Started 2014 Novella #1

I’m writing 2014 novella #1 instead of 2014 novel #1 because I wanted to write something short but I couldn’t get into 2014 short story #1. :o Technically, I started this novella back in 2012, but only made it about 600 words in before I set it aside. I do that a lot, write one or two pages and then move on. I track the words, and some stories get picked up later and some get deleted when I finally decide I’m never going to write that one after all.

My pace could be better. I’ve spent the majority of the time I’ve been at the computer either goofing off, reading the previous stories in the novella’s series, or writing s.l.o.w.l.y and wishing I could write faster.

I’m really letting myself fall behind here on the one million words challenge, and I’m kind of sad about that. And mad. At myself. So tomorrow (because it’s always easiest to say tomorrow) I’m going to watch my time diligently* and do what needs to be done. I will aim to write at least 4,000 words tomorrow. Maybe I’ll be very dedicated (and lucky) and hit one of my rare 5,000 word days.

But for tonight, this is it, because I need to spend at least the rest of the time between now and sleepy time writing what I can. I already know the chance of me writing my full 2,750 words today is slim to none. I’d have to write six times my normal speed to get what I still needed in half an hour. But I might be able to hit 500 more before I crash.

I’ve averaged 1,096 words per day so far. I need to average 2,750.

*I installed a time tracking app on my phone, set it up, and started tracking my time into work (writing, learning, publishing) and personal (leisure, chores, personal) categories. This is ridiculous and I know it, but I’m willing to try anything if I think it will increase my chances of writing more! I plan to use this for at least a few days, maybe a week, and if it works, who knows? Maybe all year. :)

One Million Words Challenge One Week In

I joined the One Million Words community on Google+. We’re a group of writers who are trying to write one million words in 2014. It’s a great place if you’re seriously trying to write a lot of words this year! Which is something I’m working on. The group is great. I love it. It’s very motivational to be around other writers striving for the same goal.

Current total: 10,837
Should be:  24,750 (actually 24,194 but I’m rounding to a daily average of 2,750)

So … I’m behind. But if I can stick to my schedule going forward most days, I should make it up by the end of the month assuming my 500 wph averages out and I do most of the hours I’m supposed to do between then and now.

Why am I already behind?

I published a book! And wow, did that take some serious time away from writing. It was the fastest I’ve ever published a novel length book, but my deadline hit and it had to be done. And wow again, but that was something I don’t ever want to repeat. The stress! The worry! The tossing and turning! Also, the weather forced schools to close, so my schedule’s been hit and miss this week—mostly miss. But that ends tomorrow, so we’ll see how I do getting back into the groove.

It’s completely obvious to me now that I need one place to write about writing and as long as I have that place, I’m a happy person. :-) I used to send long, meandering emails to a friend, but decided the time had come to cut that out. No sense piling up someone’s email like that when a blog would work just fine. And lo and behold, I happened to have a couple of them available for whatever I wanted to post. :D

Finally, I’m having trouble settling on my next project. There are a couple of novels I want to write before spring, but I also wanted to take a short break and write something short, but nothing is really working for me except one of the novels. So. Sigh. I’ll eventually figure it out. I hope. You know, before spring. :o

Oh My! I’m Almost Done With 2013 Novel #5

This week’s been weird. I’d hoped desperately to finish 2013 novel #5 in, you know, 2013. :D Didn’t happen. But! I finally figured out my problem, chopped off 2,844 words at the end, and started over and now—nowfinally!—I think I’m just about at the end. I have a bit more wrap up to do, but I’m really, really hopeful it will be done by 8pm tonight.

Why 8pm? Because if I don’t finish by 8pm, I’m going to be late on this book, that’s why. I’ve squeezed my publishing tasks into the tiniest realistic allotment of hours possible and I have to start meeting those deadlines with a precision that’d scare a computer.

So. Deep breath and back to work for me. But I was so excited to realize the end was actually happening that I had to share. :D

Finding the Right Schedule for 2014

So, after giving it a little more thought, but not wanting to veer too far from the plans I’ve already worked out for the one million words challenge, I’ve made myself a new schedule for 2014 that’s turned out to be a bit different than I expected. Better, I hope, but not quite what I laid out in the previous post about it. :D

7am–9:36am
11am–1:36pm
4pm–6:36pm

There’s a somewhat complicated reason for the odd numbers that I won’t bore you with, but I like it. I’ve tried it out today and it’s working really well for me. (Except that I’m getting about an hour and a half of a late start on the last session.)

On the weekends, I’m just going to eliminate the middle session and move the last session to 7pm (8pm when needed). That means most of my weekend days will be completely free from around 9:36am–7pm for getting out, reading, or taking up a new hobby if I want. :D And of course, if I have other plans, I’ll just pick the two most convenient session times for the day.

This is actually going to lead to more writing time in a day than I usually ever come close to, so it’s going to be interesting to see how much actual timed writing I get.

Theoretically, this schedule could allow me to average about 24,700 words a week. That means I could not write for eleven and a half weeks out of the year and still make the one million. So … breathing room! Which we all know is a definite necessity.

I am sincerely hoping this schedule will help me stay on track in 2014.

I’m making a commitment here and now to stick to this schedule in 2014—no rethinking, reconfiguring, recalculating—getting rid of all the baggage that comes with having to make decisions every single day* about how and when I’m going to get to my writing. This is a near perfect schedule for what’s going on in my life right now. I think this is going to be grand. :)

Still, I’m very afraid this goal is way too huge for me, and I’m not going to allow myself to feel like a failure if I only get partway there. :D But boy, I love this huge goal!

