Tuesday writing, Oct. 16, 2019

Trying something new today. I’ll detail it out once the day is done, but I’m hopeful, despite the fact that I got up an hour later than I needed to for my plan! It’s always something, and it will always be something, so why not see if I can still accomplish what I’d like to accomplish even when things go wrong?

I’ll be back when I have progress to report.

Update: 1,743 words and a success with my plan which I’m calling my 5 by 5 plan. See that post for details (which I haven’t written yet but will be writing shortly).

Monday writing, Oct. 15, 2019

I’ve spent the vast majority of the day avoiding my book, because I have a decision to make about the scene I’m in the middle of writing and I don’t want to make it.

Instead, I’ve spent my time messing around with Thunderbird. I added a new account and then couldn’t sort it into the place I wanted it in the account list because the Manually Sort Folders add-on I rely on for that kind of thing isn’t compatible with the version of Thunderbird I’m using now. I’m stumped on how to do the sorting through the prefs.js file, because I’ve followed every set of directions I can find and nothing seems to work. So of course it turned into just the kind of challenge I often let myself sink into instead of focusing on whatever problem I’m having that I need to resolve—like the unsettled plot direction of my book.

Yay.

I’ve just about used all the time I can on other things, though, because I do need to get back to that story problem. I know I can resolve it, but it will require me to actually work on the book. Thinking about these things never seems to give me the breakthroughs I need. Only writing will do that.

Update: Just before I called it a night, I deleted my entire chapter 22. That was 1,246 words. Good riddance. Now I can move into tomorrow with a fresh start on this chapter and hope the direction is better for my muse!

September 2018 progress

September was an interesting month. I needed to write a lot of words and I didn’t, really, but I still did reach my goal of September becoming my best month of writing I’d had all year. November 2017 is the last time I had a better word count.

I feel like I’m still recovering, but I’m definitely making progress. I still haven’t finished my first book of the year, but I’m getting close. So close, in fact, that I’m making a push to finish it today. We’ll see how it goes. :)

Written in September: 13,358 words.

It’s October now, and I’m just under two thousand words shy of beating September’s word count. With a little hard work, I’ll surpass that number today.

Oh, and today is the 38th day in my streak of writing every day which started on September 4th. That’s good too.

So what is today? It’s day 27 of my streak of writing every day!

I actually have multiple things going on here right now, trying to find ways to get myself to write more often, more words, and with more consistency.

Not only am I attempting to write every day, I’m also trying to reach and maintain a 2,000 words a day average.

Today is day 27 of my streak of writing every day (which assumes I will stop writing this and actually go write some fiction in a minute!), so Yay! for that, but the last day I reached 2,000 words in a day was seven days ago, so not so yay for that.

However, I’ve put some things behind me, and I’m hoping today will be better.

My plan is to write for a minimum of six hours today (using a countdown timer set for six hours) and write a minimum of 2,400 words. I’ll need a pace of 400 words an hour to do that IF I run that timer all the way down to zero. I do plan to do that. :D

I tried this the day before yesterday and came up short on time. I also came up short on words. I was distracted and that distraction made me write slowly and I lost a lot of time.

I’m going to try not to let that happen today. Now, I’m off here to go write for six hours.

Burning bridges and all that

So. I kind of burned some bridges yesterday. I think that’s a good thing, in this particular case.

I’ve been dealing with some angst about KB for a while as I’m sure some of my previous posts here have made clear, and it had all turned into an emotional sinkhole and I needed to climb out.

I have also decided that this applies to all forums. Forum culture is not for me. Forums promote engagement and investment of self, but it is very much an illusion. I get attached to the people on the other side of the keyboard. They’re real people to me, and these kinds of real relationships and friendships don’t exist for a lot of the people who post on social sites online. They do not care about me, and they will never care about me. So to protect myself, I have had to realize this and decide to step back permanently from these kinds of spaces.

Here’s the thing. I might omit details or gloss over some things to protect my privacy, but I am here and I’m me. I’m not trying to be someone else, despite my pseudo-anonymous posting here. I don’t knock other people down to make myself look more accomplished, successful, or lucky next to them. I mean, my God, have you been reading this blog? :-o

Maybe sometimes I can’t seem to make up my mind about who I am, but that’s because I honestly don’t know sometimes. I think my posts speak clearly on that topic!

