Tuesday the 31st of October: the beginning of the rest of my life

Today is Tuesday the 31st of October. It’s also the beginning of the rest of my life. What I do today and tomorrow does not have to follow the pattern of what I did yesterday and the day before.

That’s my truth.

That’s my resolution.

Writing and an experiment with mealtimes

Yay! I’ve been writing today. Nowhere near the amount of writing I wanted to do, and my only excuse for that is distractions, but it’s nice to NOT be struggling to sit down and write.

One distraction of note is my new mealtime schedule. I’m still trying to lose some of the weight I gained after transitioning from a job to writing at home and it seems I’ve plateaued. Therefore, I’m moving meal times to 7 a.m., 11 a.m., and 3 p.m. :-)

The new mealtimes should make snacks much less appealing, reduce my meal sizes, and give me a longer fasting period overnight. It’s also a mealtime schedule I grew up with and maintained into my twenties. It’s an experiment, doubly interesting because it loosely matches the mealtimes I had during all the years when I was at my ideal weight. I’m hoping the new mealtimes will work to my strengths and shore up some of my weaknesses. I like going to bed on an empty stomach and always try not to eat in the few hours before bed, but I don’t like feeling hungry during the day—in fact, when I get hungry, I feel sick and weak, and I don’t like that feeling at all. Ideally, I’ll go to bed on an empty stomach, but won’t actually get hungry until really close to my bedtime which I’m finally getting moved back to a reasonable hour for me. :-)

As a first run today, I’m pretty happy with what I found. I ate almost exactly what I ate yesterday, just so I’d have something to compare. Because I ate it all so much closer together, I realized really quickly that my meals these days are probably still too big. I think I’ll be able to scale back the amount of food I eat and not really notice it at all. And that, I hope, will help me lose a few of these stubborn pounds I need to lose!

Anyway, I’m sleepy and I’m calling it a night. 466 words. May tomorrow be better than today!

Here I am writing about my schedule again instead of writing

(1) I need to write. I have a book I really should have finished writing months and months ago.

(2) I tried another schedule. I hate schedules. I don’t know why I keep trying to make one that I’ll like, because I’m never going to like one of them, except in the most theoretical way possible. Those I love. Then I try to actually use them. My most recent schedules were great on paper. None of them worked, not even once, in my actual life.

(3) Word count goals inspire me and terrify me. I love the idea of them, but I hate having to do the work.

(4) I haven’t finished reading Do the work.

(5) I should probably finish reading Do the work.

(6) I’m spending valuable writing time writing this blog post.

(7) I deleted all my writing schedules.

(8) As soon as I publish this post, I’m going to switch to my book document, start my timer, and start editing the last full paragraph I’ve written. Then I’m going to keep writing until it’s time to stop. (I have clothes in the dryer.)

(9) I don’t know why I’m so convinced I love writing stories. I sure do spend a lot of time not wanting to write them.

Mindset this morning

I’m ready to get to work this morning. I’m getting a lot closer to an early morning rise, but I’m still not there yet. My 9 to 12 block of writing time is still just a little off because of that.

It’s 9:51, though, so not too far from it, and I’m going to start writing as soon as I finish this post.

In my post about breaking patterns, I mentioned that I had picked up some books on writing and started reading them and that I have started listening to author/writer podcasts again.

One thing I’ve done on my schedule that seems to have made a difference is to change my “Writing time” to “Yay! Writing time.” I do realize how silly that sounds, as if just adding “Yay!” to the block is enough to change how I feel about it, but… it kind of is. :-) Silly or not, it seems to be helping my mindset.

I got the tip from Stick with It, a book I have not finished reading (and I admit, I got on sale, because I would not have paid what is currently the full price for it). I got bored after the first few chapters and skipped ahead to the chapter on neurohacks and read a little of it. (This was nearly a week ago.) (I read nonfiction out of order all the time, so this isn’t unusual and it’s not a knock against the book.)

I’m pretty excited that it’s working for now, but I know not to get ahead of myself. I oftentimes react well to novel things and then lose the ability to benefit from them as they become less novel to me. :-)

Anyway, it’s 10:04 and I want to get to work on my book. I’m holding out considerable hope that if I get on a roll today I can finish it. I’ll post updates later about my writing.

Recommendation! Don’t use Wix for your author website

I wanted to save a few articles from an author’s website to read later, so I sent the links to Pocket using the right-click context menu. It’s something I do regularly when I want to follow links but don’t actually want to do it right then for whatever reason. (Because I should be writing!)

