I’m back!

Didn’t think I was going to show up again for a while, did you? Me neither! but I did it. Three consecutive days of >1,000 words.

3,189
2,740
1,116
1,075

I did those words not on one story but on five. I’ve got six novels and a short story I want to finish by the end of the year and I can do it if I start averaging closer to 3000 words a day as long as I stick to working only on those projects.

I’m nowhere near that right now, but all it’s going to take is training. Already 3000 words is starting to feel a whole lot more doable each day. It just doesn’t have that hugeness to it that it used to have.

The No More Zero Word Days restart has given me a lot of words I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Also, I’ve had two nights where I couldn’t stand to stop before I reached that 1000 word goal. Writing every day is good for me. Letting myself work on whatever has my interest at the moment also seems to be good for me.

Writing crazy long blog posts? Not so good for me.

So, I’m banning writing here until I’ve had 3 days in a row of >2,000 words. Fingers crossed I’ll be back in 3 days!

Reading with lunch is a bad idea on days like today

Alrighty there. Reading with lunch was a bad idea. Probably because I was already looking for something to keep me from writing. I read most of the rest of Garden of Lies and didn’t do any writing until nearly 2 pm, forgot to use the timer, stopped writing around 3:22, and then finished reading Garden of Lies.

Problem is that the writing I did was not on my most important book. And although I wrote 700 or so words during that time, at 457 I stopped, backed up the file, deleted those words plus a few more and restarted the next section completely. I’ve ended up with a word count of only 209 words more than what I had yesterday.

Update on “no more zero word days” restart

I restarted my “no more zero word days” challenge on Thursday and I thought I’d let you know how it’s going. In case you care. You probably don’t. But I do, so there. ;)

Thurs. 125
Fri. 60
Sat. 1,270
Sun. 631
Mon. 158

If it hadn’t been for the “no more zero word days” rule, I’m telling you now that Fri., Sun., and Mon. all would have been zero word days. This just goes to prove exactly how big the getting started barrier is for me. If I can get started, I can usually accomplish something. I mean, 631 words on Sun. and I honestly had thought I was going to be lucky to push out the 50 words I’ve decided is the bare minimum.

Today I want more. I’m still showing a lack of respect for my writing time and this post again proves it. It’s 10:30 and I should have started an hour and a half ago. I’m short of sleep. Too much reading last night.

This morning’s late start can also be blamed on reading. I’ve been reading more of Garden of Lies. Unfortunately, since I started reading that one, I’ve also read two novellas, two novella length fan fiction stories, a couple of short stories, and one novel length fan fiction story that I wrote but never quite finished. That one needs a few scenes between the late middle and ending that I did write to finish it off, but I’ve been working on it since 200x and I still don’t know if I’m ready to finish it. I’m really not sure when I started it, but it was in the early 2000s sometime and I don’t have backups that old anymore to give me a better range of dates. I made some major progress on it in 2011, and then again in 2013. In between is the time during which I quit writing all fiction for a year. The big D kept me too distracted and I had absolutely no urge to write fiction during that long year.

I’ve always thought it was fitting that I started writing again almost one year later exactly. May 2011 to May 2012. I picked the habit back up quickly, dusted off a fan fiction story I had finished the very same day I realized I was going to have to get a divorce, and I read through it and realized it was already done. Nothing to do but publish to a fan fiction archive. Then I wrote five more stories.

That was about the time I first heard about KDP so then I wrote a short story just to see if I would still enjoy writing original fiction. Then I wrote another, longer book, that became my first published book. Then I wrote and published another short story and started another novel.

Then I quit my job to write full time. That was four months later. :D

I often feel indecisive and incapable of following through, but when I’m being more objective, I can look at my life and see that there are plenty of examples that support a more nuanced view. I’m indecisive when I don’t know what I want, and I have trouble following through when I’m quietly conflicted about something, even if I haven’t realized what that conflict is yet.

My writing brings forward a lot of conflicted feelings for me. It often feels like work because writing is hard for me. Forcing myself to work when I don’t have to is also hard for me. But I love having written. I love reading my books when they’re done and I love re-reading my stories when the mood strikes, just as I did this morning with that unfinished piece of fan fiction. And I’ve written and published 12 novels and 9 shorter pieces of fiction in about 3 years. There’s follow through in that, no matter how often on this blog I make it sound like I can’t get anything done. ;)

The interesting thing is that the books are usually much better than I remember them being, so the act of re-reading them can sometimes boost my confidence and make it easier to tackle the day’s writing.

That’s how I feel today. Anyway, it’s time to end the long ramble and get started. I have books to write so I can have fun re-reading them later. :)

Started: 10:27 am
Finished: 11:50 am (Ouch! What happened to my decision to stop rereading and tweaking my—? Oh wait. I totally have an explanation for this. I started looking for the date I’d started that fan fiction story I mentioned above, ended up coming across a book in my archives I barely remembered, opened it, and read through the whole thing, all 15,000 words of it before finishing this post. It’s not funny how often that kind of thing happens to me and then I can’t even remember that I did it when I have to account for the time spent!)

A do-over for my do-over, part 3

Well, I ended up with 1,270 words and only made it to two stories. Not two additional stories after my break, but two total for the day. Not bad considering I was away for two hours that I didn’t expect to be away because of an unanticipated dinner invitation. :) I love dinner invites! So yeah. I was gone, gone, gone.