Anyway, I said some things that I meant, but I don’t know if I said them well, or that I don’t regret having said some of them. I’m not going back to see if I can figure it out. I burnt that bridge. When I walked away, the thread I was posting in had just been locked, and that’s how I’m leaving it in my head.

I blocked KB using the ad-blocker add-on I use in Firefox (uBlock Origin) and I blocked it on my phone.

It’s done.

I have always found burning bridges to be an effective (if last resort) option to eliminate things from my life. This, I expect, will be no different.

Today is day 20 of writing every day

I’ve written some fiction every day now for 20 days.

Next up, get my daily average at or above 2,000 words by writing 2,400 words a day.

Today I’m trying to get to that 2,400 words for the first time in a very, very long time. (I did not get there yesterday.) I’m going to do it by writing in 15 minute sessions, in blocks of 4, using the same set up as mentioned in the “Timed sessions are back” post.

I’ve already completed one session. I’ll update whenever I need a break between sessions. That’ll give me a bit of a distraction but not by doing something that’s likely to derail me from my writing today.

Also, just putting it out there, but I’m thinking if the first hour or two go well, I might turn today into an attempt to best my best day of writing. 5,816 is the number to beat there.

We’ll see how it goes. Right now, I have a mere 99 words after one session. That pace is too slow for this to be a record-breaking day of writing for me.

Update

Words today: 2,445.

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.

Well, there you go. Bye-bye KBoards

My love/hate relationship with KBoards is pretty much over. VerticalScope bought the site from the former owner and snuck in terms of use changes that I noticed and brought to the attention of the other members, and boom, explosions happened.

When all was said and done (not all has been said and done, but it’s getting there), many of the members agreed that the terms were onerous, ugly, possibly illegal (laying claim to rights VS can’t have just because you’ve posted something on the board, and then stating there’s no recourse if they misappropriate or infringe them, and other weird, overreaching, and unconscionable shit like that), and made it not worth the risk to stick around and keep posting.

I agreed, but since I’ve been mostly anonymous as a user on KB for all the years I’ve been posting there, I wasn’t worried for me. I wasn’t even worried about what VerticalScope might do with the content I still had up because most of it is very much just random comments. There’s not much there to be honest, because I delete most of my posts every year or two to keep things fresh. But then the community manager for VerticalScope, Helene, came on and acted like an asshole with no respect at all for the valid concerns of the non-anonymous members.

So I decided nope not sticking around with assholes like that in charge. Then I went in and cleaned out the 700-ish posts I did still have there.

Permission denied, VerticalScope, I do not choose to agree to your Terms of Use.

I left a few posts, ones that were relevant to the topic of the terms of use, and some in a thread I’d started recently, and that’s it. I decided not to abandon the thread I started but I won’t be posting much in it and will let it die if no one else posts. At that point, I will clear out those posts too, because I don’t like leaving loose threads behind.

Whether or not I post anything else there in the future depends entirely on what VerticalScope does or does not change. As of right now, the plan is to truly abandon KB and not go back once my own thread has died out.

In the meantime, I’ve found a different forum to use to keep up with the news I usually get from KB.

I am sad about this, despite the fact that I’ve been pretty hard on Kboards here. I really had hoped when I posted about the new Terms of Use that someone would come onto the thread and make a good case for why the changes weren’t anything to worry over. I’m disappointed it turned out to be just as ugly as my gut was telling me.

But now that this has all happened, what I really want is to take this opportunity to cut back how much reading/participating/posting I do on any publishing forum. Until I get to the point where I can reliably write my words every day and have plenty of time left over, all this other stuff is just getting in my way. :D

On that note, Leechblock is back.

For those not in the know, that’s 10 minutes total for all those sites combined, in a four hour period. You would be astounded (or maybe not) how quickly 10 minutes goes when you’re trying to read a busy thread. Yesterday I started out with a 4 minute limit and boy was that frustrating in the extreme! :D I had to ease up so that I didn’t become so frustrated that I abandoned this effort. I quite like it.

In the past, I usually turned off access to certain sites during certain times, which works not at all when you’re not tied to a writing schedule. :) I also had tried limiting myself to so much total time per day on some sites, but my personality is such that I would use all the time, then get annoyed that I couldn’t go back for the entire day. So that didn’t work, because I constantly cheated myself by pausing or resetting Leechblock.

