August changes

A few things have changed since my last writing post.

I’ve decided:

To ditch timers and timed writing for good.

It feels weird to sit down and write without the timer. I still look for it in the corner of my screen as I type. I still look for the column on my spreadsheet and feel a little startled when I realize it doesn’t matter how fast or slow I wrote those 187 words.

To erase my record of my timed writing and words per hour calculations.

I did make a backup of the original file with those numbers because I couldn’t not do that.

To stick to word count quotas.

To STICK to word count quotas, for real. I do need some type of structure to keep me working.

Structure is useful for me.

But going back and forth between time / word counts / WPH anxiety isn’t useful to me at all.

I can’t control my daily word counts as easily I can control my time spent writing but I never (seriously, never) seem to reach the time quotas I set for myself either.

Since word count quotas are so much more meaningful to my income, they win. :-)

The day after I made this decision, I wrote more words with less effort than I’ve written in a long time. I reached 671 words for the day and hardly felt like I’d done any writing at all. It felt great.

Then stuff happened, delays and distractions, and I didn’t write very much for the next two days. Now we’ve come to today, and the writing is again going easily and I hardly feel like I’ve done anything at all. I’m already up to 187 words for the day.

Those timers really did make writing feel too much like hard work. Getting that out of my system might take a while, but I’m sure it’s the right path forward for me. I need to like writing or I won’t do it, but lately, I just hadn’t liked it very much at all. That changed so quickly after making the decision to ditch the time keeping and WPH calculations that I really feel it was hindering my enjoyment of writing and interfering with my ability to keep going with this for the long-term.

The hours and WPH are just demoralizing anyway most of the time. Average words per day is the only number that really matters in the long run.

It’s just a renewed focus on actually getting the word counts and not wasting time worrying over anything else to do with productivity.

To stop trying to make my book perfect.

I know better than this. But I’ve fallen into some bad habits this year and my inner perfectionist is making life difficult again.

To keep using OneNote.

I have decided I’m just not leaving OneNote for certain types of notes until or unless I have to. I need software for note-taking or I never would have started using Evernote, way back when, even before I migrated to OneNote several years ago.

I did move the rest of my notebooks to OneDrive so I can keep using OneNote the way I like once my Office 365 subscription expires in September. And, it’s a little hard to admit, but my notebooks are actually a lot more useful since I moved them.

The local notebook issue was more a principle thing than a practical issue for me. I decided to bend on this one.

It’s time for me to get back to writing fiction now. I have a quota today and I’d like to see how close I end up to it. That 2,000 words a day plan is still something I’ve got in my sights.

I canceled my Office 365 subscription

I finally ditched Office 365. Not for LibreOffice, which I’ll probably end up using in the long run, but for Office 2007. I never could get used to writing in Word 2016 and I absolutely hated Excel 2016 to the point that I only ever used it when it accidentally opened a file.

I was happy to use the 1 TB of space OneDrive gave me with my subscription, but after getting a look at my account history the other day and seeing in black and white that I’d already paid $330+ for access to software I was barely using (only 38 GB of OneDrive space actually), I just did not see the sense in continuing to pay for the subscription. The personal plan is $69 a year plus tax, but I decided that wasn’t really any better. Subscription plans for software just don’t make a lot of sense for users like me.

So I revisited LibreOffice just to see what I would be giving up if the Office 365 uninstall screwed up my Office 2007 install (it’s been known to happen) and realized that I would be perfectly happy with LibreOffice for what I do.

My spreadsheets aren’t so complex that they didn’t open and work in Calc, and my documents all look fine in Writer. I might have to refresh myself with some things, because the last time I was consistently using something other than Word and Excel, I was using OpenOffice. I’ve played around with LibreOffice Writer, but I haven’t used it on a day-to-day basis.

First thing I did was change the background of Writer to Word’s background blue. That’d be #9DBDE6.

Talk about feeling more at home…

The good news is that the uninstall of Office 365 did not mess up my Office 2007 install. When I opened Word for the first time after the fact, I got an install/setup window that did make me wonder, but Office did a few things, and then I was back to work in Word 2007 within a few minutes.

I like LibreOffice Writer. I’ll probably make the switch for any new books I start, but finish in Word the books I’ve already started, just so I don’t have to mess with styles. There does appear to be a bit of a difference in how those work and I don’t want to get distracted.

So all is good. I can take my time transitioning to LibreOffice Writer and keep working on my current book just the way I’ve always worked on it, in Word 2007.