Day 7 of NANO 2018

Day 7: I wrote 1,207 words for the NANO book.

My NANO word count is now 12,619 words.

Here’s a screenshot I took a few minutes ago. It shows numbers as of today (day 8) but it also shows that I was still a little ahead as of last night. Since today’s writing is coming up, I’m very comfortable with my progress. :)

If my blog posts get a little more sloppy, it’s because I’m going to be using them to practice writing more intuitively and to stop self-censoring myself so much.

Maybe I’ll get better at getting it right the first time, or maybe I’ll just get to enjoy my blog a little more.

I don’t like taking a lot of time away from my writing to do the posts, and yet sometimes, I really just want to write a post. So I think making them quicker to write and less of a chore is the way to go.

Days 1–6 of NANO 2018

I forgot to post that I’m participating in NANO this year (NaNoWriMo, actually, meaning National Novel Writing Month, forever hereafter to be called NANO by me).

I’m actually doing pretty well. I got off to a strong start on a new(ish) book (nope, I haven’t finished the ending of the last book, still working on it).

Days 1–4: I wrote 11,412 words for the NANO book (12,299 words total for all my fiction).

Yeah, I know. It is crazy how I went from a few words a day to a 3,075 a day average without even trying.

(ETA 11/8/18: I think it’s because I might be a burst writer, even if I’m not a hugely productive burst writer.)

October 21-31 I wrote 616 words net of those I deleted, or 56 words a day average. Mostly because I had 7 days of zero writing, after making a note to myself that said: “Gave up on daily writing. It sucks.” (I wasn’t feeling well. I even went to my GP doctor—for the first time since 2010 apparently so I had to go in as a new patient. And yeah, even I was shocked by the length of time I’d managed to avoid my GP.)

Back to NANO.

I had my first bad day on Monday, day 5, but only because I spent the entire day working on that ending of the book I can’t seem to finish. I wrote 515 words that day while deleting stuff and moving some things around.

Once I realized on Monday night that I just wasn’t feeling up to writing anything for the new book, I decided to make it up on Tuesday, but, ack, tornadoes blew through the area at 2:05 am (ish) and my power went out. It stayed out until 8:20 (ish) Tuesday evening. So there went day 6.

I freely admit I could have written something on day 6 (yesterday) because I had at least an hour of charge in my laptop battery left, but I chose to sit huddled up on the couch for most of the day reading instead. :)

Days 5–6: I wrote 0 words for the NANO book (515 words total for all my fiction).

Par for NANO for days 1–6 is 1,667 x 6 = 10,002 words.

Today is day 7 and I’m just about to sit down to write. I’m still on track for a NANO win. All I have to do is keep writing. :)

I don’t have a plan. I just know I won’t be timing myself. I’ll write until I’m done for the day and that’s that. That’s what I’ve been doing since November 1st and I’m very happy with my progress.

I have adopted a new philosophy over the last week.

I’ve been writing fiction, wanting to write fiction, for most of my life. If I’m having trouble getting myself to write, there’s something wrong. I’ve decided enthusiasm is the problem. I’ve just not been focused on writing what I really want to write. It is essential that I always focus on writing what calls to me. Even if it doesn’t fit my own ideas about what I should want to write. :)

And, in all honestly, it seems to be working.

(Just to clarify, I’m still working on the same books, I’m just making sure I write what I want to write and not what I imagine someone else wants me to write or what I think I should write. Make sense?)

Too many posts that talk about nothing

I’m going to clear out some posts soon.

As I’ve talked about many times, I’ve never really known what to do with this site. I use it as a bit of a brain dump to be honest, and I’m not particularly needful of that at the moment. Not that I know why that is. Sometimes I need to record things and sometimes I prefer not to.

Feeling a little less alone today on this journey to improvement

I was going to respond to a blog post I ran across today but found the commenting system was using Disqus which I don’t use and realized I had too much to say for a comment anyway.

Here’s a link: Writing under the influence: productivity and motivation tips to help authors write faster. It’s an interesting post, but the thing that really stood out to me is that I’ve finally (finally!) come across someone with some of the exact same issues in writing and productivity that I have spent six years talking about on this blog.

A “successful” writing day for me right now – when I’m consistent – is 1500 words a day, with two big problems.:

#1. It takes me about 5 sprints to hit 1500 words, but I spread them out throughout the day. So even though technically they only take me about 2 hours, they actually take up my whole day (and I’m too mentally exhausted to do anything else).

I have done the numbers ten ways to Sunday and if I could consistently write for only 4 hours a day, I could put out a book a month.

I can’t do it.

I have tried and tried and tried and tried. I have been trying for approximately 6 years. 75 months. 2,264 days. What it always comes down to is that 4 hours a day of writing takes me all day and I can do that for a few days or even a week sometimes, but I cannot maintain that pace indefinitely. Even my best month of the entire last 6 years of writing (75 months of word counts!) had me averaging 3.83 hours a day. I reached 57,249 words that month, back in April 2016, and I am still trying to beat that number.

