Need a new Case? Save $30 with code SPARKLE30 + Free Shipping at Case-Mate.com! Offer ends 12/15.

Author Topic: Slow Writer's Progress Thread  (Read 12672 times)  

Offline AlexaGrave

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 439
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • Born to Write
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #100 on: April 20, 2016, 08:20:49 AM »
Someone mentioned tracking word counts, and I totally do that. Actually I have an awesomely detailed spreadsheet I use. I have a sheet for each separate month, and on each sheet is a word count tracker for drafting, then a spot for revisions, and I then have a totaling area where I also count reading, marketing, formatting, cover art, blog/newsletter, etc. So, with this I know how much time I spend on everything.

I am a compulsive list maker, and my spreadsheet helps with that itch. I have another sheet with yearly totals and graphs! This also helps me see which months I'm usually more productive (July seems to be my super-productive month right now, but last year I was sequestered to the bedroom due to a kitchen remodel, so we'll see how things fall out this year).

And like some others have mentioned, I spend a lot of time just thinking about what I'm writing. Sadly, no column for that on my spreadsheet - lol. That one's hard to quantify since my mind wanders around so much.  :P

My update: yesterday I revised a 6k short story (quick one-hour revision) and wrote 1k on my non-fiction (Sunday and Monday was a bust for me).

Today I have horrible neck and back pain because I slept wrong, so we'll see if I can stay awake when the toddler naps to edit the novel - haha.
Thorns Entwine the Blade - Trinity Torn Book 2 (Revisions): 18%

GSD vs. Everything (1st Draft): 60%
Dark Fantasy Writer
Alexa Grave | Born to Write | Website | Newsletter | Haunted Unicorn Publishing - Developmental Editing

Offline catlife

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 105
  • Gender: Female
  • Devon, England :)
    • View Profile
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #101 on: April 20, 2016, 08:32:18 AM »


When I was younger I probably started 20+ novels that I never finished.  They're all sitting in file folders collecting dust.  I'd get what I thought was a great idea, churn out 50 pages, hit a wall, and come to a dead stop because I had no idea what happened next.  I repeated that fruitless process for years.


Hello, I am new and have been lurking and in awe of what everyone is doing here!  When I read that above I just thought OMG, that is so me!  it is only now that my youngest has started school that I have been able to get back into writing and I have only now realised that I have to outline.  I have written 75000 of a novel since last September and I am having to outline in retrospect as it still has areas where I am hacking through the weeds thinking wtf happens next!

I am so glad I am not the only one with a library of novels that ground to a halt between 30 and 50k!

Theresa Beachman

Offline Bickernicks

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 124
  • Gender: Male
  • Buzzards Bay, MA
    • View Profile
    • A Dead Guy
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #102 on: April 20, 2016, 08:49:01 AM »
Here's a quote from Joseph Heller:

Quote
Heller told an interviewer in 1974. It came so hard. I really thought it would be the only thing I ever wrote. Working on Catch-22, Id become furious and despondent that I could only write a page [or so] a night. Id say to myself, Christ, Im a mature adult with a masters degree in English, why cant I work faster?

From this article: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2011/08/heller-201108


Princess Charming

  • Guest
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #103 on: April 20, 2016, 09:12:30 AM »
My husband said something revolutionary to me last night. He said, "I don't want to hear about your word counts anymore. Stop thinking about your story in terms of word counts."

Huh? Not talk about word counts? Why, that's how we writers measure progress, output. If we don't talk about word count then how do we talk about our work-in-process (my husband hates this term, but that's for another post)?

"Then how am I supposed to talk about it then?" I whined. (I added whined as a dialogue tag in case you couldn't hear the whining from the sentence).

My husband, the process engineer, former newspaper editor, answered, "By how much of the process has been completed. Or if the story is structured, what piece is underway, 50% finished, etc?"

Today I will be concentrating on story progression rather than word count. Already I feel less stressed...

Your thoughts?

Offline Smarte

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 48
  • Gender: Male
  • Filthadelphia
    • View Profile
    • The Wandering King Blog
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #104 on: April 20, 2016, 09:39:49 AM »
My first two novels I wrote 'on the fly' as it were, which was exhilarating but difficult, but as my third book is a detective thriller, I knew that I had to nail the plot and didn't even let myself start it until I'd got my characters sketched and the outline ( and those all important red herrings ) factored in. Have to say that it made writing a lot easier....or is it that I'm learning?? :)

Writing is a learning process.  That's one of the things I love about it.  There is no such thing as a wasted effort.  Even if you rip up 20 pages and toss them in the trash, hopefully you learned something while doing so. 

