Follow up to the summer routine post

I said yesterday that I’m trying to start a summer routine, but nope, it really didn’t work. I ended up writing in scattered sessions throughout the day, and just one day of feeling like I was supposed to write on schedule was enough to make me rethink the idea of an artificially constructed routine.

I did manage 4.5 hours of writing, but did none of the other stuff I’d hoped to also do yesterday. And honestly, 4.5 is not 5. My goal is 5 hours and 3,933 words minimum. So I’m happy I did what I did, but I’m sad that I keep falling short of what I want.

Hours Words Session WPH
1 650 650 650
1 1454 804 804
1 1777 323 323
0.5 2293 516 1032
1 2840 547 547

I’m really tired of disappointing myself time and again, but I don’t think a schedule is going to get me into a routine (and that plan yesterday really was mostly a schedule).

The problem is that if I don’t find a way to get into a nice routine, I’m going to end up never doing anything but writing—even though I won’t actually be writing that much, because I never do!

In other words, when I put too much focus on meeting a writing goal, I hesitate to do anything other than writing, afraid I’ll set off my obsessive tendencies and not meet my writing goals at all because I’m too busy being obsessed with something else. So although yesterday would have been a good day to finalize the cover for the pen name book, I didn’t, because I was afraid I would become obsessed with that and spend all day doing cover tweaks instead of writing. Because, to be honest, I’ve done it enough times to know that’s exactly what’s likely to happen.

I really need to figure out how to split all this up into a work day that makes good use of my time and doesn’t make me feel like I’m wearing a straitjacket.

Today I try to settle into a summer routine

My summer routine this year?

Try to write for 4 hours before I stop for lunch, then finish my last hour right after lunch but before a nap. That way I won’t find myself spending my time on other things and then, when I don’t have enough time left in the day to write for 5 hours, agonizing over why I didn’t meet my goals.

I like the idea of this routine a lot. Unfortunately, it’s very common for me to like a routine in theory and then not be able to stick to it to save my life. I’m going to give this one a shot today.

That means stopping this post right now and getting to work ASAP. I’ll use a lot more than 4 hours for those 4 hours of writing and I don’t want to waste time before I get started!

 

Excuses: too hot, too tired, and too little focus

Hours Words Session WPH
1 1071 1071 1071
1 1728 657 657

1,728 words total in 2 hours of writing. If only I’d put in more hours! At today’s pace, I would have made my word count goal easy.

Here are the reasons why I didn’t reach my five hours of writing goal. Or, let’s just call them excuses.

First, it reached 82 degrees Fahrenheit in here today and stayed there for most of the day. It’s still 80 as I type this at 9:20 pm. I’m wilting in the heat. I can only boggle at how people without A/C make it through the summer around here. I couldn’t do it—not without feeling like I’m suffering great distress. The laptop gets too hot to get comfortable with, and my wrists get sweaty against the frame around the keyboard. Sure doesn’t make writing fun or interesting.

Second, I didn’t get enough sleep last night, because, of course, I started reading a book at bedtime. I knew better and I did it anyway. I was ready to kick myself today for that mistake, but alas, it was too late to do any good.

Because of #2, and possibly #1, I had no ability or interest in staying focused today when the normal interruptions that come from having kids at home interrupted me. I gave in and didn’t write almost every time I sat down to try. I spent most of the day procrastinating.

So instead of a really good day of 5 or even 6 hours of writing, I got 2.

Still, I wrote something, and that’s always a win. Hell, I almost made it to 2,000 words, and there was a time when I would’ve considered today’s word count a good day’s work.

I LOVE this new faster pace I seem to have settled into. I haven’t changed my writing at all, so I still don’t know how or why I’ve gotten faster. My only guess is that it’s because I’m doing my best to put my writing time to use writing what I’m most interested in writing at any given time. (Although that’s not strictly true for today’s writing, because I really should have let myself write a bit of something else for a while—that might have been enough to get me past some of today’s procrastination.)

Tonight I really do have to get a good night’s sleep. I know I’ll do better with my goals tomorrow if I do, even in the heat.

Reached five hour goal today

I find it funny that the moment I stop a challenge, I immediately find it easier to focus on what needs to be done.

I reached my five hour writing goal today, although I admit, I’m nowhere near my word count goal.

Hours Words Session WPH
1 318 318 318
1 618 300 300
1 1161 543 543
1 1382 221 221
1 1847 465 465

Total: 5 hours, 1,847 words, for an average of 369 wph.

On the other hand, even though I haven’t reached my word count goal, I am now officially past the material I needed to fix and I had just started to write some new stuff at the end of my last session.

