Finish the Book—February Edition, Final Day

Let’s skip the pleasantries. I feel like today is a get this show on the road, put up or shut up kind of day.

7–9: 66
12–4: 1,585
8–9: 0

Time deficit: 118 minutes

Pace: 317 wph, yikes!

My goal is to put in ALL the time today.

I only need about 5,000 words to finish my book. If I can write about 1,000 words an hour, I can get that 5,000 today during my scheduled writing time. I have this terrible suspicion I’m going to go long on this book, but I’m going to aim for 1,000 words an hour and 5,000 words today.

Update #1: 66 net word gain, after deleting 839 words, and having a 27 minute interruption that I plan to make up today. That means I was writing at a 600 words an hour pace and I’ve made more progress in the story so I can’t complain. Well, I could, but I’m not going to! ;)

Update #2: 1,585 is cumulative, because I can’t be bothered with math right now. My pace has only been 317 wph, so I’m nowhere near 5,000. I’m hoping I’ll speed up in my next session. Sometime tonight I also want to make up my 58 minute deficit. I’d love to finish, but the book isn’t likely to go short, so we’ll have to see! Be back later with what will probably be the final update.

Update #3: I made a tactical error by delaying the start of my final session and now I’m just too wiped to do it. I’m going to sleep. At least I learned something! I won’t make this mistake tomorrow. :D Good night!

Finish the Book—February Edition

So yesterday? No writing. None. But…! Plumbing issue resolved!

And … I missed my 7–9 session this morning, but I kinda had a slow start and wasn’t feeling great, that’s for sure, but I’m feeling better now.

Tomorrow is February 28th and I’d like to finish this book by tomorrow night, so I’m doing a Finish the Book challenge. I know can do it if I quit worrying over perfection and just write.

Perfectionism is a loser’s game anyway. You never get out what you put in. :D And thank goodness for that, because that’d be a lot of angst!

I’m determined to find a way to get into my writing zone today.

1st goal: Banish the critic who’s taken up residence in my head and write at least 800 words in the next hour.

Ack! It’s 2:40 and I haven’t started writing yet! I listened to an entire podcast and spent as much of my time avoiding writing as possible. I have an extra 3 hours I can devote to writing tonight, so I’m not giving up on my challenge! But if I’m going to get this done, I’ve got to start writing, right now. Seriously. Right now.

And … yeah. I got 0 words today. So now I have to finish it all in one day tomorrow, the 28th. Woohoo. I needed more excitement in my life.

This Week Needs To Get Better

I missed my 7–9 writing this morning, and then I missed my 12–4, and then I caved on my 8–9 because I was just … done. Totally and completely done for the day. :o

Plumbing problems cost me my hour last night, so that 446 was all I got yesterday. Today was going to be better. It really was. But then I couldn’t concentrate, at all, and I spent most of the day running up and down the basement stairs (related to the plumbing problem) and wore myself out worrying over stuff until the plumber came by at around 5 pm.

Now I’m only slightly worried, but tomorrow is a dentist appointment I made before I came up with the new schedule, and it’s right smack in the middle of my afternoon writing block, and then there’s the other plumber people that I’m waiting on a callback from. But that part isn’t as urgent so hopefully, please God, I’ll be able to concentrate long enough to write something besides this random stuff I keep writing about my writing. :D

I’m definitely going to find time this week to give this new schedule a good trial run, despite getting off to such a bad start with it yesterday and today, even if it’s only Thursday and Friday, and even if the other plumber people don’t show up til then.

I’m very excited by the new schedule and I feel like it could really work if I put some effort into sticking to it. :D I get a little early morning writing, a little late evening writing, and a decent block right in the middle of the day, long enough to really get lost in the writing.

Now if only these distractions would go away and leave to me write in peace!

I Hate Schedules So Why Am I So Determined to Have One?

So, I wrote this long post yesterday that I’m not going to post because it makes obvious my penchant for self delusion.

After wasting away my Sunday because I was tired (no explanation really but probably not enough vigorous exercise in my days!), I spent a lot of time reading about sleep patterns and decided I was obviously a night owl trapped in a morning person’s schedule. I made a new schedule for myself, and all these plans for the coming week, tried to stay up so I could start Monday off right by sleeping in … and then woke up with the sun at 6:20 am, bright eyed and completely ready to get out of bed. I looked up sunrise on Google. It came at 6:16 am.

