Saturday, August 20, 2016

Weeks 5 & 6 Writing Challenge Analysis

This is going to be a quick and dirty analysis of the last two weeks because I have to get out of here and go paint a dragon...

For Week 5...

Week 5 was all about the beginning editing - and that was a major struggle. I went into the week knowing I had scenes that had to be written, but no plan on how to get them done except "When I get to it, I'll write it."

I did very well on getting pages done, 125 edited, just 15 shy of the goal of 20 per day. As for my hours dedicated to the writing, I was 0.7 hours shy (about 42 minutes) of meeting the goal of 4 hours a day.

Blogging was okay. I was able to get the Week 4 analysis up on time (Sunday) and get another random post, Reading - Writing - And Change..., done on Friday, so that goal was met. Yay Me!
courtesy of
With the blogs and the transcribed edits, I wrote 4,445 new words, with 2,522 being on my blog.

And all progress was reported on my Twitter and Facebook pages. No new work was done on my other manuscripts, but I'm not going to stress over that until I finish this book.

Which means, for the most part, in Week 5 I came close or met my goals for the week.

For Week 6...

This was the litmus test week and I can already tell there will have to be some more tweaking and refining of my goals and methods.

Biggest take away from Week 6 was the realization that I definitely must have an editing plan moving forward. After the fumbling and "uh, what next" issues during Week 5, it was clear to me that when it comes to editing, I must know exactly what I need for the story moving forward. And that was how I spent my Saturday - the first day of the challenge week. I spent over 4 hours going through the rough draft and making a list of all the scenes I would need to finish the story - 19. And found that I had scenes that needed to be finished - 6, giving me a total of 25 scenes.

Having just that little bit of information made the week go easier - even if I didn't get as much done as I'd hoped.

My almost finished living room (that sofa was on the opposite
side of the room when I started)
Blogging wasn't so you can see the Week 5 analysis that was supposed to go up on Sunday ... didn't happen. In fact, Sunday was the crazy move everything around day which started at 2 am EST and, after a 4 hour nap, ended around 3pm EST. I literally tore apart my bedroom, living room, and office (which is the dining room) and moved shelves, desks, sofa-recliners, and televisions because the flow of energy in my house was bugging me.
Still, I got some editing and transcribing done on Sunday.

My 90% done office...I love my table and roll-top desk!
The second blog post was supposed to go up mid-week...kinda happened. I was able to make a quick Writing & Insanity post on Thursday, but nothing illuminating and fun. Although, I must  may be seeing a post on work spaces...

Now for the numbers...

Week 6 was 9.9 hours down from Week 5 (17.4 compared to 27.3), my edited pages was up 169 pages, and my transcribing/new words on the manuscript was up 918 over Week 5.

Considering Week 6 was my first return to full-time work week, and I was getting back into the groove of things, it's quite obvious I have to make some adjustments. Good news for me was, I didn't stay late a single night I was back to work. And once I was home, I immediately got back to the editing or transcribing.

Going off Goals set for Week 5 (write/edit/transcribe 4 hours a day to complete Rogue Master; 1 hour a day to create new manuscript outlines; 2 blog posts a week) I didn't do so hot, but I'm very proud of how much I was able to get done and the fact that I did it while back to work.

And since this challenge is about making Writing A Habit I Can't Kick, I'm still winning - because I'm still writing!!

Even better, when I was driving back from a regional training with two of my co-workers, both of them commented on how much more positive and excited I seemed than the previous school year. And they both attributed it to my being able to write again - they're is all because I'm playing with my passion again.

And that's why I have to go paint a dragon.

So - Goals for Week 7 (with the tweaks to keep me successful):

  1. Work toward completing Rogue Master clean rough draft:
    • Edit a minimum of 20 pages per day
    • Spend a minimum of 3 hours per day transcribing/writing/editing
    • Post progress on Twitter and Facebook
  2. Begin work on new manuscript(s):
    • Spend a minimum of 1 hour per day plotting/outlining a new manuscript or
    • Read through previous unfinished manuscripts for scenes or
    • Transcribe/write on new manuscript for 1 hour each day
  3. Post at least 2 blogs per week:
    • Weekly Challenge Analysis - Post by Sunday
    • Create a list of blog posts (minimum 8 posts/subjects)
    • Blog on any other subject - post by Thursday
Going by the numbers, this means I have to do a minimum of 28 hours of writing every week.

