stephaniecain: writers write. everyone else makes excuses. (no excuses)
2012-07-30 06:21 pm

Writing daily...on a cyclical basis

I'm a member of the [community profile] inkingitout community, where we check in on a regular basis with the amount of words we've written. There are great conversation starters posted at the journal as well, and recent questions have been about the timing of our writing. Do we write on a daily basis, on a cyclical basis, etc? Where on the spectrum do we find ourselves? It really got me thinking about my writing habits.

My comment at the community got so long and so involved that I decided to post it here as a journal entry.

Let's see, I last checked in on the 25th, so from then until the 28th I wrote 2613 words. I'm at 72909 for the year.

I've been obsessively tracking my writing since 6/30 of this year, and I've noticed that I do a great job of writing daily...for 3 to 5 days at a time. Then I seem to need at least one day off, up to three days off at a time. I do feel better about myself if I write every day, but since 6/30 I've taken off the following days: 7/2, 7/7-7/8, 7/14-7/16, 7/21-7/23, and 7/27-7/29. This seems really weird to me, but over the course of a month of tracking my writing, it's pretty consistent, so apparently I have a short little writing cycle myself!

I really would prefer to be writing on a daily basis, or perhaps taking only one day off a week. But then again, despite the days off this month, this has been the most productive month for my writing, aside from NaNoWriMo, in quite some time. My total word count since 6/30 is 30,704. So I may have to just accept that this is the best way for me to be productive.

What I've discovered is that I have a hard time experiencing compelling fiction written by someone else and then writing my own fiction afterwards. For instance, three of those days I took off writing because I had been watching the Dark Knight trilogy. Another day I took off because I watched Brave. Another set of days I took off while I was reading a novel. Of course, the other side of this could be that after several days of writing, I need to experience compelling fiction written by someone else. In other words, which is the cause of the break, and which the effect? Do I stop writing because I read? Or do I read because I need to stop writing? I don't know. It's something I'll have to think about more.

My most recent days off, however, have been because I was working very intensive days at my day job, and was just frankly too exhausted to write at the end of those days, and then last night I started reading another novel that just sucked my time away from me. In no way am I complaining about the days at my day job. It's a great job, with great people, and I get to spend my time learning about history, talking about history, writing about history, and it's by far the most wonderful thing I have ever been paid to do. I look forward to going to work every week.

I just need to figure out how to have enough mental energy left to write when I get home from work. :)
stephaniecain: a picture of a smirking woman with short red hair (Default)
2012-07-25 04:16 pm

Writing progress and computer frustrations

*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.
stephaniecain: a picture of a smirking woman with short red hair (Default)
2009-06-17 09:51 pm
Entry tags:

Debt is so much fun

Spent some time getting some financial peace of mind tonight. Got on the phone with Sallie Mae and managed to avoid defaulting on my student loans. I've arranged deferment until October, though I'm going to make as many payments between now and then as I can. I also arranged a 12-month payment plan and lowered interest rate with Discover. That's where the bulk of my money's going to be going. God willing, I'll be able to chip away at the debt that's been rising steadily ever since losing my job back in 2006.

If all goes well, though, I'll have discover paid off about a year and a half from now, and my car and my lower-balance credit card will be paid off in less than a year. Then I'll just have student loans to concentrate on, and that'll be a breeze at that point.

I'm feeling productive in general tonight. I managed to:
  • do a 2-mile bike ride
  • do a load of laundry
  • clean off my desk
  • get caught up on financial stuff
  • help Dad with a quest on WoW
  • update my cell phone plan

I still would like to sew a couple of buttons back on a pair of pants and go to bed early... But that last one isn't looking very likely.