July 10, 2018 Tuesday writing

The big goal is to reach 2,000 words before 4 today. I’d better get started and write fast if I want any chance of that happening now that I’ve frittered away my morning.

Secondary goal: log at least 3 hours of timed writing during my 12–4 scheduled writing time. I’ll be tracking start and end times so I can monitor this.

11:29 – I thought I was going to start writing around 9 am this morning but I just couldn’t get started. I really wasn’t in the mood, if you want to put it that way. So I’m on my second cup of coffee now and it’s 11:29 and I’m trying to get myself revved up to start now. I’ve been playing spider solitaire and klondike solitaire but finally closed those, and the house is quiet, the sun is shining outside my windows and I’m just… tired, to put it bluntly. Not of writing. It’s just a general tiredness because I feel like I woke up before I was ready to wake up this morning.

But… moving on. Time to write. First, heat up coffee, pee, then do not do anything else except start my timer running. Once it’s running, I’ll be home free. I’ve at least trained myself pretty well to stay on task when that timer is going.

1:05 – Session #1 –

7:58 – Ouch. So that didn’t work out like I’d hoped. Ended up splitting session #1 into 10 minutes and 20 minutes, because I just couldn’t stay focused this afternoon. And here I am now, just getting back to logging it.

But that was it. I totally failed to write today, even though I spent a lot of time at the computer playing solitaire. I really miss being able to move my computer. I can’t wait to get the keyboard changed out.

July 9, 2018 Monday writing

Here’s another post about my writing day.

On the one hand, I’m pleased that I started off my plan to write 2,000 words a day somewhat successfully. I ended up with 1,825 words. Not 2,000, but close enough that it won’t drag my average down in the long run (I hope). On the other hand, I’m really disappointed that it took all freaking day to do it, and I didn’t even make it to four solid hours of timed writing. I clocked only 2.67 hours, in fact.

I’m going to say this up front. I have to take breaks between most writing sessions and that’s just the way it is. I pee a lot. I have to move my legs. I can’t sit still for long periods. If I don’t move, I can’t focus. If I don’t click away from my book when I get too wound up, I can’t focus. I need a lot of help focusing, to be blunt.

The most hours of timed writing I’ve ever logged in a day is just over ten and a half and that was the hardest day I’ve ever spent writing. I started early in the morning and I finished late that night. It’s also my record word count day at the moment.

I just cannot sit and write for four hours straight. It’s currently an impossibility for me. I don’t know if it always will be, but I suspect I will never be that person who sits down and doesn’t move until their daily word count has been reached. Well, maybe if my daily word count was like 500 words or something. I might make it. Some days. :)

But one thing I don’t expect is to end up with four hours of timed writing from a 12–4 writing schedule. That’s a completely unreasonable goal for me, and I know it.

But three would be nice. So I’m working on it. I’m going to really focus in on that 12–4 writing time and try to get a consistent three hours of timed writing out of it. The rest of the day? I don’t care. I’ll just do what I can do.

Now back to the post about my writing day. Here’s the log, which I wrote in OneNote yesterday but got too tired to post before I went to bed. It’s long! I recorded a lot of minutia.

  • Start at 12 pm and get as close to 4 hours of timed writing in before 4 pm as I can.
  • Do 20 minute sessions today to help me stay more focused on speed.

(Although the 60 minute sessions do work to keep me focused during them, I don’t like starting them, and so I always feel like I end up doing less writing in the end. I should confirm that with numbers but maybe some other time.)

12:23 – Just finished my first session of the day.

Session #1 didn’t go great. I ended the session at -22 words. Too much editing of yesterday’s words and no forward momentum at all. I will try to correct that with session #2.

To help limit the necessity of breaks, I had coffee earlier so I could move on to something less likely to force me away from my desk every five minutes. I’m having hot water over lemon and honey, instead.

Now, unfortunately, I do need a quick break. :D Be right back.

12:39 – I’m back and ready to start session #2.

1:00 – Session #2 done. 211 words. Total words: 189. Still in the weeds of yesterday’s work. However, I ended up expanding one conversation and that’s where the new words came from.

I posted an update to my CampNaNoWriMo cabin and to a small writer’s group I’m part of on Discord. Grabbed lunch and am eating at my desk today because I forgot to eat lunch before I started at 12.

1:25 – Ready to start session #3.

1:46 – Session #3 done. 156 words. Total words: 345.

2:06 – I had a short break to check the mail (real mail!) because I saw the postman put a package in the box, and sure enough, it was my keyboard replacement and the fan. I’m still waiting on the frame and I’ve decided to let that come before I dig into the computer for the repairs.

