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.

Today’s (writing) forecast

Today’s writing forecast: cloudy, stormy, but not without hope. ;-)

From the 7-Day Forecast at weather.gov

A rainy day always makes for a good writing day, as far as I’m concerned.

I need to write at least a couple thousand words today, or I need to just admit I’m not going to finish this book anytime in the next three months.

Low word counts are bogging me down again, and several days of interruptions that shouldn’t have been interruptions have distracted me. My focus is not where it needs to be, and my ability to concentrate has taken a sharp hit. But it’s nothing I can’t overcome. These distractions are to some extent self-inflicted and I have to ability to limit them.

Writing feels hard right now and that’s making it too easy to give up. So today’s primary challenge will be to ignore the hard stuff and just enjoy coming up with a fun story.

Challenge accepted.

 

No writing last night after all

I took the computer up, but instead of writing I just sat with it on my lap and stared at it until I almost dozed sitting up. At that point, I snapped the lid closed and went to sleep. Just too tired.

Being off my sleep schedule and not getting enough sleep have apparently taken their toll. I need to be writing as early in the day as I can right now while I have enough energy to do it so that’s what I’m about to do.

I’m going to finally get through chapters 15 and 16 this morning (it’s 9:32 am) and I’m going to do it within in the next hour.

By 10:30, I want to be ready to start in on the next chapter.

I’ll be back then to update for some accountability. ;) (Yes, you’re my writing accountability group, whether you want to be or not. You’re reading this, aren’t you? Comment if you want me to return the favor and I’ll cheer you on at your own blog.) :)

Overdue books, procrastination, and a writer’s income

Today has been an excellent day for writing.

Unfortunately, I haven’t written a thing. It’s now 9:48 pm and I don’t really have a choice: I have to find it in me to start writing.

I have an overdue book to finish writing (personal deadline—learned my lesson about setting public ones) and a dire need for money in my bank account. So, yeah, don’t bother trying to hack my accounts. You’ll be disappointed. I haven’t been writing anywhere near enough every day, since about the time my children started graduating from high school and heading to college, and it’s starting to show.

All that said, I need to get some income coming in or come November, I’m going to be looking for one of those seasonal jobs writers sometimes need to make ends meet while writing the next book. I would be really embarrassed to do that, if only because I know the only reason it would be necessary in this instance is because I can’t make myself sit and write for two to three hours a day.

Talk about the pain of facing up to your deficiencies. It’s something I’d rather not know about myself, and yet, know it I do. I have pushed it to the last possible moment and now I’m in desperate need of finishing this book.

And there’s the twist. I just went to check on the stray cat that’s been acting weird all day and the curl of dread in my stomach has been justified. He is a she and she’s delivering kittens. Dammit.

Holiday! Okay, not really

I’m not supposed to be taking days off for the July 4th holiday this year because (1) I don’t want to go to the parade, sit in the hot sun, and smell horse poo, and (2) I kind of need to finish this book I’m working on sooner rather than later.

But… I’ve been about as productive a writer today as I’ve been a circus performer. Since I never got to take gymnastics as a child, I’ll just say now that I’m not a circus performer. In case you were wondering.

I’ve written about 237 words today and I have 07:18 left on my 30 minute timer. This session has been waiting on me to finish it since midday. It’s far from midday now. I don’t want to finish it and it’s going to be a chore to make myself (which I am planning to do, but ugh). Doing more than that is probably a dream.

This is what happens when I don’t get enough sleep.

Let’s try not to make that mistake again, okay?