Timed sessions are back (because there’s no such thing as never again)

This post is the result of several drafts. I started it off intending to talk about my attempt to try scheduled writing again. That didn’t work out so the post fell by the wayside.

Me and writing schedules do not fit together, and I can’t believe I’m having to say this again, because I know this.

I’ve been trying to be diligent about not giving in to the urge to use timers for writing, but last night, I realized just how counterproductive that resistance has been.

I didn’t want to give in, but nothing has really been working for me lately. (Well, except for OneNote. My canceled subscription ended without a hitch and I never noticed a thing.) I need to write. I have a book to finish and I am ready (really ready) to become a prolific writer. I’ve challenged myself to improve how much and how often I write so that I can end this year in a much better place than it started. If that doesn’t happen, I at least want to get back to where I was just two years ago (production-wise) and that has felt impossible these last several months.

It’s taking me a very long time to get back into the groove of writing. I feel like I don’t even remember how to do it some days. Everything is choppy and annoying and nothing is coming easy, and frankly, I’m boring myself with some of the stuff I’m writing. Which means I’m probably going to bore other people too.

I suffer from the delusion that you can stop doing something for six months and come back to it as good as you were before. :o

Nope! It takes time to get back into a groove and get comfortable again–to get into habits and routines that make things easier. No one would expect a pro-ball player to take six months off (seriously off, not secretly puttering at it) and then be right back in the zone the very month they came back. It would take time. Practice, exercise, effort. I tend to ignore all that and just think I should be able to fall right back into things after some of my extended breaks and not miss a beat. Oops. Most of us know that’s not how it goes!

So last night I used a few 12 minute sessions to get back into the groove of things and it felt great. I had really missed my timers. Sure, it’s nice to write sometimes and look up and realize I’ve written a lot of words in what feels like no time at all. But it is also nice to write and know that I need to keep going just a little longer before I quit because I might actually get somewhere if I do.

I’ve gone right back to the 48 minute sessions I had decided were the perfect length the day before I decided to abandon timers. (I must not have written about this here because I could find a diary entry about it but not a blog post.) I had figured out that 48 minutes was the best length for so many good reasons, but when I sat down to do them, I could only do one and kept putting the next sessions off, and all that angst led me to decide I was done with the timers. So… good and bad, those 48 minute sessions. :D

I set up a simple table in my spreadsheet to track my current session, and I decided that sometimes, I might want to focus on smaller bits—

Like this:

Words WPH
12 0
12 0
12 0
12 0
0 0

—or longer bits—

Like this:

Words WPH
48 0
48 0
48 0
48 0
0 0

—but which I choose is really just going to depend on what kind of day I’m having.

:)

In the end, it’s pretty clear that I’ve come full circle. It’s 2018 and without even realizing it, I have come back to the very place I talk about in that post.

That post, which I came across today for the first time in ages, could have been written yesterday, it is so close to my current thoughts and goals.

A week ago, I made some calculations (without any memory of that post and what it contained) and came up with 2,192 words as my daily goal. I didn’t post here about that change to my 2,000 WPD plan, because 2,000 was a nice round number and I didn’t think it mattered. Then last night, I decided 2,400 was better, because it fit neatly into the timed writing goals I was working out and would mean I wouldn’t have to worry about keeping my 2,000 words a day average if I missed a day or two of writing every so often.

Really, truly, it’s uncanny how apt that post is for what I’m dealing with right now.

So that’s where I am. :)

Now that’s enough of that. I have writing to do.

August 2018 progress

I realized I never did my August summary post so here it is.

Things are still better than they were, even if my August word count is lower than my June word count (11,281). It did come in better than my July word count (6,478), so I’m pleased about that.

Words written in August: 7,840.

I’d like to make September my best yet of the year, but we’ll have to see how things go.

 

Seriously, Google?

Google is dying. How do I know this? Because I searched for something today and on page 4 (just page 4), the results were so nonsensical that it really makes me question whether or not Google is any good as a search engine any longer.

I mean, seriously.

My terms weren’t in good order, but they weren’t weird, by any means.

hate google calendar's new look want desktop software to access calendar

Because yeah. I’m still stuck on that. :)

Here’s what made me go “huh?”

I don’t even know what to say about this because it shows such a decline in quality of search results that it’s left me speechless. There should have been far more than 4 pages of results for these terms that were a better fit than Chick-fil-A. Right?

Forget that, I know I’m right.

:D

Apparently, Google’s day has come and gone.

Who knows what day of book 19

I wrote 723 words yesterday.