I can do this!!

Will see you on Thursday, have a great week, and when I get my dragon done, I'll post some pictures!

Have a great day!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Writing and Insanity

So, the update isn't happening until probably this weekend, when I'll analyze both week 5 and week 6 of the Writing Challenge...

Why is it late? Because I'm going in forty directions at one time and have not found an opportunity to sit down and focus on the data.

My friend Claire Monroe talked about a crazy busy week last week and that's what I've had this week.

Prepping my classroom for the new school year and getting the equipment for all the other classrooms inventoried and distributed as well as dealing with computer issues and the fact that I was informed on Monday that the computer lab would be losing between 1/4 to 1/2 the space to create another classroom made it fun, fun to figure out a configuration for the computer tables that didn't overload circuit breakers and keep kids from complaining about other kids being too close. (*shudder* visions of "he's touching me" play through my mind and it isn't pretty.)

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Good thing is, I have gotten some editing done...not as much as I'd like, but I wrote three (3) of the nineteen (19) new scenes that need to be written, so I'm getting there. Slowly but surely.

Friday is going to be a very long day since I have to head out of town for training, return and work on a painting project in my classroom, then come home, hopefully edit a few more scenes and get back to school on Saturday to complete the painting project so I have all day Sunday to write.

Hope you all have a great day and a great weekend. Be prepared for another post on Saturday night/Sunday morning with my analysis for the last two weeks.

Take care!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Reading - Writing - And Change...

Recently I was asked, "Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite book?"

How many times have you, reader, been asked this same thing? And have you also run into the problem of trying to answer it?

Here's the problem I, as a reader and a writer, always run into when I try to answer it - CHANGE.

Change is inevitable and it applies to everything. I mean everything from bubble gum to hair color to how the sun rises and sets! And this goes 100 times more for readers, because you grow and experience life and delve into new genres of fiction or different fields in non-fiction. You often find when going back to a book or author you read in the past and enjoyed, that your reaction to the story is much changed from what you remembered.
Some of my romances on
one of my 3 sets of book-

Now, there is always the fallibility of memory, but - in this case - I'd put my money on change. Eventually, what was once your favorite novel or story isn't any more. And that's not a bad thing. It's actually very reaffirming. It tells you that you're growing as a person, following a path you've chosen to explore at this point in your life.

I am an avid reader and have collected romances - and a few other genres - since the late 1970s (yes, I'm that old). Although, in recent years I have actually pared down my book collection. In all my moves - Las Vegas to Alaska; Alaska to Montana; Montana to North Carolina - I carried with me as many of my books as I could - 60 boxes give or take a dozen. Now, I'm down to about 20 boxes. Only kept the books I'd read every year.

As a writer, the question of favorite books and authors can be tricky, even if you don't take into consideration the great friendships that develop between writers. It can expose a side of you you might not be comfortable revealing. For me, it was a wake up call...after I'd taken some time to think it over, of course. The question made me think of two things - How I read and Why I write.

How I read:
I have always read for enjoyment and still do so - for the most part. Since 2010 though, I have spent a great deal of time studying the craft of writing. Lots of non-fiction books and seminars and workshops. My friend and critique partner (CP), Claire J. Monroe, has helped me in processing through all the things I've been learning, which I greatly appreciate.  She recently wrote an interesting blog post about writing and it being a solitary venture that played into my thoughts about my reading favorites and writing habits, and the progress I've made since the Writing Challenge began a month ago. Big result from all the information I have sifted through regarding plot, subplot, character development, pacing, etc., is the impact my knew knowledge has had on how I read for enjoyment. Immensely!

Before 2010, when I read it was to relax. Perhaps catch up with a series of characters. Definitely see how the "competition" was  doing their thing. And above all, to have fun and enjoy submerging myself in a world crafted by an author with a story to tell.