I’m actually liking this temporary keyboard quite a bit. I might continue to use it. We’ll just have to see. Now, time to start session #4.

3:02 – Finished session #4. 357 words. Total words: 702. Don’t know where the rest of my time went. I didn’t leave the computer. I think I looked at few reports or something, and time must have gotten away from me before I clicked “Start” on the timer.

3:36 – A cup of cocoa and coffee later, and I am back. I think the honey and lemon wasn’t such a good alternative to coffee, not for the reason I wanted it as an alternative. The lemon seemed to be just as big an irritant to my bladder as the coffee usually is! But at least with the coffee, I get a little caffeine high. So I won’t be doing that substitution again as a way to cut down on breaks, because it did not cut down on breaks. :)

Starting session #5.

4:00 – Finished session #5. 297 words. Total words: 999. About halfway to my initial 2,000 words goal.

4:17 – Starting session #6.

4:41 – Finished session #6. It was a good one! 388 words. Total words: 1,387. That was a pace of 1,164 words an hour. If I kept that up, I’d be done with my 2,000 in a snap. I’m not holding my breath, but it could happen. :)

4:59 – Starting session #7. Hopefully I’ll get a few of these in before I stop again. I’m wearing myself out here with all the jumping up and down out of my seat.

5:29 – Did not start session #7. I played a game of spider solitaire first. Now I’m starting session #7. I’m actually really kind of sleepy and tired. But I’m going to do at least this one more session before I take a dinner break.

5:58 – And an unexpected interruption derailed that attempt. Starting session #7 now.

6:39 – Finished session #7. 211 words. Total words: 1,598 words. My pace slowed, but yeah, no surprise there.

8:56 – I stopped after the last session for a dinner break. I would have preferred to get my 2,000 words first but time kept getting away from me so I decided to stop early enough to come back after. So here I am. Ready to start session #8.

9:54 – Or not. I played a game of spider solitaire instead, ran some numbers on my spreadsheet, and then dealt with an interruption. I’m going to finish my game of spider solitaire and then start session #8.

I’m disappointed that my 4 hours of writing have taken all day. And that I haven’t reached 2,000 words yet.

I’m giving some thought to what I can do differently but there’s not a lot, not while I have people in the house with me all day. I’m just too prone to distraction and I tolerate too many interruptions, from others and myself.

It would serve me well to get up early and start writing while it’s quiet, but I’ve gotten into a nice routine with the 12–4 schedule and I don’t want to mess that up. I also kind of like not having to jump right into writing. If it were just me here, I don’t there’d be any problem at all with 12–4. It’s just that I’m not here alone most days and won’t be until mid-August, and then only some days, and not even close to most of them.

So, I have to learn to get by even with the interruptions. Things won’t change for a few more years, I expect. Time waits on no one.

10:35 – Alright. I’m done with that game. I’m not finished with it, just done. The biggest impediment to this plan of mine is my laptop’s broken keyboard. I’d love to take my computer up to bed and sit there and do some last minute writing but I can’t, not unless I want to have my space bar doing ridiculous things to my book. So I’d better get started. I’m fast running out of all steam. Pretty soon I’m not going to even care if I reach 2,000 words today and I’ll give up. Happens every time I let myself get sleepy.

Starting session #8 now. Also, my music has reached the “driving me crazy” phase of the day, so I just turned it off, with prejudice.

11:53 – I’m not sure when session 8 ended, but I wrapped up by updating my spreadsheet and then ended up working on the story a little more after that.

Total words for the day: 1,825.

Tomorrow, the only thing I’m going to focus on is staying on task and getting my sessions done. I think I’ll try 30 minute sessions and see how that goes.

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.

Accountability post for Saturday

I’m going back to normal (if somewhat random) titles for my posts. Although, this title isn’t so random.

I’m pushing to finish a book tonight.

I’m also making an exception for my quit at 9 PM rule. Ha! And on the third day, too. I didn’t follow it last night either, honestly. But I’m going to—in the future! As soon as I finish this book I’m working on and get into a groove with my 500 words a day plan.

Here are tonight’s sessions so far.

Minutes Words Session WPH
45 24 24 32
45 251 227 303
0 0
0 0
0 0

I’m going to try to finish another 3 minimum (all 45 minutes each). That’ll put me finishing at around 11 PM. Which is kind of late, but I’m really hoping to make some good progress, if not outright finish my book. :-) And if I don’t finish it tonight, tomorrow morning, I’ll be doing my best to get it done by lunchtime.

