Oh, hell. I’ve already lost track of the days

So that book 19, day whatever lasted a few days. I don’t even know what to say about this. The day after my last post, I pretty much decided I was spending too much time detailing out my struggle to write and that I should focus more on actually writing, you know? So I made a pact with myself to stop writing about the struggle. There is no struggle. My issues with work are not related to writing, except that writing is my work. But I don’t have a problem writing once I start. It’s really just this other thing—these other issues—and I’m tired of putting all that on my writing.

That means my posts about writing either need to be about the story, the process, or my actual word counts. Instead of wasting so much valuable time and energy day after day just writing about how hard it is to make myself write.

So that’s it. This post is a way station and I haven’t figured out exactly where I’m going from here. Most likely I’ll just start posting about exactly those things I mentioned above: process, story, and word count updates.

Since I haven’t written much over the last several days, I haven’t had anything to post about.

I can still use my book xx, day xxx title format for word count updates, but not if I have to start counting days every time I want to post. Yikes. I didn’t think it would be so tedious to keep up with it.

Currently, I’m annoyed with my story because I feel kind of stuck at the moment, and my word counts have suffered greatly because of some personal stuff I’ve had to deal with over the last several days. I don’t begrudge those days, but man, I’m really behind where I want to be on this story.

On that note, I’m going away to write for a while. Maybe I’ll actually have something to post later that isn’t a post saying what I won’t be posting about anymore. ;)

Corrections abound

It was late last night when I wrote all those posts about the writing of my current book, what to call a book, and the day’s progress, and I made some errors. :D

The big one, of course, is that this is not book 21 I’m working on!

This is book 19.

I’ve gone back and edited those posts to take out the wrong information. It just seemed easier that way than trying to note the corrections. :D

I messed up because I used the table I have in my spreadsheet to tell me how many books I have in each category of length: novel, novella, novelette, and short story. That table gave me 18+2=20 for the novel and novella length books.

Or so I thought.

This morning, I remembered something important about that table. It’s pulling data from my “Publish List” which includes every title I’ve published. The table is counting anything over 40,000 words as a novel and is counting a novel that I wrote well before 2012 and that’s no longer published.

I don’t want those two books to count.

The one, I didn’t write but compiled it from stories I’d already written; and the other, well, let me just say it’s old, I’m not sure it’s any good, and I was happy to unpublish it even though it did sell a copy and was one of the things that made me sure I could do this publishing thing for money. :D

Me and late nights do not agree.

So here is the correction:

I have 18 books and 12 short stories. (Between three pen names.)

The book I’m working on now is book 19.

 

Book 19, day 100

Today is day 100 for this book.

I detailed out how I came up with that number in my last post about the writing of my current book. It’s a new way for me to keep track of some generally helpful metrics that isn’t about tracking time or worrying about how fast I write.

Knowing how many days I’ve spent on a book is pretty darn awesome information to have and it’ll be right where I can see it every day because I’ll also be using this post title format in OneNote and my journals. I really won’t be able to hide from reality any longer.

I think that’s a good thing. Ask me in a month. :D

Back to the topic at hand though. I’ve let the day get completely away from me, and now it’s late. Probably too late to be trying to get to 500 words before I fall asleep at my computer, but I think I can do it, so I’m going to try anyway. Why give up before I have to?

So here goes. I’ll be back whenever I need a concentration break so I can refocus. Or tomorrow if I fall asleep at the computer—or just don’t have the energy after writing 468 words in the shortest amount of time possible. (I have 32 words already, because I did actually try to work on my book today.)

About the writing of my current book

I was looking at my word count spreadsheet today and realized that my “Worked On” column in my “Daily Log” sheet gives me the perfect opportunity to know things about my writing that I might not know otherwise.

Here are some things I found interesting about the writing of my current book (book 19).

3/9/17

I wrote a few words.

12/26/17

I wrote a few more words.

2/16/18
and
2/17/18

I tried to get started on this book in earnest. Didn’t work.

5/9/18

I wrote 100 words but I’m not certain they were all on this book.

