Everything takes longer than I think it will

Everything takes longer than I think it will. On the other hand, at least things are getting done. This morning, I had a somewhat harrowing interruption when I had to knock a spider out of the doorway to my deck. I couldn’t check on the kittens while it hung there. It was huge. I hate spiders so yes, it turned into an ordeal, but when I came back to writing, I had thoroughly woken myself up and I started in on my edits with vim and vigor.

I haven’t finished the chapter 15–16 edits, although I’m closer and I’m into chapter 16 now—about half way. My 10:30 deadline came and went, but I’m just happy to be making progress and feeling good about how it’s going. Writing has been fun today.

When I get to the end of what I’ve written, I already know I’ll be deleting the last page or so plus some notes at the end that will probably also amount to a page or so, meaning I expect to lose at a minimum 500–600 words when I get there. But I don’t care. Anything that makes it easier to keep going with this book is good. :)

If I haven’t mentioned it, I’ve been running my timer up instead of down lately, so that’s why all the uneven session lengths. It also helps me see how often something interrupts me, or I interrupt myself.

Sessions (in progress):

  • 19 minutes: 155 words
  • 8 minutes: 50 words
  • 29 minutes: 67 words
  • 41 minutes: 12 words

My word counts are kind of low but I’m finally to the part where I’m about to delete stuff. I think I’m going to have to delete fewer words than I thought to be honest, which is great. And then finally, finally, I can just let myself go and write, write, write! :D

  • 32 minutes: 2 words
  • 38 minutes: 241 words
  • 9 minutes: -302 words
  • 17 minutes: 77 words
  • 23 minutes: 34 words

Total: 3.6 hours of timed writing and 336 words.

No writing last night after all

I took the computer up, but instead of writing I just sat with it on my lap and stared at it until I almost dozed sitting up. At that point, I snapped the lid closed and went to sleep. Just too tired.

Being off my sleep schedule and not getting enough sleep have apparently taken their toll. I need to be writing as early in the day as I can right now while I have enough energy to do it so that’s what I’m about to do.

I’m going to finally get through chapters 15 and 16 this morning (it’s 9:32 am) and I’m going to do it within in the next hour.

By 10:30, I want to be ready to start in on the next chapter.

I’ll be back then to update for some accountability. ;) (Yes, you’re my writing accountability group, whether you want to be or not. You’re reading this, aren’t you? Comment if you want me to return the favor and I’ll cheer you on at your own blog.) :)

Stuck in some kind of OCD loop right now

Deleting 24 pages of posts from Kboards again. Maybe I just didn’t have anything compelling enough to keep my thoughts about this book at bay and I turned to this to distract myself…

Gah. Why do I do this to myself?

Anyway, down to 9 pages of posts and 2 of those pages are deleted topics. You can’t actually delete threads you created so I just delete the actual post and change the subject line.

Off I go to finish this so I can get back to writing.

Be back later. :o

DONE. Whew. I was starting to wonder if I’d be doing this all night.

Thinking about this now, I’m pretty sure I was in the midst of some kind of anxiety episode or something. All evening my skin has felt like it was crawling. I keep thinking I’ve got gnats biting me, but I don’t think there are any actual gnats, even though I’m sitting under a light in the dining room at the moment. I had a shower, and it seems to have helped me, but my skin still feels a bit crawly. I do know I was feeling anxious earlier, and I remember that, because I consciously chose not to make a second cup of tea today, thinking that maybe the caffeine had done it (it was green tea/herbal mix).

All I have to say for myself is that I’m taking my computer to bed with me (to get away from this dang light) and I am going to work on my book! Maybe not for the three hours I had planned and hoped for, but for at least long enough to get through chapters 15 and 16. I’m just not going to bed tonight until I’ve done it, and that’s final.

Be back later. (Although probably not to this post. And maybe not until tomorrow, depending how late I stay up writing!)