When I pick up a book now, I seem to subconsciously and even unconsciously, analyze a book for all the elements necessary to create a compelling story. This often affects my enjoyment of the book, because if my subconscious spots something an alarm goes off in my head. I work at the problem until, consciously, I can see where the problem exists. I think about how it impacts the story. Then, I stew on the bloody information trying to figure out how I'd fix it if it were my book. In many cases, if there's an issue that I need to work out, I'll set the book down and walk away from it for a while so I can process through the information provided. I try to extrapolate the potential ending of the story and figure a way to fix the problem my subconscious has communicated before returning to read the story. Until the next plot/character/story issue crops up.

The stories that I don't put down, are the ones I enjoy the most. Yes, there may be issues, but those issues in plot or character or story line, are usually directly connected to the growth of the main character and the evolution of the story arch, so those problems, I can usually gloss over and stay wholly immersed in the story...until my subconscious and unconscious minds tell me I can't. Then it's back to the pacing and planning until I've fixed the issues in my head and can return to the book.

Six of my favorite books or authors:
Maya Banks' Forged in Steele & Darkest Before Dawn,
Linda Howard's Mackenzie's Mountain & Game of Chance,
J.R. Ward's Lover Revealed, and one of the Executioner series
created by Don Pendleton
This in turn, makes me hyper-aware of my own errors in a story that could send me - and sometimes still does - down a path of bullying, abusive self-talk and insults aimed at my writing ability, that does nothing to fix the issue. Often only exacerbating situation until I refuse to write another word (Hello, Writer's Block part II). That is until recently.

The Writing Challenge has helped me in how I deal with myself and how I view my writing and reading time. Which leads into the next part -

Why I write:
I don't remember a time I haven't been able to read. I know that in my elementary school I practically read out the entire fiction section of its library by fifth or sixth grade. By seventh or eighth grade I'd latched on to romance novels (series romances mostly) and spent every dime I earned babysitting buying them. But my favorite authors simply did not write fast enough for my habit. Above is a picture of six of my favorite books and authors. In another 10 years this group may change, and it may not. Especially Lover Revealed and Game of Chance. In middle school and high school I could easily devour three or four books a day, reading before and after school, between classes and during lunch. I read all the time. I still do when I'm not writing or working the day job.

At my 20th high school reunion, a friend mentioned how he remembered I'd keep at least four books in my bag wherever I went. I laughed and showed him the bag I was carrying - inside I had three books and one of the early Kindles - he groaned. Reading is and was my passion.

Unfair Advantage
Mattie & Bryce
Rite of First Claim
Mike & Lyssa
That need for something to read led to my picking up a pen and telling my own stories. Admittedly my early works were similar to the fan-fiction of today, but I also created characters that were unique to me. Mattie's and Bryce's story, Unfair Advantage - and to a lesser extent Mike's and Lyssa's story, Rite of First Claim - were begun in those early years - when I was 12 or 13 years old. And as I grew and changed over the years, the stories I wrote and the ones I read did as well. Mattie, Bryce, Mike, and Lyssa came along for the ride. There stories evolved as my reading interests and my writing abilities evolved and changed - for the better, I think.

Yet, no matter how much I've changed and my taste in books has evolved, one thing hasn't. When it comes to the story - it's the characters that catch my attention. How they handle situations, how they act and react and roll with the punches. Those elements are what keep me going, keep me reading - and keeps me writing. Telling those stories; introducing readers to the people in my head; providing fun and enjoyment and a bit of escapism for a few hours - or days - depending on your reading speed. All of those things what keep me picking up the paper and pen and transcribe the words in my head onto the computer screen in front of me. It's what I'm good at. I love reading and writing. I don't see myself ever stopping either endeavor.

So, now I put to you readers, what is your favorite book and your favorite author...and why?
Give me some recommendations (I read horror, mysteries, YA, and science fiction, so don't think you have to stick to romance) so that the next time I'm waiting on an appointment or waiting on edits, I'll have something to read.


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Week 4 Writing Challenge Analysis - Glass Half Full - Half Way There!

Wow! Claire Jane, can you believe it's been Four weeks. 28 whole days completed and four weeks to go. Half way there!

This week had good news and bad news.

The Bad first, because I prefer to get it out of the way so I can celebrate the good.

Word Count = Bad
Added 23,973 words to the manuscript. That's 20,607  less words than Week Three's manuscript word count.
From week Three to Week Four, my Free write words per minute was reduced from 6.1 to 2.4 wpm - a drop of 3.8 wpm.
There was also a decided reduction in words per minute in transcription from 23.2 wpm to 12.9 wpm.
Total time invested in my on-line presence (Blog, Social Networks, etc.) was 450 minutes (7.5 hours) less than Week 3.

