Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thursday, short post. Back on Monday.

I've been shopping, packing and loading all day, so no new words. I barely got to sit down, so on the exercise front, I KILLED IT!

In dragon news, Supe went last night and purchased hers. (She was experimenting, until now, with her mini iPad and gadgets she already had.) You just can't beat the transcription side to the dragon, however, so she bought one. She messed around with it and found that it was 3:00 in the morning and she'd mastered the basics. She expects fantastic results and I'm pretty sure she's going to leave me in the dust.

Speaking of dust...
I'm headed for the hills. I won't be checking in until Monday night when I'll let you know if I was able to get anything done. I plan to walk ALONE as much as possible and get some dragon time in.

See you Monday.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 Kites

You know those manta ray-looking kites we used to get from the cheap toy stores? They never lasted long, but they lasted a lot longer than the traditional diamond-shaped ones that always needed their tails fixed. I'm not an expert, but there was something wrong with that design, because it seemed that every time I really started enjoying myself, that thing would dive bomb, speeding almost intentionally into the ground.

I hate to sound paranoid, but that's what I thought then.
And that's what I'm thinking now.

No matter how perfect I get things lined up, no matter how far off the ground I can get my day, as soon as I have a smile on my face, the day dive bombs. Not dives. Not bombs. But dive bombs. Almost like its intentional.

Remember that lunch with the mystery writer? Ten minutes before Rock Jr. and I are about to walk out the door, the phone rings. Seriously. Ten minutes.

Five hours later, when that crisis has ended, I announced I was going to have a nap. I figured I'd be working late, I'd need more gas in the tank.

Fifteen minutes later, I got a phone call that forced me back to the computer. Seriously? A fifteen minute nap. I know that's pretty whiny of me, but I do work late. Naps can make or break me sometimes. And after emotional stress, I can't live without them.

And so I waited all day long for a chance to play with my dragon, to get some work done, finally. And I kid you not, it took until about 11 pm for me to remember that in fact I COULD sit down at the computer and type the old fashioned way.

Yes, this is how crazy I've gone. I am so wrapped up in the idea of dictating millions of words in the next year or two, that I spaced off the process I was using five days ago. Well, I've got the world worst memory sometimes. Now maybe you'll believe me.

So. I watched a little TV. Fooled around Facebook. Then got to work. I didn't do Dr. Wicked. I used no magic combination of 2 parts Pepsi to 1 part chocolate. No bells and whistles. Just typing. In 1 1/2 hours, I wrote 1321 words on the western thriller. Not what I'm supposed to be working on, but something close to done. I couldn't resist.

Total for the day: 1321
Total for the week: 1772
I think I need a vacation before we leave for vacation.

Oh, and for you burglars out there, yes, we are leaving the pit bull home. In the house. And the only thing worth money, my computer, I'll have with me. Believe me, my neighbors have better stuff.

Tomorrow will be spent preparing for that vacation. If I were a bettin' man...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tuesday, August 27, Training the Dragon

For those of you not interested in dictating your books, and just want a push to up your word counts, this blog will not be a constant commercial for the dragon software. Just a day or two more, and it will just be part of the routine. I'll be back to getting in my 4000 to 5000 words a day very soon.

I was pretty excited to get started today.
I was all ready to go to the park when I realized the wind was blowing pretty hard, which doesn't work well with microphones, so I ended up going to the basement and using the treadmill instead.

I walked for ten minutes and got a half mile in when the phone rang and my day was lost to TWO family emergencies. But! In between emergencies I worked on my Dragon profile so I it was ready to transcribe the audio file from my recorder. And hours later, I was finally able to see my word count. (Of course I won't have to do this set up again, so next time I'll be able to see my word count as soon as the file is uploaded.)

Drum-roll please...451 words.
Okay, now. Of course it's a small word count, but not for TEN MINUTES! And I was interrupted by a phone call. If I'd have been at the park and done it for 60  minutes straight, and kept up the pace (which seemed mighty slow to me) I might have written nearly 3000 words in my first try ever!

Let me add that I was winging it. I had no idea where the story was going to go, or what the scene would have in it. I was simply picking up at the end of the last scene I remember writing for this book (a sequel to a book I wrote years ago). And I wasn't just spitting gibberish. I actually had IDEAS come to me and spit from my mouth! Real, new ideas.

I mentioned yesterday that I was afraid of trying to edit vocally. Then, when I was forced to do it, I learned it easily. I was just as relieved this time. Deep down I was terrified this wasn't going to work. I was afraid it was just going to be another thing to set on my shelf and say I tried it once. And even though I'd gotten my hopes up, that I might really be able to exercise and lose all this book weight, I was really worried. Determined to give it my best, but worried. I can imagine some of you are feeling the same way too.

I am not surprised so many people give up in the learning phase. It's going to take some time before I'm going to be able to get my punctuation right without it messing up my train of thought. But I'm willing to be patient while the program learns to understand me. I'm going to stick with the headphone I have and hope the machine gets used to it. Then I'll buy a better one if it doesn't.

But if I've figured this out, anyone can. I'm expecting the transition from keyboard to speech will be about the same adjustment was it was to go from pen and paper to keyboard. I thought I'd never ever be able to compose original thoughts without having my hands on the paper, without my thoughts coming out of the end of a pen. But that changed. And I can change again. I'm not too old yet, damn it. Another year, and I might have been iffy, especially if I didn't get in shape.

I expected to be able to walk about half a mile before I gave out. The truth is, if that phone hadn't rang, I probably would have walked for a mile before I was winded. THAT is amazing, since I've not been walking for a long long time. But what was even more amazing was the fact that I was unaware of the fact that I was walking at all.

It was odd. The walking distracted me from listening too closely to myself. The speaking distracted me from the walking. And I didn't feel like I'd gotten much recorded at all. I was SHOCKED there were 451 words on there. Absolutely shocked.

Tomorrow, I have a lunch planned with a mystery writer and Rock Jr. Then Rock Jr. and I will be headed to the park to walk off the lunch! He can play on the splash pad while I walk around. It's going to be great.

And while I was a chicken and used a future book for this experiment, I'm going to get back to my current works in progress. I'll be working on the Western  Thriller. I think a few hours of dictation should finish that puppy up. Then tomorrow night I'll be editing Isobelle.

