Trying again for my first 2,000 word day in a while

Yesterday’s attempt at writing 2,000 words was a bust. Of all the legitimate things that got in the way, none of them were significant enough to physically stop me from sitting down and writing 2,000 words. My inability to focus came from my mental reaction to the day’s events.

A lot of little things just got in the way in my head and really made it difficult for me to concentrate on writing.

I don’t want that to happen again today.

I actually started off strong this morning. I’ve already written 357 words today.

But… it’s now apparent that the air conditioner might not be fixed, and that’s really got a hold on my brain, and my kid is leaving for college this weekend and is packing and interrupting me at regular intervals, and that’s distracting in a big way.

The fact remains that I still need to do my writing today. I’m behind on this book, and I need to finish it so I can publish it and move on to the next book. I also really need to publish a few books this year for the sake of my bank account. :)

Things are going well with the story and I think I can make a lot of progress today if I can just stay focused on writing the book. I also need to get that first 2,000 word day to start off that 2,000 words a day plan of mine.

I’ve used this little break to clear my head, I hope, and now I’m going back to writing. My book is sitting at 19,756 words right now. I’d like not to stop for lunch until I’m above 21,000 words.

Update: It’s 9:08 pm and I’m sitting at 890 words for the day.

I wanted to be at or above 2,000 words by now, but that hasn’t happened. Obviously. :) But! The air conditioner is working again (repairman came) and that worry is gone and I’m finally feeling able to concentrate again.

Since I don’t want to end tonight without reaching 2,000 words, I’m here at the computer to write another 1,110 words.

Update: 1,506 words. Man, this is getting hard. I’m sooooo sleepy. It’s 12:01 and I have 494 words to go. I don’t know if I’m going to make it.

Update: I settled for 1,685 words. I was too sleepy to continue. This morning, looking at that, it’s easy to say I should have kept going, but last night? There was just no way.

On the bright side, that number of words is above the lower limit I’d set for myself in some calculations I did when I decided to write 2,000 words a day. I ended up settling on 2,000, which is between the two values.

50,000 75,000
1,644 2,466

I want to make today my first 2,000 word day since last year

Ouch. I knew it had been a while since I actually wrote 2,000 words in one day, but it was all the way back into last year on November 29, 2017. I wrote 2,291 words that day.

Today I just want to write 2,000 words. I need to write more, but I really just want to get over that 2,000 words hump so I can officially say I’ve started working on my 2,000 words a day plan.

I can do this!

10:16 am – I had a repairman in for some work on my air conditioner, but he’s gone now and I’m going to start writing now, sans timer and timed sessions, sans schedule, and sans resistance. ;-)

I’d like to reach 500–1,000 words by noon. Let’s see if I can make that happen.

7:30 pm update: Things aren’t going well. I’ve written exactly 19 words so far.

Ending total: 114 words.

Ouch.

August 14, 2018 writing post

The only part of my list of want-to-dos I accomplished yesterday was to write something for my new book and work on my paperback for my last release. I’m not going to dwell on the failures though. I’m coming at today with the attitude of a fresh start and a new commitment to my daily word count quota.

That quota is 2,000 words. (Of course.)

I’m writing this new book much too slowly and I need to finish it sooner rather than later if I don’t want to go broke, so I’m going to push for more than that.

I’m just saying. Reality is about to smack me in the face if I don’t start writing more, very soon. My last 12 months word count (September to August) is 78,051 words. That doesn’t sound like the end of the world but add to that my last published book came out late last year. Money is an issue.

Dreams will buoy you through tough times, but you don’t want to set your sail in an ocean of them.

The life of a writer isn’t one of steady paychecks and Castle-esque wealth. If that’s what you’re hoping for, well, keep hoping, but plan for something quite different. Those plans might be the only thing keeping your fridge full.

On that note, I’m off here to go write some fiction. Time is short and I have a book to write.

Update: the day was a bit of a fail (okay, a lot of a fail). I had air conditioner troubles, and so many interruptions, but mostly, I just failed to start the writing. I did get 177 words, but it was on one of my book projects I’m not even sure when I’m going to get around to writing. I have so many other projects to finish first.

August 13, 2018 writing post

Today’s to-dos

Touch all of my main stories, but focus on #1 (the book I want to finish first).

It’s fun for me to write on multiple stories. I also usually end up with more words at the end of the day than I would otherwise.

Then, work on my last published book’s paperback today. I’ll do it in LibreOffice so I can take advantage of the more robust widows and orphans and hyphenation settings.

Once it is done (focus on finishing!) I can try it in Word 2016 if I feel I must. Don’t even bother with Word 2007, the hyphenation is horrible.

Word produces really decent print books for me. I think LibreOffice Writer will probably do just as well, and will definitely be easier on me with the extra hyphenation options and finer control over widows and orphans. I don’t mind first lines of new paragraphs ending a page (orphans); it’s the last lines of a paragraph beginning a new page that I try hardest to eliminate (widows).

