E.E.I. Challenge – Writing Challenge

WritingToday was morning number two and – my alarm must not have been set, for not only did I sleep well, but it didn’t go off, leaving me to wake on my own at – well, 7:00. I have no idea what the barometer is outside, but clouds have been threatening rain all day and the gusty wind is enough to cue Mrs. Gultch’s Theme. Right now, it’s gusting through the screen because the house has gone from chilly yesterday to hot today. And my muscles are killing me. In other parts of Texas and the states around me, people are bracing under tornado alerts. So for we have a coastal watch warning, a flash flood watch, and a pollen alert. I hear the bees are rejoicing everywhere. 😉

Today it took me 24 minutes to go through roughly the same hair/dress/makeup routine, though I French Braided my hair so that took a bit longer. Mostly moving in general and focusing was harder. I made up for the time by deciding to see what happens when I go buy breakfast. It took me 18.27 to decide to go, find my purse, drive there, purchase food and coffee and return. I ate while I finished the chapter of the book and did my Miracle Morning all out of order, but it did get done, including one segment of painful stretching, which actually did help. Learning from yesterday, I pushed the 750-word blogging to afternoon, which seems to work well because I’ve finished my 2000 words today completing the next chapter of the book, ate lunch, printed out songs and papers for piano this afternoon, and watered the garden. Now I have a little under two hours to blog before my first student gets blown through the door.

Today the words were hard. I read my last scene and decided I liked it enough to finish and somehow incorporate. I still liked it but had no idea how to work it into the timeline for the next event. Perhaps it was just as well because I cut and pasted the original scene earlier – only I didn’t paste it, so now it no longer exists. Well, a bit might from what I exported from the document yesterday.

Maybe that’s why finishing that chapter didn’t feel very good. I didn’t want to write it. I think it’s better than the original, but it’s not my most stellar writing. I can’t judge my words for today, so I’ll refrain from doing so. Even so, the day made an excellent chance to observe my writing sessions and ask myself what works and what doesn’t.

Today it took me 2 hours and 40 minutes to write somewhere around 2,085 words. These are terrible stats, but they, at least, let me see what I can accomplish on the bad days.

What works and why?
Jumping into action and dialogue works. Listening to music that sets the mood works. Putting parenthesis around words when you can’t find the one you’re looking for and moving on, so you don’t lose the flow works. Accepting less that good words to get the scene to take shape on the page works, rather than putting it off because you can’t get into the flow, works. Drinking coffee before the session works. 😉

What doesn’t work and why?
Resting my wrists on the computer doesn’t work because it makes me use the small muscles instead of the large ones and puts on more of a strain. My chair is too low and my desk too high to lift my hands up over the keyboard. Likewise, my feet can’t rest flat on the floor when I type because my chair is too high to reach the secretarial. Maybe I should keep my computer on the smaller writing desk and use the secretarial for my handwritten stuff now that my manuscript is forming on the screen instead of the page. As for the writing itself, today was just slogging. The words weren’t great but they, at least, described the scene and dialogue. That’s the purpose of a draft so I’ll have to resign myself to adding detail and eloquence later. I think part of the problem is I’m reading a novel. I know it’s counter-productive, but my brain does best when only one story dwells in it, whether it’s competing with another story that I’m reading or another that I’m writing. Right now I have both and it’s gotten out of the flow that it’s been in the for the two weeks. Also, some of it may have been the chapter itself because I didn’t want to write the events that happened. When I went down for lunch, my brain started immediately creating the next scene. Maybe I just got spoiled last week. The first 1,000 words were hard then too but every time I finished, I knew I did a good job and could genuinely pump a fist, “Yes! It’s so good!”

Is there anything I don’t use, need or love here?
Not really. I had good music. I love Scrivener. I wrote in the morning with time to finish without rushing. I think the biggest change to make would be to find a better desk to use that puts my body in the proper position to write. I’m not sure what that would entail at the moment. The other desk is nice but hard to sit in as well. Still, I could try the switch and see. If nothing else, it keeps me from moving my computer up and down.

How much money would compensate my time here?
I spent 2 hours and 51 seconds writing, rearranging and sorting the scenes for the rest of the week to get an overall idea of what they look like. No one else can write my books for me so this task cannot be delegated.

How many hours do I spend doing this every week?
Somewhere around fifteen would be my guess for an average. Some days are more, some are less.

How can it be more efficient, effective, and entertaining?
I need to develop my concentration better to keep my fingers moving on the keyboards unless I’m actively plotting the story logistics in my head. Even if that’s setting a timer for no-stops and planning short breaks. I can do better than 2,000 in 2 1/2 hours. In fact, I got the majority – over 1000 of them written when I switched scenes in the last 3/4th of the time. I knew what had to happen in that scene when before I only had a general idea of how to take it from one point to the next.

What needs to change until this fits into the picture of what I would like my future to look like?
I would like to build up my physical and mental skills until 3000 words – roughly a ten-page chapter – is normal for me. On the other hand, Stephen King keeps his sessions to 2,000 so he may have something to not pushing himself too much. For now I find the same to be true: 2000 is doable consistently. 3,000 works for about three days and I spend the next two with mush for a mind. But I keep thinking it’s like training for the Olympics and I can work up to that, so I don’t have to stop and pick up in the middle of a chapter.

What already fits that picture?
I have a set work routine. I eat breakfast and “go to work” like other people. I write in the mornings when I’m mentally at my most creative and best. I think looking into a better workspace will help clear up the physical problems which seem to be my biggest hurdle. Also, I’ve ordered a memory/concentration tea that I’m going to experiment with to see if it works better than my coffee habit.

What do I love best about this place or task?
This, even though today was difficult, is my favorite part of the day. This is the task that when I do it, I know I’m doing what I was made to do. This is what makes me want to cancel the rest of my life so I have more time and energy to do just this.
I love everything about it, even on the struggling days.

So what about you guys? What do you do that helps boost your writing or workspace? Any suggestions for what I should add to tomorrow’s writing routine to make it better?

 

Resources:

Scrivener: I tried the full 30-day trial of Scrivener and knew I wanted to keep it forever. I talked about it so much that my brother bought it for me for my birthday, gosh, almost a year ago. I will never go back. This love affair is real, y’all. If you write or need to organize any type of project involving words, you really should look into it. If I could recommend one thing, this would be it. You can find the trial version here.

E.E.I. Challenge

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