Day 13 of 500 words a day

619 words. It was easy enough yesterday that I thought I would end the day with a whole lot more but I was tired after not getting enough sleep the night before and it showed in the latter part of the day. I watched an episode of Rizzolli & Isles on DVD when I stopped for dinner and then just kept watching…

But today I’ll do better. I’m going to aim for no less than 5 hours of writing and see where that takes me. :)

Day 12 of 500 words a day

I made it. I wrote 526 words and kept my streak alive for another day. I didn’t think I would, to be honest. It’s 2:32 am and I’m dead tired.

I started out at a negative word count of hundreds of words because of deletions and it took hours to catch back up and get above 500 words. I did too much editing and not enough fresh writing. But I didn’t want to jump ahead, so I persevered.

I really need to learn how to write a little more freely. And those thousands of words I was thinking about deleting today didn’t get deleted but I’m seriously thinking they might go in the next session.

Day 11 of 500 words a day

Yesterday I wrote 524 words. That brought my daily streak of 500+ words to day 11.

Today is looking dicey. It’s 5:53 pm and I’m sitting at -305 words right now, meaning I’ve deleted significantly more words than I’ve written, and I’m toying with the idea of deleting even more. I’m just really not sure how to handle days like today because if I delete thousands of words, as I suspect might happen, to end up with a net positive I’ll have to write thousands of words if I want my spreadsheet to show 500 words for the day.

Not great.

It’s just something I’m going to have to figure out and then stick to as a general rule.

Day 10 of 500 words a day

My 500+ words a day streak is alive and well. I wrote 563 words on day 10.

As for today, I haven’t done well avoiding distractions. It wasn’t that I got distracted during writing time so much as I just took a break for lunch and never came back.

Except that’s not exactly right, because I did come back at about five o’clock this evening, only to end up in a discussion with a family member that pulled me off track for nearly two hours.

As I said yesterday, I need to take away the potential for distraction if I want to stay focused.

That brings me to my new plan.

No more posting while I’m trying to write, because it leads me right into an area that’s rife with potential distractions. I’ll save the posting for after I’m done trying to write.

Since I’m often not in the mood to post once I start shutting down for the evening, I’ll probably end up doing a lot of morning posts, but that’s okay, as long as I do them before I start trying to write my daily quota of fiction. :-)

Also, it’s time I try a little harder to get my writing done earlier in the day. I prefer daytime writing, to be honest, and there’s just no reason I shouldn’t be doing it when I like doing it best, most of the time.

So yeah. New plan.

Another day of writing more

Today I need to sit down and finish my book. I’m so close. So so close. My plan is to work again in 30 minute sessions, but only take breaks if I need them.

I’d like to commit to 60 minutes, but sometimes I just need to get up, and I really want to set session lengths that I can force myself to honor.

So 30 minutes it is.

Anyway, I’m going to heat up my tea and coffee (maybe not the coffee, just not feeling it this morning), and sit down and start writing. I’ll post updates only when I stop for actual breaks or when I think it won’t interfere with my flow. :-)

Updates below.

#1

I’m having real trouble starting this today so I’m setting a start time of 2 pm. It’s 1:44 now and I need to finish lunch, but then it’s writing for the rest of the day.

#2

Well, I decided I needed to go to the grocery store before I sat down to write. It’s now 4:39 and I’m going to set a start time of 5 p.m. sharp.

#3

And it’s 7:49 pm. I haven’t started writing. But I am starting now. I’d claim procrastination is the problem on this, but today, I’m mostly blaming the fact that I don’t feel all that well and it’s made it a lot harder to just sit down and do it. But I am definitely starting it now. I’m ready to go. Well, I have to trim my nails first but that’s a quick thing and then I’m starting right in on a 30 minute session.

#4

Ha! I started writing, finally!

307 words, .5 hours

And I noticed that I got distracted immediately after starting the update here for this one, so I think I’m going to make the rest of them in OneNote and add them here later or tomorrow. I can’t afford to get distracted again. I lost almost an hour to researching a plugin for this website, writing an update for my author website, looking at my sales reports, and taking a quick look at some forum threads that interested me.

I’m thinking I might just have to change my whole process when it comes to breaks. I probably shouldn’t be getting online at all between sessions. I really do lose a lot of time to checking “just one thing” and taking “quick peeks” at stuff that interests me.

Alright. Getting rid of the potential for distraction is probably the best way forward. From now on, I’m going to write my blog posts in OneNote and post them only when I’m not trying to write. That might be during a long break between sessions that I take purposefully, or later, when I’m done writing for the day.

In fact, just writing these three paragraphs took an additional thirteen minutes! Yep. Gotta stop posting when I’m supposed to be focused on writing. I like posting but I’m going to have to save it for OneNote or skip it altogether until I’m ready for a long PLANNED break.

#5 – Final

563 words. Ended the day at 11:33 pm after way too many distractions.