Here's the rub - the Bad isn't so bad. True, I didn't add 6,000 words a day - this week was about editing - I didn't expect word count, but I was aiming to make my hours. That was what I focused on - and I did get through 40 pages of edits.

Now, The Good:
I added 1,594 words to my blog, which was 212 words more than last week. I spent 2,340 minutes on my manuscript and 195 minutes working on my blog for a total of 2,535 minutes or 42.3 hours - 6.4 hours more than Week 3.
That was 415 minutes or 6.9 hours more than Week 3.

Looking at all that information, you'd think this week's analysis may end up becoming a diatribe about my inability to stick to goals I'd given myself.

I've always been a glass half-full kinda person when it comes to other people, yet tend to be a glass barely filled kinda gal when I'm dealing with myself.

This writing challenge has been very good for me in discovering this. And discovering how destructive my words can be to my belief in myself.

This week was an out and out test to my new "It is what it is" philosophy. If you look at the general data - the surface of the situation - it would be very easy to lambaste myself over my performance.

Here's the thing, though, while I'm not happy that I haven't finished the ugly rough draft of Rogue Master, I discovered that I read and watch television when I try to avoid writing.

It's not like I didn't know that - having become rather an expert at it over the years - what I did discover this week is, that even though I read 8 novels, skimmed and read over half of two other novels, and indulged in three season of Hercules Poirot on Netflix, I still sat my butt down to write. Every day.

Whether it was from midnight to two a.m., or 9:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., or 5:45 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. Whether transcribing notes, free writing, constructing a blog post, or editing, I have written for 28 days. Every day I have taken time to write something - anything - and that's something I haven't done in 6 years.

And I'm very proud of myself - very proud.

Because I know this means I'm at the halfway mark of making this a habit. One that I've never had before. Not in the past. Not in all the years I wrote before I was published or the few years after my first book was published.

As I review the data from this week's challenge and reflect on the methods I used in the past, I realize writing wasn't a habit, it was a hobby - a distraction while I was waiting for a good book or movie to come out. Something to do when I was bored with what was on television.

Now, I'm making it a habit that I can build a career on. a career I can be in charge of, and can determine where I want it to go. I'm putting the power back in my hands.

And I'm liking it.

The final analysis of my performance versus my goals for Week 4:

  1. Write every day - achieved
    • 6,000 words or 6 hrs per day - not achieved - average word count per day was 3,196; average time spent editing/transcribing/free writing was 5.6 hours
    • report daily to social media - achieved
  2. Add words to a new manuscript - not achieved - primary focus was on Rogue Master, so I didn't bother working on another manuscript
  3. Post 2 blogs - half achieved
    • Week 3 Analysis blog post - achieved - posted
    • any other blog post - not achieved - There was no response to my blog so I'll be figuring out posts on my own for the time being.
Looking at these details, I think there needs to be modifications to my Week 5 goals, yet not much. With my focus being on editing and adding new, I need to consider that progress in the establishment of my goals.

Considering I have approximately 210 pages of notes and scenes to go through, I'll be adding a minimum page count for editing to my goals. I'll also be taking into account that I'll be returning to work next week, so my available writing time will be shortened.

New goals for Week 5:

  1. Work toward completing Rogue Master manuscript by:
    • Edit a minimum of 20 pages per day or
    • Spend a minimum of 4 hours per day transcribing/writing
    • Post progress and favorite line to Facebook Fan Page and Twitter
  2. Begin work on new manuscript(s)
    • Spend a minimum of 1 hour plotting/outlining each day a new manuscript or
    • Read through previous manuscripts for potential scenes or
    • Transcribe/write on new manuscript for a minimum of 1 hour each day
  3. Post 2 blogs a week
    • Weekly Challenge Analysis - Post by Sunday
    • Create a list of blog posts (minimum 8 posts/subjects)
    • Blog post of any other subject - Post by Thursday
I'll be posting my updates on both my Fan Page on Facebook and under my Twitter account.

Thank you to everyone who has visited my blog and social media sites.

