stephaniecain
06 August 2012 @ 09:13 pm
Because I have become obsessed with the time-management side of writing, I printed out a calendar of July and marked the days I didn't write. I wanted to see if there was a pattern. And I discovered there's a pretty obvious pattern.

Click to see my calendar )

See the pattern? Right up until I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo, my non-writing days were almost entirely centered on the weekend. To be exact, 8 out of 12, or 66.67%, of my non-writing days were either Saturday or Sunday. The remaining four days were 3 Mondays and 1 Friday. Okay, so they aren't technically weekend days, but they're just to one side or the other of the weekend.

So what happened when I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo? No idea. Intimidation, maybe? Or rebelliousness against the idea that now I have to write? I have been enjoying it so much in July, maybe introducing the additional challenge of CampNaNo in August subconsciously threatened my enjoyment?

Who knows. Anyway, I'm GOING to write tonight, dammit! The OCD side of me is protesting the outliers that are going to show up on my August map.
 
 
Current Mood: cranky
Current Music: E. S. Posthumus - Arise
 
 
stephaniecain
25 July 2012 @ 04:16 pm
*eyes desktop warily*

My 4-year-old HP desktop is acting unhappy lately. It'll boot up, I'll start doing something, and two minutes later it just randomly shuts off and goes into the reboot cycle. O.o Or it tries to boot, then freezes and I have to do a hard reboot. *sigh* I really really can't afford to replace it right now, so I am going to sacrifice a goat later to see if that appeases it. >.> Or maybe I'll just run a few more diagnostics and pray really hard. Heh.

In the meantime, though, I've been using Rachel Aaron's method of fast writing, and I am floored with how excited I am to sit down and write every day. It's been a long time since I've felt that way, so this has basically revolutionized my life.

One thing Rachel Aaron does is track her productivity, which I had always done in a desultory sort of manner. I used a spreadsheet to track how many hours I wrote and how many words I wrote each day, but I hadn't bothered tracking much else. I do know that spending 5 hours at the Barnes & Noble cafe always means a very good writing day for me -- often between 5-8k words. But I hadn't done too much specific tracking. So on June 30 I started a spreadsheet that tracks Times (of Day) Written, # of Hours, Word Count, Words Per Hour, Location, and Medium (meaning longhand, netbook, desktop).

Since June 30 I have written for a total of 23.51 hours. In those hours, I've written 28,091 words. Most of those words have been written at home, many of them on my netbook, which has a new lease on life thanks to Xubuntu and LibreOffice. A lot of those words have also been written at Starbucks, where I go for two hours once a week to write. During that time, I've had 9 days where I was unable to write, for various reasons.

I confess, I haven't read Rachel Aaron's books, but she is officially one of my new favorite authors, simply because of what she has taught me. As soon as I have money, I plan to buy all her books.
 
 
Current Music: Luke White - Black Market Red Roses
Current Mood: excited
 
 
stephaniecain
12 September 2011 @ 01:26 pm
I've been making a lot of those lately. "It's a three-day weekend, I don't want to work on the revision." "I have a migraine. I don't want to work on the revision." "I worked on plotting and world-building for a different project, I don't want to work on the revision too." "I spent all day doing housework, I don't have enough energy for a revision day."

Seems like I've been making a lot in my personal life too. "I'm sorry I suck so much at keeping in touch." "I just haven't felt like being online."

The truth is, I don't feel like I have enough energy for everything life throws at me as well as everything I want out of life. Since it's impossible to ignore the need to work & pay bills, impossible to ignore a migraine that feels like a spike through your left eye, and impossible to ignore kittens who are running roughshod over your head? I end up letting personal stuff fall to the wayside. I don't answer emails quickly enough. I forget to call my best friend. I stay up too late one night and drag around at half-energy the next.

I've been simplifying and cutting some things out of my life lately. I intentionally let go of a friendship that meant a lot to me, but simply became too emotionally vampiric for me to continue. Even the friends I do value have gotten short shrift lately, and I'm sorry about that.

Of course, I also have had some victories. I think I've done pretty well at raising two kittens at once, which wouldn't have seemed like such a victory this time last year, but definitely is. I've gotten a third of the way through my novel revision, despite the new migraines that started in June. I've read over fifty books this year.

We're slipping into autumn, which is always a reflective season for me. Something about the combines throwing up clouds of chaff in a bean field, the golden light, the breezy cooling of the weather, makes me take stock of my life and yearn to give in to my wanderlust. Knowing my birthday is a month away makes me wonder where I'll be and what I'll be doing on my birthday next year.