5/25/18
to
Present

I started the real work on this book. I’ve had 23 zero word days since 5/25, but since I’m actively working on the book, I’m counting them in the total number of days I’ve been working on this book. :-)

What does that all add up to?

I’ve spent exactly 100 days working on this book (so far).

It’s been 537 days since I first started this book. And that means I’ve had this book in my head for 537 days.

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: I get bored when writing a book takes too long. I need to stop stalling when it’s time to start the next book—or just not allow myself to start writing until I’m ready to commit.  Even starting the book sets things in motion in my head that make me feel like I’m losing interest when I don’t continue to make progress.

Finally, ouch. It’s been at least 537 days since I put out the last book in this series (make that 685 to be exact). Sigh. This book is going to flop so hard.

And to tie this all up, I’ve finally found a title format I like for my accountability posts: Book 19, day 100. It ties in with both this post and the last. I can also imagine this being a nice way to keep up with just how long I’ve spent on any one book (or story) and how many books I’ve written. I like it. :-)

Book: Book 19, day 100.

Short story: Short story 13, day 2.

I only foresee one difficulty with this, if I don’t want to be doing multiple accountability posts when I work on more than one story on any particular day. I’ll just line them all up in the title or I’ll summarize at the top of the post for any I don’t want to do that with. :D

Book 19, day 100; Short story 13, day 2; Book 20, day—Oh no. That’s not going to work. I really don’t always know where some of these books are going to fall in line when I’m writing on them like this. Now I’m sad, because I really liked this idea.

Then again, I am trying not to overdo the multiple story trick. Until I can start regularly writing 2,000 plus words a day, working on more than one story at a time is just another way to take too long finishing any of them.

I’ll have to think about this some more.

Or maybe I won’t have to. I could just stick to only counting the current book as the one with a number, and list any extra work I’m doing on other books in the post sans number. Because truly, it’s only been once or twice out of all 30 titles I’ve written that I haven’t known which book I’m actively trying to finish first so I can publish it.

Whew. Crisis averted.

Now, on to finishing today’s minimum word count. I’ve really not been focused where I need to be today. Today has been a study in procrastination.

What to call a book?

All my published titles are books. They’re published individually and that means they’re books.

But when I talk about my books it’s awkward to explain them.

Do I call them books? By that I mean, do I say I have 32 books written and published? Because that really misleads people into thinking I’m talking about novels, when I’m most definitely not.

So do I say titles? I have 32 titles published.

Or do I break it down? I have 18 novels, 2 novellas, 10 novelettes, and 2 short stories published.

But that gets awkward fast. It’s not easy to say, or remember, or explain to those who don’t know what those terms mean. And you’d be surprised how many people outside of publishing just understand books as books and not novels, novellas, novelettes, and short stories.

To them, there’s long and short, and that’s it.

I’ve seen even experienced authors not get it right when the conversation turns to story length.

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has a length standard for their awards.

  • Novel: 40,000 words or more
    • Weirdly, novella-length works can be in this category if they’re published as individual works and the author requests it. So is a novella really just a shorter novel as far as SFWA is concerned?
  • Novella: at least 17,500 words but less than 40,000 words
  • Novelette: at least 7,500 words but less than 17,500 words
  • Short Story: less than 7,500 words

The Romance Writers of America has a shorter list of length requirements for their awards.

  • Novel = 40,000 words or more (by computer word count)
  • Novella = 20,000–40,000 words (by computer word count)

I have my own personal standard for lengths.

  • Novels > 40,000 words
  • Short novels / novellas > 15,000 to 40,000 words
  • Novelettes > 7,000 to 15,000 words
  • Short Story < 7,000 words

What made me decide on these lengths? My own writing habits. I have several 7,500 word stories and they just didn’t feel the same as the 6,000 word stories. More depth, more going on in the stories. So I adjusted.

Most people just really don’t care about those intermediate lengths. The nomenclature is irrelevant to them. 10,000 words is still “short” to them, and a 25,000 word story is longish. That’s certainly how it feels to me when I’m downloading and reading fan fiction. :D

I think to cover all my bases I’ll just say I’ve written and published 20 books and 12 short stories.

