July 8, 2018 Sunday writing

It’s 9:18 in the morning and I’m going to start today’s writing soon. I prefer to write every day, so Sunday is no day off for me. I’ve tried taking weekends off, but I just do not do well when I change up my routine. I’m much better at sticking to something if I don’t allow myself to ever skip a day.

My current philosophy: write every day!

So here I am, ready to write. I was trying to stick to 12–4 as my writing time, and I do plan to go back to that, but right now, I’m falling so far behind where I want to be with my current book in progress that I’m trying every day to start a little earlier than that.

The plan today: write in 60 minute sessions to limit breaks and distractions. I would like to write at least 4,000 words today but I’m not setting that as a goal. I’ll be satisfied if I just write as much as I can during the 6 sessions I have planned.

So really, my goal is to write for 6 hours today. And a subgoal of that is to focus on writing as fast as I can during those sessions.

9:22 – I’m going to grab breakfast, make coffee, feed the stray cat and her brood, and sit down to start my first timer. I hope this doesn’t take too long. I’d like to be writing before 10 am.

10:40 – I’m starting a little later than I wanted but the first timer session is ready to go!

I’ll probably do my updates in OneNote and post them here after the fact. I do happen to find the internet very distracting.

12:30 – Finished first session. 259 words.

12:51 – Ready to start session two. Try not to judge so hard and write more freely. The story isn’t going to fall apart if I have a little fun.

1:13 – I got distracted after all. I’m trying to find a new launcher for my phone and I spent a few minutes looking at those in Play and sending them to my phone. But I’m ignoring my phone for now and getting started with this second session instead.

3:32 – Stopped to pre-prep lunch/dinner and ended up working on my spreadsheets instead of finishing my second 60 minute session. I have 23 minutes left, but it looks like I won’t be getting back to it until after this meal.

Time is really getting away from me.

5:25 – I’m ready to get back to writing now. Time to finish that last 23 minutes, then start another session right away if I can.

6:02 – And there I went again. I spent some more time working on my spreadsheet, running various numbers. I think I’ve decided pretty definitively (sure sounds like it, huh?) that I’m going to try again to start averaging 2,000 words a day. Not just as an average though, but as a “more days than not” thing.

I have books I want to write, sooner rather than later, and I’m just not writing them as fast as I want to. I mean that. I want to write these books sooner than I’ll ever be able to write most of them if I don’t improve my daily average. Not to say that I wouldn’t appreciate an increase in income, but I really want to write these books and other books, and more books, and just… I want to be prolific as a writer. Don’t ask me why. I don’t really know, and even though I’ve thought of a thousand reasons why it might be, none of those reasons feel right to me. I just know I want to do this. I want to be prolific.

And there’s a reason 2,000 words a day feels prolific to me.

2,000 words a day gets me 730,000 words a year, and that’s 14 books of about 52,000 words each. Some could be shorter, some longer. The actual average for all my novels is 60,844 words. But even at 60,000 words for every book I were to write, 2,000 words a day would still allow me to write 12 books a year.

At 12 books a year, I would get through all the books I’d like to write in about 3 years.

That’s where I’d like to be.

2,000 words a day.

Now I’m going to have to make today the first of many 2,000 word days. Anything less will be a joke on me. :)

6:14 – Time to finish that second hour long session.

6:54 – Finished session two, finally. 332 words. 591 words total.

7:11 – Ready to start session three. But first, a quick game of solitaire.

7:18 – I won! Okay, time to get busy now. I’m really going to try to write more words this time. I don’t know if I can do it, but I’m going for at least 1,000 words in this hour. It’ll be a freaking miracle if I reach it, but I want to try.

8:16 – A few small interruptions mean I have 10 minutes left on the timer even though it’s been an hour since I started this session. I’m not sure why I stopped, but I’m having a lot of trouble concentrating. It felt like I didn’t have a choice but to take a quick break. It’s also obvious that I’m going to come up far short of the 1,000 words I wanted for this session. However, at least I’ve been writing and I do have some words to show for it—and some forward progress in the story. Ugh. I need to get back to those 10 minutes. Okay, okay. I’m going.

10:55 – I did not get back to those 10 minutes. Honestly, I’m just going to have to remember today tomorrow, and try not to make the same mistakes. I started a little too late, I didn’t stay focused and ended up sitting at the computer much too long doing unimportant things unrelated to writing, and that tired me out before I needed to be tired out.

Anyway, I’m calling today done. I added 1,053 words to my novel today.

Disappointed with my progress this last two weeks

I’ve had a couple of bad weeks of writing and I’m anxious to stop the downward slide. It’s 1:34 in the morning and I’ve spent another evening doing everything I can to avoid getting started with writing. It’ll continue until I decide to put a stop to it. So that’s what I’m doing. Tomorrow, I’ll write. 3 hours minimum. 1,557 words at least. And then a little more just to prove that I control my own actions. I don’t have to end the day disappointed in myself.

Funnily enough I feel good about writing today

After last night’s contemplative mood, I’m surprised by how well I feel today, about writing, about the future, about everything.