Read back through ALL of today’s writing, looking for stuff to fix so I can safely ignore it all tomorrow and just start writing from wherever I left off (and not feel like I’m leaving things undone).

In-progress Finished writing

Word count check-ins

Time Words (book) Words (today)
11:56 am 19,070 words 84 words
12:35 pm 19,173 words 187 words
11:01 pm 19,285 words 299 words

That’s it! I’ll update my word counts as the day goes on but anything more than that will probably end up in its own post. :D

August changes

A few things have changed since my last writing post.

I’ve decided:

To ditch timers and timed writing for good.

It feels weird to sit down and write without the timer. I still look for it in the corner of my screen as I type. I still look for the column on my spreadsheet and feel a little startled when I realize it doesn’t matter how fast or slow I wrote those 187 words.

To erase my record of my timed writing and words per hour calculations.

I did make a backup of the original file with those numbers because I couldn’t not do that.

To stick to word count quotas.

To STICK to word count quotas, for real. I do need some type of structure to keep me working.

Structure is useful for me.

But going back and forth between time / word counts / WPH anxiety isn’t useful to me at all.

I can’t control my daily word counts as easily I can control my time spent writing but I never (seriously, never) seem to reach the time quotas I set for myself either.

Since word count quotas are so much more meaningful to my income, they win. :-)

The day after I made this decision, I wrote more words with less effort than I’ve written in a long time. I reached 671 words for the day and hardly felt like I’d done any writing at all. It felt great.

Then stuff happened, delays and distractions, and I didn’t write very much for the next two days. Now we’ve come to today, and the writing is again going easily and I hardly feel like I’ve done anything at all. I’m already up to 187 words for the day.

Those timers really did make writing feel too much like hard work. Getting that out of my system might take a while, but I’m sure it’s the right path forward for me. I need to like writing or I won’t do it, but lately, I just hadn’t liked it very much at all. That changed so quickly after making the decision to ditch the time keeping and WPH calculations that I really feel it was hindering my enjoyment of writing and interfering with my ability to keep going with this for the long-term.

The hours and WPH are just demoralizing anyway most of the time. Average words per day is the only number that really matters in the long run.

It’s just a renewed focus on actually getting the word counts and not wasting time worrying over anything else to do with productivity.

To stop trying to make my book perfect.

I know better than this. But I’ve fallen into some bad habits this year and my inner perfectionist is making life difficult again.

To keep using OneNote.

I have decided I’m just not leaving OneNote for certain types of notes until or unless I have to. I need software for note-taking or I never would have started using Evernote, way back when, even before I migrated to OneNote several years ago.

I did move the rest of my notebooks to OneDrive so I can keep using OneNote the way I like once my Office 365 subscription expires in September. And, it’s a little hard to admit, but my notebooks are actually a lot more useful since I moved them.

The local notebook issue was more a principle thing than a practical issue for me. I decided to bend on this one.

It’s time for me to get back to writing fiction now. I have a quota today and I’d like to see how close I end up to it. That 2,000 words a day plan is still something I’ve got in my sights.

08-07-2018 writing

Writing today ~ I’m planning 2 x 53 minutes before noon.

Wish me luck. I want to do more writing than editing but I do still need to get through a troublesome chapter 6 during this time block.

I’ve decided 100% that I need to adhere to some kind of schedule even while trying to write as much as possible. I might, in fact, need a schedule more than ever for that kind of writing because it’s easy to sit at the computer all day and think I’ll have plenty of time to get started.

But getting started is the hard part and I don’t do it well. :)

Today the schedule is this:

10 to 12
1 to 3
4 to 6
7 to 9

I’m trying to write as much as possible right now because I really needed/wanted to get this book out last month and didn’t and this month is already zipping away. It’s the 7th for goodness sakes.

And if that “goodness sakes” bothers you, just think of it as a regional thing. No one actually says “for goodness’ sake” around here, even if that’s what they really mean.

July 2018 progress

I’ve had another dry spell with the writing but I’m trying to get things moving again. It all started with the space bar failure and snowballed from there. I had several things happen around that time that that kept interfering with my daily routine and distracted me from writing.

I relocated the stray cat and her three litters of kittens/cats to a cozy barn where they can live in peace and so can I. I’ve had to heal from that burn on my wrist that might not leave a scar after all. I don’t know. I seem to be healing well, just have some weird sensation around the edges of the new skin that twinges.

But all in all, several things have really taken my focus off writing and it’s taken me this long to get going again.

So in the end, I didn’t do nearly as well in July as I’d hoped to do.

Words written in July: 6,478.

That’s definitely a slowdown from June. Still, it’s better than nothing, and I’m trying to do better in August. I’m also trying to finish this next book of mine. Wish me luck.

I canceled my Office 365 subscription

I finally ditched Office 365. Not for LibreOffice, which I’ll probably end up using in the long run, but for Office 2007. I never could get used to writing in Word 2016 and I absolutely hated Excel 2016 to the point that I only ever used it when it accidentally opened a file.