That’ll create the fewest questions, with the largest number of people.

I’m glad that’s decided. Now I can get back to work on my 21st book. :-)

(I’ll note that these numbers count only the books I’ve written to publish since 2012. I’ll just claim everything else as practice and leave it at that.)

Correction: I made a mistake! The numbers in this post are wrong. I have 18 books and 12 short stories. But 31 titles published. Explanation here. :)

I fail a lot

I fail a lot. I think the overwhelming number of posts I’ve put on this site where I candidly admit that I haven’t reached some goal I’ve set for the day tells that story well.

Night before last, I failed again. I didn’t write 500 words or 2,000 words, and I didn’t end up staying awake for a night of writing.

Yesterday, I didn’t do any writing at all. I’m not sure why, because I intended to write, but it didn’t happen.

But here’s how I see failure: it’s a chance for a fresh start.

Today, that’s what I’ve done. I’ve given myself a fresh start.

⇒ I will write a minimum of 500 words (255 already written and 245 to go).

⇒ I’ll do everything I can to write at least 2,000 words.

However, I have also come to the conclusion that I do have to start taking my stated goals more seriously. I’m not doing myself any favors by constantly failing to meet them. This easy acceptance of failure has set a bad precedent and become a habit I didn’t want to cultivate.

On that note, I’m going back to my writing. I have a book I haven’t given up hope of finishing this month and I need a lot of words for that to happen.

Update: I wrote 565 words. Not as many as I wanted but beyond that minimum. That’s an okay result. Definitely happy to have stuck to my resolve to get that minimum.

It’s time for a late night writing spree :)

First, does it count as a late night writing spree if it starts at 9:32 pm? That doesn’t feel like late night to me. However, this is likely to take a while, so I’m predicting a late night here.

I have a 500 word daily minimum to hit. I didn’t hit it yesterday or the day before and I don’t want to let that streak get out of hand.

My reasons for not writing that daily minimum of words is the usual. I just couldn’t get started yesterday at all.

I looked at my story before I wrote this, so I’ve gotten a head start, technically. In actuality, I deleted the last few paragraphs of chapter 9 and lost 97 words, starting me off in the hole. It doesn’t affect any of the opening of chapter 10, so that’s okay. I won’t be getting sucked into any revision because of that decision. In fact, I’m pretty sure that might be a sign that I needed to get rid of those paragraphs all along.

I seem to get stuck a lot and I’m not sure why or what that says about me or my writing process.

Now, it’s time to go write. I’ll be back with updates.

Update 8/25/18

And… that failed spectacularly. As soon as I settled down and stopped moving around much, I got sleepy. So sleepy that I finally just gave up, hibernated the computer, and went to bed.

So I accomplished almost nothing last night.

My ending word count on my book: 21,161.

Meaning I didn’t even write enough to cover the 97 words I deleted.

The “no timers” thing

When I revisited getting rid of my timers, I thought the beginning of 2017 and the middle of 2017 was the last time I’d addressed the issue. But I was wrong. As I published my last post and checked through it as I usually do, I clicked the “corrective action“ tag.

It showed me a post I wrote in November 2017 called, appropriately, “Done with timers” that kind of shocked me. I had forgotten all about writing it.

First, no more timers. I’m not even talking about temporarily. I’m doing away with timers.

I know that didn’t work for me at the beginning of this year, but that was because I was using timers in conjunction with no schedule and no goals either. That was a mistake.

I know what I need as far as word counts: 500 words a day minimum, 3,000 words a day goal.

The goal is there to help make a particular dream I have a reality. I want to move. I want a new house. I want a pool. I need money to make that happen. :-)

I really don’t need to track anything else. Those are the numbers I need, each day. One is easily accomplished, the other is a stretch. Tracking my daily words is the only metric I need to know if I’m doing what I need to be doing (500 a day) or want to be doing (3,000 a day).

Swap out that 3,000 a day with my 2,000 words a day plan and this is pretty much what I’m doing now. I didn’t set a 500 a day minimum this time, but now that I’m reminded of that, I think I will.

