Word counts for the last 6 days of writing

Date—Words
6/25/17—694
6/26/17—1,063
6/27/17—592
6/28/17—0
6/29/17—604
6/30/17—251 (might increase, might not)

Not great by any means but I’m happy that I’ve been writing again. I’m also happy that I seem to be in a mood to push myself to improve. I don’t want to stagnate.

Today was supposed to be a day off, because I had a meeting with a friend planned. Those plans fell through, probably for the best, because I woke up with a stiff back and no will to go anywhere. :) I haven’t written much today because of that, but I’m trying now to at least do some writing before I call it a night.

 

A good night’s sleep is a big deal

Yesterday, I took the day off. I hadn’t planned to, to be honest, but I had to be away from the house, and by the time I returned, I was done for the day. I was so tired (and a bit headachy) that the thought of opening my document and writing almost put me to sleep on the spot. So mostly I just moaned about how I needed to go to bed early, and then I did.

I went to sleep two hour earlier than the night before and about four hours earlier than the two nights before that. This morning I woke up early and didn’t feel half bad, if I do say so myself.

I don’t actually feel great right now but my words per hour rate this morning was ridiculously higher than it was any of those other days. My average after two sessions is 768 wph. Since my goal wph is 750, I consider that as good as gold. It’s definitely a mark in favor of getting to bed early. If my remaining sessions go as well as the earlier ones, I’ll reach my goals today with just a little concerted effort.

Unfortunately, it’s 2:12 pm right now, so I really do need to get back to work instead of wallowing in my caffeine-less misery. No coffee, no real teas and a definite dip in energy levels.

On that note, it’s interesting how last night and this morning kind of proved the point I was going for in the version of this post I started yesterday but never got around to finishing.

I’m trying to retrain myself to go to bed early enough to feel good getting up early (because I wake up early regardless, such as today at 6:40 am). My most consistent month ever came about when I was getting up relatively early, getting started by 7 and keeping WIFI off until noon or 2,000 words, whichever came first. It could come to that again. ;)

Another big challenge I’m facing with this is that I can’t seem to get my sessions compressed into a reasonable time period. I’m going to keep trying.

Getting to bed early did seem to help, which is exactly what I suspected. I’m an early waker and that makes it difficult for me to be productive when I stay up late and start my day either sleep deprived or later than my natural rhythms tell me to.

Tomorrow, I’m going to really push myself to write early.

As for right now, I’m going to restart my writing, focus on keeping my words per hour rate high, and see if I can make progress on compressing my sessions into a reasonable time period. :)

Plan: Take no longer than 1.5 hours for every three 20 minute sessions. :D See you back here in about (probably in a follow-up post).

Wish me luck!

No more coffee—a lifelong challenge to ditch coffee for good, forever

I’ve quit and restarted my coffee habit many times over the course of my life. It’s finally time for me to commit to making a lifelong change. I like coffee but the caffeine and even the coffee itself isn’t doing me any favors these days.

This post is my written commitment to ditch coffee for good—forever.

No more coffee.

I’ll check in on this once a week or so for a while, then once a month, then only if something changes.

As an aside, I’ve also committed to eliminating as many sweets from my diet as I can. I’ve been doing pretty good with that. I use the Android app Loop – Habit Tracker to keep up with my success rate, and it seems to help.

Sweets-free days as recorded in the Loop – Habit Tracker app

I’m being pretty strict about what counts, so although I had only a few semi-sweet chocolate chips, they were enough to stop me from marking yesterday and the day before as sweet-free days. I think it’s best that way, because I don’t want half-measures to eventually derail my effort in this.

I already have a habit set up in the app for coffee-free days, but as you can see below, I haven’t made much effort at all up to this point to avoid coffee. That’s going to change going forward. :D

Coffee-free days as recorded in the Loop – Habit Tracker app

 

You think you got this and then you don’t do the work

That title there? Basically the exact thing that’s happened today. I was sure I was on track after having two successful days of writing—successful in that I sat myself down and managed to write for four complete hours each day, even if it took me much longer than I’d have liked. But then today came and I let myself slip up.

I’ve done four sessions of the twelve I need to do to reach that same four hour goal and it’s already 7:45 pm.

To finish my 8 remaining sessions by a reasonable hour (say, 11 pm) I’ll need to do as many of the remaining sessions back-to-back as I can, and that’s just the truth. Because here’s the thing. I am accountable to me and I’m not going to let myself get away with not doing the work.

Not today. Not tomorrow. Not anytime soon.

I’ve said it before: To be the kind of writer I want to be, I need to change.

Missing a goal once in a while is no big deal and doesn’t feel anything like failure. Missing a goal every single time is not a good thing. There are repercussions to that kind of repetitive failure. I’m done with that. I just can’t be that person, that kind of writer, any longer.