I’m not quite happy with my progress today. I’d have liked a lot more words. Still, I’ll take it over the 60 yesterday or the 125 the day before.

Also, this was day four of my “no more zero word days” revisit. So far, holding strong to the commitment!

A do-over for my do-over, part 2

Still on story #1, and I’m still working on the same scene, attacking it from different angles as I try to figure out what the hell is going on (in the story, not with me). I have netted 432 words so far today, and although I’d love to say they’re all slow, thoughtful, fantastic words, that ain’t the actual facts. The reason I’ve written so few words is because I’m trying out anything and everything I can to feel out the direction the story wants to go. I don’t think I have as good a grasp on my main character this time around. He’s kind of hard to figure out. I can’t decide if he’s sad or angry or both. Honestly, I think he’s angry because he’s sad. I think he has an agenda that I need to figure out sooner rather than later if I want to start finding it easier to write this book.

On that note, I took a short break to write this because I’d decided I was going to start cycling through my other stories anyway. I need a break but I don’t need to stop writing, so that’s what I’m going to do. :D Expect to see some numbers soon.

Reading Log: Garden of Lies

Started reading: 9/19/2015

Garden of Lies - Amanda Quick

Finished reading: 9/22/2015

I started reading this one this morning. So far, I like it very much. It’s set in Victorian England and the hero and heroine are both interesting characters, as are several of the background characters. :)

Update 9/22: I finished this one today. I actually liked it quite a lot. I have this feeling Slater was mentioned in a previous book but I can’t be sure. Either way, I enjoyed a lot of different things about this particular one. I thought the mystery was very well done. I still kind of miss the more common tropes Quick used to write (fake engagements, etc) but I didn’t miss it quite so much in this book.

*I’m trying out a new way of doing my reading log posts. This way I get to keep up with some of the books I start and don’t finish for a while.

A do-over for my do-over

The fact is, I wrote 60 words yesterday. Total. I’m hoping to do a lot better today. However, I’ve been writing for about an hour now and I’ve managed 100 words. That’s not a misprint.

I’m stuck again on my most important story and that’s the story I started with this morning. I don’t feel ready to move on to another story right now, because I actually think I’m making progress. I’ve had to go back one more scene, and although I haven’t deleted what comes after just yet, I’m starting to think I’ll either have to delete it or cut most of it and keep the one interesting bit that sets up the next bit of the story.

The scene I’ve gone back to is going in a different direction than I’d written it the first time and I have a feeling this is what needed to happen all along. If I can get this going, I’ll be ready to get back on track with the 50 word challenge for the rest of the day.

For the moment, though, it’s break time. I need a breather. :)

Started: 12:59 pm
Finished: 1:02 pm

Refocusing on my schedule

I can’t really explain why I didn’t end up writing much yesterday. I did get a few words in at the end of the day, enough to make me comfortable saying that I am restarting my “no more zero word days” challenge. From yesterday forward, no more zero word days. The more days I can string together, the greater my victory. Failure just means I have another opportunity to create an even longer string of days.

Funnily enough, after writing yesterday that it’s been five months since I started trying to follow my current schedule, I have decided that following the schedule alone is not going to be enough to keep me writing on a regular basis.

I’ve crunched some numbers and discovered that some of my best daily word count averages were stretched over times when I kept myself accountable for how much time I spent writing, not how much time I had set aside to write. It didn’t seem to matter how I held myself accountable, whether it was timed writing or simply timing my writing (counting down versus counting up), only that I was accountable for what time I did spend writing.

That probably explains why the schedule worked so well to start with but no longer seems to make a difference. In the beginning, I did treat those times much more like timed writing sessions, whereas now, I seem to treat the schedule more as time set aside during which I should be writing. I don’t even feel that guilty when I don’t write during that time! This post proves it. It’s 10:34, and I should be writing right this minute.

I’m not ready to give up the current schedule (because I really like it and I do feel that of all the schedules I’ve ever tried, it’s the one that suits me best), but there’s not a lot of room for doubt about how I should be thinking of my writing time and it’s not the way I’m currently thinking of it.

I’m going to continue to try to find ways to push myself to write during my scheduled times, using whatever tricks are necessary. I meant it when I said this was the year of the schedule. The year isn’t over yet and I’m sticking it out.

Here’s a short quote from what I wrote in that post. It’s why I’m not giving up on the schedule, even after five months of mostly failure. I did take a quick look and I was wrong about the three weeks of success. It was closer to six. Six weeks of success out of five months isn’t that bad.

So here’s the challenge. I’m going to make a schedule. Every day will be a challenge to stick to it. I’ll probably fail more often than I succeed. Maybe if I’m lucky some good habits will develop around the times I’m supposed to be writing that will make it work over the long-term even if I have a lot of short-term failures. If not, well, how’s it any worse than what I’ve already got going on?

No more searching for the best system, no more word count quotas or goal-setting, no more excuses. It’s time to move on from all that and settle in. The remainder of 2015 is going to be the year of the schedule.

As for today, I’m still thrilling over how fun writing was on Wednesday when I was working through my list of stories, trying to write 50 words on each one and then moving on, so even though I had trouble getting started yesterday, I don’t think I’m going to have trouble getting started today because it’s not the writing that’s the issue. It’s my lack of respect for my writing time. Which I’m about to fix right this minute.

First step in practicing writing faster is going to have me keeping up with how much time I spend writing these blogs posts.

Started: 10:07 am
Finished: 10:55 am