Yesterday proved that I do need practice

Yesterday was a bit of a letdown. I couldn’t concentrate (lack of sleep, I believe) and ended up going to bed early.

I didn’t come close to three hours of writing or 1,557 words. I wrote for 44 minutes and added only 90 words to my book. I stopped for lunch and never came back.

Yesterday I wrote:

Today also begins a fresh start on my 1,557 words a day goal. I’ll also be requiring at least three hours a day of writing from myself. I will require this every day, with few exceptions. I’m doing this because I’m starting to believe self-discipline is something you need to practice regularly, and without it, you’re never going to get the most out of yourself long-term.

All yesterday did was prove that I do need practice.

I’m hoping today will go better. But I might wait to post results until the end of the week so I can concentrate on my book and avoid online distractions. Because once I open my browser, I have a difficult time not wasting time.

Self-discipline is a skill: skills take practice and practice takes time

I did not reach any of my goals yesterday. (1557 words, 3 hours writing, finish editing chapters 15 and 16.) I wrote for 2.633 hours and added 122 words to chapter 15.

I didn’t take drastic measures with those chapters as I said I would because things were actually going well with the story. I just couldn’t concentrate, and there didn’t seem to be anything I could do about it. I even turned to a cup of coffee, which didn’t help at all. >:{

Today I am going to finish going through chapter 15 and 16 and I’m going to do it before I stop for lunch.

After lunch, I’m going to write.

Today also begins a fresh start on my 1,557 words a day goal. I’ll also be requiring at least three hours a day of writing from myself. I will require this every day, with few exceptions. I’m doing this because I’m starting to believe self-discipline is something you need to practice regularly, and without it, you’re never going to get the most out of yourself long-term.

I accept that I’ll fall short on the word counts sometimes, because I haven’t changed my writing process and I do end up with days where I delete more than I write. This isn’t about perfection. But by requiring three hours a day from myself, I make it much more likely that on my good days, I might make up some of those lost words. And on days where three hours just doesn’t cut it, I can keep pushing for those 1,557 words.

My biggest hope is that over time I’ll fall into a routine that maximizes the number of words I write in the most reasonable amount of time by consistently staying involved in my story worlds. I’ll stop losing momentum to month-long breaks and I’ll lose less time to massive read-throughs and edits like the one I’m stuck in the middle of now, because I’ll be working on my stories every day. Even if I can’t maintain the three hours and 1,557 words a day pace working on just one story, I can work on other stories. I already know I have that capability.

I’m going at this to build stamina for writing. What I write isn’t as important as the writing itself. Plus, I don’t want to hamstring myself by limiting what I can write. Some days there will be stories I won’t feel capable of or ready to write. Those days need a back up plan. That back up plan is to write something else.

Three hours a day is twenty-one hours a week, and that’s not that much time at all to devote to what is undoubtedly my life’s work.

Overdue books, procrastination, and a writer’s income

Today has been an excellent day for writing.

Unfortunately, I haven’t written a thing. It’s now 9:48 pm and I don’t really have a choice: I have to find it in me to start writing.

I have an overdue book to finish writing (personal deadline—learned my lesson about setting public ones) and a dire need for money in my bank account. So, yeah, don’t bother trying to hack my accounts. You’ll be disappointed. I haven’t been writing anywhere near enough every day, since about the time my children started graduating from high school and heading to college, and it’s starting to show.

All that said, I need to get some income coming in or come November, I’m going to be looking for one of those seasonal jobs writers sometimes need to make ends meet while writing the next book. I would be really embarrassed to do that, if only because I know the only reason it would be necessary in this instance is because I can’t make myself sit and write for two to three hours a day.

Talk about the pain of facing up to your deficiencies. It’s something I’d rather not know about myself, and yet, know it I do. I have pushed it to the last possible moment and now I’m in desperate need of finishing this book.

And there’s the twist. I just went to check on the stray cat that’s been acting weird all day and the curl of dread in my stomach has been justified. He is a she and she’s delivering kittens. Dammit.