Since I bore easily (just learning that about myself) I'm going to keep a day book and a night book. The day book will be whatever is still in first draft stage, and the night book will be whatever I'm editing. If that doesn't work, I'll switch them. I can't see my body clock changing any time soon, so I'll edit in the dead of night since I can't walk at the park at that time. I guess I can use the treadmill if it comes to that.

Enough of my dull life.
What are YOU doing?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013 I'm on a Dragon

Okay, I WAS on a dragon.
In fact, I wrote this whole blog post using the new Dragon, but I lost it. I failed to read up on how to use the little dictation box, or at least the part about having a file open, blahdy blahdy blah blah. Good thing it wasn't a chapter!

What I had written before, ish:

This morning Supe decided to jump right into the dictation thing and recorded and walked, and for her very first hour ever, she got 587 words! I couldn't believe it! (For those of you who don't know who Supe is, she can talk like a semi-automatic at times, but I had no idea she might be able to compose so fast, verbally! And her first hour too! I'm so psyched!

My day has been spent editing and waiting for the teenage cavalry to come to my rescue and install my dragon. When I put the disk in, no prompts came up, and that was where technology can stop me in my tracks. I looked at the files and none of them said "set up." My son walked me through it, however, and the Dragon took off.

The tutorials were very simple. Much easier than learning Scrivener, I promise. And even I was able to learn that. This is a piece of cake.

I thought this was going to be really hard and it wasn't. I could have written a whole lot faster, but I kept finding myself waiting for the program to catch up. I guess it has to take a few seconds to figure a word or two, then it spits out whole sentences. When I looked away from the screen, it just flew.

The only advice I would offer right now is to pay close attention when they tell you to speak in phrases and not single words as much as possible. Phrases help the program figure out what words you really meant. The slower you go, the more mistakes. The more I watched the screen typing things out, the slower I went and the more mistakes were made.

On a positive note, with all those mistakes, I also learned how to edit them. And the editing was the part that intimidated me the most. Now that's all downloaded into my brain. I'm ready to rock and roll.

I have to admit that when those words disappeared I just wasn't up to dictating this post again and correcting all those mistakes again. Correcting verbally was a lot easier than I thought it would be, but I'm mentally exhausted from all this learning. My old brain needs a rest.

Tomorrow, I'm going to enunciate better. I may have to invest in one of those gamer headsets, especially if it's going to save me a lot of time. But for now, there's no pin money attached to my pin.

Oh, yeah. No word count today. Just editing and reading through finished books to keep some facts straight for sequels coming up.

Here's to a mind-blowing word count, and calorie burn, tomorrow.

Sunday, August 25, Writing Partners

All my brownie points go to Supe for today's word count.

She called and said we would be writing for the next four hours. She didn't ask. (Well, she kinda did.) But she didn't intend to let me out easily. She's even got my husband trained. When her phone number shows up on the TV screen, he resigns himself to the fact he's about to be abandoned.

Some days, you need someone to drag you, kicking and screaming, to your computer. Someone to threaten you if you get out of the chair. I wouldn't recommend handing this role to your spouse. Even the best of marriages don't weather nagging very well.

So find someone, if you haven't got one--someone who has the same writing goals as you, who has the same...intensity, for lack of a better word. Supe and I work well together because we are not good friends otherwise. When we get together, we talk writing, not shopping. We're in the same position in life, with grown kids and husbands who don't need their hands held too often. Neither of us are working traditional jobs. All I can suggest is that you find someone like you.

Today, she saved my writer-self-esteem. One of these days, I'm going to get her back--I mean pay her back--I mean do the same for her. But thanks to Supe, I was able to enjoy the rest of the days with the fam and not be consumed with guilt for watching a little TV.

Of course, the whole time I was watching that TV, I half expected her phone number to pop up, and my ring tone to turn into the shark music from Jaws.

So. Thanks to Supe, and four hours of writing on Dr. Wicked (with a few interruptions) I turned in a solid 3105 words!

Of course it's not so impressive when you look at my totals. But I think the moon phase had a little something to do with this past week, as I've mentioned before. According to some theories, this past week, (ECO week), that starts with the full moon, is the one week a month with both low focus and low energy. This coming week should bring high focus at least. I expect to get a lot of fine tuning done.

Week: 8926 (I'm shocked it was that much)
Month to date: 51,106

What are the chances I can write 30k in the next four days while packing for a small vacation with 15 people? I don't know. The Dragon might be able to do miracles, right?

What are your totals this week, or this month, compared to the last? Are you headed in the right direction? Or do you think the moon sucked your will to do much.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Saturday, August 24, 2013.

I'll be brief.

Yes, I bought a Dragon today. Can't wait to get started. From what we are reading, it might just double our wildest word count dreams. I hadn't considered that. Wouldn't that be uber cool?

I went walking twice. Blood sugar was a little better than yesterday, but a long way to go still.

Did all my writing sitting down. Got the bulk of that synopsis done. Still a little more tweaking to go. Hopefully tomorrow. I have to figure out a few things.

New words: 1397

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday, August 23, Dragons and such

After much research, including feedback from authors who use it, I have decided to buy the Dragon Naturally Speaking software. I'll get it tomorrow. (Today didn't go as planned.)

One man I spoke with estimated that it may take a month for me to get a handle on it, since I haven't used any kind of dictation before. A one-month-long learning curve is worth it to me only because I need to lose weight as desperately as I need to get these stories told. So. I'm doing it.

I did not, in fact, get up early to write with Dr. Supe. It sounds like she had a very productive day without my help, thank goodness. I hope you did well. I would hate to think my failure might encourage any slacking on your part. But then, I realize it might well do just that.

Do any of you follow Dean Wesley Smith's blog?
I read it nearly every day. He's the one who inspired me to start this blog. He's doing a project called Writing in Public. Go read up on it. When I let you down, he won't. Between the two of us, you should be covered.

I take less than modest pleasure in the fact my monthly word count is kicking his arse right now. I'm sure he'll grind me into the floor by the 31st, but I'm not out of the race yet. I've got another week to get some big word counts on the table. And between typing and messing around with the dragon, I may just beat the man. His goal is 100k a month, and he usually hits his mark, even if he's 70k behind. What will surprise me most is if he DOES NOT meet his goal.

