What I did today

I wrote about 2,419 words. My effort to just let it all come out and fly wasn’t really successful. I mean, I wrote from 9–1 and after accounting for breaks and interruptions (I had a big one), I probably got in about 3 solid hours of writing, maybe 3.5. So about 700–800 words an hour. This was split between two books. I wrote somewhere around 1,400 words on one story and then switched to another for the last 1,000. Neither of these books are one of the two I had planned to choose between as my next book.

I finished the read through of Book A (new book for the new pen name). Now I need to make the last few corrections I noted and get started with that formatting. :) Wish me luck!


I’ll never feel like doing it so I might as well get it done

If you can’t tell from the title of this post, I just rewatched one of my favorite inspirational YouTube videos.

It’s made me realized I’m not getting anywhere by waiting on myself to feel like finishing the copy edit on that book. Not just the copy edit either. I keep waiting on myself to feel like formatting it, writing the description, and getting it published. I feel no particular urgency to get those things done. I’m still riding the coattails of my last release and that makes it easy to just wait until I feel like getting it done.

Big mistake in the long run, and I do recognize that. If I wait until I need it published then the book’s success or failure becomes so much more important than it is right now. It’s a new pen name after all and I have no idea how it will do. Having one in the wings is great, but having two or three is better. :)

So, tonight I finish reading the book. With only 25% of the book to go, my Kindle believes it will take me 1 hour 5 minutes to finish. If I double that because I read super slowly when I’m doing this kind of read through, that’s still just two hours.

I need about an hour to revisit my description and ten minutes or so to pick keywords. As for formatting, I can have my Word file ready in a half hour of solid work, and an EPUB less than five minutes later. If the EPUB validates, I’ll generate a MOBI, which will only take a few seconds in Jutoh.

I’ll be saving that work for tomorrow after my writing time ends at 1 pm.

Since I’ve decided to try out KDP Select with this book, that’s the sum total of the work I’ll need to do at the moment.

So, this means I should expect myself to have this book published by tomorrow night.

Later, I’ll do a paperback (probably the middle of July) if the book is selling a reasonable number of copies. If it’s selling poorly, I’ll make a new cover for the book and replace the professionally designed cover I purchased. The reason I’ll change the cover is so that I can do a paperback edition at no added expense. If the book is selling well, I’ll hire the original cover designer to make a paperback cover for me.

I’ve been studying some stuff lately to help me make better covers and I’m tempted to try it out on this book either way, because if it does sell well, I’ll be turning this puppy into a series ASAP. :)

It never hurts to be optimistic—at least not until your dreams are crushed. Then it kinda hurts. ;)

If nothing else, my copy edit time today reminded me that the book doesn’t suck. I wish I’d had the guts to write another 30,000 words on it, instead of ending it so soon, but I really need to write my other books. Anything I want to expand on for these characters can be worked into the follow up books as side story. I love revisiting characters through the eyes of other characters. :D


Work as procrastination

This morning I was supposed to write from 9–1. At 9 am sharp, I opened my computer, looked at the files I had open (I usually hibernate with everything as is) and decided to copy edit the book I finished two weeks ago instead of work on my new story.

This is funny because I only started the new book a couple of days ago to avoid having to do the copy edit, and here I am copy editing that book to avoid writing the new one.

All in all, I’m having a hard time seeing this as a failure to write. ;)

And surprisingly, I reached the end of my note taking and decided to put off reading the rest in favor of some writing after all. I’m down to about 25% of the book left to read through on my Kindle.

So I did a little of both today. I’m thinking I’m going to do more of one or the other after a short break. Maybe I’ll even get the book finished and formatted this evening. That would be a nice accomplishment. :)

I want to be a prolific writer

What do I want more: To write a few really good books or to write lots and lots of books?

I actually know how to answer that. I want to write lots and lots of books. One of my lifelong dreams is to be a prolific writer.

If someone asked me if I’d rather look back at the end of my life and know I’d created one book that had dearly affected millions of people or if I’d rather say I’d written 482 books, I’d say “I wrote 482 book!” I have no idea what drives me to make that choice but that is definitely the choice I’d make. I have a feeling that says a lot about me as a person. ;) Oops.

However, if I actually want that to happen, I’m going to have to stop spending so much time fiddling with my writing when I write. A prolific writer can’t spend an entire day coming up with 500 words. The math just doesn’t work out.

