Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Making Writing A Habit I Can't Break - 1st Week's Analysis

It's the end of week one for the challenge to develop a writing habit I can't kick and I've got data to analyze. I'm turning that analysis over to Claire J. Monroe because she's got a way of analyzing the data that really helps me to see what I need to see in order to improve. And while I could just regurgitate what Claire tells me, I think giving her a takeover the blog pass for today fits the philosophy she's been attempting to beat into me ... work smarter, not harder. So without further ado...take it away, Claire Jane Monroe!

Thanks, Qwillia! My inner scientist geek has been itching to speak on this since I started reading your blogs this week so I'm gonna skip the pleasantries and go straight to the analysis. I reviewed your stats and posts from last week and, overall, saw some good, bad, and indifferent.

Starting with the easiest - the indifferent - social media. There was neither improvement nor backsliding with this. Social media did not hamper your ability to write nor did it clog you up emotionally because you couldn't get onto Facebook. The one good lesson learned was about blogging repetitive content (writing results) not driving up blog traffic. Think this was good to see and get proof for. And, btw in case I didn't mention it, you did a FANTASTIC job of reporting out faithfully for the terms of the challenge. Also, I'm glad you agree with me about posting a single writing challenge results at the end of the week that includes a daily summary for each day. That said, I will have comments later about the content and tone reported out in those daily posts. But before I get to that, let's take a minute to look at your stats in the table below.

Word count
Time (mins)
Rate (wds per min)
Transcribe or Free Write?
Rogue Master
free write
Rogue Master
Rogue Master
Rogue Master
Rogue Master
Rogue Master
free write
Rogue Master
free write




First thing that hits me are your word count and time totals for the week: 11,711 words in almost 13 hours (875 mins/60 mins). That is PHENOMENAL and a 100% improvement from the previous (non-writing challenge) week! Great job! I also like where your rate is - 14.9 words/minute in each session - which works really well to get a solid first ugly draft of Rogue Master done in 28 days (estimating 70,000 words for a first ugly draft). Granted to get that 70k first ugly draft done at rate of 14.9 word/min, you'd have to invest 4,697 mins, or 78.3 hours... but it's totally doable. Given certain circumstances - like organization, clarity on character, understanding the story progression, and being able to focus on what needs to get done to produce words in each writing session.

Now for the not so obvious hidden in that table of numbers that i almost missed - your Free Write versus Transcribe stats. You transcribed on Days 2-5 and both word counts and time for each session were noticeably higher. Which is great, but my inner geek wouldn't rest until I'd crunched the numbers for a true analysis.
Free Write Sessions (3) Number Crunch
Total # of words:
Average # of words:
Total # of minutes
Average minutes per session
Average RATE per session

Transcribing Sessions (4) Number Crunch
Total # of words:
Average # of words:
Total # of minutes
Average minutes per session
Average RATE per session

Wow. Look at those rates. They're not noticeably different. Highly doubt you'd expected to see that regardless of your method (free write or transcription) your rate of getting words onto the page are almost equal. That's GREAT and brings up something I really need to stop and discuss before moving on. I read through your daily blog posts and  - not gonna lie - saw something that troubled me:

Destructive comments aimed directly at yourself.

We discussed this at length at the end of the challenge so I feel confident I made a dent in your subconscious - but just in case you didn't catch it all, here's a quick recap.

You are highly gifted and intelligent, but your inner perfectionist is blind as a fucking bat.

You are a visual-kinesthetic-auditory learner (VKA) and, as such, you cannot think through things when you're:
  1.  In a panic (emotionally overwrought)
  2.  In motion (moving)
Your VKA mind does not "think" through things until those things are visual, obvious, and right in front of you. (Unexpected subtlety is not your BFF.) But once something is in front of you, you MUST stop, pick it up, and walk though (process) it.

Knowing that and looking at the number crunches ... THERE WAS NO WAY - without crunching the numbers - THAT YOU COULD HAVE KNOWN YOUR RATE OF PROGRESS DURING BOTH FREE WRITE AND TRANSCRIPTION TIME WERE ALMOST EQUAL. (And yes, 12.7 to 13.5 is almost equal; 7.8 (Day 6) to 20.3 (Day 4) is not.)

Why do I say you couldn't have known? Because it's subtle and as we already established - and you KNOW - unexpected subtlety is not your forte. Heck, I almost missed it and I pick up subtlety like most people do rashes. And I would have totally missed it if I hadn't shared my number crunch deck for you to fill out that required inserting the method of writing. So don't beat yourself up, because this is me saying I completely understand why the destructive towards yourself commentary happened this week. Those transcribing sessions were longer, painful, and didn't feel like they accomplished the same you did in the free write sessions.

Wish I could say that was the only contributing factor to the destructive commentary, but oblivious to the actual situation is only half the story. The other half has to do with clarity which leads me to my next section ...

We've discussed learning styles at length over the years. I am a kinesthetic-visual-auditory learner (KVA). I see things inside my head; I call that being internal visual. You are a VKA and see things outside your head; I call that being external visual.