Here's my problem now.
I have two full manuscripts that need editing so I can send them off. At least one of them needs to be out of my hands by the end of the month. So why would I keep writing, cranking out another book to add to my to-be-edited pile?

Because writers write. If all I do is edit, I'm an editor. I need that habit of putting words to paper, or words to a digital recorder. (This brings to mind the scene in Roxanne, when the Christian character flubs up and says, "Because I'm afraid of worms, Roxanne." He was supposed to have said words. 

Well, I guess I'm afraid of words too. But I'm more afraid of you people, reading this. So I will endeavor to persevere. Big brownie points to go anyone who can tell me in which movie we see an old Indian saying those three words.

I spent my day finding and booking a cabin for Labor Day Weekend for the family reunion. Not easy at this late notice. Tomorrow, I hope to remember that I can be a writer again. And tomorrow, I'll give you a taste of my evolving theory about productivity and moon phases. How have YOU been performing since the new moon two days ago? Hmm? Be honest. And leave it in the comments.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I have been reminded that I did indeed set a weight loss goal along with my word count goal, and in a [what I thought to be] brilliant bit of thinking, decided that the only way I can get 250 miles in before the Scotland trip in April would be to dictate all my writing.

That's right. I hunted down the best price for Dragon Naturally Speaking software and intended to purchase it. I figured it couldn't have much more of a learning curve than learning Scrivener, Dr. Wicked, or getting used to writing on my Alphasmart.

My husband suggested I do the trial thing. I hate to do the trial thing. It shows a definite lack of faith to do the trial thing and I was ready to commit. I imagined getting so caught up in my stories that I would walk 2 and three miles a day. I imagined Rock Jr. racing his bike around the walking path at the nearest city park that is conveniently a mile in diameter. I tried to remember what it was like to be much smaller than I am now.

I decided to wait until Payday to get the software. But in my excitement, I thought there was no time like the present to get warmed up, to get that training started. So I isolated myself, made sure no one would be listening in, then I opened my mouth and tried to tell a stupid little story. A 'Once upon a  time' story that wasn't exciting at all. But the words did not flow off the end of my tongue like they do from the ends of my fingers.

There is a magic that happens when I type. I think a few words and they appear on the screen as I think them. Sometimes I wonder if they are not popping up there on their own and I'm only reading them as they appear. But that's silly. *ahem* Right?

Now. I've been accused, from time to time throughout my life, that I often speak before thinking. I suppose I was kind of counting on that paying off this week. But it seems as though I'm going to actually have to put a bit of effort into my writing if I'm going to make dictation work.

The scariest part? The fear of Speaker's Block. What if I open my mouth and nothing comes out? Since this is exactly what happened when I first tried to dictate a story, I'm terrified. I'm also terrified of my husband telling me "Didn't I suggest you get a trial copy first?" if I go ahead and buy it and force myself to try harder, only to fail.

Then I realized THIS is what keeps people from writing, even though they want desperately to write. THIS is what keeps some writers from turning in any word count at all. This is what keeps the ambitious from ever leaving the gate, keeps the What-if-I-can't-do-its from sitting down and daring to type crap.

And if we could give the What-if-I-can't-do-its our best advice? Wouldn't it be to forge ahead. Don't give up. It will get easier. Don't be afraid.

So. Here I go, talking myself into trying the dictation thing. I do want to lose the weight. I do want to be able to walk around Scotland--not hike, of course, but walking without the need of being buried overseas.

I'll let you know how it goes.

So. Here's my report for today.
Another human day. Spent 2 1/2 hours in the dentist's chair today. 2 1/2 freaking hours!

On the bright side, I did not waste time watching TV. The kitchen disaster did get cleaned, thanks to the Rock. But hey, it's done. And I didn't waste a lot of time on the internet.

Again, got no work done on the synopsis. I am pretty sure it's my way of putting off the next thing after that, which is to edit Isobelle. But even knowing that's why I'm doing it didn't help me get over it today.

However, Dr. Supe informs me that tomorrow is yet another day. I'm going to bed early so I can get up earlier than usual to get started. Gonna exercise and everything. And maybe I'll amble over to Office Max for a Dragon.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I had high hopes for today. Even after I learned I'd be babysitting for a couple of hours, I figured the rest of the day would be crazy with word count.

I was wrong.

I'm not complaining. I had a house full of family for the major portion of the day. After that, I was recovering from having a house full of family. I made meals. I actually cooked. And I'm sure the neighbors thought the house was on fire about seven o'clock tonight, but it wasn't.

And I can't complain about taking a nap with the newborn, now can I?

But the downsides are these:
My kitchen is a disaster.
My mind was far from the project at hand.
And I did not write the one short thing I needed to write today--a synopsis.

That's right, campers. Here it is, 3:30 in the morning, and I've wasted my evening watching yet another bad Ewan McGregor movie. Does he never make anything normal length? I mean, I think the movie started yesterday. And the worst part? I accidentally turned off the TV with only 15 minutes to go, AND I LEFT IT OFF! Why oh why could I not have accidentally turned it off three hours earlier?
(Okay, I guess I did have some complaining to do.)

I'm pathetic--and not because I didn't get any writing done. I'm pathetic for allowing other things to keep me from writing. It wasn't even a PERSON for hellsakes. It was a TV!  It wasn't even FACEBOOK, where I could have been at least enjoying some interaction with friends.

Well, I'm not going to let the same thing happen tomorrow. I'm not going to turn on the bloody TV at all. And I'm going to block myself off the internet. The only nap I'm going to take will be in the dentist's chair, and hopefully, it will be brief. And my exercise will have to be hosing out the kitchen. (Pan frying steaks is messy business.)

So, I'm sorry for calling you all here today under false pretenses. There was nothing to report but my own lack of will. Next time you check in, there will be blood. (Love that line.) I mean, there will be an impressive word count. So help me.

And if I never said it before, thanks for coming.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

It's 3:10 am. I'm calling it quits at 3400 words.

I finished the early chapters of a Thriller proposal. Tomorrow I'll write the dreaded synopsis and send it off.
THEN I'll get back to the business of writing and editing on Thursday. I'm going to have to go back and add up what I've done so far this week, but I know already that I am behind schedule.