I was happy to use the 1 TB of space OneDrive gave me with my subscription, but after getting a look at my account history the other day and seeing in black and white that I’d already paid $330+ for access to software I was barely using (only 38 GB of OneDrive space actually), I just did not see the sense in continuing to pay for the subscription. The personal plan is $69 a year plus tax, but I decided that wasn’t really any better. Subscription plans for software just don’t make a lot of sense for users like me.

So I revisited LibreOffice just to see what I would be giving up if the Office 365 uninstall screwed up my Office 2007 install (it’s been known to happen) and realized that I would be perfectly happy with LibreOffice for what I do.

My spreadsheets aren’t so complex that they didn’t open and work in Calc, and my documents all look fine in Writer. I might have to refresh myself with some things, because the last time I was consistently using something other than Word and Excel, I was using OpenOffice. I’ve played around with LibreOffice Writer, but I haven’t used it on a day-to-day basis.

First thing I did was change the background of Writer to Word’s background blue. That’d be #9DBDE6.

Talk about feeling more at home…

The good news is that the uninstall of Office 365 did not mess up my Office 2007 install. When I opened Word for the first time after the fact, I got an install/setup window that did make me wonder, but Office did a few things, and then I was back to work in Word 2007 within a few minutes.

I like LibreOffice Writer. I’ll probably make the switch for any new books I start, but finish in Word the books I’ve already started, just so I don’t have to mess with styles. There does appear to be a bit of a difference in how those work and I don’t want to get distracted.

So all is good. I can take my time transitioning to LibreOffice Writer and keep working on my current book just the way I’ve always worked on it, in Word 2007.

Yesterday with the book went well, so what did I do today?

I spent the day messing with my fonts library, caused Word to screw up with some of my most useful fonts, spent way too much time deleting and installing one particular font that just would not display correctly after I’d installed newer versions, deleted my font cache again, (and again), and finally got things working correctly by digging out some files I’d put into a backup folder in case I messed something up.

I do appreciate that I had the foresight to do that.

Because boy did I mess something up.

At one point I had Word displaying everything in an italic font for what was supposed to be a regular font and I have no idea how that happened.

But what a waste of a good day. I can’t even understand why I did this.

I finally started writing at 11:24 and spent most of an hour and three minutes editing stuff that probably didn’t need to be edited.

Oh, and about mid-day, I reached across my kettle while it was boiling water for my coffee and steamed the crap out of my arm. Right where it touches the edge of my keyboard when I type. Those burns hurt! Of course it blistered. It’s a very ugly burn, in fact, and will probably leave a scar.

So “Yay” for today.

I’m ending my writing session with a negative word count. I knew when I sat down today that tomorrow was not going to be a writing day and that I really needed to make some progress today.

I did none of that.

It was just not a great day. I’m glad to see it over.

July 1-13 progress

Time for another progress post. (Progress on what? Go here.)

As usual, the moment I made a plan for myself, I backed away from it—not in thought but in action.

Little things tend to disrupt me in big ways. That’s what seems to have happened with the keyboard issue I had to deal with this week.

I have the new keyboard installed. I have the new fan installed. I’m not liking the new fan, because it’s noisier than the old one and there’s a weird static-y feeling sometimes as I’m typing, and I think it’s the fan causing it. But overall, my computer and desk are once again set up the way I prefer for them to be.

Yet I’m still feeling disrupted.

Yesterday, I spent some time getting my little netbook that’s running on Lubuntu up to date with the latest LTS distribution. That led me to test a new idea I had for writing away from my desk. I liked it. The keyboard is small but I have small fingers. I used my backup file that I send to Dropbox every day when I finish writing, opened it in LibreOffice Writer, renamed it immediately and saved it in a different Dropbox folder, then just started writing in it.

The big thing for me about working on the same book in multiple places is that I like to see what I’ve written as I work but I do not want to move my master document off my main computer or into Dropbox. Dropbox is for my backup files or for copies of files I want to access elsewhere. I just do not want my master book files stored in any cloud-syncing folder on my computer. I sync my files to my Dropbox folder using yCopy2 and that’s the way I like it.

This means I can’t edit the file I opened on the little netbook, though, or I’ll have a mess on my hands.

It’s one thing to just copy and paste some text from one file to another, but if I were to have to incorporate edited and changed text…? No way am I going to do that. On the other hand, I don’t mind being forced to stop editing and just write, because I do have a tendency to edit and rewrite a lot even when I don’t plan to.

I quite liked this other option for working on my books. It means I can get away from distractions of my main computer while not losing access to the whole document I’m working on, also without risking the integrity of my master document.

All that said, though, I need to be writing more. The disruptions I’ve dealt with this month hasn’t been good for the word counts.

I’ve had too many days this month where I just haven’t forced myself to sit down and write, even though I needed to.

My July-to-date word count: 4,968.

For the moment, I’m going to focus on my 2,000 words a day and go from there.