Day 9 of 500 words a day

Yesterday was day 9 of my 500 words a day streak. I wrote 2,626 words.

My daily average since beginning this effort is now 803 words. This just goes to prove that it doesn’t take much more than the 500 words a day on a few days a week to really improve my long-term average.

Through day 8, 575 words was my daily average.

Add in day 9 and my daily average shot up to 803 words, which is 188 words above my all-time daily average. Meaning that if I maintained this pace, writing mostly 500-520 a day but having 1-2 days where I write quite a bit more, I would write an additional 68,620 words in a year. Or another entire novel.

It’s something to keep in mind, for sure. For someone like me, who finds it difficult to maintain a consistent pace, having a low set minimum appears to be a great way to at least ensure a minimum of production, while increasing the chances of producing more. I’ve already talked about the benefits I’ve been seeing, so I won’t go into that, but suffice to say, I’m feeling really good about this new plan to write 500 words a day. It’s going better than I ever expected, to be honest.

There’s writing faster and then there’s writing more

Today I’m working on writing more. To be honest, I don’t even care how fast I write. I just want to write a lot so I have as much chance as possible of finishing my book today. :)

Updates follow.


Each session is 30 minutes.

272 words. Time for more tea, then back to writing.

593 words.

572 words. Into some edits now, so I’ve slipped backwards in the word count, but making real progress. The next session will be better.

689 words. Still in the edits. I have to make the current section make sense with some stuff I added before it.

798 words. Still in the edits, but not long now I think before I’ll be out of those weeds.

865 words. Just about finished with the edits. A few sentences are all that’s left. Then it’s all new stuff. So here’s hoping the next session report puts me over 1,200 words or so. I can dream!

1,303 words. I guess dreams do come true. :D Woo hoo!

1,569 words. A little slower than the last session but I’m tinkering—not sure exactly where to go, but trying to keep moving.

2,030 words.

2,289 words. I did these last two back-to-back. I’m winding down but I still have so much to write that I just can’t give up. I want to end this book today and that means more words!

2,423 words. This session was only 15 minutes. Now, I’m taking a bit of a break and will be back later to keep going. I don’t want to lose my momentum!

2,491 words. Another 15 minute session to catch up my numbers to an even 5.5 hours.

2,626 words.

It’s almost midnight now and I’ve started getting a headache so I’m not sure I’m going to keep going. In fact, thinking about it now, I probably won’t.

I’ll just call it now at 2,626 words and 6 hours today.

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…

The benefits of writing 500 words a day

It’s been seven days since I started requiring myself to write 500 words of fiction every day. I call it my daily minimum word count.

I’m deliberately choosing not to call this daily minimum a goal, because I am expecting more of myself long-term—I’m just not requiring it.

500 words is a number that seems almost too small to accomplish anything, but the benefits of setting such a low requirement have really started to make themselves known.

  1. My daily word counts are looking more consistent. (Last column.)
  2. My story is staying more active in my thoughts and ideas are coming easier.
  3. I’m building a habit of writing every day. (Getting started late and finishing late isn’t the habit I want, but at least I’m finishing the words!)
  4. There’s actually a feeling of success associated with this that’s much stronger than I expected. I mean, I want to write more than 500 words a day over the long term, but I still feel really good about where this is going.
  5. 500 words is actually a decent number of words, so even at this pace I can finish a real novel in just a few months, and that is motivational in a way that racking up a bunch of 100 or 200 word days isn’t. (50,000 words ÷ 500 words a day = 100 days of writing; 100 days is approximately 3 months and 10 days; making this a pace of nearly 4 novels a year.)
  6. I’m writing every day. (Because of #5!)
  7. I’m not getting stuck in an editing loop. There are only so many times I can edit 500 words into something I’ve already written. That means I’ve been moving forward with the story. Do enough 100 word days and you’ll eventually move forward, sure, but it’s going to take a loooong time—long enough to be demotivating.
  8. 500 words has yet to feel overwhelming. Even the night I put off writing until nearly 1 a.m., I felt like I could get the words quickly enough to make it worth trying. It’d be the same with an even smaller word count goal, but see #5 for why I’m not giving in and just going to bed. 500 words feels significant in a way a smaller word count doesn’t. It’s not pointless to bother or a waste of good sleep time. It matters if I get them done. So I did them.

The week’s numbers

517
533
520
1,004
515
503
505

Total words: 4,097
Daily average: 585

These are the most consistent numbers I’ve gotten in a while, and after a week of this, I believe I can make it last.

500 words a day might just be my magic number.

I already know that writing faster isn’t really the answer for me, but writing more sure might be. If I were to replace all 697 zero words days in my word count log with 500, I would have written 348,500 more words to date than I’ve actually written. That’s pretty mind-boggling considering that my highest annual word count since I began writing is 268,191 words. :-)

I’m just going to call this an experiment that has shown me a path to success. It has been an experiment in small wins and training oneself to do more by expecting less.

500 words is my daily minimum and it will remain so for the foreseeable future.