So yeah. I’m not a night owl, no matter how easy I find it to stay awake when I’m doing something interesting. I’m a morning person through and through—with the caveat that the sun has to be up! I can’t get up without daylight, but I really don’t think that precludes me being a morning person. As soon as that sunshine comes through my window, my brain comes alive and it doesn’t seem to matter what time I went to bed. :D I’ve stayed up til 3 am and still had a really hard time sleeping past 7-ish, and I actually can’t remember the last time I slept past 8:30 am.

I guess one of the things that fooled me is that I have a spike of energy in the morning that wanes fast, usually gone by 9 and I’m ready to crash. Then I have another surge of energy sometime around late afternoon. And another around 7 or 8 pm. So I seem to have more energy in the afternoons and evenings. I never have trouble going to sleep (except for midday naps). As soon as I’ve decided I’m going to go to sleep (and put away whatever has my attention) I go to sleep. I often wake up in the middle of the night remembering that I have a thought I didn’t finish! :D

But I’ve decided I can add in a morning nap and forget waiting until the afternoon. Sleep when I want; that is definitely one of the perks of writing fiction as a job. :D

Why’d I Abandon Writing During My Morning Tea?

My morning tea session was working great except for one thing. I usually had my tea during or after breakfast, but because the tea session needed to be the first thing I did after my kids left, I got an upset stomach at least half the days I did it.

really don’t like how I feel when I wait to have breakfast in the mornings. That was ultimately the thing that derailed the morning tea writing session. The morning tea was delaying my breakfast for a variety of reasons by as much as an hour and a half some days, making the stretch between my last night’s supper and my breakfast about 14–15 hours. That’s just too long for me.

So Yeah, I Made a New Schedule

Couldn’t resist! I honestly feel like if I can just settle into a schedule, I’ll noticeably improve my productivity. These last two months have probably been my worst since I started my publishing career.

So here it is.

7–9 am
12–4 pm
8–9 pm

That’s 7 hours, which is  a little short of my 7.8 I originally started with for 2014, but … no, not really, because I originally started with the intent to write for 4 hours every day, before I came up with my “better” 2014 schedule.

I love my 9–12 break and my 4–8 free time and my 9–10 down time. LOL. Yes, I named them all and I named them each something different, just to keep them straight in my head, so my day doesn’t become this one big mess of write, break, write, break, write, break. It’s a mind game, but if it works, who cares, right? ;)

9–12 is when I’m most often tired and don’t really have much energy, but up until 9, I usually have quite a bit of energy and I should capture that for writing.

12–4 is a high energy time for me, as long as I rest at some point during the 9–12 stretch and have a good meal. It’s a great time for writing! Plus, I love writing in the sunshine, and this is good for that too. :D One thing I didn’t like about my previous schedule was trying to nap so late in the day. I always felt like I was wasting good sunlight.

4–8 is when I most often need to do things related to living and having a life. Plus, I have kids and they need me a lot during this time.

8–9 is just a quiet time and so that’s great for one last session before I stop for the evening. It also puts me to thinking about my story before bed and that can only lead to good things! :)

So really, this is my rationale for the new schedule and I’m hopeful it will work out. If not, well, it was just another experiment, and I’m sure I’ll get something out of it—failure is always an option! ;)

Monday’s Word Count Goal—3,000 Words

Trying something new today. I wrote a post (actually two) explaining stuff but then gave up on them. I need to be writing. Right now. So here’s the plan.

I’m going for 600 words an hour from now until 4 pm, then another 600 from 8 to 9 this evening. That’s 3,000 words.

12–1 pm: 139
1–2 pm: 0
2–3 pm: 307
3–4 pm: 0
8–9 pm: 0

Now off to write! I love my job! :D

Whoa. I totally didn’t ace my 12–4 writing time. I blew it. Writing has been a chore today and I’m not sure why. I guess I’ll just have to keep trying, but with only one more writing session today, the chances of me making 3,000 are slim. I could, possibly, maybe, get 1,000 or so if I can zone at 8, and maybe hit 2,000 if I kept going for an extra hour, but since I haven’t hit a zone once today I’m not sure how I’m gonna do it then…

Really feeling discouraged right now about my progress on this book.

Sunday Challenge—5,000 New Words of Fiction

Final tally: 140 or 2% of my goal.**

This one is something like yesterday’s plan without being quite so ambitious. Since my story is coming along easier now, I probably have a better chance of success with this one. :)

From 10 am to 10 pm I’m going to try to write 500 words every hour, excluding a 2 hour block somewhere in the middle (when I get tired). That comes out to 5,000 words.