Postponement of yesterday to today

So yesterday I did not finish with chapter 15 to 16. Life interrupted and I finally gave in and postponed to today what I wanted to accomplish yesterday.

So everything I said yesterday? Applies to today. :)

Not that I didn’t make any progress yesterday, because I did.

I spent 1.517 hours writing (timed writing) and added 280 words after deletions, additions, redrafting, and edits. I’m lucky I got that. The interruptions were fortuitous, because I was ready to start yelling at my screen about this chapter (let me be honest, I did yell at the screen at least once).

I found the thing that I thought was in the book earlier, that I addressed earlier when I fixed up some earlier chapters, and then rediscovered the thing in chapter 15.

Meaning: I addressed something in an earlier chapter that hadn’t even happened yet. UGH!

So yeah. I needed the break.

Revisions are more than just fixing stuff and I’ve fallen into the revision pit, obviously. I hate them and I don’t honestly believe they do anything to make a book better most of the time, and yet, here I am, right in the middle of doing something that’s awfully close to revision. >:{

Now to fix it today. And get on with writing new stuff. Chapter 16 can just stuff it. I’m fixing 15 and skipping right to the end of 16 where I need to delete the last page and just start fresh. I’m not going to try to save any of that last page. It’ll just lead to heartache.

Is it perfectionism stalling me out?

Yes, yes, it is. I’m still working through chapter 15 as of yesterday. It should have been simple to get through chapters 15 and 16 and on to new stuff, but that didn’t happen.

I was fixing a few lines that didn’t feel right for one character now that I’ve eliminated some of the excessive mental wrangling I had him doing because I couldn’t figure out where I was going with him, and I started writing some new stuff for him right there in the middle of the chapter. It was good stuff too so I went with it, but I did agonize over it a little too much because it had to fit in between other stuff, which is always a chore for me.

I’d like to stop going back in my books like this, because as you can see from the multiple days of slow writing but long hours, it isn’t that fun for me!

Today, I’m going to finish these two chapters even if I have to take a hands off approach and jump to the next damn chapter. That’s not the plan but if I find myself getting hung up on stuff just because it could sound better in my head if I wrote it another way, I’m doing it. That’s perfectionism trying to hold me back, and I can’t let it win.

Yesterday’s totals came to 3.65 hours of timed writing and 379 words after new stuff, deletions, and redrafts.

I was very inefficient yesterday, because if I were at a job where time at my desk counted, I would have logged a solid 9+ hours. I was tired when I finished (who wouldn’t be after spending 9 hours at their desk?) but I did start making progress toward going to sleep earlier. Not much, since it was still just about 1 am when I called it a night, but 1 am is better than 2 or 3 am!

Also, I’m just about to do something about the tags on this site. I just had an idea that might—possibly—be a way I can use them that actually makes sense for me. :D

More progress but not there yet

Yesterday I wrote for 5.533 hours and netted 343 words after more changes. I made it through only 3 chapters. I expected to do better, frankly, but when I get to editing on the computer I end up going at it with a much heavier hand than I do when I read the book on my tablet and just highlight what I want to fix. However, I’m actually pretty happy with the changes, even though I cut something I tried my best not to have to cut.

I should’ve cut it back when I wrote it, because I spent a lot of time with low word counts trying to make my story lead up to that bit. I see now that I really shouldn’t have tied myself into knots trying to make it work. First mistake. So really my changes are just me changing things to the way they should’ve been in the first place. I can’t say I’m surprised. :D

Today though I start at chapter 15 and I did read through some of the rest of the book again last night on my tablet and highlight the stuff I want to address. I got too tired to read the rest but at least I have somewhere to start!

So, the plan for today: Get through chapters 15 and 16, and restart this story. Then get 1,557 words! :D And if that doesn’t take 3 hours, at least, keep going until I reach 3 hours of timed writing.

Simple.

Now to get to it. :)