Finally, a successful day for this experiment

I finished all 5 x 50 minute sessions before lunch today. I went over by an hour and a half but that’s not too bad. I’ll just work to get better.

I made it to 2,276 in 4.17 hours, for an average of 546 words an hour. Not the 600 per session I wanted, but better than the 400 minimum I needed to reach 2,000 words. Now, what to do with the rest of my day?

I make no promises to write more today, but that 3,000 is beckoning, so you never know. :)

I’m going to make it

Only one session to go. I completed writing sessions number 3 and 4, and I’m sitting at 1,634 words at 3.33 hours. That’s an average speed of 490 words per hour. If I maintain that, I’ll at least hit my 2,000 minimum word count goal for the day.

Now back to work. I’m starting to get hungry but I’m finishing this last session before I stop for lunch! When this 50 minutes is over, my writing block will have stretched from 8:30 to 2:10, or about 40 minutes longer than it should have. Meaning I took 1 hour and 40 minutes of breaks. I wish it felt like I’d had that much break time!

It’s tomorrow … again

So far, not so great. I ended my first 50 minute session with 363 words.

Then I ended my second 50 minute session with 490 words. Cumulative.

It’s like I write, and then I spend the next however long tweaking and tuning and there’s no way out of that because what I wrote the first time wasn’t complete and didn’t have everything the way it needed to be. I’m not talking about word choice or flow or anything like that, although I admit I do tweak a bit of that as I go. What I’m talking about is the actual scene—what happens, when, and in what order.

If that isn’t right, I can’t move on.

Ugh. Well, my break is over and I have to get on my next session before I fall behind. BBL.

But… yay! 2 x 50 minutes sessions down and 3 to go before lunch and I think I might actually make it today, which will mean my first success with this experiment!

High hopes for tomorrow

I’m going to call it a night, optimistic that tomorrow will be a great day for writing. I’m thinking I have to be close to finishing this novella turned novel, and so I’m going into the next couple of days with the attitude that any one of them could see me write the end of this book. :)

As far as today went, I made it to 1,454 words and I’m happy enough with that to call it a day so I can get some extra sleep and stave off all the sickness going around. I seriously do not want to get sick this winter.

Also, I’m going to have to go check out a noise or I won’t sleep. I don’t know why I have to be so paranoid sometimes. I really wish I could let these things go, but I live in a house with hardwood floors and a basement and I hear all the same pops and cracks every night and sometimes they set off my imagination and sometimes they don’t.

My grandmother had a similar issue and I probably picked it up from her. But hey, we all know a writer is well served by an active imagination, and when my writing is going well, I often have disturbing dreams of the kind that wake you up and keep you awake.

So maybe the one is related to the other and I just haven’t recognized that fact.

Let’s just call it a personality quirk and leave it at that. ;)

And seriously, why does it always have to be spiders in my dreams?

Bleep … bleep … bleep

Okay, this isn’t working. I’m just fighting myself all the way on it and I’m switching things up, going back to something that I know works for me, at least some of the time. I have almost 3 hours left on my timer and I should’ve been down to about 1.

about an hour an a half later 

And I got completely derailed by one of my kids coming home. We talked about taxes, lol, because I have a very curious kid who enjoys history and government. ;)

Right before I sat down again to finish this post, though, I realized that although I am switching things up, I’m actually just going back to how I intended to do this to start with, with one tiny tweak.

When I originally decided to do this experiment, I was going to write in 45 minute sessions. Then I decided those sessions might create artificial breaks in my concentration that would defeat the purpose of the big block of writing time, where the intent was to be able to become completely absorbed in my stories.

Of course, that’s not what’s happened. In fact, I can’t seem to concentrate in mostly unbounded blocks of time, and my performance suffers.

What I came up with was writing in 50 minute blocks, so I could have 10 minutes as a break and then go right back to writing. I chose 50 because I didn’t want enough time to get distracted.

Basically, 50 minutes feels like a better length when I’m thinking in one hour blocks, versus when I was thinking in 1.5 hour blocks (where 45 minute sessions made sense because I was actually only using the 45 minute timer to remind me to get up and pep up my circulation). Remember, I started out with the intent to write for 4.5 hours, which was 3 x 1.5 hour blocks, which, when I started this experiment, I had squished together into a single 5 hour block.

My 1.5 hour blocks were actually working okay before I started this experiment. I had 6 really good days, writing 9,419 words using them, but I only succeeded with them for about a week before it stopped working and I had to figure out how to get back on track. Also, tbh, 9,419 was still short of the 14,000 I wanted to hit each week, so I came up with the new experiment.

Anyway, this post is just to say that I’ve switched things out.

Going forward, I’m going to try to write 5 x 50 minute sessions, average 600 words per session (720 wph, which is a real stretch but not impossible), and reach 3,000 words. But ultimately, if I write slower than that, these numbers should still get me to the 2,000 word a day average I want to reach. :) I figure this is my best shot.

I’m still going to try to lump these sessions together and complete them in about 5 hours between breakfast and lunch (or lunch and supper). It might not always work out, but that’s the goal.

Now, I’m ready for lunch and then it’s back to writing. I’ve calculated that I need to do 4 of the 50 minute sessions (I’m rounding up) to finish the 2:46:38.9 that was left on my timer. Plus, 4 sessions might make it more likely I’ll reach 3,000 words today, which I’d really like to do.

I’m warming up

It’s later than I’d like. Shortly after 8 am. I did get up early at 6:30 am, but somehow after breakfast and … whatever, it’s now over an hour and a half later. I’m taking the last few bites of my apple and then I’m going to start my 5 hour block and my 4 hour timer. Hopefully my breaks won’t use up the entire extra hour and I’ll finish closer to noon than 1 pm.

