Forget speed

Here’s a thing I’m becoming convinced is real: I can’t write faster when I’m thinking about writing faster. I think for some people, it definitely works. I think for me, it definitely doesn’t.

On that note, today I’ll be focusing on writing and getting my sessions and leave the worry about speed in the dust. Have a feeling it’ll at least make writing more fun today. :)

Drafted a few posts, deleted a few drafts

I’ve written several posts over the last few days and ended up deleting all of them while still in the draft stage. They were really just a way to get out some feelings I’ve been having about writing and I don’t want them cluttering up my view when I look back through what I’ve posted. ;)

All that needs to be said is that I’ve been giving some thought to my writing speed and a few other aspects of my writing and I’ve concluded that I am firmly stuck with a critic on my shoulder and a lack of confidence in my ability to tell an interesting story. Which is interesting, because I really didn’t think that was true until now.

The sad fact is that I thought I’d improve after having these realizations. That hasn’t been the case. :(

Today’s word counts fall in line with the word counts of the day before and the day before that. Here’s my words per hour numbers for the last 19 days.

618
379
367
419
484
117
375
431
459
489
475
462
613
402
394
337
339
199
427

Sigh. Sometimes knowing something isn’t enough. Now I have to figure out how to fix it.

Every book is different; I hate this book (not really) (maybe) (who knows?)

The last day I updated was the 23rd, so here’s a short update of word counts since then.

7/23 – 7/27

  • 1,073
  • 201
  • 788
  • 1,181
  • 961

It’s sad that I haven’t been reaching my minimum, but I’m still trying. I’m really hoping to turn my words per hour rate around because it’s been a huge part of my problem with not getting enough words every day this week. My highest was 402 wph and all the other averages are in the 300 range. NOT good at all and a sure sign that perfectionism is dogging me like a bloodhound on a scent.

I’d say I was being overly critical of everything I write, but mostly it’s that nothing feels right. Like I haven’t got a good feel for the story and I don’t know where to take it, so I spend a lot of time writing then deleting so I can go in a different direction as I try to work it out. But I still think it’s perfectionism, because I’m not trusting myself.

Also, I might need to spend a little time thinking about what this story is really about. That’s not something I usually do, but every book is different and maybe this one needs me to give it some thought. Don’t want to get set in my ways—especially if those ways aren’t doing me any favors. :)

Okay, okay, okay, enough of that

Thinking is not doing and doing is the only way to get words onto the page, so time to start writing.

Starting within the next five minutes, I’m going to write 1,557 words as fast as I possibly can and still have it be coherent. In fact, I’m practicing that kind of fast writing right here right now. I am trying not to stop and just let the words flow out of my brain as fast as my short little fingers can type them out.

We’ll see how well that translates to fiction here is just a few short minutes.

Time to go so I can make this happen. :D See you shortly. I think I’ll do 45 minute sessions. I have a scene in my head (that nap really helped!) and I need to get it out while it’s fresh.

Update #1

That’s didn’t work out the way I’d hoped. You know how your speed is your speed is your speed? I’ve got that going.

Last 13 days average WPH:

618
379
367
419
484
117
375
431
459
489
475
462
415 – Today’s, after one 45 minute session of writing

Update the end:

1,073 words and at midnight I just didn’t feel close enough to fudge it and keep going. This midnight cutoff is really helping me not go too far with staying up and sabotaging the next day’s writing, but I’m not doing a great job of seeing it as the limit it’s meant to be.

The sad part of this is that I spent nearly an hour with this story in the morning, bits and pieces floating in my head until I have what I think is a pretty good idea of what’s happening next (that doesn’t happen to me often) and I still bogged down in the writing.

I do think perfectionism is messing with my speed right now. I’m going to have to figure out how to get rid of it for at least a little while so I can get out of this slump!

And since I’m writing this a couple of days later, in fact, I can tell you I didn’t have any luck with it yesterday (the next day) either! I wrote 201 words. So two more days where I didn’t finish my minimum.

I really don’t want to do that again so morning writing is going to have to be a priority.

Not enough sleep means I’m struggling today

I have a stray cat hanging around (mentioned that before, I think) and last night something came up on my deck and scared the cat, or attacked her, I’m really not sure (I’ve seen both a racoon and a possum there within the last two weeks), and I was awakened at 2 a.m. by hissing and things on my deck banging across the wood. Let’s just say I was jolted awake, and by the time I flew down the stairs and made it to the back door, the animals had taken their fight elsewhere but I was wide awake.

This morning she was back at the door crying for me to put food out for her, so whatever it was that happened didn’t leave a lasting impression. I should stop feeding her, but I can’t stand the idea of letting her starve and I won’t do it. But no, I won’t have animals indoors, and no one I know wants a new cat.

Anyway, I’m tired today because I didn’t get back to sleep right away and as usual woke up much too early.

In fact, I feel like I feel when I’ve had about four hours of sleep. Not good.

As a consequence, I’ve been at my computer off and on (mostly on) for more than five hours now and I’ve written nothing. Haven’t even started the first session of the day yet.

And those 1,557 words aren’t going to write themselves, that’s for sure. So this post is really just me trying to warm up enough to get started.