*I struggle with this kind of thing all the time. 2014 is the year I tackle this head on! I plan to come up with more rules for myself and my life this year to eliminate as much of this needless, repetitive decision-making as possible. I’m actually thinking of setting alarms on my phone to trigger me to do certain things at certain times—you know, train myself, lol. :D I’ve already set the alarms for the writing times. :)

One Million Words

So, in 2014, I’m planning to attempt to write one million words of fiction. I’m not sure why I’ve decided that quadrupling my word count’s a good idea: oh, the pressure! But I have decided to try and I’ll probably know after a month if I have any chance whatsoever of accomplishing such a thing.

I have a plan.

I’m going to write for 5 and a half hours on weekdays, and 4 hours on weekend days. Based on my average word count per hour, I can make it to one million words writing that many hours each week. If I push myself during my writing time or improve my ability to let go of my perfectionist tendencies, I’ll probably be able to scale back those hours. If I don’t, I might need the 5 and a half hours on weekend days too.

My biggest obstacle is going to be butt-in-chair time. I have a distinct aversion to it! :D

I’m working on honing my ability to focus and stay in flow, but it’s hard. It doesn’t take outside distractions to distract me; my mind can flit from one subject to another without any warning at all, and that’s not good for focus or for staying in flow!

I have rules that I hope will help me.

I’m turning off WIFI on my laptop at night before I shut down (and blocking it on my phone and Kindle and NOOK and anything else I might use to access forums, blogs, and email) and I’m making it a rule that it doesn’t come back on until I’ve reached 3 hours, then I’ll allow myself a WIFI break of no longer than 30 minutes (while I do some light exercise to keep my blood flowing to my brain!), and then off again until I finish my time.

That’s it.

I want to keep this simple so it’s easier to remember the rules and easier to follow. There’s not a lot of gray area here and I don’t want it to require a lot of thought to make it work. Discipline is hard enough without making it complicated.

I followed a similar rule set back in February of 2013 and I wrote 51,396 words that month. While my daily goals were in word counts back then, I remember quitting at about lunch time every day and rarely writing for more than 3 or 4 hours a day (which makes sense because I was tracking my time and my word counts daily during that period and that’s a big chunk of the data I have about my average words per hour).

I’m excited and nervous and terrified by this 2014 goal all at the same time! It’s going to be fabulous. :D

“Finish the Book!” Challenge Revisited—Day 15, ??, ??

The holiday has thrown me, and I’ve completely lost track of what day this should be in my Finish the Book! Challenge. Considering that the challenge should’ve been done ages ago, I’m taking this as a hint to retire the challenge. This book is at 140% of my projected/hoped for word count and it ain’t done yet. That really wasn’t the plan when I started the challenge.

I’m going to finish the book, and I’m going to finish it in the next couple of days so yeah, moving on.

Also, I’m keeping this short so I don’t waste time that should be spent writing fiction. :D

Oh, and even though I fully intended to keep the writing streak going until at least the end of the year, even though I gave myself permission to miss Christmas day, I messed up last night and fell asleep with only 10 new words written. So time to start that one over!

“Finish the Book!” Challenge Revisited—Day 14

Okay, I’m getting  a late start today but this is it. I’ve gotta finish this book today or—today. Yeah. Today. If I go any longer, I’m going to be in trouble with my no-so-tentative-anymore release date. I’ve committed.

There’s definitely a part of me that says I can’t finish today. Maybe not, but I better get really close. :D I can handle being 1,000 or 2,000 words shy of the end. Right now though, I don’t even know where that end is and I’m already 19,721 words past my target. And despite being sick from 12/1 to 12/10, I’ve still managed over 13,000 finished* words in December.

12:50 pm: 0 words to start

I’m going to do about 10 minutes of exercise first to get the blood flowing to my brain and then I’m digging in for an afternoon and evening of hard core writing of 1 hour blocks with short 5–10 minutes breaks between.

Update #1: I haven’t timed my sessions because I can’t seem to get going on this, and I’m starting to think there’s something wrong with the scene. I mean, nothing wrong, wrong, but something about it just isn’t right. Might be time to delete a chunk and start over? I’m at a net gain of 28 words so far and that’s just so wrong. I must hunker down and daydream harder.

Next to last Final update: I give up. It’s been a sad little day. Nope. I just realized I can’t give up because I haven’t written 100 words yet. I’m not breaking my streak; I don’t care how much of a sad little day it’s been.

Final update: 117 words. Whew. The streak lives.

*I cycle through my writing as I go. I try to do as little after-the-fact editing as possible because I hate it. I don’t usually move on until I’ve got the actions/feelings/thoughts across on the page the way I want them. Works for me! This is the method that started me finishing stories. :) All the other things I tried (especially fast drafting through the first draft) just overwhelmed me and left me with a lot of unfinished stories. It took me over 25 years to figure out this was how I needed to write, assuming I started writing when I was 12. I actually think I was younger but I’d have to dig out stuff in storage to prove it, so I’m going with 12. :D Right now I’m working on eliminating the perfectionism that makes me rewrite sentences twenty times apiece before I end up right back at the same sentence I started with. (Yes, I’ve started paying attention and that’s invariably what happens. Yikes, all that wasted time and effort just to end up back where I started!)