I will NOT be making up for low days. I think that's a punishment we can choose not to inflict upon ourselves in an industry where every word should be celebrated. Every word requires so much song and dance just to produce.

The song and dance: seeing the chair, avoiding the chair, sitting in the chair but doing things other than writing and editing. You know, the song and dance.

But the song and dance would be a lot easier if we could program ourselves to sit down, turn on the computer, and open up our current work file BEFORE we look at anything else. I suggest you try to build this habit, as I am trying. Some days it really works! And that, my friends, is worth trying.

[Enter lullaby here.]

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hey Hey. I'm back.
Took Sunday off, as planned.
Writing five days a week is going to have to work if I'm going to have human time.

Today life interrupted as usual. I got to hold my new granddaughter for longer than I should have, but no one cried foul.

Today I edited 20 pages of the Thriller and wrote another ten.
Word count is way below goal: 2299. About half what I was hoping. It might prove to be a little tough to hit it hard after no words for two days. I don't know if I can do anything about that and still have human time, so I guess I'll just have to suck it up and do better.

Next Monday, I will try to anticipate a drag and try to get a lot of words in early, to make it easier to finish up with a nice number.

Dr. Supe and I are worried about getting our edits done on so many words. We're taking two different tacks. She's going to finish her book in progress and then edit it all before hitting the word count again. I'm going to try to edit one book while writing another. We'll see how things end up in a week or so and make adjustments as necessary. It is really hard to give up that word count, now we know that we can do it. But if we can't edit the same number of pages we're writing, we're going to end up with a warehouse full of unpublishable books.

But we're working on it.

I am determined to get at least 20k this week. Tomorrow is a day with nothing scheduled, so I'm blocking it out for writing and editing. Going to bed now, at 2 am, hoping to be up before ten and working. My only problem is I have a young man to keep entertained and his buddy won't be coming for him at all this week. There may have to be some location changes during the day. We'll see.

Hope you're pushing yourself to write, even when you don't want to. These books won't write themselves, right?


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Still on a high from the half month celebration on Friday.
Decided to be a human all day. No editing.

Went to see the JOBS movie about Steve Jobs. I'm even more pumped to change my world and change the way I look at things.

Kept my usual schedule. Had a nap at 7:30 just in case I ended up working. Just ended up vegging, then coming in to see if I might be tempted to work.

Ended up cleaning off my desk, getting rid of a lot of energy suckers that needed filed or tossed. Scrubbed away old germs and passing thoughts I'd written on 3x5 cards just in case they proved interesting. Most weren't.

My husband will be surprised to find he needs to do some filing...

My friend CN wrote 9k in two days. I'm so excited for her. Congratulations, CN!

Anybody else get some words down this weekend? Speak up.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

August 16, Friday. Half Month Celebration

First of all, I only wrote 1027 today.

BUT THEN, Dr. Supe and I decided to go to lunch and celebrate what we've accomplished this month thus far.

I'm at 41,000! The goal for the month was 80,000, so since I'm half way there, (and Dr. Supe is not far behind) I decided to take the rest of the day off with pay, baby.

The funnest part was realizing that 50,000 more, for the second half of the month, is not only doable, it's probable. So we made a list of the stories we're going to spend that 50k on. It was almost as fun as spending money!

Try it. Just for fun. Figure your probable word count (and don't be a pansy about it--a goal you'll have to put some effort into) and decide which book/books you're going to spend it on.

It was such a rush, we did it for September too.

Then for October.

Then we took a deep breath and figured out where editing was going to fit in. (Buzz killer, that editing thing)
And we realized THAT TOO WAS DOABLE.

On an absolute high, we headed to our cars. But before we got far, we started thinking about what kind of a paycheck boost we were liable to see after doubling our products and very possible tripling our products by the end of the year.

Hah! Who gets to do that? Who gets to look at their paycheck and say, you know, I can probably triple this in the next 4 1/2 months if I really got busy.

We do. Writers do. All we have to do is sit down, put our fingers on the keyboards, and do it.

My weekend is going to be spent editing the book I just finished. Then on Monday, I'm back to living the dream, baby.

There was just one thing we forgot to plan at our rah rah meeting. Real life. And I don't mean the emergency stuff. You can't plan that. But if we're not careful, we'll be spending 4 hours editing, 4 hours writing, and the rest of our day staring at the computer screen gearing up to do those 8 hours of work.

So. If we have 16 hour days, and 8 are working, we need to PLAN those other 8 hours to be human time. My days are going to consist of 8 hours sleeping, 8 hours working, and 8 hours playing the human. And I'm going to put as much effort into the human hours as I do into the rest. There's no Dr. Wicked to help me. I'll be on my own, and I'll be a little rusty for a while, but if we can't enjoy those 8 hours, then the 8 working hours mean nothing.

So here's to working our 8 hours and stepping away. Here's to being human and enjoying it.

Friday, August 16, 2013

August 15, 2013, Thursday

I don't know if it was the phase of the moon or what, but my head was not on straight all day.

I kept trying to get a handle on the next project, trying to decide for certain which project would be the smartest to finish first.

I piddled around with other business details--print versions, etc., and allowed my funk to eat up my day. Then I talked to Supe. She hadn't had much luck either. But she wasn't giving up.

I had a long conversation with another writer. Those are important. And this call had been a few days coming. It got dark. My excuses started warming up.

Finally at 9:30 Supe called. Her busy family day hadn't had room for writing. Neither of us had written a word. How easy it would have been to say "We'll just write a lot tomorrow." But I've created a monster, a loosely stitched Frankenstein-combination of Dr. Who and Superwriter. And Dr. Supe, who doesn't like to write too late if she can help it, told me we were going to write 2500 words before we went to bed.

I argued with my own monster. "I'd write, but I don't know what I'm writing next."
"Doesn't matter," she argued back. "As long as you're writing. Just pick something and go."

*grumble, grumble, grumble*

So I sat down. Opened up a new doc into which I would paste my new words. I decided I was going to start the thriller a handful of editors are waiting to for. I only have to write about 50 pages before it goes out to them. A few days work, at this pace.

But I also wanted it to be especially good, so the pressure to write well kept me from wanting to start. Finally, I gave a name to the doc. The title of the thriller is Pieces of God, so I wrote POG PRACTICE RUN GARBAGE.

