way I come up with story, so I might be stuck with it.

Okay, for today, I’m going to start out with highly focused 15 minute sessions. I think anything longer is just going to invite me to do what I’ve been doing for the last 3 days—avoid writing!

I need breakfast but I want to start before 10:30 this morning. It’ll make me feel accomplished. :D


Updates

Session 1: 15 minutes, 42 words

The answer to my question above seems to be NO. :o Too much tinkering, not enough new writing. Maybe I can recover in the next few sessions.

Oh dear. I never got to a session 2. :(

It was definitely my own fault, but I am going to let it go because I really didn’t feel good yesterday. I’m hopeful today will be better and I’ll slide back into the groove I had going in the weeks before.

Today’s goal: 3 hours and 1,557 words

So today I’m going back to talking about goals. Mostly because I’m tired of trying to find ways to phrase things so that I don’t use the word goal. It’s just a word, and giving it too much power probably isn’t helping me. I honestly don’t care if I reach it every day. It’s just something to aim at and a place to stop if I get there early and want to take advantage of that. :)

Session 1: 45 minutes, 351 words

Session 2: in progress

The next morning update: Never made it through session 2. Just one of those days.

Funnily enough I feel good about writing today

After last night’s contemplative mood, I’m surprised by how well I feel today, about writing, about the future, about everything.

Well, except for the spider infestation I seem to be dealing with. Not so happy about that! But they’re little spiders, with feathery legs, and those kind don’t trigger my phobia the way most other spiders do.

Still, not that happy that one landed on my bed last night and started trucking it right up beside my leg. I couldn’t find any sign of where it came from, but I’ll be vacuuming my bedroom ceiling today regardless. Then of course I came down to find one tucked up in the corner over the breakfast room window and another in the corner of the hallway that leads to the garage. I vacuumed those ceilings just a couple of days ago. Let me just say, as a five foot one person with nine foot high ceilings, this has been a chore and a half! My bedroom has a tray ceiling and the middle section is ten foot high. That’s going to be fun.

So, on that note, I’d like to finish my writing before I have to go up and start vacuuming ceilings again. I figure when I’m done, all I’m going to want to do is crash on the couch and read a book!

Okay, on to today’s plan. I’m going to go with 45 minute blocks, because they divide evenly into 3 hours. I’m planning four of them.

I decided last night after some vague contemplation (I wasn’t forcing these thoughts) that 3 hours a day even if I reach 1,557 words earlier isn’t a bad expectation. I see no reason why I wouldn’t want to write for at least that long most days. So although I haven’t decided it’s a rule or anything, I think aiming for a complete 3 hours each day of writing isn’t asking too much of myself. Preferably I’ll do this in the mornings, but on days when I don’t, I’ll try not to stretch out my day to the point that I’m finishing an hour of writing at bedtime. Some authors do well writing late at night. I don’t. I give up much too easily when I’m tired. So I have to stop putting myself in that position.

Write early, write more later if I want.

Now to go write.