If I miss today’s goal, it will be a 1:3 failure rate. That’s no longer good enough for me. I’ve set my boundaries and 1:3 ain’t it.

But I’m lucky, because this day isn’t over and there’s no reason to accept failure.

Getting back on track is as easy as saying it’s time to start writing again.

(I originally started a new post for today’s session log but I changed my mind and I’ve moved it here instead.)

Daily Accountability

Session 1: 307 words
Session 2: 217 words
Session 3: 48 words
Session 4: 20 words

Sessions are 20 minutes long and my goal for each is 250 words. Not there yet. Working on it. :)

Next day update: Well, shit. I didn’t do any more sessions. I had good reasons, but if I’d done my writing early like I should’ve done, this would not have happened.

1,063 words and time ended 7:13 pm

Today was better than yesterday and that’s good enough for me!

DAILY ACCOUNTABILITY

Session 1 : 234 words
Session 2 : 92 words
Session 3 : 174 words
Session 4 : 244 words
Session 5 : 46 words
Session 6 : 177 words
Session 7 : 7 words
Session 8 : 80 words
Session 9 : 8 words
Session 10 : 149 words
Session 11 : -320 words
Session 12 : 172 words

For 1,063 total words.

As with yesterday, all sessions were 20 minutes.

I’m not surprised it’s taking a while to relearn how to focus on writing. Focus in quantity has always been difficult for me. I do seem to have episodes of hyperfocus, but to be honest, they almost always accompany things like reorganizing my file system or troubleshooting a problem I want fixed right now.

One thing I have noticed: It’s funny how often I don’t notice my bladder problems until I sit down to write and end up with my sessions constantly interrupted.

Removed duplicate text

I followed up on last night’s plan to do at least half of the minimum number of writing sessions before I allowed myself any internet access. I did six!

DAILY ACCOUNTABILITY

Session 1 (20 min): 119 words
Session 2 (20 min): 37 words
Session 3 (20 min): 103 words
Session 4 (20 min): 2 words
Session 5 (20 min): 98 words
Session 6 (20 min): -240 words
Session 7 (20 min): 71 words
Session 8 (20 min): 26 words
Session 9 (20 min): 128 words
Session 10 (20 min): 69 words
Session 11 (20 min): 96 words
Session 12 (20 min): 185 words — Of course this was my highest word count of the day. And I’m too tired to keep it up because it’s 11:58 pm and I need sleep!

My aim for all these is 250 words each. So yeah, I’m a little off the mark.

Today’s blog post title is from a note to myself on the last session I did before I broke for lunch.

The note refers to the fact that I found a 332 word chunk of text that I needed to delete, half of it a portion of a scene I copied instead of moved to an earlier place in the story. I must have forgotten to delete it after the fact, but I usually just move the text, so I’m not sure what I was thinking when I did it.

The exciting thing is that to end up at -24 words, I had to have written more than my 250 words in that last session so here’s hoping I can keep that up now that I’m back from my late (2 pm) lunch.

Well, that’s a bummer. I realized after the fact, once I’d finished session 7 that -24 was a misprint. I should have written -240!

It’s been proven a sad fact that four hours of writing takes me all day and I have no idea why or how that happens. Writing everything down doesn’t even seem to help. I can find the big things; it’s the little bits of time that just seem to disappear.

11:23 pm and too few words again today

I’ve managed only 2 of my 12 sessions today (20 minutes each). Part of the blame goes to my panic at realizing I had ruined the opening of my book by overworking it. I had to pull up backup copy 9 to get the old opening back. I’m currently at backup copy 20, and backup copy 9 was made on 6/11 (today is 6/24).

This all came to my attention last night when I sent my document to my Fire and read through what I’d written. My first thought was uh oh. So I pulled up the old version that I just happened to have sent to my Fire a while back and read the opening of it.

The old version was much better than the new. Miles better. Leagues better.

I was not happy to realize this.

I got up this morning knowing I’d have to fix it.  I’ve obsessed over things I didn’t need to obsess over today in an effort to avoid thinking about this.

I did a “compare documents” in Word to see just how bad it was. It was bad. More red than black, and ouch, I didn’t really need to see that.

It’s 11:59 pm and I should really go to bed, but I think I’m going to try to do a few more sessions so I don’t have this hanging over my head tomorrow. Then again… it’s late and I just want to put this day behind me, so maybe I won’t.

As for tomorrow, I think I’m going to forbid the internet until I’ve done at least half my minimum sessions. That’s only 6 and at 20 minutes each, comes to only 2 hours. I can surely hold out that long!

Now, time to get out of my own way and write this damn book without agonizing over every word. :D

DAILY ACCOUNTABILITY

Session 1 (20 min): -25 words (meaning I deleted more than I wrote)
Session 2 (20 min): 8 words

June 23 session notes

So today hasn’t been the kind of writing day I’d hoped.