Besides which, I have got to start managing my time better so I can fit in all the things I supposedly want to do. I say supposedly because sometimes I have a tendency to hang on to the idea that I should do something when I don’t actually want to do it. I really need to get over that.

Also, I need to clip my nails. Just typing this is driving me crazy. :D Ah, the rituals I must go through to get into the writing zone, even when it’s just my blog!

Here’s my plan: Start writing more freely! I know I keep saying that. I even read a book about it (Writing in Overdrive covers the topic quite nicely). But yes, I’m really going to have to commit to doing it. I can’t really define what’s stopping me most of the time, except maybe fear that I’ll write something terrible or stupid or inconsistent with something I wrote earlier in the story (which does happen!). Whatever the reason, it’s time I stopped.

One thing I’m going to do to practice this is to stop rereading these posts and editing them so much before I put them up. From now on, expect to see a lot more of my natural writing style here. Practice. That’s where it’s at. Time to break some habits. ;)


My telephone cooperative is more responsive than I thought

My phone is fixed.

The repairman showed up at 9 am sharp when I was supposed to start writing so I’m getting a late start today. Apparently the lightning fried the filter that separates data from voice transmissions, which also explains why I still had internet service but no phone service. Once that was fixed, I discovered that my two downstairs phones had also been fried. I do have working phone service now though, using my old upstairs phone that’s probably 25 years old. I do miss my cordless! I’ll have to replace it ASAP, but I’m relieved that I won’t have to worry about this any longer.

Stressed (and frustrated)

I didn’t succeed in writing much today. I ended the day at 393 words. I spent a lot of my writing time reading sections of a previous book in the series for one of the books I’m starting next. For the moment, I’m working on two books, because I haven’t decided which one I want to dig into. I know which one I should dig into, but I rarely let that stop me from doing what I want instead. :)

A lightning strike this evening knocked out my phone service. It’s Friday night, so yippee. I have no idea how I still have internet, because it’s DSL (through my phone line) because I definitely don’t have phone service. I unplugged every phone in the house and tried each one all by its lonesome and still no service. Tomorrow I’ll unplug the modem and see if any of the phones work while it’s unplugged. That’s the one thing I forgot to try.

I now have a headache, because I hate stressful things like the phone thing. I won’t stop worrying about this until it’s fixed. Considering where I live and how small my local telephone cooperative is, I’ll probably be lucky to get it back on Monday.

I still haven’t finished the copy edit of my latest book because I can’t bring myself to sit down and read my book for more than half an hour at a time, followed by a 5 hour break! I have no idea why this is a problem.

I’m ready to just go to sleep and wake up tomorrow and start over.

Yep, that’s right. I’d like a do-over, please.

Tomorrow I make my adjusted schedule work for me.

Change of plans

I’ll keep this short. The summer isn’t turning out to be a great environment for my schedule. After some consideration, I’ve decided to scale back to a 9 am to 1 pm schedule. Out of the last 31 days, I’ve held to the schedule 4 days total. The other days have been scattershot and fairly unproductive. I had to face the fact that the schedule just hasn’t been working since the summer school break started (just about 30 days ago).

Also, strangely enough, the change in my lunch time pattern has contributed to me gaining a few pounds that I don’t want. I’m taking this opportunity to fall back into my former eating pattern of larger breakfast and larger, later lunch, and little or no supper (because I don’t usually get hungry before bedtime with this pattern). I loved the schedule I had, but that meal time disruption has kind of turned out to be a big deal and I do blame it for the weight gain, so instead of getting rid of the schedule and falling back into the wrong kind of habits, I’m just making a necessary adjustment.

Better than before? Absolutely

The “no internet” before 4 pm worked. It was SO HARD, but I did it, and I wrote during my scheduled writing time and ended the day with 2,910 words. And I think I wrote the end of the book I’ve been stuck on. :D I need to write the wrap up chapter tomorrow, so I’ll probably read at least the last couple of chapters tonight or in the morning and see how I feel about them. If I’m right, and I wrote the ending today, I’ll be ecstatic. I’m ready to get this one published and move on.

I feel so relieved. I just hope I’m not jumping the gun on this and that I’m really done. The wrap up chapter will finish tying up loose ends and set the next book in motion.