I’m thinking of writing some more tonight, but we’ll have to see how I feel after a break, because I absolutely want to get to bed early tonight. I feel like I’m at my most creative and productive when I get more sleep and I want to give myself plenty of opportunity for that after several nights of less than optimal bedtimes.

This writer does not subsist on coffee and tea; she needs her sleep! :)

ETA: I did write a bit more, although not as much as I’d hoped to.

0.46667 2220 373 799.286

So new total: 2,220 words, 5.47 hours

But look at that! A major improvement in my pace now that I’m writing new material again! ;D Whew! I’m excited about tomorrow. Finally, some momentum again!

Now, must get some sleep so I feel good tomorrow and can write nice and fast.

And as an aside, my A/C is still broken and it’s starting to get hot around here. :o I’m getting worried that the part I need won’t arrive before it gets really hot. And I hate leaving my windows open: I just found a bug floating in my glass of water. Yuck. I’m too delicate for this crap. ;)

Failed the challenge five out of five days

So, I failed the challenge five out of five days. I am stopping that particular challenge, because obviously eight hours of writing in a day is just not going to happen right now. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s the end of the school year and my routine is a mess, or maybe it’s just because I almost never write for more than four to five hours in a day and it’s like exercise, I’ll have to work my way up to it. Either way, that challenge is done.

I’m going to resume jumping between stories, with an eye toward working as much on the book I want to finish ASAP as I can without bogging down in it, and I’m going to enjoy myself.

Every day, my main goal is to get in my 5 hours of writing, and 3,933 words, and take time off writing to publish so I can enjoy that process too.

Well, that all needed saying, and I feel better now.

Multiple stories at once: seventh week & summary to date

I thought I’d list this week’s progress and then list out how I’ve been tracking from the beginning and maybe even compare it to this time last year and a few of my more productive 7 week periods from the past just to see if there’s anything there to learn.

Thursday—Wednesday, May 19–May 25

(9)
907
1,201
951
1,511
730
1,299

Total: 6,590 words.

My pace was down significantly this week too, the average coming in around 356 wph.

I worked only on the book I was trying to finish this week. Not even one word for another book.

As I said in another post, this week has been the second week I’ve had to get through that is completely out of my routine because of the end of the school year for my kids. I did better than last week, but not by much.

I don’t honestly know how much of that to blame on the messed up routine and how much to blame on trying to work on only one story. I’ve decided the latter is just not going to work, not even with me knowing I need to get this book I’ve been trying to finish finished. As soon as I started telling myself I needed to work on one book and one book only, my word counts plummeted.

So, I’m backing off the deadline. It was a personal deadline anyway, and it’s not the end of the world. It feels like a big deal, but I’ll just have to let that go in favor of getting more words so I end up with more books, faster.

Now, for the summary.

Week 1: 21,873
Week 2: 10,959
Week 3: 16,927
Week 4: 11,948
Week 5: 11,282
Week 6: 4,296
Week 7: 6,590

Total: 83,875 words

To compare previous 7 week periods:

  • Last year: 7 weeks ended 5/26/15: 40,035 words
  • My highest word count from any 7 week period since I started keeping records ended 3/24/13: 89,587 words
  • The highest I’ve made it during any other 7 week period is in the low 60,000s.

I believe the downward trend in my word counts isn’t something problematic so much as it’s a result of my shifting routine with the end of the school year.

The next couple of weeks should provide evidence of that, or to the contrary if it turns out I’m wrong. Still, I’m convinced this method is exactly what I needed to increase the number of words I write every month and that it has serious long-term potential for me. :)

New “finish the book” challenge: day 5

I should be nearing the end of this book I’m trying to finish. Alas, I’m not any closer than I was when I started, except that, really, I kind of am. I’m about to start into new territory and I do expect the writing to go much faster now.

I’m trying for at least 8 hours today and hoping to see some really great words per hour after the first hour or so. Let’s how far I can take this thing. ;)

I’ve been desperate to get back to writing on my other stories and increase my daily word count, but I’m almost there. Just half a book to go! :o

Hours Words Session WPH
1 25 25 25
1 847 822 822

This does seem to prove that I’ll speed up once I can focus on all new material. I have one more bit to go and then all previously written material will be behind me. :)

On the other hand, I stayed up too late last night, got up late this morning, had to take aspirin for a pulled muscle next to my spine between my shoulder blades that’s been bothering me for several days, took a nap to make up for some of last night’s lost sleep, and am only at 2 hours total for the day even though it’s already 1:30. So…back to it quickly now. At least lunch is over with!

Hours Words Session WPH
1 25 25 25
1 847 822 822
1 1183 336 336

Total: 1,299 words

Hmm. I can explain. Unfortunately, the explanation doesn’t really do anything but make it clear that me and lack of sleep don’t work well together. I just never had the energy for my story I should’ve had yesterday, and I do blame lack of sleep.