#2. I don’t stay consistent. Weeks or months go by without actively working on my books. But when I open, when I start, I can do 1500 words.

This is my bench lifting ability right now. But if I ONLY do this much, I won’t be building my muscles or increasing in stamina. I’ll be coasting, not improving. I WANT to be writing 5,000 words a day, though I’d be happy with 3000 words. That would give me a longish novel a month, plus editing – and I could finish shorter works of 50K in a month (or less!)

Yeah. I want to write about 2000 words a day. I have a 2000 words a day plan, in fact. I know I should be able to do it in a reasonable amount of time every day. And yet… see my comment above. 2000 words a day takes me about 4 hours (timed writing). 4 hours of timed writing takes me all day. I have occasionally done better, finished early, etc. That’s not something I have ever been able to keep up for longer than a few days.

I’ve tried schedules, and timers, and sprinting, and writing for the love of it. I’ve tried time boxing and time blocking and micro-managing my writing time. I’ve tried eliminating sugar and coffee and tea and I’ve tried more coffee and tea and enough sugar to make me sick. I’ve tried exercise and vitamins and candles and music and clear desks and Leechblock. I’ve tried so, so many things, and all I have to show for it is a string of successful days and failed days and no pattern at all to discern anything of note.

Right now I can do about 1200 words/day consistently. Sometimes 1600. The main problem is it takes me ALL DAY to do this; even though I space out the sprints, I procrastinate and avoid. Then I get behind on other work or projects, and get anxious.

This is a big problem: I can only hit my wordcount goals if I literally do NOTHING else.

And this is due to resistance. But why am I resisting the writing? Because I say stuff like “I’m slow, I’m no good at drafting, writing the first draft is HARD for me.” I don’t believe writing HAS to be a struggle, but it obviously is for me… so I’m avoiding it. How can I write and still have time and energy for everything else on my list?

See the similarities to my own issues mentioned above?

I hope the author of the post figures things out eventually. Maybe it’ll be something I can learn from and apply to my own issues.

And it was nice to feel less alone for a few minutes today.

In the meantime, I’m trying to brainstorm alternative paths to becoming the prolific writer I want to be. All the planning in the world hasn’t seemed to have helped me in the slightest.

Daily average for the first two months (July and August 2012) (no timers, no goals other than to finish a book ASAP): 904 words a day.

All time daily average as of today: 552 words a day.

Daily average this month (timed writing almost every day): 908 words a day.

Yeah. Not much else to say, is there? I sure hope I can figure out some way to put my strengths to work for me in writing and actually improve my yearly/monthly word counts. Because trying to fix my weaknesses hasn’t done much for me at all. I’m still sitting right where I started: inconsistent, slow, and full of resistance.

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.

Weird ways I use my calendar

I use a Google calendar for all kinds of things, most of them very normal. I use it for my scheduled appointments and events, and I use it as a task list. I hear you’re not supposed to do that, and I understand why because I’ve read the trusty Getting Things Done book.

I found a lot in that book that helped me set up some systems that I continue to use nearly ten years later. But I still choose to use my calendar for tasks. My brain doesn’t do well with stuff that is out of my sight. I’m very much an out of sight, out of mind kind of person. And when I’m not, it’s because I haven’t been able to stop thinking about whatever thing it is I’m afraid is out of sight and will be out of mind shortly. :)

Most tasks are just set up as “All Day” events and when I finish them, I add a “+” at the beginning of the event name. It’s easy and it lets me search backward when I need to.

Such as: when was the last time I reconciled my accounts in GnuCash? Ah…that’s right, August 20th and it wasn’t part of my normal routine, because I didn’t “+” the event, I added a new event straight into the calendar. :)

But then there are the weird things, like my weight.

I set up my weight as an event and throw it in there every so often just so I can look back and see where things stand. Search makes it easy since the keyword is “pounds.”

Personally, I appreciate the broad overview this gives me. It’s easier to see significant changes when you get rid of extraneous data like what you’d see in a daily log.

I also keep affirmations of one kind or another in my calendar. I have some of them set up as recurring All Day events, so just about the time I’m likely to forget them, they pop up again.

I add All Day events for anything I want to remember, really, from “stray kitten arrived” to “woke up with vertigo” (which happened last week).

I recently created a calendar called “Writing” (separate from my publishing calendar) and I think I’m about to start using it in the same way for memorable stuff related to my books. Stuff like “came up with twist for SB” (SB = Some Book). :)

The one thing I don’t do is use my calendar to track my daily word count. Too much data. If I search for “words” I would be sure to get pages and pages of useless info, because I already keep up with my daily word count in a spreadsheet.

But now that I’m thinking about it, I am definitely going to add a yearly word count to my calendar. I do have a yearly word count summary in my spreadsheet, but the numbers are spread out and not so easy to see side-by-side. I don’t want to make any changes to my spreadsheet, so this will give me a different option for viewing my year-end word counts.

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.