I learned something today. I learned that all that anxiety and angst I was having about something being wrong with my book was bullshit. :D I just didn’t want to sit down and write. I couldn’t sit down and write, tbh, but that’s still an issue with my brain and my ability to concentrate, stay on task, and overcome procrastination issues brought on by my impulsive nature. I was placing blame where it didn’t need to be placed. The book was fine.

I hope I remember this next time I have this problem. Obviously wasting a lot of time worrying about my book didn’t help at all and won’t likely help in the future.

Better than before? Not yet, but maybe soon

I finally finished reading Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives (by Gretchen Rubin). I liked the book overall, and I’m trying to decide what I can take away from it that might help me get back on track with my writing. I’m so far behind right now!

The end of this month will mark the halfway point in this year. I’m sitting right on the 100,000 word mark for the year; that’s about 400,000 words shy of where I’d like to be. No way I’m making that up. But that doesn’t mean I have to give up the second half of the year. I can still end the year strong if I can just get back on track.

I’d blame the summer break for this, but I suspect the blame belongs on a few bad habits I let slip back into my life. May was a great month for me with the latest book release, and instead of using the 7–9 block of time in the morning for reading fiction, I fell back into an old habit of checking sales reports first thing in the morning. That led me to spending time on the internet when I should have been reading fiction and getting myself into a creative frame of mind before I needed to sit down and write at 9 am.

While on the internet this morning, I watched Garrett Robinson’s latest Writer Wednesday video and I think he’s got the right idea about the internet. I have no illusions that I’ll EVER write 50,000 words in 3 days without a miracle happening, but I do know I’ve been letting the internet distract me.

In Better Than Before, Rubin talks about the “four tendencies” which she calls Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, and Rebel. Although I have a few traits from all of them, I’m without a doubt a questioner. I don’t have the book in front of me, but I believe it means I need to believe in the reason(s) I have for adopting a new habit before I’ll be able to make a new habit stick. That makes sense.

I have a lot of really good reasons why I should stay away from the internet during the day, especially when I should be writing. None of the reasons I have for not staying away from the internet trump any of those good reasons.

Starting tomorrow, I’m going to stay off the internet until after 4 pm every day. No internet during lunch. No quick email checking. No checking sales reports, or distracting myself with forums and blogs.

After 4 pm I can do what I want. Before 4 pm? I don’t use the internet.

If I need to research something to keep going in my story (something that’s very rare), I’ll just switch to another story and write that instead, then research after 4 pm. I think the fewer exceptions I allow, the better.

For the questioner in me: The internet is my go-to drug of choice when it comes time to find a distraction to keep me from having to push through tough spots in my stories. If I want to be prolific, I can’t make it easy for myself to find these distractions. At least with what’s left (doing dishes, washing laundry, watering my garden), I have a tangible benefit to allowing the distraction. With the internet, I usually have nothing to show for the distraction except frustration. :D

This is going to be one tough habit to create—at least as hard as my schedule habit has been to maintain these last few weeks, but I think I can do it. :D If I do, it’ll be so worth it. Less stress, less guilt, more writing!

And what internet time I do get, maybe I’ll enjoy it more in the long run and use it more wisely. :D


I’m struggling with the change in routine

I’ve had a really bad couple of weeks when it comes to my schedule. I think it’s because of the change in routine that comes around this time of year but it might be the book, or me. Right now I’m about to make lunch, after a very unsuccessful attempt this morning to stick to my writing schedule. I failed. In fact, I never even got started.

I want to have a few successful days. I know that’s all it would take to finish this book, and that’s something I desperately want. I want to finish this book so I can start my next one. It’s a book I really, really want to write. I don’t know if I can do the idea justice, but I’m going to have fun trying. ;)

I did read a great book while I’ve been struggling so hard. That’s good, right?

The Martian by Andy Weir is fantastic and utterly compelling and if you’ve been thinking about reading that book but haven’t gotten to it yet, let me tell you—stop waiting! It’s a great book.

My current read is nonfiction. I started Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives this morning. Yep. Another habit book. I’m hoping it’ll give me something to use to help me get back on track with my schedule, because I’m not giving it up. This schedule has been a great boon to my productivity, even counting the terrible days this week and last.

Well, on to lunch, so I don’t end up starting my 1–4 session late. I need to try to stay on schedule at least half the day. :)