I’m not going to forget and I’m not going to go back. I am done with timers. I mean done done done.

That 500 word minimum has the benefit of making yesterday’s word count an important success (I wrote 571 words, after all) and gives me something to push for tonight that’s more realistic than 2,000 words, because I’m not even going to pretend I’ll be able to go from the 53 words that I have to 2,000 words before I call it a night considering how late it is. But 500? Definitely possible.

And to top it off, this also means I have a 500 words a day streak going that I won’t want to break tonight. I mean, it’s only two days, but it’s two days in a row!

August word count update

August word count to date = 7,258*

That’s a far cry from where I wanted to be by now when I started August. I’ve had a few good days, though. Specifically, the 16th and the 20th.

8/16 – 1,685
8/20 – 2,198

The rest of the days of this month have been mediocre at best.

Yesterday, I’d hoped for a repeat of my 2,000+ words day, but it didn’t happen. And today is looking even worse.

8/21 – 571 words
8/22 – 53 words (so far)

*Today is still in progress, although I’m not sure it’s going to get much better if I can’t find some way to convince myself to finish writing the scene I’m in the middle of. I just do not want to write the rest of this scene.

I’m trying very hard to decide if I want to delete the portion of the scene that I haven’t wanted to write today or to push on through. There’s also the fact that if I delete it and write, even though the words will be gone, I’ll at least be writing again. But it could lead me to end the day with in a negative position if I don’t write enough. However, the words aren’t doing me any good if they’re just getting in the way of my brain coming up with an alternative so getting rid of them could be my best way forward.

The best way to figure this all out is to start back through the chapter and just go with it, changing or deleting if I need to so the story can move forward again, but I’m just feeling very resistant to that and have been all day.

But… it’s time to decide and do something, because this book isn’t going to write itself and I’m trying to end the week with 14,000 words.

2198+571+53=2822
14000-2822=11178

(I really love how you can type math into OneNote and it solves it for you.) :D

I have 11,178 words still to write this week, and I should probably try to get a least a few (more) of them written tonight.

 

Today is the day I’ll write 2,000 words for the first time since November 2017

Fiction words, that is. I’ve written plenty, many days, that probably put me well over 2,000 words in general.

What I haven’t done is write 2,000 words in a day since November 29, 2017 on any of my books or stories.

But today is looking like the day I break that streak. I’ve already written 658 words and it’s only 1:08 pm.

Which is good, because I’m ready to get the 2,000 words a day plan off the ground. I mean, I’ve been trying since I first posted about the plan, but it just hasn’t happened.

But today is the day. I can feel it. :)

On a final note, I haven’t changed my mind about the timers and timed writing. I haven’t recorded any timed sessions since I abandoned that process and I’m very happy to have done it. I feel like my progress hasn’t been hurt at all.

I occasionally jot down my progress like I did in the August 13, 2018 writing post, but that’s pretty much as far as I go, or ever plan to go.

The hardest part to accept was that although I felt as if the last time I tried this my output of words went down, in reality, it was going down regardless. Something had started that downward spiral already and it all culminated in me taking an extended break from writing. Returning to the use of timers didn’t save me, and the lack of timed writing and a schedule beforehand didn’t cause that downward slide.

It was hard to recognize that fact, because I’d been using the timers as a crutch for so long, but in the end, not even the urge to beat the timers could push me to write. I had to reconnect with my desire to write for the sake of writing before I could move foward. I’m still reconnecting, to be honest, but it’s there. I can feel it.

And there are definite benefits to writing without the timers, the number one being that I lose track of time when I’m writing so it feels a lot less like a chore to get through.

I’m the worst about not wanting to start things when I know how long they’ll take to finish. This way I don’t have to. Fooling myself into thinking I’ll finish sooner than I actually will is highly beneficial to me.

Anyway, it’s time to have lunch, then go back to writing. I’ll check in with my word count later, but anything else will go into its own post. :)

In-progress writing

Word count check-ins

  • 12:34 pm – 658 words
  • 5:57 pm – 1,161 words
  • 2:34 am – 2,198 words

Did it!