Just a little bit of lunch-time introspection...
 
 
Current Mood: contemplative
 
 
stephaniecain
01 January 2011 @ 06:10 pm
I'm a reader of Procrastinating Writers blog and Write It Sideways blog. For the month of January, both bloggers are producing a "Better Writing Habits" newsletter, and I'm subscribed to that. So I'm going to try to post my responses here each day. We'll see how that goes! ;)

What are your worst writing habits of 2010?
Today’s Challenge: Identify your worst writing habit to be overcome, and devise a game plan stating exactly what you will do to break that habit in 2011.


My worst writing habit to be overcome is easily my habit of procrastinating. So my game plan:
  • Stop choosing Warcraft or Criminal Minds fanfiction over writing original things. Not that either things are bad, and I want to continue participating in the CM fandom as well as leveling my Dwarven Hunter and a couple of favorite alts on Warcraft. But I need to do those things after I've done my writing for the day.
  • Write 200 words each day. Rain or shine, sick or healthy, busy or lazy, it doesn't matter. 200 words is a minimum.
  • Stop reading so many blogs about writing and just write. I need to choose quality over quantity when it comes to the writing blogs I follow (and really, any of the blogs I follow). I need to keep current on what's going on in the writing industry, but too often I feel like a writer because I read the blogs, when I really should feel like a writer when I write.
 
 
stephaniecain
01 January 2011 @ 05:59 pm
So I generally eschew New Year's Resolutions (and I've recently become a fan of [livejournal.com profile] slightlyjillian's method of taking stock and making resolutions on your birthday). But I also think there's a lot of value in having a writing plan for the year, and October (when my birthday is) seems like a weird time to create that. So here I am on January 1 thinking about my writing plan for the coming year.

My job is going away in just over a year. The Fortune 100 company where I work is going through a business reorganization that is going to eliminate about 90% of the jobs in my department (Finance) here in Indianapolis. The work will still be done, but it's going to be done at a shared business services center in Texas near our corporate headquarters. At the moment I'm not planning to move with my job (though that might be an option). Fortunately, the company gave us a lot of warning about this; we've known for about a year already that our jobs were going. So I've had time to think about what I want to do.

What I'd like to do is start making money off my writing so that when I start looking for a new job, I can look at 30-hours-a-week or less. I have a novel-length manuscript close to being submission-worthy, so my first goal for 2011 is to finish polishing that sucker and get it out there. I'm giving myself at least until August to concentrate on my writing and not worry about finding a new job.

2011 in detail behind the cut )

Overall goals are to sell 4 short stories this year and find an agent for my novels.

[livejournal.com profile] astraea36 and I have a bargain going that for every hour she spends at the gym each week, I'll spend that amount of time writing the following week. She wants to get in shape and I want to get some writing done, plus she's my alpha-reader, so we both benefit. Aside from her nagging, which I hope will happen often, you're all invited to poke at me and help keep me accountable.
 
 
Current Music: Mountains of Thunder - Wrath of the Lich King Soundtrack
Current Mood: determined
 
 
stephaniecain
25 March 2010 @ 09:45 pm
OK I am setting writing goals for myself starting today.

I'm going to make myself write 500 words of my short story before I get online. 

I've decided that I have two years of warning before my job goes away, and what if I try to position myself so that I have income from my writing before then, so I only have to look for part-time work when my position is eliminated?  So I'm going to start being a bit more disciplined about my original fiction.

Every other day I'll write 500 words and on the alternate days I'll revise 500 words of my novel.  *nods*

I know, it sounds like low expectations, but if I can start making myself sit down every night with that goal, I know myself. I try to write 500 and several nights I'll end up writing more than that. Of course, other nights I'll end up writing 5, but that's okay.
 
 
Current Music: Steve Earle - Copperhead Road
Current Mood: determined
 
 
stephaniecain
18 September 2009 @ 11:16 pm
Why is it that whenever I am at my day job, I get all excited to work on the novel…and that excitement seems to be killed by the hour-long commute at the end of the day?

I sometimes write at lunch, but the conditions around my coworkers aren’t conducive for that often. I’m not a morning person, so getting up at 5:30 to be at work is hard enough…not to mention if I started writing at 4 am every day, I would end up calling off from work an awful lot because I wouldn’t want to stop writing.

I need to evaluate my schedule and figure out how to preserve my writing motivation through the end of the day.
 
 
Current Mood: depressed