I spent the morning reading the 20,000 words I’ve already written on my 2014 Novella #1 and the 500 words I’ve written on what is sure to be my 2014 Novella #2.*

I’m trying to finish Novella #1 today. I lack only about 5,000 words and it’s supposed to be done. Now, if only I can stick to that word count goal and not go 25,000 words over like I did with my last book. :D

Anyway, I have about 10 minutes until I need to be ready to write so I’ll be back later to update.

10 am: 140
11 am
12 am
1 pm
2 pm
3 pm
4 pm
5 pm
6 pm
7 pm
8 pm
9 pm
10 pm

*I stole one of my characters from Novella 1 and started writing a story around that character’s backstory when I got stuck a few days ago. Supposed to be a villain but ended up a pawn and that’s okay with me. The character was so fun to write it’s pretty much a given I’ll finish the story. I’m thinking it’ll be next in the series, possibly a very short novella—this series already has one such very short novella, so maybe I’ll make it a thing. Novella (series main character) – Novelette (different character) – Novella (series main character) – Novelette (another different character) … hmm, I think I like that idea! :)

**I’m claiming the fifth on this. :D

Saturday Challenge—10,000 New Words of Fiction

Final tally: 2,538 or 25% of my goal.

For every hour between 7 am and 11 pm I’m going to attempt to write 625 words. That comes out to 10,000 words. I’ll have to lock my perfectionist in a closet for this. I might also have to switch between stories if I get blocked on any one thing, so I’m going to keep 3–5 of my current projects open all day so I can jump to one or the other if I get stuck.  If I hit 2/3 of my goal all on one story, I could finish my current book.

For a lot of writers, 625 words in a hour is no big deal, but for me this is definitely a real challenge. My average hourly output is 500–600 words an hour and this winter I’ve not even been hitting that. I’m also rarely able to stay focused long enough not to lose significant amounts of time during a day. It’s time to try to break through some barriers here.

And the good news is that even if I fail spectacularly, it’s possible I’ll still end up with a dream day of 5,000 words!

I’ll update with my actual counts as the day progresses. Maybe this’ll even tell me something about when I’m most productive. Good luck, me! :D

7 am:  291
8 am: 61
9 am: 55
10 am: −673
11 am: 395
12 am: 191
1 pm
2 pm
3 pm: 421
4 pm: 502
5 pm: 313
6 pm: 638
7 pm: 115
8 pm: 221
9 pm
10 pm

UGH! So, I’ve been writing for 4 hours and losing very little time this morning. I’ve done ~3 15 minutes timed sessions every hour so far and this is what I have to show for it. −258 words net this morning. I made it through the rest of chapter 4, all the way through chapter 5, and then deleted the entirety of chapter 6.

Now it’s all new stuff going forward so I can only hope that I’ll do a lot better the rest of the day! And if not, I’ll find another of my stories to write for a while. Now it’s back to it—I’ve already lost 5 minutes in my 11 to 12 hour writing this update.

6 hours in, net 328 words in about  4.5 hours of timed writing, and I’m tired! Tired of cold fingers and a runny nose and low word counts that I can’t explain. It’s like I have this huge concrete block sitting right in way. I have no idea why I’m maintaining a pace of just 73 words an hour. When you look at the numbers it feels impossible to go that slow! If I could the entire 6 hours, it’s even worse at 55. That’s like … not even a word a minute!! Ugh.

I just don’t think today is the day for this challenge. I need a nap.

I was on the verge of calling this but I took a couple of minute to go out into the 60° sunshine and sit and I realized success isn’t about the numbers at the end of the day today. I realized that sometimes my creative brain just doesn’t run smoothly, but the only way to work out the kinks is to get in there and just try, and then keep trying until it loosens up. I realized I might be working at less than my peak because, yeah, I really am tired. I realized I might need a break so I can make the transition between the critical (cutting all that stuff this morning and fixing the problems with what was left) and the creative. I realized I didn’t want to give up even if my chance of reaching even 5,000 words today is so small as to be insignificant.

Here’s what I’m going to do.

I’m going to take the rest of the 1 to 2 pm hour and all of the 2 to 3 pm hour out to rest, and then I’m going to come back at 3 pm and keep going.

I returned from my break feeling better. I started about 20 minutes late and still got 421 words. Then my next hour netted me 502. So things are looking up. :D I’m glad I didn’t give up. I’m still not sure where this story is going, but it’s moving and if I get frustrated I hope I won’t forget that I can change stories for a while.

