The new plan for 2,400 words a day

I don’t think I went into this in my last post, but I have recently made a small change to my 2,000 words a day plan.

I’m aiming for 2,400 words a day instead.

Not because I want to actually average 2,400 words a day, because that has not changed. A 2,000 words a day average is still my overarching goal. But writing 2,400 a day means I won’t have to think so much about getting ahead or playing catch up if I miss a day here and there. That’s the big reason for this and I think it will work well in the long-term.

Even though I have yet to have one 2,400 word day since I started my plan.

I haven’t had a 2,000 word day either since my last on 8/20, so yeah. :D

But I have a plan!

It almost worked yesterday, too, but in the end, I let too much come between me and the writing.

Plus, the writing is actually not going great because I had to go back to chapter nine and do something I hate doing (restart a scene that’s already part of the book), because I wrote the chapter in the wrong view point. I recognized it when I just kept going back to the start of that chapter trying to figure out why I had no interest in that scene and why I couldn’t seem to move forward and why it felt so flat. I tried a couple of different openings for the scene, and in one, it just came out in another character’s view point, and I just knew then that I had solved the problem. :D

Sometimes these things are just hard to see because we’re so tied to what’s already there.

Today, I hope my plan will get me to the 2,400 words I want.

15 minute sessions, in blocks of 4. Same set up as I mentioned in the timed sessions are back post.

It worked well yesterday to keep me writing and focused, and I’m excited to use it again today.

2,400 words at a 400 WPH (words per hour) pace is 6 hours of timed writing. That’s a lot, but that’s at the slow end of the scale.

At a more peppy 600 WPH pace, these 2,400 words will take me 4 hours of timed writing. Doable, and not an insane work load, by far, even knowing I take 1.5 to 2 hours just to get 1 hour of writing done.

If things are going really well, and it does happen, at a speedy 800 WPH pace, 2,400 words take only 3 hours. I will be pushing for this as often as I can, to give me more time for reading/studying/learning/cover design practice and publishing stuff. :D

We’ll see how this plays out during my writing sessions today, but I am hopeful.

I really need a breakthrough with this thing, because I’m serious about making this 2,400 words a day work. I have so many books to write and I want them all written yesterday! This is the next best realistic option for me.

The coffee post follow-up

Back in June of 2017, I wrote a post in which I said:

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.

If I’m remembering the timing correctly, that lasted about six months. The problems that led me to decide to ditch coffee and caffeine went away, so when I started wanting coffee, I gave in to the desire to drink it and was surprised to find that none of the issues that I’d been dealing with returned.

I’m not even confident anymore that coffee or caffeine itself was the culprit to begin with.

I’ve gone back to drinking two or three cups of coffee a day. Honestly, I can’t say exactly what changed, but I’m having zero issues with the coffee or caffeine at the moment. I do make sure I stick to my limits.

Two or three cups a day is enough. :D

The way to be prolific

I’ve pulled this from my previous post, because I want to isolate it and remember my reasoning.

I’ve decided pretty definitively (sure sounds like it, huh?) that I’m going to try again to start averaging 2,000 words a day. Not just as an average though, but as a “more days than not” thing.

I have books I want to write, sooner rather than later, and I’m just not writing them as fast as I want to. I mean that. I want to write these books sooner than I’ll ever be able to write most of them if I don’t improve my daily average. Not to say that I wouldn’t appreciate an increase in income, but I really want to write these books and other books, and more books, and just… I want to be prolific as a writer. Don’t ask me why. I don’t really know, and even though I’ve thought of a thousand reasons why it might be, none of those reasons feel right to me. I just know I want to do this. I want to be prolific.

And there’s a reason 2,000 words a day feels prolific to me.

2,000 words a day gets me 730,000 words a year, and that’s 14 books of about 52,000 words each. Some could be shorter, some longer. The actual average for all my novels is 60,844 words. But even at 60,000 words for every book I were to write, 2,000 words a day would still allow me to write 12 books a year.

At 12 books a year, I would get through all the books I’d like to write in about 3 years.

That’s where I’d like to be.

2,000 words a day.

This should also work well with my 12–4 writing schedule.

I average about 500 words an hour. Not all the time, but enough of the time that I shouldn’t have to push too hard all the (damn) time to average writing 2,000 words a day.

Synergy, if you will, between my actual speed of writing, the time I want to spend writing, and the actual number of words I want to write on an ongoing basis. Can’t ask for a better plan than that.