Or maybe I’ll just take a nap.

Yeah. That sounds better.

That’s funny

So far today I’ve written 664 words in 1.75 hours. That’s 379 words an hour. Considering I deleted a nice little chunk of words in my second session this afternoon, I’m not too disappointed.

Words left to write today = 893

Hours needed to write them @ 379 wph = 2.353539157

I’d like to do those words at 600 wph or better, because then I can move on to catching up a few days’ word counts where I didn’t reach my minimum. Of course, here it is 3:57 pm and I’m just now reaching 1.75 hours completed, so that could be a problem. Anyway, onward and upward one hopes. :D

Today’s title courtesy of the fact that I forgot to title the post and that was the first phrase that popped into my head.

Update: I finished off the day with 1,616 words and it took me 3.5 hours of timed writing to write them. Not great, but not my worst effort to be sure. :D

Revisiting yesterday’s plan—but not

I’m going to keep an open mind with today’s writing, because it’s possible I might want to try again for a record setting day, despite the fact that I have the AC guy coming to repair my unit. (Which is now working again, but which I just know will quit the moment I cancel him, so I’m just going to let him come and do maintenance on the thing. It seems to need it every year, and if anyone ever asked me, I’d say yes, my geothermal unit has save me a lot on my electric bill but most definitely not on my nerves or my home maintenance costs.)

The reason I say open mind is that I’m just not sure actually planning the thing isn’t partially to blame for me not writing yesterday.

I’ve found success with the 1,557 word daily minimum. Jumping right into higher word count challenges might be self-sabotaging behavior—or at the least, seriously counterproductive!

So today I will write my minimum and go from there. Once I do today’s minimum, I might finish off yesterday’s minimum. Once I do that, I might go back to the next day where I didn’t finish my minimum and do that one too. And if at the end of the day, that leads me to a record setting word count, I might celebrate.

Sounds like a good plan for the day to me.

Hmm. Anything else? Oh, yes.

I’ll be sticking with 15 minute sessions today so I can keep an eye on my speed. I’ll be trying to reach 250 words at least once today during those sessions. 250 is a big number for me, and I know I can hit it but I don’t do it often. So, yeah, it’s a challenge, but a tiny one. :D

Update: It’s down to the wire. I have 30 minutes to finish 440 words, unfortunately. Might be a problem because my last several sessions have been in the 200–300 wph range. I don’t even know why I’m taking time to write this except that I had a compulsion to do it. Anyway, getting back to it so I can get those 440 words asap.

Update two: I wrote until just a little later than midnight because I was so close that I couldn’t let my day end without reaching that 1,557 words. I did! I came in at 1,661 and 3.5 hours of timed writing. I just can’t believe how difficult I find it to accumulate those hours of writing time over the course of a day. This is something that’s bugged me for years. I just can’t figure it out.

Update three: Ha! You thought I forgot about the challenge, huh? I did. Sorry. The fact is I didn’t make it to 250 words in any of my sessions. My closest came in at 179, I think. (I deleted the log before I remembered I was supposed to be keeping up.)

Grrrr!

So remember last year? No, I didn’t think you would, but here you go, a reminder.

Yes, my AC is out. Again. Not only that but somehow, someway, I’ve reset my timer 3 times on my first 45 minute session when I meant only to pause it. Probably not a bad thing, because I took a look at the numbers and I had barely cracked 100 words during those 3 aborted sessions.

On top of all that, I’ve found myself procrastinating an incredible amount today and I don’t know why.

I’m calling today’s big plans a bust. Instead, I’ll just concentrate on getting to my minimum word count, and then maybe—maybe—if I’m not just ready to give up, I’ll work on making up yesterday’s shortfall. I’ll go from there.

Update: And… the day’s total came in at 367 words in 45 minutes (three 15 minute sessions) making my pace 489 words an hour. Interesting side note: my cumulative word count since July 2012 is 1,155,620 words.

Also, for a second day in a row, I have not written my non-negotiable minimum number of words. >:(

I do not plan to let that stretch to three.

Big plans for today

Okay, I haven’t taken the opportunity to push for a record day in a while, so I want to do that today. It’s a perfect day for it. The house is empty and I have no one here to distract me, only myself (who is, let’s be honest, the biggest problem), but I’m going to overcome that by turning off WIFI for at least a few hours.

My best word count for one day is 5,816. So today I’m going to take aim at 6,000 again and see if I can get there.

My plan is simple if tough, because I don’t focus well for long periods of time.

I’m going to do 45 minute sessions and I’m hoping for an average of 800 wph for each of them. I know! My average on this book hasn’t been anywhere near that, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try. And I have done 800 wph plenty of times (just not many lately) so I know it’s not out of my range.

After 2 sessions, I’ll evaluate whether or not I’m going forward with this plan today. I’m not going to set myself up for a frustrating day of failure, so at that point I might scale it back if things look dire. I’ll know within a couple of sessions if I’m able to write fast enough today to make this possible.

Now, off for breakfast, so I can get started with this as soon as possible. I’ve somehow managed to spend all morning doing spreadsheet calculations and thought experiments. Time for some action!