July 1-13 progress

Time for another progress post. (Progress on what? Go here.)

As usual, the moment I made a plan for myself, I backed away from it—not in thought but in action.

Little things tend to disrupt me in big ways. That’s what seems to have happened with the keyboard issue I had to deal with this week.

I have the new keyboard installed. I have the new fan installed. I’m not liking the new fan, because it’s noisier than the old one and there’s a weird static-y feeling sometimes as I’m typing, and I think it’s the fan causing it. But overall, my computer and desk are once again set up the way I prefer for them to be.

Yet I’m still feeling disrupted.

Yesterday, I spent some time getting my little netbook that’s running on Lubuntu up to date with the latest LTS distribution. That led me to test a new idea I had for writing away from my desk. I liked it. The keyboard is small but I have small fingers. I used my backup file that I send to Dropbox every day when I finish writing, opened it in LibreOffice Writer, renamed it immediately and saved it in a different Dropbox folder, then just started writing in it.

The big thing for me about working on the same book in multiple places is that I like to see what I’ve written as I work but I do not want to move my master document off my main computer or into Dropbox. Dropbox is for my backup files or for copies of files I want to access elsewhere. I just do not want my master book files stored in any cloud-syncing folder on my computer. I sync my files to my Dropbox folder using yCopy2 and that’s the way I like it.

This means I can’t edit the file I opened on the little netbook, though, or I’ll have a mess on my hands.

It’s one thing to just copy and paste some text from one file to another, but if I were to have to incorporate edited and changed text…? No way am I going to do that. On the other hand, I don’t mind being forced to stop editing and just write, because I do have a tendency to edit and rewrite a lot even when I don’t plan to.

I quite liked this other option for working on my books. It means I can get away from distractions of my main computer while not losing access to the whole document I’m working on, also without risking the integrity of my master document.

All that said, though, I need to be writing more. The disruptions I’ve dealt with this month hasn’t been good for the word counts.

I’ve had too many days this month where I just haven’t forced myself to sit down and write, even though I needed to.

My July-to-date word count: 4,968.

For the moment, I’m going to focus on my 2,000 words a day and go from there.

Timed reading while I’m working on my book

Today’s writing plan was simple: time myself as I read through what I already had written (chapters one through four) and then use my timer for some 45 minute writing sessions.

I use the timer when I’m doing my proofreading check at the end (for publishing).* I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about that here before. It really helps keep me focused on reading and not getting distracted the way I used to do when I did my final read through.** This is one of those coping mechanisms I’ve come up with over the years to deal with the fact that I don’t always find it easy to focus, even when it’s something I want to do.

Today was the first time I’ve tried the timed reading thing while going back to read through and fix things during actual story creation.

I liked it. I think I’ll do it again when I need to.

But there was a definite difference in speed. My proofread usually takes 15-20 minutes per chapter. This was much more time consuming! I ended up spending most of the day on this. Focusing is hard work (for me), no joke!

Now that I’ve done that, I’m going to go off and write for a few minutes, then pack it in for the night. I just don’t think I have it in me to do any 45 minute sessions. It’s 10:48 pm and I’ve been at it all day.

I do think I’ve cleared out all the deleted stuff in my head so that when I really get into the next scene I’m not going to be confused. I do hope so.

Maybe I’ll reread on my Kindle in bed tonight where I can’t touch it except to highlight errors and just try to settle it more firmly in my thoughts.

+=+=+

* I have a spreadsheet for this stage. I have a column with my chapter number and I sit down with that chapter, turn on my stopwatch timer, and read. I record the time. I move on to the next chapter. Breaks are optional.

** I used to just keep up with my percentage read based on my Kindle locations in the final manuscript (after sending it to my Kindle). I tried to read in long stretches of time, sometimes setting hour long goals for myself to read as much as I could in that time. Trust me when I say that I really like my current spreadsheet method much better. :)

June 19–29 progress

Hey, maybe I’ve found a title format I like for these posts. :)

I feel like I’ve been stuck in a vat of Elmer’s glue. I have been making progress almost every day. I’ve had only two zero word days for the entire month of June. Those are the only two days I didn’t sit down to write.

That said, I have stalled out on the book. No doubt. I started chapter three four different times, then gutted it. Then I incorporated some of those words back into a different chapter three and pushed some more off to chapter four. Then I deleted those words. Now I’m looking at incorporating some of them into chapter four after all.