Oh, if you’re wondering, yes I did have lunch today. I wrote a lot during that 1st session, despite how it looks, but I also deleted a lot (lots of words to delete, I said) and then I did the second session after my late lunch.

Somehow it’s taken me all afternoon and into the evening to get here, but I’m going to put some real effort into focusing now, and I’m going to finish those sessions I have planned.

See you soon with updates. :-)

(The next morning…)

Ugh. 294 words for the day.

I timed one of my breaks. 2:33:35.2.

What a complete and total ridiculous result. I have to do better than that.

There’s writing faster and then there’s writing more

Today I’m working on writing more. To be honest, I don’t even care how fast I write. I just want to write a lot so I have as much chance as possible of finishing my book today. :)

Updates follow.


Each session is 30 minutes.

272 words. Time for more tea, then back to writing.

593 words.

572 words. Into some edits now, so I’ve slipped backwards in the word count, but making real progress. The next session will be better.

689 words. Still in the edits. I have to make the current section make sense with some stuff I added before it.

798 words. Still in the edits, but not long now I think before I’ll be out of those weeds.

865 words. Just about finished with the edits. A few sentences are all that’s left. Then it’s all new stuff. So here’s hoping the next session report puts me over 1,200 words or so. I can dream!

1,303 words. I guess dreams do come true. :D Woo hoo!

1,569 words. A little slower than the last session but I’m tinkering—not sure exactly where to go, but trying to keep moving.

2,030 words.

2,289 words. I did these last two back-to-back. I’m winding down but I still have so much to write that I just can’t give up. I want to end this book today and that means more words!

2,423 words. This session was only 15 minutes. Now, I’m taking a bit of a break and will be back later to keep going. I don’t want to lose my momentum!

2,491 words. Another 15 minute session to catch up my numbers to an even 5.5 hours.

2,626 words.

It’s almost midnight now and I’ve started getting a headache so I’m not sure I’m going to keep going. In fact, thinking about it now, I probably won’t.

I’ll just call it now at 2,626 words and 6 hours today.

Practice pays off

I’m already seeing improvements in my pace. I’m crediting practice for this, but it’s really a combination of practice and having a better visual picture of exactly what I’m trying to accomplish with that practice.

Minutes Words Session WPH
15 107 107 428
15 220 113 452
15 428 208 832
60 1217 789 789
60 2412 1,195 1,195

Seeing how few words that really is has helped me in a way that just seeing/hearing the numbers hasn’t. I’ve done the math with my typing speed plenty of times to try to prove to myself that I can write faster, but it’s never really helped things along.

You’ll note, I had to give up the 15 minute sessions for a little while because I was finding the breaks distracting. Now I’m about to go back to the short sessions because I’m finding the hour long sessions too tiring. :)

None of that matters to my practice though. I’m just focusing on keeping myself moving forward as best I can. I’ve had a plot development that scares me a little bit but I’m hoping this book will wrap up soon enough despite that.

Onward!

No time to spare

Here’s what I’m aiming for each day: 1,000 words minimum, with an eye toward 2,893 words. Of course, more would be fantastic, but 1,000 is the minimum daily word count I want to hit every day I possibly can.

I have four minutes to finish this post. Since I want to start writing at 11:15 I’d better make this quick.

Today I’m trying for multiple 60 minute sessions. If I have to stop in the middle, I’ll just pause and resume.

The goal is 7 of them at a minimum pace of 700 wph for a total word count of 4,900 words. This is so I can finish this book in two days, assuming I can keep it under a maximum length goal. (Lots of assumptions there. I can do these numbers, but I can’t always do these numbers. Let’s see if I can make today the former and not the latter.)

Session 1: 60 minutes, 301 words
Session 2:
Session 3:
Session 4:
Session 5:
Session 6:
Session 7:

Okay, this isn’t working. It’s 5:21 and I’ve only managed to complete one 60 minute session.

I’m just going to wing it with some 15 minute sessions. I’m feeling pretty desperate to stop a stall out before it becomes a problem I can’t recover from today. Time is seriously running short and I need some appreciable words before I get too tired to write them.

I have five minutes to write this post

I realized yesterday that what I’ve been doing isn’t working. I haven’t been writing at the pace I want to write, and I got frustrated last night, set my timer for 30 minutes, and wrote 449 words. Which came to 898 words an hour, and if that isn’t some kind of sign, I don’t know what is. :D

(Okay, yes, it could have totally been a huge coincidence that yesterday my goal was to write 898 words in each of eight blocks of writing, but I’d rather see it as a sign because something has to change if I’m going to successfully finish this book and start finishing and releasing books with more speed and regularity. Once every 7 or 8 months isn’t often enough for a variety of reasons.)