At the end of session 5, I am sitting at 12 words for the day. It hardly seems possible but the problem is that I spent so much time reworking what I had for chapters 1 and 2 that I went through four sessions before I dug myself out of negative numbers (I deleted more than I wrote).

Then I left for a while. I stayed gone longer than I meant to but I needed to get away for a while, because I was starting to hate this story.

Prioritizing my daily writing is a commitment to myself I need to keep, so I can’t let this happen again tomorrow. But tomorrow I hope to be up and about earlier after a good night’s sleep. I definitely won’t be staying up until the early morning hours tonight.

1 hour and 40 minutes of writing today isn’t great, but it’s a start.

I’d stay up and do the rest of the sessions if I didn’t need so badly to get my sleep patterns back into some kind of order so I can start early each day.

As much as I hate to admit it, because I do like staying up late, I am a morning person. I wake up before 7 most mornings and staying up until 2 am just doesn’t give me the kind of sleep I need to be at my best the next day, even if I manage to go back to sleep. It’s never truly restful once I’ve woken up to the sun.

So that’s the update for today.

Sessions logs are below.

Session

Words

WPH

1

-87

-261

2

2

6

3

9

27

4

12

36

5

76

228

A plan for the future

I’m tired of lowercase titles. And yet, I continue to use them. :)

Today I have a plan.

20 minute blocks x 12 of them @ ~750 words an hour = 3,000 words

Yep. That’s my plan.

In fact, it’s my plan for every day for the indefinite future. I’ve been giving some thought to the need for change and some direction for the rest of my year. Those thoughts led me to realize I need to expect more from myself; it’s the only way to grow. I don’t want to be stagnant. A moribund life is not the life I want, despite the fact that my brain is all about strolling down easy street.

I made a note to myself last night. It’s important.

Write for fun! Do more than that though. Make time for other stuff. Don’t drag it out.

I need to write with focus. I need to focus on writing. I need to meet my goals early so I can do other things. Then as a reward, if I want, I can write more later. But always, I need to remember that the only way to meet my goals is to actually prioritize writing and do it first. I get to do it first and save all the stuff in my life that I don’t really want to do for later.

What I’ve typically done, though, is dawdle until I feel pressured to do these other things at the expense of what little time I’ve left myself for writing, because there are immediate consequences if I don’t. (Bills! Dishes! Laundry! Talking to relatives and friends! All of these have consequences for me that I’m not willing to accept if I don’t do them.)

I’ve always felt as if writing daily is a priority, and therefore I feel all the guilt one feels when one doesn’t do that important thing one should have done, but when it comes down to it, I haven’t treated it that way at all.

That’s the big thing I need to change about myself. That’s what I’m going to be focused on changing.

Write in the morning

Reach my word count goal

Or at least do the number of sessions I’ve decided I should be doing at a minimum each day

Then worry about the rest of life and whatever I want to do with my time after that, even if it’s just more writing

Simple. :D

Too much time reading for clues

The blog post titles are a lot easier to come up with now, and they aren’t any more obscure than they were before, so that’s a win. :)

Today’s word counts

Session # Words WPH
1 46 131
2 84 240
3 32 91
4 99 283
5 57 163
6 61 174
7 166 474
8 239 683
9  72 206
10 0

Today’s title comes from a note on my session log. In it, I’m laying the blame for my low word counts in my first three sessions on the fact that I spent a lot of time during them reading through my previous books looking for clues to characterization and plot.

Yes, that’s my handwriting. Could be better, but it is what it is! :)

Unfortunately, my word counts didn’t improve a lot after I stopped doing that.

I don’t record session logs in my spreadsheet—there’s really no room for it—so writing them down seems like a good way to start paying attention to just how often I’m meeting my goal number of sessions.

I could put them in OneNote, and I have in the past kept up with sessions in my journals, but I really don’t like that. Also, the logs get kind of lost in the midst of all my ramblings, so… this seemed like something I wanted to try.

I’ve devoted one of my favorite notebooks to tracking them and I’m loving how accountable it makes me feel to write down the number of sessions I want to do. I can’t stand the idea of wasting that nice paper, so I’ve felt compelled to fill those slots today! Only two more to go before I call it a day.

Also, yesterday I didn’t find time to write a post because I actually got started writing really late and didn’t use timers. I wrote 813 words yesterday—on the wrong book.

Okay, so I’m planning to write that book next, so it’s not exactly wrong that I spent time on it, and I admit, I’ve needed a breakthrough for the opening of that book for a good long while and I had one last night, but I really need to finish this other book first so I do feel a little unhappy that I managed to write 813 words but that none of them were for the right book!