Have a great day!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Making Writing A Habit I Can't Kick - Week 3 Analysis

I am definitely making progress.

Admittedly my Week 2 Analysis just went up on Saturday, July 30th (a week late) but at least it was posted!

As for the writing, that has been an interesting adventure in and of itself. Claire gave me that wonderful challenge of 6,000 words and/or 6 hours of writing a day, which made for some fun times, I'll tell you. Boy, did my inner critic have a field day last week.

I digress.

Here it is. Week 3 analysis - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The good, the bad, and the ugly - that's how I'm going to break this post up.

Let's start with the goals for the week - In order to meet my target of having the ugly rough draft of Rogue Master done by July 31, 2016, my goals for week 3 were:

  1. Write every day
    • Add a minimum of 6,000 words a day to the manuscript using any means necessary - free write or transcribe;
    • and/or spend a minimum of 6 hours every day working on adding new words to the manuscript
  2. Post two blogs per week
    • one post should be the Weekly Challenge Analysis;
    • second should be on any other subject I want
Review of Goals:
The Ugly:
I failed on goal #2 for posting on my blog. Yes, I did finally post my Week 2 Analysis, but not until Saturday, July 30th - which was the end of Week 3 and an entire week after the post was due.
And, I didn't get a second post written - So a big fat 0 for that goal.

Based on the fact that I was actually able to post to my blog every day for Week 1, I should feel bad about this - and here's the really Ugly part: I don't feel guilty.

It is true that during the first week I was able to post every day - yet, let's be serious about this - they were boring posts. Boring I tell you! A regurgitation of information totally yawn-worthy.
(And yes, I swiped these pics from a fellow author, Candace Blevins off Facebook - pay attention to the last one!)
photos property of Candace Blevins
IMHO, adding more posts like that would have been a waste of my time and the readers' time.

The Bad:
For this goal, the bad is that the weekly analysis is probably going to run a close second in the yawn-worthy contest, but I'm going to keep posting them, so I can analyze my progress; keep those interested up to date about my projects/WIPs; and to satisfy my science research geek CP, Claire Jane.

Which means, at lest one post a week is definitely going to be a "blah-blah-blah" kinda thing. Feel free to ignore it if you so choose.

The Good:
Here's the good about this blog posting goal - I'm going to put out a request to you, the readers, to feel free to comment on what you'd like to hear from me. That way, I have a jumping off point to work from and you might actually get to see what you want --

If all else fails and all I get is crickets chirping, I'll dig out some unfinished scenes or deleted scenes for you to enjoy. That way they get shared, you get a peek at my weirdness, and I get to check off one of the items on my weekly "To Do" list. Awesome!!

Now, on to goal number one adding 6,000 words a day to complete the ugly rough draft of Rogue Master.

The Ugly:
I suck. But, I'm not angry at myself. And why do I suck, yet I'm not angry at myself? I suck because I did not finish the ugly rough draft of RM. What I did do was get an end word count on Friday, July 29th of 80,008 words, which was 5,008 words more than I'd planned (considering I'd revised my goal from 90,000 to 75,000 in Week 2) - which is why I am not angry at myself.

How can I possibly be angry when I made progress? It's so funny thinking about this. If you read any of my early Week 1 posts, you would recognize what a bitch I can be to myself. I set such high expectations for myself that I think I do it just so I can fail! So I'll have a reason to be angry at myself and call myself names and point out all my failings. And does that help me in any way? No. Does it inspire me to push harder to succeed? Hell to the No! Like I said last week, biggest take away I've gotten so far from this Writing Challenge, is to accept that things are what they are and move on. The past can't be changed, and dwelling on it only limits your potential for greatness in the future.

Learn the lesson and move on!

The Bad:
I didn't write a minimum of 6,000 words a day, nor did I put in 6 hours minimum a day on my writing. This, I am a little disappointed in myself over, yet, I'm fully embracing Claire's "It is what it is" philosophy. 

I didn't reach that goal, but that doesn't mean I can't keep trying.