Then I opened up Dr. Wicked and started dictating the scene I've had running through my head for a few months. I wrote from 11 to 2 with a good break midway through. I ended with 19 pages finished and...

This project stands at...4370
So far this week, 13,748--nearly what I did all week last week. Another 7k tomorrow would hit the 20k goal. It will have to be next week when I go for 25k.

But here's the deal. 
I intended to write crap, and that freed me. I ended up writing really really great stuff. At the end of about the third paragraph, I busted up laughing, which made my husband jump out of his chair. (He was working in my office tonight too.) Don't worry. It's not just me. He laughed hard too, when I read it to him. So yeah, you could say the writing goes really well when you write as freely as possible. Intentionally writing crap has always worked for me. I need to remember that every damned day!

I had no idea how fast time was flying by. Took no notice at all until I ended the second chapter.
That's one of the perks of writing at night. But you gotta be able to sleep in to stay human and humane, you know?

(A quick shout out to John Brown. I don't know why, but when I was proofing this post, I was reading it with his voice in my head. Kind of like reading those posts with Morgan Freeman in them. You can't help but read it with his voice narrating. "Busted up" is something John would write. Not me. Weird.)

How did you do on Thursday? I wanna know. Anything over 0 is a victory.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

August 14, 2013 Wednesday

Besides juggling family issues, I got a few things done for the business end of things.
I found a font for Keefer Boone, my middle grade novel that I'm putting out under a pen name.
I also wrapped up the first draft of Isobelle, so tomorrow I start editing that.
And I wrote 1126 words on my next project. For now, I'm calling it NOW.
Isobelle stands at just under 36,000 words.
NOW stands at 1126.

And this is all just a round about way of confessing that I missed my goal today. Not only did I NOT write 5k, I didn't write the original goal of 4k.

I have no excuse. But here is the thing. If I was not going to hit my goal, I wish I would have known ahead of time so I could have enjoyed a relaxing day. But if I give up early, say I'm going to take the day off, then I'm worried I would have been capable of hitting that goal had I only put in a little effort.

I'm a basket case.
I'm going to bed early here at 1. I should write for two more hours and crank out 3000 more words, but...

Hope you had a better day. Brag away.

August 13, 2013


4091 for the day.
35039 for the project.

This should not have taken so long.
I didn't start until 9. Lots of false starts. Lots of procrastination. Boiled some eggs, corn on the cob, and sliced a tomato from the garden instead of running to Mav at 1 in the morning. I should have just finished and gone to bed, but I needed food. I should get to lose weight tonight just for making a healthy choice.

Supe and I have decided that since Dr. Wicked makes it so easy to get our words in every day, we should bump the goal up to 5k a day--25k per week. OBVIOUSLY, I was unable to get there tonight. But she did. I finally got her to try Dr. Wicked and now she's a word count monster.

I finished all my planned scenes, but realized I need an epilogue. So I'll be writing that tomorrow (early, I so swear) and starting a new project for the rest of my production time tomorrow. Since I will have a project to edit, I will also need to add about three hours of editing to my 4 hours of writing new words. That's a seven hour day, people. Full time in any book. Booyah.

So. What is your goal? And if you are reaching it without needing to reach far, try bumping it. It's hard to stand in the same place if you are reaching ahead.

Wow. Sleeping at the keyboard.

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 12, 2013

The beginning of a new week.

Project is at  27,405
Week 1:       11,686
Week 2:       14,997

At least I am headed in the right direction. I have high hopes that week three I will finally hit the goal of 20,000. Since I do not need that much to finish the current project, Isobelle, I will be switching projects in the middle of the week.

My goal does not include editing, which I will do on non-writing time. I'm trying to get my words/scenes done earlier  in the day so I might feel like a normal human in the evening. Sometimes it works. Sometimes I blow it. Most of the time, I forget to fight for my writing time. If I write a little in the morning, there is no one around to fight with.

What elephant are you trying to consume this week? And how big are the bites?

I wound up leaving town for a chunk of time today, so I didn't get started until about 5pm. Then I only got one 1 hour session in with Supe. Our schedules didn't sync up for the rest of the day. I ended up doing the rest after a short nap* at 8 pm.

I did three one hour sessions on Dr. Wicked.
1095 for a total of 3650
But I couldn't just leave it there, so close to my goal.
I thought I'd get back into the document, not use Dr. Wicked, and crank out another 350.
It took me 45 minutes to come up with the next chunk of 511. If I would have gotten back on Dr. Wicked, it would have taken less time. That doesn't seem like much unless you're talking about dipping into sleeping time. ;)

Hit my goal. It's only the first day of the week, but I'm on track to reach the 20k goal by Friday night.

*as for that nap...
I lied down at 8 and was handed a new series idea. Fully formed. In about 2 minutes, the entire thing was downloaded into my brain, from who knows where. (THEN I was able to sleep) It's in a genre I've never touched before, but this really must be written. Really. Must. Be written. I love it when that happens. It means the energy will stay high while I'm writing it. And they will be very short, so they'll go quickly. In addition, this writing challenge gives me hope that all my series will be finished much sooner than they could have otherwise. And finishing things is the name of the game, baby.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

August 11, 2013

Hallelujah and pass the gravy!
My friend Superwriter has finally seen the light. After all my bellyaching about Dr. Wicked's Write or Die, she finally caved and tried it.
And she was amazed.
I know how incredible my own word production can be with the program, so in the hands of someone like Supe it will be a game changer. All these word count goals seem so much more attainable when you have the right tool for it.

It's just a tool, in the end. A tool with a learning curve of about a minute. What is not to love?
But the first time someone uses the tool is pretty exciting. Her mind was blown and she couldn't go to bed for a while she was that excited. Kind of like the first time someone hands you a funnel.

"Oh. Wow. This is exactly what I need."

That kind of moment.

Now for my daily report. Yes, you are seeing this early because YES, I finished early, because YES, I used Dr. Wicked the whole time.

I did three one hour sessions and came up with 3874. Only three scenes thus far. But ticking little boxes off the list is pretty exciting, even if it's just one or two. 16 scenes left, and some of them are pretty brief. I have high hopes of finishing in two days. I have nearly 28,000 words. When all is said and done and edited, I should end up around 43k. It's about twice as long as I'd expected. That always happens. I pretty much count on it. The first projection was for a 20k novella.