As a KVA, I literally do NOT see clutter or a mes UNTIL I trip over it. (Then we all laugh while I call myself a dumb ass and swear to hire a maid.) Your conscious visual mind, on the other hand, can see every element of that mess without having to touch it. This means you have the ability to analyze movies - any movie be it good, bad, wretched, awesome - all of them by watching them. You can do the same for books.

I cannot do that. At all. Which makes me jealous. Because I can only deeply analyze books or movies that impact my conscious kinesthetic sense. If a book does not possess a character who engages my emotions, then I literally cannot recall the book. Or the author. Or the name of the book. Or the cover. Words. Lines. Nothing. My memory for the time invested in reading the book is blank as if it'd never happened.

I point this out because I think the other part of the story that happened during your daily commentary was an expression of frustration due to conflict. Specifically, a conflict between your perceived and actual expectations.

Perceived expectations reside in the unconscious mind (auditory for you) and Actual expectations happen in the conscious world where you can see it. When perceived (expected) expectations are not aligned with Actual expectations, then you are not in alignment and you, your system, your id and ego, whatever you want to call it... will wage war for dominance to force one expectation to reign supreme. That war oftentimes is expressed in the language of the subconscious - or for you in kinesthetic, emotional words. In this case, negative emotional words directed internally because your stronger conscious mind was trying to get your 'I don't do subtle' unconscious mind to cop a clue.

Result of that war wasn't pretty and there was exactly one casualty: YOU.

If you're scratching your head and wondering how the heck I picked up on this, re-read the part where I "heart" subtlety. Then recall the questions I asked you before I started this analysis (to confirm my budding hypothesis) about what your goals are for this challenge. Here's your response and what you said to me:
  1. Establish daily writing habit that produces word count because you cannot edit a blank page
  2. 90,000 word Rogue Master manuscript complete and done (final draft) in total 28 days from start of writing challenge
  3. Stop beating myself up and learn to just call it what it is and move on
  4. Stop being destructive to myself and undermining my goals
  5. Get rid of the 'I got nothing' syndrome when I sit down to write at keyboard
This may come as a surprise, but that list is wholly unachievable in your current state because they're perceived expectations (straight from your auditory unconscious mind). And yes, you can call me a bitch for saying that, but I walk softly, carry a big stick, and have to call it as I see it. Especially after evil me, wrote down what you said the goals were then sneakily repeated them back to you as actual goals in this next list:
  1. Organize old and new Rogue Master manuscripts to see what is salvageable
  2. Organize material for Poker Posse series
  3. Develop daily writing habit
And yes, that list was said to you in pretty much that order. Why? Because that's what matched what you've been actually doing. In your conscious world. but I can't move on to wax more philosophical in this analysis without stopping to talk about the sweet common denominator in both lists: the writing habit.

Per your commentary and conversation, you expect a writing habit to be word count. You reported on having reviewed over 700 manuscript pages last week from old drafts of Rogue master, then got pissed at yourself because it wasn't "real" writing.


Did you feel me slap you with my big stick? No? Let me do it again.


So help me god, do NOT make me drive from Nashville to NC to smack you in person because I. Will. Do. It.

I know you want Rogue Master done - we all want it done so we can read it! I know you want it done right and the story told true to the characters. I have every faith you will do that. Every faith.

But the story will NOT happen if you are not aligned with your goals - both internally and externally. that means you MUST get a real, truthful, honest perspective and definition of what an ACTUAL writing habit is.

To help with that, here's your new challenge for week two:

1.    Commit 30+ minutes each day to writing by:
a.    Minimum word count: 500 words added to manuscript by any means necessary, or
b.    Minimum page count: 2 pages added to manuscript by any means necessary, or
c.     Minimum plot notes for minimum one scene added by any means necessary to any manuscript.
2.    Redefine your goal list for this challenge and submit it to me by Friday July 22, 2016 at midnight EDT
a.    I will need this to help support you doing next week’s analysis
3.    Submit via email to me the answers to the same blog questions answered in week one:
a.    I want them every day after daily writing session is complete while it’s still fresh in your mind how you felt about what you accomplished
b.    Again, necessary to help you do next week’s analysis and SEE what your subconscious has been trying to tell you
4.    Social media ban and requirements are lifted—UNLESS I don’t get that email from #3 on a daily basis.
a.    Miss this and you lose social media privileges and chocolate rights. (Oh yeah, I went there, because this is important. To YOU. Doesn’t hurt me one bit if you don’t make it through the ‘I got nothing’ syndrome phase… just means one less author for me to compete with at the marketplace. And now, you may call me an evil bitch who excels at getting blood from turnips.)

And that’s it. Feel free to try and negotiate your challenges this week. The answer will be “No, I’m not backing down unless you can prove to me you have a clear picture of what your real expectations and goals are for yourself.”

But you can do this. Because you are gifted, highly intelligent, and have an equally big stick to beat back your inner, extraordinarily vocal, perfectionist. (And if you picked up on that subtle ‘vocal’ part as a shout out to your auditory unconscious mind, then know that’s all the proof you need to know YOU GOT THIS.

Hope it helps. Good luck and until next time…

No comments:

Post a Comment