I haven’t given up on my 2,000 words a day plan, but progress doesn’t always happen in leaps and bounds, obviously. :)

I don’t know that I even care how many days I’ve been working on my current book. I know I wrote previously that it could be nice information to have and might help me stay on track, but now I’m not so sure at all. Seeing 104 or 110 doesn’t feel like much of anything: I have trouble seeing at a glance just what it means. 104 and 110 and even 200 feel like small numbers to me, so things feel like they’re going well. Yet tell me it’s been more than three months and wow, that feels like a very long time.

What I’ve concluded is that this measure is just not going to be useful to me and I’ve decided to abandon the effort.

So that didn’t last long, but hey, we have to try new things sometimes and then recognize when they’re not going to work. This one sounded book on paper but didn’t translate well to real life.

Right now, I want to keep my eye on the prize and push for that 2,000 words a day goal without all these other distractions.

Writing as work

For years I’ve avoided thinking of writing as work. I’ve even written a blog post about how writing is not a job, and after re-reading that, I stand behind what I said about it not being a job. However, I’ve also started to have a realization that for me, maybe doing everything I can to avoid thinking of my writing as work isn’t the right path for me.

I was raised to believe that my work had value. That no matter what job I had, the work I did was valuable. I hate jobs, no two ways around that, but I don’t hate work. I’ve never hated work, really. I can name only a few very specific instances where I might have hated it, if it’d gone on too long, and they all involved boring-as-hell work. Even then, I considered what I did valuable. Just boring.

But my hobbies, reading and writing? Not valuable at all. Time wasters. Time passers. Whatever you want to call it.

It occurred to me that by doing everything I can not to think of my writing as work, I’ve essentially told myself that it has little or no value, despite the fact that I’m living off the money it brings in.

Last night I decided it was time for an attitude adjustment. I can continue to hate jobs and I can continue to avoid having a job—even a self-imposed one—for the rest of my life. But what I can’t do is continue to not think of my writing as my work.

Work can be fun and awesome. I know this. Just because other people sometimes have issues when they think of writing as work doesn’t mean I do or have to. In fact, I’d say I don’t, because for me, work is about doing the best you can. You’re invested. It’s a commitment. It’s not “punch the clock, do as crap a job as you can get away with before punching the clock again” kind of thing. That isn’t my world view, and it never has been.

It’s perfectly okay to call my writing work.

If I want to change my ways when it comes to getting the writing done every day, every week, every year, then I have to think of my writing as valuable, as important, as something I need to do above all other things. Work has pretty much always fallen inside those lines for me. Work is valuable. Work needs to get done.

It’s time to start ascribing some real value to the writing I do.

Writing is my work. My work is my writing.

There. That wasn’t so hard an adjustment to make.

My turn to move paperbacks from CreateSpace to KDP

CreateSpace has been rolling out the migration from CreateSpace to KDP Print since sometime last week. I finally got the popup notice (although no email notifications) that I should consider moving my books.

I didn’t delay, just went ahead and clicked the “Get Started” button, because—

  1. I don’t sell oodles of paperbacks anyway, so if it messed something up I’m not losing much.
  2. I’ve heard that once the popup goes away, it’s gone for a long time.
  3. I’m impatient and I wanted it over and done with.

The migration actually seems to have gone off without a hitch. On the other hand, I haven’t examined any of the books in detail since moving them from CreateSpace to KDP.

I had to link two drafts to the ebooks, but all the other paperback books linked up on their own, matching to the correct ebooks without any trouble.

We’ll see later today or tomorrow if it actually went well, when I log in and check out the details.

I’m hesitant to do anything that’ll require me to approve a book at the moment, because if it leads me to needing to make cover or interior file adjustments, I’m not ready. I’m trying really hard to get this next book finished and don’t want to split my focus if I don’t absolutely have to.

Amazon has a help article up about the switch, and David Gaughran posted about the closing on his blog. And of course, it’s a big topic on Kboards.

Just an FYI, if you haven’t been paying attention, Kboards is under new ownership. I’m still considering how I feel about that and might use this as the push I need to cut Kboards out of my daily routine. I just need to find a replacement so I don’t feel especially cut off from news about big happenings in the SP world. Suggestions are welcome (but I don’t—and won’t—do Facebook). :D

(Facebook has rules about pseudonyms. I use pseudonyms for pretty much all my online activities. Furthermore, I have a unique name that makes it ridiculously easy to track my online activity when I don’t use a pseudonym, I hate being followed around online by Facebook, and I care about following the rules when it’s not something that’s going to hurt me. Enough said.) :-)

Just one more reason I’m so glad I don’t live or work in California

Recent Developments Regarding the California Consumer Privacy Act

It’s not that I don’t value my privacy, because I certainly do. It’s not that I don’t like California, because I’d visit, given the right opportunity. But I also value small businesses and think the burdens they bear are already excessive. Small businesses are being crushed.