So, since I'm sitting at 124 words shy of 4000, I'm going to open the doc and write the opening to the next scene. Pretty dramatic, so the excitement is there. I won't update anymore today because I am going to get in the car with Rock and Rock Jr. and leave town. We have a giant haul of corn on the cob to hand out.

You know. Real life stuff. Human interaction. Maybe if I do this now, I won't have to be human again until next weekend.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

April 10, 2013

First check in.
It's 5:30.

Seven hours ago, I started writing with Supe (my friend, Superwriter). We checked in with each other every couple of hours or so, discussed what was working and what was not. The scene goals are turning out to be a godsend, really, compared to the word count. But when all is said and done at the end of the day, I'm always going to want to know my word count.

Good news? I've written 4231 words so far today.
We had plans to leave town tonight but the Rock has worked himself to the bone picking all the corn, pulling up the stalks, and hauling them to the dump along with Rock Jr. He's pooped, so we are staying at home.

More good news? He doesn't mind if I keep writing, so I expect to redeem myself for some pretty lame production days in the past week.

Bad news?
It's 5:30. I started SEVEN hours ago. I've had very few breaks in there. A couple of minutes of pouting because I was continually interrupted there for a while. But still, 4k in 7 hours is pretty pathetic when I KNOW I can write 1000 words per hour EASILY.

Now don't get all insulted because I said you're a pansy if you're not writing 1000 words per hour. You are. Because you can too. Obviously, my stats for the day prove I'm Queen of the Pansies. HOWEVER, I know, through a few years of experimenting, that I can write between 1200 and 1500 an hour IF I USE DR. WICKED.

I know, people are sick of my shoving Dr. Wicked's Write or Die program in their faces, but I'm telling you it's worth trying. Give it a go for a week and you will be dedicating your books to me. No lie.
It programs your creative brain to produce faster. It programs your fingers to move faster. It programs you to get all the distractions out of your face before you get started. But simply put...

It is the difference between my 4231 words today and the 7-10 thousand words I could have written if I had just opened the stupid program and worked in the write or die box for the past 7 hours instead of plucking away, searching for just the right word, re-reading paragraphs I'm going to end up re-reading and re-writing a few times during revisions--why mess with them now?

What might I have done with three extra hours in my day today? I'd have gone to a freaking movie!

I'm not in the mood to pussy-foot around today (which means I should be no where near the internet, but better judgment is obviously not prevailing today or I would have been on Dr. Wicked, right?) so find the good doctor, do a few practice runs, then throw caution to the wind. If you already know about the Dr. and you're not using it, at least as much as possible, then shame on you--shame on us both.

I'm going to do at least three more 1 hour sessions of Write Or Die before I throw in the towel tonight. I'll bet you MONEY, I will have at LEAST 3000 more words in the can. (Even though it will make me kick myself for not doing it before now.)

Get your two bits ready...

Enh! Thank you for playing, but if you bet against me, you lose.
I did NOT do three more hours of Dr. Wicked to get 3000 more words. I did it in TWO!

The first session ran over--in 75 minutes, I wrote 1868
The second session was just less than a minute because I ended a scene--1555
Add the 4231 from earlier in the day...
and the grand whopping total for today was 7654. 

But the point, Newanda, is that the first 4200 took 7 hours.
Then I did 3423 in just over TWO HOURS.
I feel like I wasted at least four hours today by ignoring what I know to be true.

Goal adjustment: to reach my 4000 words a day, or 4 scenes per day, 5 days a week, for the rest of the year, I will, from now on, do three Dr. Wicked session per day, minimum.

We have the tools. We have the technology. We can rebuild...our careers, baby.
The Bionic Writer

Friday, August 9, 2013

August 9, 2013

My mind has been anywhere but on the project today.
I had nearly forgotten I had writing to do until the Rock turned off the TV, announced he was going to bed early, and that I was going to write.
Write? Oh, yeah. I do that sometimes. I write.
Then I remembered this blog and my mind instantly started scanning possible excuses. I was NOT in the mood, or the mode, and I just knew you all would understand.

Then I imagined you out there, forcing yourselves to sit down at your keyboards and try.
And I felt like a worm. So I decided I'm going to try too. It's the least I can do. I got you into this. I can't just call in sick when we need all hands on deck to sail this difficult sea of writing. So here I am.

This is what is keeping me from feeling like I'm drowning in goals right now. Maybe it will help you.

I have a friend, we'll call her Superwriter. Supe and I check in with each other nearly every day to keep each other moving in the right direction. I know her excuses. She knows mine. And we don't let each other get away with much. (If you don't have a friend like Supe, get one. Get one now.)
Anyway, Supe was telling me the other day that she was feeling pretty overwhelmed with the huge goals we're working on. She is trying to get another book finished, like we always are, and she was getting frustrated with the stress of it all, like we always do. So she changed her goal...

But not really. Let me explain.

In our quest for THE END, we always think of our measurable goals in terms of word count. We know, roughly, where we hope to end the book. We know how many words it will take to get there. Sometimes we set a goal of days, but we're always dividing the probable word count by those days and aim for that word count.

Here is what she changed.
Instead of having a word count goal, Supe decided to have a scenes-written goal. She knows, roughly, how many scenes she'll need to finish before she can type THE END. She can also decide which day she wants to finish, and divides those scenes by that many days.

The goal is no different.
The way of looking at it is.
Instead of saying "I plan to write 4000 words today," I can say I plan to write 8 scenes today. Will it be the same number of words/pages? Probably.

So what difference does it make?
A helluva lot. My brain is simple. It sees 4000 things to do vs. 8 things to do. My brain is happy to choose the smaller number, even if it ends up being the same amount of words. It's funny like that. Simple like that. Trickable like that.

And I'm sorry to have to break it to you, but we are all about tricking our minds here. We trick it into working harder than it wants. It tricks us into thinking we're really in 15th century Venice for a while. It's a dance we dance. And we both end up happier when the music stops.

So. I've got 8 things to do. 8 dances on my card. 8 little movies to watch and write down as I'm watching them.
What little impressive things did you get done today? And if the answer was less than one, don't go to bed just yet...