Well, except for the spider infestation I seem to be dealing with. Not so happy about that! But they’re little spiders, with feathery legs, and those kind don’t trigger my phobia the way most other spiders do.

Still, not that happy that one landed on my bed last night and started trucking it right up beside my leg. I couldn’t find any sign of where it came from, but I’ll be vacuuming my bedroom ceiling today regardless. Then of course I came down to find one tucked up in the corner over the breakfast room window and another in the corner of the hallway that leads to the garage. I vacuumed those ceilings just a couple of days ago. Let me just say, as a five foot one person with nine foot high ceilings, this has been a chore and a half! My bedroom has a tray ceiling and the middle section is ten foot high. That’s going to be fun.

So, on that note, I’d like to finish my writing before I have to go up and start vacuuming ceilings again. I figure when I’m done, all I’m going to want to do is crash on the couch and read a book!

Okay, on to today’s plan. I’m going to go with 45 minute blocks, because they divide evenly into 3 hours. I’m planning four of them.

I decided last night after some vague contemplation (I wasn’t forcing these thoughts) that 3 hours a day even if I reach 1,557 words earlier isn’t a bad expectation. I see no reason why I wouldn’t want to write for at least that long most days. So although I haven’t decided it’s a rule or anything, I think aiming for a complete 3 hours each day of writing isn’t asking too much of myself. Preferably I’ll do this in the mornings, but on days when I don’t, I’ll try not to stretch out my day to the point that I’m finishing an hour of writing at bedtime. Some authors do well writing late at night. I don’t. I give up much too easily when I’m tired. So I have to stop putting myself in that position.

Write early, write more later if I want.

Now to go write.

Start trying to reach minimum by noon

The title is brought to you by my plan. :) Starting today (It’s only 9:05 a.m.!) I want to try to finish my minimum by noon each day. By finishing early, I’ll take a lot of the pressure off and be able to enjoy writing in the afternoons when I do it, read fiction and craft books, watch and work through design tutorials, and actually maybe get some of the stuff that I’ve had on the back burner done.

Writing is an important part of my life, but I really don’t want to let it become the be-all and end-all of what I do. I am a publisher too, and I do want to have and maintain hobbies that aren’t also writing (writing fan fiction is a hobby which I really miss some days, but it’s still writing).

On that note, I don’t want to spend all morning writing this post and then wondering why I didn’t have enough time to write 1,557 words before noon.

I’ll post once I reach 1,557 words with my end time and time to completion and all the other usual stats. :)

I’m estimating (pushing for) 623 wph and 2.5 hours of timed writing. :D

If you’re a writer, have a good day of writing! If you’re not, read something today and enjoy it. :)

A plan for the future

I’m tired of lowercase titles. And yet, I continue to use them. :)

Today I have a plan.

20 minute blocks x 12 of them @ ~750 words an hour = 3,000 words

Yep. That’s my plan.

In fact, it’s my plan for every day for the indefinite future. I’ve been giving some thought to the need for change and some direction for the rest of my year. Those thoughts led me to realize I need to expect more from myself; it’s the only way to grow. I don’t want to be stagnant. A moribund life is not the life I want, despite the fact that my brain is all about strolling down easy street.

I made a note to myself last night. It’s important.

Write for fun! Do more than that though. Make time for other stuff. Don’t drag it out.

I need to write with focus. I need to focus on writing. I need to meet my goals early so I can do other things. Then as a reward, if I want, I can write more later. But always, I need to remember that the only way to meet my goals is to actually prioritize writing and do it first. I get to do it first and save all the stuff in my life that I don’t really want to do for later.

What I’ve typically done, though, is dawdle until I feel pressured to do these other things at the expense of what little time I’ve left myself for writing, because there are immediate consequences if I don’t. (Bills! Dishes! Laundry! Talking to relatives and friends! All of these have consequences for me that I’m not willing to accept if I don’t do them.)

I’ve always felt as if writing daily is a priority, and therefore I feel all the guilt one feels when one doesn’t do that important thing one should have done, but when it comes down to it, I haven’t treated it that way at all.

That’s the big thing I need to change about myself. That’s what I’m going to be focused on changing.

Write in the morning

Reach my word count goal

Or at least do the number of sessions I’ve decided I should be doing at a minimum each day

Then worry about the rest of life and whatever I want to do with my time after that, even if it’s just more writing

Simple. :D

The new year… I’m not ready!

Well, back in mid-December sometime, I decided I was going to get myself to 2,000 words a day and stick there so I’d be all ready for the new year and my goal of 2,000 a day. :o

Then the holidays came. Then I got sick. I felt better yesterday, but stuff happened and I ended up doing other things (necessary things, actually). Today I don’t feel so well, because the headache is more present today, and I found out my phone lines were down after a storm yesterday evening. I hadn’t noticed because I hadn’t tried to call anyone and my DSL internet service was still working, although it was acting up a bit.

So, another derail. And as I’m typing this, my connection is gone again. I assume it’s the repairman still trying to fix things. He’s been at it for a while now, because the outage isn’t just with my house; there are several houses in the area that are out according to him.

Still, I think I can drum up the energy to get back to writing today. Only, what I really feel like doing is working on a plan for 2017. Or taking a nap. I could really use a nap right now.