New “finish the book” challenge: day 4

Hours Words Session WPH
1 91 91 91
1 720 629 629
1 847 127 127
1 1187 340 340
1 1025 -162 -162
1 1195 170 170
1 1144 -51 -51

So, a lot closer to 8 hours today, but… nowhere near the progress I needed.

Total: 7 hours, 1,144 words (net SO MANY deletions and rewriting that I don’t even know how much I actually wrote and deleted to day—all I know is it was a lot because what’s left, even thought it’s the same place, same characters, nothing else is the same).

(Update—I did not stop after all, but the extra time didn’t gain me anything. I actually lost more words. I ended the day with 730.)

I do not hate this book, but I’m damned well ready to get past this scene I’m stuck in so I can get on with this story.

It’s all come together okay, now, though, and I’m on the last scene that I have to piece together because of story changes.

I still have no idea what happened with this book, but, as usual, I’m learning something, even if it’s to ignore problems like this in the future and just keep writing. Because I’ll be honest. I have no idea if any of these changes have actually made this a better story. All I know is that I’m about to pull out my hair.

New “finish the book” challenge: day 3

I should just give up on this challenge. I’ve written for 2 hours this morning and accumulated 861 new words. I’ve written 26,979 words of this book and I’m stuck around the 14,000 word mark trying to make it all fit together. I really just don’t know what happened with this book. I’m making my way through it, though, and it’s going to be okay. And I’m not giving up, because I don’t want to, even if common sense is telling me there’s no way I’m going to make this deadline.

Here’s my progress so far today. (I should also say that I definitely have limited time today and won’t be able to write for at least 3 hours this afternoon. So, back to it before I waste any more time.

Hours Words Session WPH
1 674 674 674
1 861 187 187
1 1029 168 168
0.16667 1121 92 552
1 1307 186 186
0.53333 1511 204 382.5

Well. I might get my hours in today but it sure doesn’t look like I’m going to get my words in!

Totals: 4.7 hours, 1,511 words

Honestly, no idea how I ended up so short on time.

On another note, I had to face the fact that I need a new plan for getting this book I’m trying to finish finished. I think I came up with one that’ll work, but I’m going to see how tomorrow goes first before I commit.

I did not get all the way through the draft fixing things today. I’m at about 20,756 words into the total of 27,626. All those 1,511 words for today are additions I made (net of the deletions). I’ll be honest. I bet I wrote a LOT more than 1,511 words today. Those deletions killed my numbers.

Anyway, on to tomorrow, and I just bet, once I get past this fix it thing, this book will take off again. I remain hopeful. :)

New “finish the book” challenge: day 2

So, today is off to a slow start. It’s 9:01 am and I’m just about to have breakfast. I’ll be back shortly to start writing, and the goal is 8 hours of writing, at least. Preferably 9 or 10 if I can do it. I don’t know that I can. 8 hours seems to be a challenge in and of itself. The goal is also to finish by 9 pm.

6:31 pm update

Well, I’ve spent all day avoiding getting started with this. I finished reading a book—third book in less than a week, and when I was done with it, I started reading another. But I’m finally ready to stop avoiding this book, because I’ve finally accepted why I’ve been avoiding it. (This is why I should still be working on multiple stories, even now, because if I’d given myself permission to work on something else, I’d have gotten a lot written today, and on several other days this past week. I really believe that.)

It comes down to those words I saved and that I need to keep saved because I don’t have enough time to write more words to take their place if I delete them. Some of those saved words just aren’t going to work with the story, and since I’ve bridged that gap in the story and am back at them, it’s time to start fixing those bits so it all works together.

This is important to me, because I want to love this book. I’ve had too many books lately that felt like a chore to write and I DO NOT want writing this book to become a chore.

But, truly, I hate piecing a story together. I’m much more at ease when I start a book and just keep going, going back to fix little bits here and there, little bits, mind you, that are very, very little bits. Deep breath.

I’m going, now, to get started. It’s 7:01 (had small interruption that made this post seem to take longer than it really did to write). But now I’m settled. I’m going to spend 3–4 hours writing and then call it a night. It won’t be enough, but it’ll be much better than what I have now.

Goal: 5,567 words. Let’s see how close I can come to that original goal in those 3–4 hours.

Hours Words Session WPH
1 186 186 186
1 663 477 477
1 951 288 288

So far my pace is underwhelming.

More like: ouch.

After adding in the third hour, I have to say I’m calling it a night. Because of several interruptions, I’ve had to stay up until 11:20 pm just to get those three hours in.

I’m nowhere near where I should be on this book. Tomorrow is going to be a make or break day for this challenge.