In  less than an hour, I got a scene finished. Then when I was halfway through the next one, Supe called. Not like her to call at 11:30, but she had a plan. She wanted me to join her for an early writing marathon--write our brains out until 3 pm. On Saturday, the Rock can man the battlements. So I jumped on it. Of course that meant I had to go to bed earlier than planned. *cough cough*
So. 1 1/2 scenes for Friday. Not great. Saturday should make up for that.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

August 8, 2013

Today was a crazy-mixed up-no good-very bad-day.
I woke early to watch grandchildren, but they didn't come until it was time for me to leave for a lunch meeting.
Lunch meeting was great until my daughter called to say the house was flooding again.
Flooding wasn't as bad as last time and the Rock was so stressed when he got home, I didn't even tell him about it.
A separate mishap that will entail cleaning some carpets tomorrow.
Daughter sprang for dinner. Chicken. A godsend.
Then the rest of the evening was eaten away by twin three-year-olds who had far too much energy, thanks to a nap with Grandma, and a new baby who thinks she needs to be eating all the time--she must have been eavesdropping from inside the womb, I figure.
They finally left at ten. I had about five extra minutes to think about the Rock, realized he needed milk for his protein shake in the morning, so it is now ten after 11 pm and I just got back from the grocery store.

Have I had a moment to think about my characters and their current crisis? No. Did I listen to classical music on the way to or from the store, to get my mind in the right place? No. Would I rather watch recordings of Gordon Ramsay until I'm certain to dream about him? You betcha.

But what am I going to do instead?
That's right. I'm going to write. I'm going to sit down with no idea where this story is going to go next and I'm going to let my fingers to the talking. They always seem to come up with great ideas on their own, so I'm going to let them do just that.

I'm going to get snacks, drinks, and everything set, then I'm going to sit down at 11:30 and write.
I will post an update before I go to sleep. I hate it when Dean Wesley Smith makes me wait until morning to find out what he's done.

And I'm going to be very grateful my writing goal is NOT 100,000 words per month. 80k will be hard enough.I've been doing this for a week and I only made it to about half my goal. This next week must be much better.

Wish me luck. If you're bored, count how many times I've used the word going in this post. Including this last one, of course.

An hour later, and I'm already drained.
I thought I'd take a moment to list the scenes for the book, to see which scenes I still needed to write, and I ended up with two pages of outline. I have 23 scenes left to write. If I do 7 or 8 a day, for the next three days, I'll be golden.

Did I say I was drained. Well, I am. And I'm going to go lie in bed and let these scenes percolate.
I got some editing done today, so I'm not going to feel guilty about turning in a zero for word count, mostly due to the fact that I know what I'm doing now. The book is going to be twice as long as I had planned, but that happens to me a lot.

I try not to use excuses for falling short on my word count, but the re-flooding of my house was a mental blow. I'm going to have to get really aggressive tomorrow to get my spirits back up where they need to be.
Over and out.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

August 7, 2013

Here's the deal.

I had planned to beg off tonight--I have a sore throat and thought I should be able to use a sick day, you know?

But then...

I noticed how many people are following this blog (which data I promised myself I would never look for) and I realized I can't do that. I can't call in sick. Here I am, trying to show you how to push aside real life in order to get your word count in, and I was going to cave for a simple sore throat.

Well, I'm not going to do it. I'm going to grab some aspirin, some diet Pepsi, and put the rest of the house to bed. Then I'm going to put on Dr. Wicked and start writing.

And I'm going to do something different this time, just because I realize I'm feeling a little whimpy--I'm going to set Dr. Wicked for a huge amount of time and a HUGE word count, just so I won't be interrupted at the end of the hour, or the end of a projected word count. I figure I'll get a lot further if I don't pay attention to time, etc. In addition, if you reach your projected word count, the good doctor stops prodding you with pink margins and threats of horrible sounds. And I need that prodding.

I'll also put on Simplyrain and keep my earphones in so I don't wake up the house with horrible violin playing if I pause to long in my writing. (This will only make sense to those of you who have tried

So. I'll be back with the results. Aspirin and 15th century Venice, here I come.

I managed 1477. That's 1477 I wouldn't have if I'd have taken a sick day. If this book were to be 30,000, and I only wrote 1477 a day, it would be finished in three weeks total. I need to remember that. If I can just write for three weeks (especially if I wrote more than 1477 each day) I would have a nice sized project done. IN THREE WEEKS.

I'm at over 15k now, after I edited a bit the other day. Booyah!
Where are you at? Looked at your total word count and done the elementary school Math yet? How long is it going to take you to finish? What can you do to push yourself a little harder than planned? And if you're chugging along nicely, don't forget to stop for a moment and take a bow. You deserve it.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August 6, 2013

UPDATE: 2618 words.
Writing at night is starting to wear on me. Sleeping until 11 am makes me feel like a slug some days. Even when its justified. I guess guilt is a talent I will never shed. Hopefully I'll be meeting or having a phone call with a writer friend who helps me get my head on straight.

Original report:
Today my son and I had appointments. Once we were both home, the house filled with family. I held my new granddaughter and finally got some eye contact. She is brilliant, of course. I tried from none o'clock on to get into my chair and get my project open.  It didn't happen until midnight.

Another writing project came up today. I'll be squeezing in another 5,ooo words this month, somewhere.

At 11:30 I realized all I'd eaten today was a bowl of cereal and two ears of corn, so I headed off to Mav to stock up on calories to help me write through until 4 am.

What I would really like to do is to sit down in a comfy chair, put my feet up, and write the rest of this novel in one sitting. I like the way the work flows when I can do that. But right now, I have to be able to help my daughter with the baby and her 3 year old twins, at least for the next week, until she's back to her old self. If that weren't the case, I'd try a three day hotel stay to get it done.

But I'll just have to settle for night-writing for the time being. I took a Dean Wesley Smith nap around five pm, so I still have a lot of life left in me. I listened to classical music on the way to Mav and back, to help get me in the mood for late 15th century Venice. It kinda worked, but now I want to do research on the birth of the cello, to see if my hero might have one. But research is DEATH at this point. I have to be able to get the basic first draft of this puppy out with only the research I've already done--and that was quite a bit, actually.