Oops, well, time is up. Suffice to say I’m feeling good today, I’m going to start with the goal to write 1,557 words, but I also have a goal to write for a minimum of 5 hours (timed writing) today and I’m starting early. It’s 9:31 am.

Goal 1: From 9:30 to 10:45 finish two 30 minute timed writing sessions.

Result: 123 words, 1 hour of writing. Too many interruptions of my first session! Unfortunately, the interruptions were clearly not that big a deal, because the second 30 minute session had no interruptions at all and I didn’t improve. Too much self-editing as I went was the problem.

Goal 2: From 11:00 to 12:15 finish two 30 minute timed writing sessions.

Result: 468 words, 1 hour of writing. Finished a tad late at 12:32. But not bad at all. Will probably adjust start times for following sessions because I need a longer break than I’m going to get if I stick with 1 pm. But I’ll decide that closer to 1 pm. :)

(Yep. I adjusted my start times for the following by one hour.)

Goal 3: From 2:00 to 3:15 finish two 30 minute timed writing sessions.

Result: 522 words, 1 hour and 1 minute of writing. No problems at all in these sessions.

Goal 4: From 4:00 to 5:15 finish two 30 minute timed writing sessions.

Result: 333 words, 1 hour of writing. Finished a lot late on this one at 5:52 pm. Not sure at all how that happened. I had fewer interruptions than I had with my first session today, so it’s left me scratching my head…

Goal 5: From 6:00 to 7:15 finish two 30 minute timed writing sessions.

Result: 592 words, 1 hour of writing. Finished a bit late but done, done, done. :)

And there you go. Done, at 7:48 pm.

Final tally: 2,038 words and 1 minute over 5 hours of timed writing.

Can I explain why today just worked, when yesterday and the day before didn’t? Not really. Sometimes it’s not easy for me to recognize when I need structure. Sometimes structure chokes me, and sometimes, like today, it’s the only thing that can keep me focused.

Let’s try that again

I made my goal yesterday, but fast it wasn’t. :)

First goal today: 1,557 words as fast as I can.

I don’t write ugly drafts so if you’re thinking I’m going to run off and start sprinting out thousands of words in short order, this is probably your first visit here. :D

Anyway, will update progress today because it seems to be working for me as a motivational tool at the moment. :)


Progress—

1:17 pm: ended a session at 38 minutes, wrote 291 words.

2:53 pm: ended two sessions that totaled 25 minutes, wrote 184 words.

Spider in my front door stole my attention for nearly two hours. I am phobic and the spider was RIGHT THERE, dropping down in front of me. And it was huge. The web stuck to the bottom of the broom I was trying to use to knock it down, and I screamed loud enough to make my neighbors’ dog bark.

Yes, my throat is sore now, my stomach is still upset, and I’m definitely feeling my skin crawl every time I even look at my front door.

I need to get back to writing but I haven’t calmed down much at all. I’ve been watching Irma video at weather.com and checking out the National Hurricane Center’s Irma page. I’m in the part of Tennessee that could be affected if it takes the track they’re predicting now. The last tropical storm I remember being a big deal for me was Hurricane Opal back in 1995. This one looks like it could be something I’ll want to worry about. For anyone in its path that might read this: good luck and stay safe. It’s a monster.

How fast can I reach 1,557 words today?

My first goal for today is 1,557 words (which is my normal daily goal). Let’s see how fast I can reach it.

Fast? Maybe not. But…

Progress—

10:51 am: 13 minutes, 87 words.

11:35 am: 30 minutes, 214 words.

12:25 pm: 29 minutes, 175 words.

2:34 pm: 7 minutes, 78 words.

3:28 pm: 11 minutes, 127 words.

Too many interruptions today, but that should be behind me now. Let’s see if I can stay focused on writing the rest of the day.

Total so far is 1.5 hours exactly and 681 words written.

5:30 pm: 44 minutes, 351 words.

8:22 pm: 44 minutes, 320 words.

9:04 pm: 13 minutes, 180 words.

I’m running out of steam! Total so far is 1,532 words. I’m so close to my daily minimum that I have to finish it. But somehow it’s become 11:22 pm and I haven’t gotten back to my writing yet. And I can’t quit yawning.

12:22 am: 22 minutes, 115 words.

Final tally: 1,647 words and 3.55 hours of writing.