This particular set up seems to work well with my brain. I get to look at the clock and know it’s only a few hours until I can go back if I get locked out, and that is soon enough to trick me into getting on with other things instead of dwelling on it and then ultimately cheating. :D

The news tab is even more restricted. I allow 2 minutes every 4 hours, with the intent to save anything I really want to read to Pocket. :) I do my Pocket reading when I’m really desperate for something to occupy my mind. Half the time, I delete a whole bunch of stuff unread because I’ve let it get stale and lost interest. That right there, my friends, is half the battle won. :D

Well, I’ve wasted enough of my morning writing this up, so I’m moving on to the next post about my upcoming writing sessions. See you there. :)

 

Timed sessions are back (because there’s no such thing as never again)

This post is the result of several drafts. I started it off intending to talk about my attempt to try scheduled writing again. That didn’t work out so the post fell by the wayside.

Me and writing schedules do not fit together, and I can’t believe I’m having to say this again, because I know this.

I’ve been trying to be diligent about not giving in to the urge to use timers for writing, but last night, I realized just how counterproductive that resistance has been.

I didn’t want to give in, but nothing has really been working for me lately. (Well, except for OneNote. My canceled subscription ended without a hitch and I never noticed a thing.) I need to write. I have a book to finish and I am ready (really ready) to become a prolific writer. I’ve challenged myself to improve how much and how often I write so that I can end this year in a much better place than it started. If that doesn’t happen, I at least want to get back to where I was just two years ago (production-wise) and that has felt impossible these last several months.

It’s taking me a very long time to get back into the groove of writing. I feel like I don’t even remember how to do it some days. Everything is choppy and annoying and nothing is coming easy, and frankly, I’m boring myself with some of the stuff I’m writing. Which means I’m probably going to bore other people too.

I suffer from the delusion that you can stop doing something for six months and come back to it as good as you were before. :o

Nope! It takes time to get back into a groove and get comfortable again–to get into habits and routines that make things easier. No one would expect a pro-ball player to take six months off (seriously off, not secretly puttering at it) and then be right back in the zone the very month they came back. It would take time. Practice, exercise, effort. I tend to ignore all that and just think I should be able to fall right back into things after some of my extended breaks and not miss a beat. Oops. Most of us know that’s not how it goes!

So last night I used a few 12 minute sessions to get back into the groove of things and it felt great. I had really missed my timers. Sure, it’s nice to write sometimes and look up and realize I’ve written a lot of words in what feels like no time at all. But it is also nice to write and know that I need to keep going just a little longer before I quit because I might actually get somewhere if I do.

I’ve gone right back to the 48 minute sessions I had decided were the perfect length the day before I decided to abandon timers. (I must not have written about this here because I could find a diary entry about it but not a blog post.) I had figured out that 48 minutes was the best length for so many good reasons, but when I sat down to do them, I could only do one and kept putting the next sessions off, and all that angst led me to decide I was done with the timers. So… good and bad, those 48 minute sessions. :D

I set up a simple table in my spreadsheet to track my current session, and I decided that sometimes, I might want to focus on smaller bits—

Like this:

Words WPH
12 0
12 0
12 0
12 0
0 0

—or longer bits—

Like this:

Words WPH
48 0
48 0
48 0
48 0
0 0

—but which I choose is really just going to depend on what kind of day I’m having.

:)

In the end, it’s pretty clear that I’ve come full circle. It’s 2018 and without even realizing it, I have come back to the very place I talk about in that post.

That post, which I came across today for the first time in ages, could have been written yesterday, it is so close to my current thoughts and goals.

A week ago, I made some calculations (without any memory of that post and what it contained) and came up with 2,192 words as my daily goal. I didn’t post here about that change to my 2,000 WPD plan, because 2,000 was a nice round number and I didn’t think it mattered. Then last night, I decided 2,400 was better, because it fit neatly into the timed writing goals I was working out and would mean I wouldn’t have to worry about keeping my 2,000 words a day average if I missed a day or two of writing every so often.

Really, truly, it’s uncanny how apt that post is for what I’m dealing with right now.

So that’s where I am. :)

Now that’s enough of that. I have writing to do.

August 2018 progress

I realized I never did my August summary post so here it is.

Things are still better than they were, even if my August word count is lower than my June word count (11,281). It did come in better than my July word count (6,478), so I’m pleased about that.

Words written in August: 7,840.

I’d like to make September my best yet of the year, but we’ll have to see how things go.