So. I'm taking my Alphasmart to the living room. Going to kick back on the new comfy couch, put my feet up next to a Pepsi and some chocolate, and see how much I can get done tonight. Not planning to stop until 4 am. We'll see how it goes...

August 5, 2013

Due to the epiphany about my characters, tonight I spent my writing time editing the first of the story. I had planned to edit later, but too much of the first pages will affect the middle, so I thought it would be better to get it right. It will mean much less editing later in the story.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not encouraging anyone to edit as they go. It is just that I've got ideas bombarding me like a flock of crows in a Hitchcock movie and I can't ignore them. This will delay my finish date by one day. That's all.

Now I plan to finish this puppy on Thursday, around 12,000 words more.
It's only 1 am, but I've been working on this all day, so I'm stopping here. I feel good about it because I wanted to go to bed two hours ago.

How was your Monday? Are you pushing yourself harder than is comfortable? That's important.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

August 4, 2013

Sunday turned into quite the family day. Everyone was over, nearly all at the same time. The house was too full to work. Which makes me antsy to find an office away from home for occasions when I need to work. But I'm going to hang tough for a while.

So, no word count for today.
Monday will be the first day back in the saddle. I am determined to get at least the 4k, but more would be great. Now that I have the characters more emotionally involved, it should be fast and furious.

I had to admit it made me feel better knowing that Dean Wesley Smith wasn't able to get anything done on Saturday either. He is not one to berate himself. I like that.

What about you? Are you going to give yourselves Saturdays and Sundays off?

August 3, 2013

I decided take the day off from writing and practice being a human being for the day. For the most part, it worked. I got no new words written--on the keyboard. However, I did get some epiphanies recorded on my wall of whiteboard.

As happens when I shower, my mind goes into overdrive, but thankfully no new stories dropped into my brain without an invitation. That happens far too often and I have to be careful, when stepping into the shower, to either think about real life issues or keep my current wip in mind. This time, I was thinking about my characters and how I needed to know them better. And as creepy as this sounds, it is the most accurate way to describe it: I was no longer alone in the shower.

My hero (or aniti-hero, actually) is not who I thought he was. Thankfully, I won't have to lose any of the words I've already written, but I will have to go back and add the other things I now know. A hero at heart. I'm so relieved. I was starting to worry about him. And the things he's seen make my stomach clench. Needless to say, it will be an emotional ride this week.

My heroine is a lot more interesting as well. I've known her for years now, but this is the first time we've spent time together. I can't say much, in deference to some of my readers who may be reading this. But Isobelle's a 'comin', and Hell's coming with her.

Writing plans for Sunday are up in the air. I was considering taking all weekends off, since I'll be cranking out 20k a week with just five days, but I have to say my brain is already grooving to the writing vibe and NOT writing on Saturday took real EFFORT. How cool is that? So I expect I'll sit down and get a couple thousand words at least, after the Rock and Rock Jr. go to bed.  I may  even do 4k just to keep my habit building. I guess we'll see.

If you want a little courage for what you are writing, if you think you might be making some kind of mistake, read this brief post from Seth Godin, go forth, and conquer.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

August 2, 2013

Ta Duuuum! 4191 for the day. Total for the project now 12,593.

What I did right today: I tried to write in the middle of the day, at the library, with another writer to push me. I only got 600 some-odd words done, however, with three hours of trying. (We ended up at a restaurant, strategizing.) Those same hours, late at night, would have come up with thousands of words. I guess I know where the sweet spot of my day is. It's 3:45 and I just finished.


Now I hope to sleep in until an ungodly hour. Do a session with Dr. Wicked tomorrow (1 hour) and take the rest of the day off. Of course, if I get bored, I'll try to do more, because the faster this project is finished, the faster I can be on to the next one. And the next one is a thriller. I expect the writing of it to be thrilling!

What did you get done? What are you going to change in order to do better?

See? Always adjusting. I'm determined to be like a floating, fake wood floor. Little adjustments keep it all where it's supposed to be. A push here. A pull there. Just keep swimming, keep on swimming...

Wow. It's late.


Friday, August 2, 2013

August 1, 2013

*If you're new, please read the challenge in the left margin. You may want to read the first post as well.


How did you do? And if you haven't yet, feel free to set your daily goals now.

My goal was 4000 words.
I ended with 3096. I'll have to make up the difference this weekend, when I wasn't planning on writing at all. A thousand words will take an entire hour out of my weekend. Absolutely painless.

I'm 8446 into my project. I have no idea how long it will take to tell this story, but it is a fun one to write, so motivation is not a problem.

I could blame my low count on a bunch of things, but basically, I wouldn't find it so easy to stop short of my goal if it wasn't so late--or rather, early. It's 3:12 my time and I know another hour will mess with my ability to function tomorrow. I should have started MUCH MUCH earlier. I'm going to have to keep trying to get my butt in the chair by 9 pm at the latest if I haven't gotten any writing in during the day.

What about you? Do you know your productive hours? Are you brave enough to change your schedule to free up those hours? And if you do need to adjust, are you going to do it slowly? Or go whole hog?

I wish I could write during the day. And I'm going to give it another shot tomorrow. It would be great to be like a normal human and unwind with a little TV at night. I love the seclusion and the absolute focus, but it's getting a little lonely. (I've been writing late at night for most of the year, btw.) I wish I could have others around while I write, but I'm afraid they'd have to be duct taped to their chairs, gagged, and blindfolded in order for me to still work...

Feel free to post your progress/goals/frustrations in the comments. After all, what is Hell's Kitchen if you can't gripe in front of the camera now and then?


Thursday, August 1, 2013

July 31, 2013

If you're new to the blog, read the challenge to the left. You might also want to scroll down to the first post.

For those of you who are not new, you know I had a new grandchild late last night. I didn't get a chance to sit down to the computer until 10 pm tonight. It's 3 am now. I researched for four hours, then forced myself to write for one. I ended up with 865 words, but I've got all my research done and ready for the big opening day tomorrow.

I didn't get 4k done for these three warm up days, but I do feel warmed up and ready to rock and roll.

My project stands at 5350. But the exciting part is that by tomorrow night (whenever bedtime turns out to be) my project will stand at 9350 or more! That is huge! I'm so stoked!

So. I hope you've got your tennis shoes on for Thursday, August 1. First day of the rest of your career!