Won’t know til I try. :)

My goal’s a stretch but I’d rather have a stretch goal than settle. I have a tendency to pull up short no matter what my goals/expectations are. At least if the goal’s bigger and I pull up short, I still get closer to where I want to be. ;)

Goal: 4 hours, 3000 words, 750 wph
Actual: 1.23 hours, 810 words, 657 wph*

*At which point I switched how I was going forward with this, which I wrote a post about. :D

 

I haven’t gotten back to the story yet

It’s 7:31 and I still have 1:59:37.9 left on my timer. After lunch I sat down with my computer and returned to my document (admittedly it was a longish lunch break since I finished 3 episodes of Castle, finally bringing me up to date with the series). I then promptly opened my web browser because… yeah, I’m still not sure about that. I just know that to reach and maintain a 2,000 word a day average, I actually have to write 2,000 words a day more or less, but I don’t want to finish my time tonight!

So, tomorrow’s game plan. Get started early, when I have plenty of energy, and do whatever it takes to finish my words in the 5 hour block.

Because I can already tell you now, I’m not going to finish this time tonight. I’m too close to just calling it a night and going to sleep. I don’t usually get so tired so early in the evening, even though I’m much more a morning person than a night owl these days, but tonight I’m just … exhausted. A lot of people I know are sick with a nasty cold that’s going around and I’ve been in contact with every last one of them in the last week. I’m seriously hoping I’m not fighting off the same thing. I’ve had sinus issues for weeks it feels like, but I’ve managed so far to avoid the overt symptoms of a cold and I’m hoping to keep it that way.

Anyway, extra sleep helps… Or at least it has since I started making myself get some every time I thought I might be coming down with something. ;) I started this back when I was completing that book I got done in August. The final weekend, I thought I was getting sick and I forced myself to stop early each night and go to bed instead of pushing through like I would have usually done (typically I’m one of those people who binge works when a deadline is looming).

Strangely enough, it’s been a bit of a miracle cure. Extra sleep and I feel better and people around me continue to get sick and I manage to avoid anything worse than just feeling a bit under the weather. There’s a trick to this though and that’s to not depend on sleeping in to catch the extra sleep. I wake up with the sun, generally speaking, and after that, I sleep in fits and starts until I can’t stay in bed any longer. To get extra restful sleep, I have to go to bed early. That’s the trick. It works. :D

Fingers crossed. And if I didn’t need the sleep, I might be up super early tomorrow and be done writing 3,000 words by noon! Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Oh, and by the way, that January novella that I finally got back to? just passed 40,000 words. Yep, it’s a novel now.

Conundrum

Conundrum. Give up on the experiment or keep trying?

My experiment hasn’t had one successful moment yet. I see the beauty of the possible results, but so far, those results are as elusive as the perfect lipstick color.

Some days I cannot believe some of the stuff I write. This is one of those days. I keep reading this sentence in my current work in progress and laughing and I can’t decide if I’m laughing because it’s funny or because it’s so outrageous that I have no choice but to laugh or I’ll freak out about how stupid it is.

In light of my results so far, I’ve tweaked my experiment.

I set my timer for a full 4 hours. (Revised down from the 4.5 hours I would have been writing if you added up the six 45 minute sessions.) I also stuck with setting aside the same 5 hours as before.

If I don’t finish my timed session in the 5 hour block, I’ll schedule an extra block of time to finish later, but still as one single block (to keep the number of breaks down, since that’s kind of the whole point).

At the moment, I’m sitting at 1:59:37.9 left on the timer for today, with 1,155 words completed. Meaning my pace is approximately 578 wph.

I’m not going to finish my 4 hours of writing in my 5 hour block today. It was supposed to go from 9 am to 2 pm (and here I am writing this at 1:08 but I absolutely could not maintain my concentration for another moment) and as I said above, I have almost 2 hours left on my timer. I’ll be getting back to it in just a minute or two but this says I used up my 1 hour of built in time for breaks and then somehow also managed to use another hour. I have no idea how; I haven’t done anything time consuming except drink too much tea.

I admit I’ve had to pee a ridiculous number of times this morning, but that’s not that unusual. I have a bit of a bladder condition that makes this a regular thing. What makes this tough for me is how easily I’m distracted once I’m away from the computer.

I should resolve to drink less tea in the morning, but since I have a rule not to drink tea after 2 pm (or at least not my green tea because it does have a minor amount of caffeine in it), I hate to skip it. I like my green tea. Still, I think I’m going to have to cut back. I gave up coffee completely about a month ago and made the 2 pm tea rule. My sleep’s been better so I’m not going back on that rule because it’s clearly working.

I just wish I found it as easy to employ my willpower with my writing as I do with these other things.

I quit snacking between meals in late May 2014. I haven’t eaten anything outside of meal time since.

You’d think willpower like that would be easily adapted to work for other things, but nope. I can give up coffee. I can give up snacking. I can give up tea after 2. I can’t make myself write when I don’t want to or stick to a writing schedule to save my life.

Sigh.

Stats for Dec 21–27, 2014

Sun, 12/21/14
Wrote 161 words

Mon, 12/22/14
Wrote 0 words

Tue, 12/23/14
Wrote 0 words

Wed, 12/24/14
Wrote 0 words

Thu, 12/25/14
Wrote 0 words

Fri, 12/26/14
Wrote 0 words

Sat, 12/27/14
Wrote 230 words
In 2.83 hours
Averaged 81 words per hour*

*Should I qualify this with an explanation? I only record a count for total new words on my spreadsheet, so if I write a lot of words but delete almost just as many, even if from parts I wrote days past, this is what happens.

Yeah. This week sucked. But it was a holiday so I’m going to let it pass without further comment.

Still, this needs to improve. I’m not going to make it to the next level of my career if I don’t stop the self-sabotage.