So I went to do some reading in Pocket later on my phone and here’s what I found:

See that “books”? Those are supposed to be posts/pages on that site, specific pages that I wanted to read. “Books” is the site homepage, and if you chop it off books like lots of people do (myself included) to get to the main author site, you don’t get a page at all. You get a 404 error. Now that could be the author’s problem, maybe they set up the site wrong, but the thing I’m concerned about, for every person out there who might be using Wix as a website, is the fact that individual pages are not viewable in things like Pocket.

From the pages I’d saved:

Every page I had saved was just like this. Blank.

I’m blaming Wix for this because Wix supplies the templates. Isn’t that the whole point of Wix, to make it easy for people who don’t know how to make a website or just don’t want to fool with the details?

Now I have to go try to remember what pages I wanted to read and find them again. Or if it’s even worth the trouble.

My suggestion to anyone considering Wix for anything as important as an author website is to skip it. Wix does not function the way it should.

Breaking patterns

I had to take some drastic measures to get myself working again, and it’s turned out to be a pretty simple thing. What I’ve done, I think, is just break some patterns I’d slipped into.

First, I bought a couple of books, after writing a blog post I never posted.

I would resolve not to make excuses for these behaviors but I’ve already done that. And I don’t often make excuses. I just don’t do the work.

That’s what’s going to have to change. I have to become someone who does the work.

Which brings to mind a book I’ve been meaning to read for a long time but haven’t.

Do the Work by Steven Pressfield at Amazon.

Turning Pro at Amazon.

Reading books about writing is always motivational for me. I need to spend more time doing it. Even when I feel like it’s using up writing time, because the alternative is a low interest in writing and using none of that bountiful writing time to write anyway.

Do the Work is interesting. A little hype-y at times, but I’ve picked up a few thoughts from it that I really want to remember. I’m really looking forward to reading Turning Pro, but Do the Work felt much more like it was what I was meant to be reading at that moment. :-)

I’m just over halfway through it now, 56% according to my Kindle, and my goal is to keep reading it and Turning Pro (and The Warrior Ethos) until I’ve finished them all before I move on to reading anything else.

Second, I’m listening to writer podcasts, something I used to do but stopped when I decided I was probably wasting time doing it. I think it was a mistake to stop, because listening to them makes me excited about writing even when it’s material I’ve heard before. Yes, they use up a lot of time, but since I listen while I cook, eat, and do other things, that keeps my interest in writing high even when I’m distracted with other things.

I credit listening to these yesterday and the day before with my sudden increase in discipline and my renewed interest in writing. I stuck to a schedule yesterday, even if it was a loose schedule, and I really put some effort into writing for the first time in nearly two weeks.

:D

So there, that’s what I’m doing to break the patterns that I’ve felt like I was trapped in for the last few weeks, and I’m finally making progress on my current book again.

If you’re having difficulties sitting down to write, not because you don’t have time, but because your interest has waned (especially for reasons you don’t understand), try something like this. It really has helped. :-)

Tomorrow

Whoa. I know it’s October, but this is a very unpleasant forecast from weather.gov.

I don’t like the cold and those temperatures will certainly feel cold to me.

On another note, totally unrelated to the forecast, I’ve let it get to 11:14 PM and I still haven’t written anything today. Looks like I’m going to have to take charge of myself and my excuses.

Probably tomorrow.

>:-(

Or not.

Guess I better start now. I’m going to settle in (in bed!) and do at least a twenty minute session before I call it a night. I know now what I need to do to this book and I’ve put off doing it all day. I will do it tomorrow, but tonight, I’m going to start doing it now.

I’ll feel better about myself after I do it, too.

I’ve been reading (instead of writing!)

Today I read a book. Actually, I read a book the day before yesterday too.

Yesterday, I’m not sure what I did, but I didn’t write, so I had to have done something to pass the time. I did watch this interview with John Banville/Benjamin Black—it was actually fascinating, despite the fact that I’ve read none of the man’s books. Oh, and I did write a post about not writing. It’s quite obvious I wasn’t happy about that. :D

But back to the book I read today: Dauntless by Jack Campbell.

I’ve been planning to read this book for a very long time. At least two years. But I finally got to it today.

The thing that most interested me about the story was the idea that Captain Jack Geary is found in stasis after a hundred years where everyone thought he was dead—and believes he’s a hero. Only he doesn’t see himself that way at all. I like this theme and it’s one that I find difficult to pass up as a reader. :-)

I liked Geary a lot, and I liked the way the book was written. The space battles were ridiculously slow and nail-biting, which sounds totally weird, I know. But when I say slow, I’m not talking about the tension or the pacing, I’m talking about the fact that it takes hours for these guys to make contact after getting visuals because of the time delay that is light in space. It was nerve-wracking waiting for things to happen. :D I have no idea what is and isn’t possible or correct, but as the reader, I believed it, and that’s what matters when it comes to reading fiction.