The Good:
The good about this particular goal failure is that it wasn't really a failure. And it's all in the wording of the goal: "a minimum of 6,000 words"

See, that is the part I get to do my happy dance about and say "nanna-nanna-boo-hoo" to my inner critic, because, while I only added 3,400 words on Saturday, July 23rd, and 2,119 words on Sunday the 24th; On the 25th I did 8,955 words; the 26th was 8,907 words; the 27th was 7,388 words (as well as 1,382 words for my blog); the 28th was 7,047 words - after 5 hours at the day job and a killer migraine; and the 29th was 6,767 words - A grand total of 44,583 words (not including my blog) which averaged out to 6,369 words a day. (*Phft* to you nasty inner critic!)
So what if I only spent a total of 32.08 hours on the manuscript. That's an average of 4.58 hours a day - still enough hours to be considered a full-time worker at some businesses.

Bottom line:

I did a FUCKING amazing job!!

Happy dance, cuz I love Donald O'Connor & Gene Kelly
gif courtesy of
In Week 3, I transcribed 21,805 more words than I did in Week 2, and invested 15 more hours to my writing (free write and transcribe) than in Week 2.

Ironically, while I again had no restrictions on my allotted social media time, comparing Week 3 numbers to Week 2 numbers I spent:
  • 4.9 hours less on Facebook
  • 2.6 hours less on Twitter
  • 9.9 hours less on email
Yet, I spent 4 hours more on my blog (darned redesign and analysis).

That's a total of 11.7 hours less social media time. Funnily enough, it seems the drawback to that reduced time, was the loss of 5 "Followers" on my Facebook Fan Page. Then again, Facebook has issues sometimes that I still have yet to decipher.

Overall, I would say there was much more good that came out of Week 3 than bad.

Moving forward, things are going to be more challenging simply due to the nature of the point I'm at in the writing process for Rogue Master.

Week 4 and possibly Week 5 are going to be completely focused on reading through what's been transcribed and editing it to meet the modified story paradigm. I have approximately 15 new scenes that need to be written, so my focus is going to be more on the hours invested rather than word count - although word count is still going to be a great measuring tool since I'll be able to see how much I cut away from the old scenes and upgrade them to meet the new story.

Plain and simple, Week 4 goals are:

  1. Complete ugly rough draft of Rogue Master
    • add a minimum of 6,000 words using any means necessary - free write or transcribe
    • spend a minimum of 6 hours working on editing, writing, or polishing the ugly rough draft
    • report daily updates on social media - Facebook and Twitter
  2. Add word count to any other/new manuscripts
    • add a minimum of 6,000 words using any means necessary - free write, transcribe, outline, plot, etc. (to be considered part of goal 1 daily word count)
    • spend a minimum of 6 hours working on outlining, plotting, writing, transcribing, reading through old manuscript copies (to be considered part of goal 1 daily hours)
  3. Post to blog at least twice a week
    • 1 post = Weekly writing analysis due no later than the following Monday
    • 1 post = any subject that comes to mind or reflects posted reader interest/requests
Pay close attention to that very last goal, because I'm putting the ball squarely in your guys' court! I need subjects people!! Or you're going to end up with teacher-speak, lectures about character development; learning styles; plotting; the difference between the Care Package, Plot Protagonists, and Story Protagonists (you'll end up with this one anyway because I'll be posting about the class I'm teaching online with HCRW....)

Don't make me use my teacher voice. ;)

Thanks for showing up and have a fan-fucking-tastic day!!!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Week 2 Analysis of Making Writing A Habit I Can't Kick Blog Challenge

I know – it’s late – heck, Claire has had her Week 2 analysis up since Sunday and she added another awesome blog on Writer’s Block on Wednesday.

For me, I was avoiding the analysis because I wasn’t clear how to look at it all. I decided to finally suck it up and get the work done so I could have it off my to do list.

Looking at my requirements, as defined by Claire J. Monroe for Week 2, I actually did very well.

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
2)    Redefine your goal list for this challenge and submit it to me (Claire) 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.)

Going through each item:

On #1, considering the least amount of time I spent writing was 45 minutes and I added a total of 23,480 words to the manuscript – that goal was definitely accomplished. I even added some hand written notes on another manuscript one day, although I didn’t list it in my spreadsheet.