I run a small business as a self-published author, and I often get overwhelmed with what I’m supposed to do to stay fully compliant with the laws and regulations I operate within, and that doesn’t even take federal, state, local, and international tax issues into consideration.

I sincerely hope other states don’t follow suit and we all end up with more of these burdensome laws in place.

It’s undeniable: every day, we lose another little piece of freedom to the bureaucracies of the world. From the moment society turned to civilization, we’ve been on the road to complete enslavement to each other. The day will come. Not even the wealthy will escape in the end. :D

Maybe I should write that book. Hm…

Oh, hell. I’ve already lost track of the days

So that book 19, day whatever lasted a few days. I don’t even know what to say about this. The day after my last post, I pretty much decided I was spending too much time detailing out my struggle to write and that I should focus more on actually writing, you know? So I made a pact with myself to stop writing about the struggle. There is no struggle. My issues with work are not related to writing, except that writing is my work. But I don’t have a problem writing once I start. It’s really just this other thing—these other issues—and I’m tired of putting all that on my writing.

That means my posts about writing either need to be about the story, the process, or my actual word counts. Instead of wasting so much valuable time and energy day after day just writing about how hard it is to make myself write.

So that’s it. This post is a way station and I haven’t figured out exactly where I’m going from here. Most likely I’ll just start posting about exactly those things I mentioned above: process, story, and word count updates.

Since I haven’t written much over the last several days, I haven’t had anything to post about.

I can still use my book xx, day xxx title format for word count updates, but not if I have to start counting days every time I want to post. Yikes. I didn’t think it would be so tedious to keep up with it.

Currently, I’m annoyed with my story because I feel kind of stuck at the moment, and my word counts have suffered greatly because of some personal stuff I’ve had to deal with over the last several days. I don’t begrudge those days, but man, I’m really behind where I want to be on this story.

On that note, I’m going away to write for a while. Maybe I’ll actually have something to post later that isn’t a post saying what I won’t be posting about anymore. ;)

Corrections abound

It was late last night when I wrote all those posts about the writing of my current book, what to call a book, and the day’s progress, and I made some errors. :D

The big one, of course, is that this is not book 21 I’m working on!

This is book 19.

I’ve gone back and edited those posts to take out the wrong information. It just seemed easier that way than trying to note the corrections. :D

I messed up because I used the table I have in my spreadsheet to tell me how many books I have in each category of length: novel, novella, novelette, and short story. That table gave me 18+2=20 for the novel and novella length books.

Or so I thought.

This morning, I remembered something important about that table. It’s pulling data from my “Publish List” which includes every title I’ve published. The table is counting anything over 40,000 words as a novel and is counting a novel that I wrote well before 2012 and that’s no longer published.

I don’t want those two books to count.

The one, I didn’t write but compiled it from stories I’d already written; and the other, well, let me just say it’s old, I’m not sure it’s any good, and I was happy to unpublish it even though it did sell a copy and was one of the things that made me sure I could do this publishing thing for money. :D

Me and late nights do not agree.

So here is the correction:

I have 18 books and 12 short stories. (Between three pen names.)

The book I’m working on now is book 19.

 

Book 19, day 100

Today is day 100 for this book.

I detailed out how I came up with that number in my last post about the writing of my current book. It’s a new way for me to keep track of some generally helpful metrics that isn’t about tracking time or worrying about how fast I write.

Knowing how many days I’ve spent on a book is pretty darn awesome information to have and it’ll be right where I can see it every day because I’ll also be using this post title format in OneNote and my journals. I really won’t be able to hide from reality any longer.

I think that’s a good thing. Ask me in a month. :D

Back to the topic at hand though. I’ve let the day get completely away from me, and now it’s late. Probably too late to be trying to get to 500 words before I fall asleep at my computer, but I think I can do it, so I’m going to try anyway. Why give up before I have to?

So here goes. I’ll be back whenever I need a concentration break so I can refocus. Or tomorrow if I fall asleep at the computer—or just don’t have the energy after writing 468 words in the shortest amount of time possible. (I have 32 words already, because I did actually try to work on my book today.)