It was a good book, and I enjoyed it. I still wish I’d spent the day writing instead, but that’s not the fault of the book, trust me.

Of course, you can find out more about Dauntless at Amazon if you’re interested!

The day before yesterday I read The Naturalist by Andrew Mayne and got halfway through it before I realized I’d read something else by this guy. It was a book on writing called How to Write a Novella in 24 Hours (Amazon). I don’t remember much about the book, to be honest.

I didn’t mean to read the whole book in one sitting (of ten hours! because I’m a slow reader), but once I’d started it, I just couldn’t bring myself to stop.

That might say more about me than the book in my current state, but I actually liked this book a lot. If the last couple of chapters had been just a little different I might have loved the book. :D

Dr. Theo Cray was a great character and the science in the book was really cool. I’m not a biologist so don’t ask me if any of it was accurate, but it was interesting and entertaining trying to guess just how knowledgeable Mayne is about this stuff, because he did a fantastic job of making me believe he knows quite a lot. But—and there’s definitely a but—the ending of the book disappointed me.

It ended a little too abruptly to be satisfying. (And now I feel a lot more sympathetic to the reviewers who complained about that with a couple of my books, lol.) (Although, honestly, I felt pretty sympathetic to start with. I still have a problem with endings despite the fact that I’ve been publishing for five years and that’s how I make my living. I’m working on it!)

I’m not even sure why I decided to read The Naturalist instead of something else, but once I’d started the first page, I was hooked. :-)

The book was a Kindle First selection a while back and that’s how I got my copy. This makes the fourth (I think) Kindle First book I’ve actually read all the way through. (Let’s see if I can remember: Doubt, A Death in Sweden, When They Come for You, and The Naturalist.) I definitely liked The Naturalist best of all those books.

The Naturalist is at Amazon if you want to know more!

Holy crap, I just don’t know what the problem is

I can’t seem to get started writing. I’m at a total loss as to what the problem is.

I’ve tried setting goals, ignoring goals, getting more sleep, writing early (couldn’t get started!), writing late (couldn’t get started!), tracking my time, journaling before I write, journaling as I write (couldn’t get started!), reading, staring at my book, blocking the internet, blocking distracting sites, journaling in a notebook, journaling on the computer, calling myself unpleasant names, being gentle with myself, and I could go on but what’s the point?

The point is I can’t get started even though part of my brain wants to get started. It’s an inexplicable feeling that makes no rational sense, and when I try to click to my document, it feels like a compulsion forcing me away.

It should not be this damn hard to get yourself to do something you know you need to do, and that, overall, you actually enjoy doing.

What it comes down to, it seems, is that I want to have written the rest of this book but I don’t actually want to write the rest of this book.

This is probably why it’s important not to let yourself think of writing as hard. Because when something becomes hard in your head, whether or not it is in fact, it becomes susceptible to resistance.

Is there any way that accepting this can help me get over my resistance to getting started?

And on a tangent, I think the whole idea of creating a writing habit is stupid. You can’t create a writing habit. Habits are involuntary behaviors. How the fuck is sitting down to write thousands of words an involuntary behavior?

Well, I can see the sitting down part as being involuntary if you repeat it often enough.

(I’m probably being too literal again, or reductionist, but I can’t help it. That’s where my thoughts go when I think writing habit.)

It’s just something that has annoyed me, and maybe it’s because of this habit creep that’s going on in the self-help world.

Or maybe I’m just annoyed because I should be writing fiction and I’m writing this instead. GAHHHH.

The fact is, just sitting down at my computer out of habit, even opening my document, isn’t enough to get me to write. I’ve been doing that for ages. I’m still not writing as often or as much as I want. Not in any universe.

And I’ve been at my computer all day today, and it sure the fuck hasn’t led me to write my book’s ending.

Not again—no, really, not again

Yesterday I didn’t write. Today I’ve had trouble getting started and it’s already into the late afternoon.

I had hoped to write without a timer today, but I don’t think that’s going to work for me. Oftentimes, if I start the timer, I feel obligated to let it run, and once it’s running I feel obligated to stay on task. So although I want to write without the necessity of a timer, I seem to have a lot of difficulty actually doing that. It makes me feel a little bit like a failure to need that crutch, but the rational part of me says that’s ridiculous, because the timer is a tool that helps me overcome the difficulties I have focusing on anything long enough to get anywhere.

On that note, I must go write, because time is running out and I have a lot to write today.