#2, I did a rough redefining of my goals for week three and sent it to Claire just before midnight on Friday, so I got in under the wire on this one. See the rough list below:
Revised goals as I think about them are:
1.      practice learning the story through the 14 scenes using the Poker Posse books.
2.      complete the rough draft of RM by 7/31 (only 40K words more to go)
3.      Establish a solid writing schedule.
4.      Extra if possible - create a visual-kinesthetic-auditory goal plan for my writing
I didn’t quite go through all the goals, and Claire pared it down so I could truly focus on the main goal of completing the ugly rough draft of Rogue Master. I’ll post the completed list of goals at the end of this blog.

#3 – submit emails to Claire, yup, did this with only one delay – my Thursday post was combined with my Friday post.

#4, social media ban was lifted, which was nice, but I honestly didn’t spend a lot of time on the social media sites.

I can safely check off each of the items on my list as being complete and I have to send a big thank you to Claire for helping me SEE things better.

Day #
Word Count
Time (min)
Rate (wds/min)
Free Write?
Rogue Master
Free write
Rogue Master
Rogue Master
Rogue Master
Rogue Master
Rogue Master
Rogue Master



Now, for my analysis – this week actually went much better than the last week.

As you can see, my focus has been on transcribing scenes from the other manuscripts into this new one. There were only two days when I did just over my minimum requirement, but my words per minute didn’t drop. In fact, one of the those days was a freewrite day (14.5 wpm), the other was a transcribe day (11.7 wpm) showing there wasn’t much difference between the words per minute on those days.

While the word count and the time committed are all really great to see, the biggest change was something I only shared with Claire. The daily questions I sent to her showed, in my opinion, a marked improvement over those of the first week. After actually seeing the destructive way I’d treated myself in those first posts. I think I was hyper aware of what language I used and taking a step back and not allowing emotion to leak into the responses. I kept it very analytical and non-judgmental. Which allowed me to think about the progress I was making – and it was good progress…hell, it was fucking great progress. I more than doubled my word count from the first week.

Each day of transcription made me aware of the running notes in my head that I would jot down in the story to remind myself how the scenes would need to be altered to fit the new story. I have to say, it was exciting to see the word count climb and see how what I’d written before could be made to fit. (Which honestly made me feel good because a part of me could no longer rail at me about all the time I wasted on writing the wrong story so many times.)

Now for the new challenge going into week three.

Remember the one I sent to Claire? Claire being the evil bitch wonderful friend and scientist that she is spent a good two hours on the phone with me Sunday night. I’m sure she was ready to snatch me bald as I talked around and rationalized everything yet didn’t give her any firm confirmation that the goals I’d sent her for week three were achievable.

That’s her big thing. Helping people set achievable goals so they don’t set themselves up for failure. Yet, she also makes sure that the challenges aren’t too easy. After more discussion though, she came up with a simple list that aligns with my goal to complete the ugly rough draft of Rogue Master (which has been whittled down to 75,000 for 90,000 since the 90,000 is the publishable final draft goal.)

We also discussed the fact that I was becoming somewhat anxious over the fact that I hadn’t posted anything to my blog for the week, since it wasn’t a requirement for me. Add to that the realization that if I’m going to work toward writing becoming my career, and since I have time during the remainder of the summer due to my day job, then I need to commit to some serious hours for writing.

Which resulted in a simple 2 element goal for Week 3 of the Making Writing A Habit I Can’t Kick Challenge.

1)    Add a minimum of 6,000 words per day to the ugly rough draft of Rogue Master:
a.    To complete the 75,000 word ugly rough draft, or
b.    Spend at least 6 hours per day working on the manuscript, either writing, editing,
       transcribing, etc. to help meet the 6,000 word per day goal.
2)    Post two blogs each week:
a.    One would be the weekly analysis of my Making Writing A Habit I Can’t Kick results
    i.    Due by Sunday, July 23, 2016 (quite obvious I missed this goal, but I’m making it 
          up with this post)
b.    A second post on any subject of interest I have on that day – writing, cooking, books,
       baking, sewing, etc.
    i.    Due by Wednesday or Thursday, July 27 or 28, 2016. (Will be pushing this one
          back to Wednesday August 3rd since I wasn't able to get my analysis post for week 
          2 done until today, and I'll be doing week 3 on Sunday or Monday. This way there’s 
          some time between analysis post and new one.)

Blog post analysis done – check that one off!
Until Monday, have a great day!!


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…