But I need a thorough read through today. I started doing one yesterday but got stuck on fixing the first scene of chapter one. Which I had honestly thought I was done with after the last time I revisited chapter one and gutted it then swapped out scenes one and two and found myself pretty pleased with how that went.

I again think I’m done with that first scene in chapter one. In fact, I’m happier than ever with it and hope it is actually better and not just imaginarily better.

(Imaginarily isn’t a word? I don’t believe it. Using imaginatively instead just doesn’t feel right. Moving on.)

The lack of actual progress has been frustrating though. My book’s word count hasn’t moved much at all in the last week. Friday the 22nd, I ended the day with a word count for my novel of 11,017 words. Today, I’m starting at 10,890 words.

Words written June 19–29: 2,692

My June-to-date word count: 11,034

I’d like to get to 15,000 words by the end of today but it’s going to take a whole lot of writing to get there. And I have to get out of whatever funk I’ve fallen into with this story.

June 16–18 progress

Here’s an update. These updates are one of the several ways I’m trying to stay accountable to the writing plan I’ve made for what’s left of 2018. (Especially important considering how I let the year start off.)

June 16: 715
June 17: 193
June 18: 259

The goal each day has been at least 2,000 words, but I’ve gotten bogged down in the current chapter I’m writing and having no luck writing my way out of it.

I started out this chapter in one way, then began again, and again, and again, but didn’t want to lose what I had. Big mistake. I’ve tried to stitch it all together, but that’s where I end up bogged down.

I don’t tend to think I write out of order, but I when I try to look at things objectively, I know that sometimes I do. This may be one of those times. It’s also possible I should have just deleted everything in the chapter and started completely fresh, but I didn’t think that was going to be necessary. I did end up deleting a lot, and rewriting a lot, and wishing I’d just deleted to start with, but missing every little bit I ended up losing. It’s still a bit of a mess, but I did manage to put all of it back together. I have some thoughts about things I missed that I need to fix, but I am hopeful I can get in there and do that without going off on a tangent again that changes everything that comes after (which is what tends to happen and is the cause of a lot of writing grief for me).

It may also be that I’m a little too worried about what I’m writing (perfectionism rearing its head). It’s hard to tell. I can’t seem to let go of the idea that things just aren’t right yet.

If I bog down again today, I’m going to have to lower my expectations for this story, because I want to finish this book within a six week period, and I’m already approaching the end of week four since I began working on this book in earnest.

You know what? I read back through that last paragraph and it’s obvious why I’m bogging down. I’ve put expectations on this story and I’m going to have to let them go, now, not later.

So there you are. This is where I am with the writing as of this morning. Hopefully, I’ll have better progress to report the next time I do a progress post. :-)

June 1–15 progress

Today I’m writing. I’ve written something every day for seventeen days now, in fact. Some days, of course, were longer than others when it comes to how much time I spent writing. On the whole, though, I’ve stuck to my 12–4 schedule and created a bit of a routine for myself.

The fact is, I need to start finishing books again. I’ve had way too much time off on the whole over the last couple of years and it’s time for me to start pushing myself again to do more.

I can’t really explain why I hit such a bump in my productivity. I have children, and they’re definitely in a transitional phase since they’re both in the 18-20 year old range now (and were in the 16-18 year old range when I started to fail a bit at keeping myself writing). Their transitional phase translates into a transitional phase for me, and I’ve just now accepted that despite the societal expectations I grew up with, my kids aren’t leaving home any time soon. So my own transitional phase isn’t quite the one I was expecting, and I need to find a way to work through it.

At this point, it’s like having adult roommates who don’t pay rent. I’m sure of only one thing: I don’t like it. On the other hand, I’m not exactly rushing to kick the kiddos out on their tushes. :D I do love them and want what’s best for them. Neither are in a position to take on the real world just yet, no matter how ready I am for them to do it.

Too bad, so sad for me. :D I will cope though, and I seem to be getting my writing mojo back. Not that I have any way of knowing for sure that their transition to adulthood has been my problem, but hey, I need a scapegoat and the kiddos make for a good one.

The biggest issue, really, has just been the changing routines. No school days to count on. College has different expectations for them and their schedules, and work too, for college students tend to have the kind of work that has variable schedules.

All this means that my schedule feels in limbo more often than not. But no more. That’s the reason I set my 12–4 schedule and why I’ve been sticking to it. I just really need some routine in my days. If I can hang to it for long enough, I’m hoping it will counteract all the unpredictability I’ve been dealing with for a few years now.

Now, on to the writing update.

June 1–15: 7,175 words.