:)

Today’s (writing) forecast

Today’s writing forecast: cloudy, stormy, but not without hope. ;-)

From the 7-Day Forecast at weather.gov

A rainy day always makes for a good writing day, as far as I’m concerned.

I need to write at least a couple thousand words today, or I need to just admit I’m not going to finish this book anytime in the next three months.

Low word counts are bogging me down again, and several days of interruptions that shouldn’t have been interruptions have distracted me. My focus is not where it needs to be, and my ability to concentrate has taken a sharp hit. But it’s nothing I can’t overcome. These distractions are to some extent self-inflicted and I have to ability to limit them.

Writing feels hard right now and that’s making it too easy to give up. So today’s primary challenge will be to ignore the hard stuff and just enjoy coming up with a fun story.

Challenge accepted.

 

Won’t let a late start slow me down: I’m going to write 3,000 words today

Caveat: I’m trying to finish a book, so if I finish it before I reach 3,000 words today, I’m calling it a win, full stop. :D

I meant to start writing much earlier today. I’m very happy with my progress now that I’ve gotten into a groove with the 500 words a day challenge (let’s just call it that for ease of reference), but I have goals and that 500 words a day isn’t a goal. It’s a daily minimum requirement. Not the same thing at all.

Because I want to finish this book ASAP and move on to something new, I’m planning to write 3,000 words tonight, despite the fact that I’ve put off starting until now, at 4:50 p.m.

:-D

I went into this whose spiel about how I was going to do this, but axed it.

It doesn’t matter how I think I’m going to do this. I’m just going to start writing and do it.

I’ll be back later to post updates, because I love posting updates. :)


Updates

#1 – Not going well. My word counts are terrible because I’ve spent most of my time rethinking/rewriting/redrafting the scene I should have finished already. It’s kicking my butt.

#2 – Well, I’m up to 332 words. I stopped counting the time and I’ve just been writing, trying to get this pain in the butt scene right.

Final – I made it to 503 but it was hard! I deleted so much stuff that I had to write a lot more than 503 just to get there. But I did. :-)

Now, to stop this rewriting bullshit and get this book done tomorrow…

A little motivation to finish early

Earlier, I said I was hoping to write 3000 words tonight. That still stands. But I’m setting a deadline to finish this by 9 p.m. I’ve stayed up too late too many nights in a row (and can’t sleep late to save my life) and I need a good night’s sleep tonight.

As long as I make an effort, when 9 p.m. comes, I’m going to stop and spend the hour before bed relaxing instead of trying to keep myself awake to write.

I definitely need an early night tonight. :-) It should be a nice little reward for a productive evening. (And I will not let myself watch hours of TV the way I did a few nights ago! Maybe a simple one hour documentary on something I can use in one of my stories.)

Anyway, I’ll track my progress here, so I can have some accountability as tonight’s deadline approaches.


Progress reports

7:34 p.m.

I’ve done four 15 minute sessions and have added 469 words to my story. Wish it were more but overall I’m pleased with my progress.

8:19 p.m.

Did some chatting with family on Hangouts and now I’m staring at the time wondering how I’m going to find the energy to write from now until 9 and knowing I can’t just give up yet. I’m not at 500 words yet and I really wanted to get a lot closer to 3,000 than this tonight.

Alrighty. Time to regroup. I’m just going to take a quick break and then write until 9 with the timer timing me instead of counting down. I’ll be back at 9 for a final report.


I reached 505 words by 9:08 p.m. and called it a night.

Focus on action and small wins; a new daily minimum

Today I’m starting work on my book much later than I planned. Mostly because I’ve spent too much of the day thinking about a decision I made a couple days ago and trying to decide if it’s the right one. I’ve finally decided it is.

Tuesday, I decided to lower my minimum word count for a day to 500 words. That was a good call, I think. My average daily word count is 614 words. Since I have a complete record of every day’s word count since mid-2012, this isn’t a guess. This is my actual daily word count average for more than 5 years of writing.

That said, just because I’ve averaged 614 words a day for 5 years doesn’t mean 500 words a day should be a no-problem, no-trouble, easy daily goal for me. Averages are just that: averages. And averages never tell the whole story.

Consistent daily writing is still a major problem for me. I do not do well with long term daily writing. My longest streak to date is 122 days and I had to count many days of less than 100 words to even get that.

Writing 500 words a day, every day, will be a considerable challenge. But I don’t think I can go any lower than that, just because it doesn’t feel reasonable and it doesn’t feel like a challenge. It feels like giving up.