Anyway, all that’s just to say I’m not ready for the new year. I barely got into this one.

Feeling well enough to write

I’m still in bed, writing this on my Kindle Fire, but when I get up I’m going to need to get writing today. My headache is improved although my eyeballs still hurt when I move them and my head is a bit sore feeling, especially around my temples and neck area. But the fever stayed gone last night so that makes about 24 hours without a fever.

I’ve lost several days of writing time, but I don’t honestly know how much I would have written anyway so I’m just going to put that behind me and aim to do as well as I can today.

Aiming for more but giving up the need for speed

I’m finding it difficult to write now that my kids are home for the holidays. :o I should have guessed that’d be a problem, and yet… I made no plans and thought I’d just be able to write on through. That’s typical of my thought processes, unfortunately.

However, today, finally, I’ve got some time to myself and I aim to make the most of it.

Today I will write more than 2,000 words.

Today I will format a paperback and ready it for uploading.

Today I will finish my online Christmas shopping. ;)

Today I will stop making excuses for not writing as much as I say I want to write.

Today I will stop second guessing my writing process and stop wishing I was a faster writer. My average pace will either speed up over time or it won’t. Four years of trying haven’t brought any real improvement in that—and in fact, some days I worry that all my focus on trying to speed up has actually slowed me down.

The speed of my writing isn’t what’s holding me back. Time spent writing is the real problem. But don’t worry, I’m not about to say a schedule is the answer. It’s not. I’ve been down that path and found nothing much there for me. I don’t believe time quotas are right for me either. (Same post.)

Mostly I’m just going to try to write as much as I can and stop even using the timers for a while. Sure I’ll end up struggling sometimes, but that’s what quotas are for. They tell you when you’re done. If my rolling 30 day average is close to 2,000 words, I can call it quits anytime I want. If it isn’t, then I need to write a little harder. :D

Deadline looms; I must make myself write

I’ll be frank. I haven’t been writing. I’m not sure what happened, but I started reading books and I just couldn’t quit. I read a lot of books this last week. As of last night, I’m in the middle of reading 3 books. I’m somewhere around chapter 6 in a contemporary romance I started last night, and 66% done with a historical romance I started yesterday morning, and 4% into another I started at lunch yesterday.

I read about the same way I write—all over the place.

Today I decided I wasn’t going to read anymore of anything until I finish my own book, the one with the looming deadline that just keeps getting closer and closer and driving me to avoid it at all costs.

That’s a pretty hefty cost, too, by the way.

So today I must write. Yes, I must. Excuses won’t get me closer to done and they won’t stop the holidays from coming. I can’t write during the holidays, just can’t do it, so while I do still have time to write, and no headache from the caffeine withdrawal I’m facing, I must write.

My challenge for this unscheduled day

11 sessions of 36 minutes each.

No word count goal, although 500 wph minimum would be nice. I have a lot of other things to fit in today too, so I’m going to have to avoid too many distractions.

Get a paperback book formatted at some point today before I go to bed.

I’ll post later with results. :)

The challenge of quotas

I was writing myself a rambling note in OneNote and I had this realization: Word count quotas don’t hurt the way time quotas do. One is a challenge, the other is work.

Anytime I make a schedule, I’m setting myself time quotas. I could try to look at it differently, but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t matter. I have an inherent dislike of schedules and I’m tired of trying to force myself into that box.

So here’s the thing. I deleted all references to a writing schedule from my calendar. Time blocking, fixed schedule productivity, etc., they’re all just ways to tie my brain into knots. I get the most joy (and do the most work) when I’m pushing myself to write, but not when I’m pushing myself to write at a certain time of the day, for a certain length of time.

Word count quotas have a purpose in my world. They provide the kind of structure I work best in.

It does mean my life is a little messier. No set start and end times for my days. But you know what? I really like it better this way.

I’ve been struggling with this schedule again over the last few weeks and I’ve gained nothing from it, except stress I really don’t need at this time of year while I’m already stressed about a looming deadline (or two). If I keep to my goal of writing about 2000 words a day on average, I’ll get this book written and I’ll be able to make an educated guess about how many books I’ll be able to write every year, and I’ll reach my overriding goal to become a prolific writer.

:D

So here’s an early New Year’s Resolution for 2017: I’m done with schedules. It’s back to word count quotas for me.

I’m adding a 250 words a day minimum, and I don’t have to count deleted words in this. (So my actual daily word count log entry might be -1,112 words, but if I wrote 250, it’s good.) Every day, because I fall off and I take a nap before I get back up. ;)

After that, it doesn’t really matter where I end up for the day. My scale remains the same.

1,000 = low word count day
2,000 = average word count day
3,000 = moderate word count day
4,000 = high word count day
5,000 = record breaking word count day (always, because 5k is huge!)

I want more average to moderate days and fewer low word count days and every so often, I’d like to have some high and record breaking days just for fun.

Every day my goal will be to evaluate where I’m at, then do my best to reach or maintain a 2,000 word a day average, and if I can get a bit ahead… that would be fantastic, because I still dream of writing ALL the books. ;)