Yay! I’m now at my highest word count since 1/26. 2,202 words. 4 hours to go.

So, I’m cutting out a bit early. I’m exhausted. :D It’s been a productive but long day and I’m frustrated that I’m slowing down again, and this time there’s no reason for it other than plain old fatigue. I need a break. I’ve been up since 5:45 am.

I think I’m going to try something similar tomorrow, but with a few less working hours. We’ll see what I come up with! And I’ll definitely do this challenge again, but I have to have a whole day to myself to do it, so it’ll probably be a few weeks before I can try this exact challenge again.

Missed a day!

I missed my morning tea writing session today! I kept meaning to get to it, because why would I want to ruin an 11 day streak when it only costs me 25 minutes in the morning? But sure enough, I did. I missed it!

Last night’s storms left me tired and listless today. My power was out most of the night and I couldn’t seem to sleep, and when I did manage, I had vivid, ridiculous dreams about school buses and tornadoes. Yep. So today I’ve worked very hard to procrastinate. Being tired is always a risk factor for a day full of procrastination around here.

So, instead of writing, I started the day off reading one of my books, which I do occasionally for pleasure and for inspiration for the next book—they’re ongoing series, after all, so there’s some use to it, and when I finished it, I read another, and that’s how I spent the day.

Tomorrow, I’m getting back to the 25 minutes before I do anything else. Oh, and I have a great idea for a challenge tomorrow. :D

Slip Ups and Technicalities; Big Goals

Day 11 of my morning tea writing streak.

Yesterday, I had a successful day 10 but I’m only calling it a win because of a technicality. I’d explain but it would be a boring explanation that ends with me falling asleep on the couch yesterday morning while having my morning tea and getting up at 10:54 am for my second cup of morning tea.  But I did write for my 25 minutes while I had that cup of tea! Then I promptly frittered away the rest of the day.

Oops. I should be more dedicated to hard work.

Today I hope to get my minimum quota of 3,100 words so I don’t continue to fall behind, but last night I had a filling come out of a tooth and I’ll be hitting the road for a while today to get this tooth fixed. So … I’m not expecting big numbers, only hopeful  that I’ll eek out what I need.

I recalculated some goals last night so I could see what it’ll take to catch me up and the numbers look pretty stiff. I don’t even know if I can do it. I can do it. Easy peasy. :D What’s that they say about positive thinking? It’s not bullshit if it’s applesauce, right?* ;)

3,100 words per day for 1,000,000 by 12/31
3,642 adjusted wpd for 500,000 by 6/30
6,402 adjusted wpd for 250,000 by 3/31

Basically, it gives me three options, catch up by 3/31, 6/30, or 12/31. I prefer the idea of catching up by 3/31, but … well, you see the numbers! 5,000 a day is my dream goal. 6,402 a day would be like learning to fly overnight. But hey, if I’m going for a big goal, why not make it really, really big? Hard work is hard work, right?

*I totally made that up, and it makes no sense. Sorry!

Day 49 of One Million Words in 2014

Writing forecast … sunny!
Writing forecast … sunny!

As a motivational exercise today, I’m tracking my writing and breaks. It worked yesterday so I’m ready to go again…

Goal today? 3,600 words or 6 hours of writing

Day 49: In Progress

7:21 am: 219

Off to a grand start to today! No more negative numbers and the story is flowing a bit easier now, although I’m still redrafting chapter 4. Currently, I’m trying to bridge a gap between where I’m at and the scene that was the reason I didn’t want to just delete everything and start fresh. But I want to keep breaks short today, so toodles. Be back later with an update after my first session’s completed.

Alrighty. 6 hours and 27 minutes later I’m back to say that I’ve done no writing whatsoever since my morning 25. Never got started on my first session today because of a book I started reading at breakfast, a phone call that lasted almost 2 hours, and then the rest of the book. Book was good. :D I must be getting in a reading mood. Part of the reason I have no willpower today is likely because I stayed up last night / this morning until 2 am then got up at 6 am. That was a good book too. ;)

Amazon, this is all your fault! If buying books wasn’t so easy I’d have had to wait for that book I wanted instead of being able to buy it and read it immediately. For shame, giving us readers what we want just when we want it!

Now I want another book, just because I can. :D I must resist the lure! I have my own book to write.

Honestly, though, I’m going to be doing today’s writing later, because I really think I need a nap. I’m getting too old to get by on 4 hours of sleep.