Daily, it’s only a small win, but 500 words a day will get me a book of average size (50,000 words) in 100 days. Meaning even if I totally fail at all else and ONLY write the 500 words a day every day and never one word more, I’ll write more words in the next 12 months than I wrote in the last two years combined by a little more than 40,000 words.

That’s a win, no matter how I look at it.

And my hope is, as always, that this small win will drive me to write more and reach some of the bigger goals I have.

Every time I write more than 500 words a day, it’s going to push my average up, and I’m going to get that much closer to my long-term goal of being a prolific writer. I can’t ask for much more than that considering where I’m starting from.

But I have to start somewhere and becoming a consistent daily writer is where I’m choosing to start.

The fact is, a small win is better than no win, and I have to start focusing on action if I want to change.

This isn’t just a post about intentions; this is a post of action! I made this minimum word count change two days ago on Tuesday. On both Tuesday and Wednesday, I successfully met this challenge with 517 words and 533 words, respectively.

Yay! I have a new writing streak going. :-)

Now, it’s time to go write and keep this thing alive.

Update: Yep, I did it. 520 words for the day.

A new goal for 2017: turn my worst year into my best year

The end of the year is approaching and I’ve decided to pursue a goal. My goal is to make this year—on track to be my worst year of production since I began tracking—into my best year, by 10,000 words.

The math.

Best year 268,191
This year 104,676
Difference + 10,000 words 173,515
Words to write every day to get there 2,169

It is without a doubt beyond my current skill level to write 2,169 words every day. On the other hand, it’s a short-term goal, because this is mid-October and this will all be over on December 31. So it’s possible I could average a high enough word count to do this.

Since it’s possible, I’m going to try.

The fact is, I believe I can do it. The problem is, I haven’t ever done it before. But—and there is a but!—I have record of the following numbers.

February 2003: I averaged 1,836 words a day for the month.

November 2015: I averaged 1,761 words a day for the month.

April 2016: I averaged 1,908 words a day for the month.

To make this year my best year by 10,000 words, I only need to average 2,169 words a day for 81 days. Then I can flake out and go back to 500 word days and it won’t matter at all for this particular goal.

Writing 2,169 words a day isn’t something I’m going to stew over every day since I’m already trying to write 3,000 words a day. My daily minimum remains 1,000 words. But now I have something to explain my desire to write more each day and that’s going to be helpful when my contrary self rears up and demands to know why I’m pushing myself so hard to write more.

There you go contrary-self. I have reasons. :-)

How fast can I reach 1,557 words today?

My first goal for today is 1,557 words (which is my normal daily goal). Let’s see how fast I can reach it.

Fast? Maybe not. But…

Progress—

10:51 am: 13 minutes, 87 words.

11:35 am: 30 minutes, 214 words.

12:25 pm: 29 minutes, 175 words.

2:34 pm: 7 minutes, 78 words.

3:28 pm: 11 minutes, 127 words.

Too many interruptions today, but that should be behind me now. Let’s see if I can stay focused on writing the rest of the day.

Total so far is 1.5 hours exactly and 681 words written.

5:30 pm: 44 minutes, 351 words.

8:22 pm: 44 minutes, 320 words.

9:04 pm: 13 minutes, 180 words.

I’m running out of steam! Total so far is 1,532 words. I’m so close to my daily minimum that I have to finish it. But somehow it’s become 11:22 pm and I haven’t gotten back to my writing yet. And I can’t quit yawning.

12:22 am: 22 minutes, 115 words.

Final tally: 1,647 words and 3.55 hours of writing.

A challenge for this second day of August to perk me up

Since I did so poorly yesterday, only 123 words and 15 minutes!, I’ve decided a challenge might perk me up today.

It’s a simple challenge. Finish my 1,557 word minimum before I stop for lunch. :) I’ve finished breakfast and there’s nothing standing between me and lunch but time to fill. :D

I’m going to fill it with writing.

I’m just going to do 50 minute sessions until I get there.

Updates will follow below. :)


Well! That was unexpected.

I got in one 50 minute session then had to run off to a dentist appointment I’d forgotten about! So that blew this challenge. I was gone nearly 4 hours. I’ve found it difficult to get started again, mostly because it’s now so late in the day. Maybe I’ll try later, but at the moment, I’m thinking of taking the rest of the day off. There’s a movie I want to watch and I don’t like the idea of making up work time in the little bit of leisure time I’ve planned for myself in a while.