In a way, it's almost like the basketball player that continually shoots baskets, over and over, to hone his skill.  Simply by doing, you get better.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2016, 09:43:30 AM by Smarte »

Offline Smarte

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 48
  • Gender: Male
  • Filthadelphia
    • View Profile
    • The Wandering King Blog
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #105 on: April 20, 2016, 09:44:31 AM »
My husband said something revolutionary to me last night. He said, "I don't want to hear about your word counts anymore. Stop thinking about your story in terms of word counts."

Huh? Not talk about word counts? Why, that's how we writers measure progress, output. If we don't talk about word count then how do we talk about our work-in-process (my husband hates this term, but that's for another post)?

"Then how am I supposed to talk about it then?" I whined. (I added whined as a dialogue tag in case you couldn't hear the whining from the sentence).

My husband, the process engineer, former newspaper editor, answered, "By how much of the process has been completed. Or if the story is structured, what piece is underway, 50% finished, etc?"

Today I will be concentrating on story progression rather than word count. Already I feel less stressed...

Your thoughts?

Your husband is a wise man.   :)

Princess Charming

  • Guest
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #106 on: April 20, 2016, 09:57:18 AM »
Your husband is a wise man.   :)

Thanks!

Offline Gisele_1169

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 209
  • Gender: Female
  • Atlantic Canada
    • View Profile
    • G.R. LeBlanc - Haiku Poet and Fiction Writer
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #107 on: April 20, 2016, 10:32:06 AM »
My update: yesterday I revised a 6k short story (quick one-hour revision) and wrote 1k on my non-fiction (Sunday and Monday was a bust for me).

Today I have horrible neck and back pain because I slept wrong, so we'll see if I can stay awake when the toddler naps to edit the novel - haha.

You're still making forward progress and that's what counts! So sorry about the neck and shoulder pain -- I'm in the same boat. Really need to start doing my yoga on a daily basis again.

I no longer keep track of my daily word counts. I focus on forward progress. My system consists of putting a sticker on my calendar every day that I work on any form of writing. For me, simplicity is key. :)

Offline Stevie O

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 49
  • Gender: Female
  • England
    • View Profile
    • Stevie O'Connor Writer
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #108 on: April 20, 2016, 11:33:29 AM »
My husband said something revolutionary to me last night. He said, "I don't want to hear about your word counts anymore. Stop thinking about your story in terms of word counts."

Huh? Not talk about word counts? Why, that's how we writers measure progress, output. If we don't talk about word count then how do we talk about our work-in-process (my husband hates this term, but that's for another post)?

"Then how am I supposed to talk about it then?" I whined. (I added whined as a dialogue tag in case you couldn't hear the whining from the sentence).

My husband, the process engineer, former newspaper editor, answered, "By how much of the process has been completed. Or if the story is structured, what piece is underway, 50% finished, etc?"

Today I will be concentrating on story progression rather than word count. Already I feel less stressed...

Your thoughts?

Fantastic advice!! :) and yes, it's good to get away from that headspace, if you can! I'd rather write a brilliant paragraph than a chapter that is worthless and has to be binned ( can you tell I'm speaking from personal experience! ;)

Offline Stevie O

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 49
  • Gender: Female
  • England
    • View Profile
    • Stevie O'Connor Writer
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #109 on: April 20, 2016, 11:34:54 AM »
You're still making forward progress and that's what counts! So sorry about the neck and shoulder pain -- I'm in the same boat. Really need to start doing my yoga on a daily basis again.

I no longer keep track of my daily word counts. I focus on forward progress. My system consists of putting a sticker on my calendar every day that I work on any form of writing. For me, simplicity is key. :)

ah yes, the yoga, managed an hour and half today and felt like a new being and all ready to start writing again! ;)

Offline Stevie O

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 49
  • Gender: Female
  • England
    • View Profile
    • Stevie O'Connor Writer
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #110 on: April 20, 2016, 11:36:45 AM »
Writing is a learning process.  That's one of the things I love about it.  There is no such thing as a wasted effort.  Even if you rip up 20 pages and toss them in the trash, hopefully you learned something while doing so. 

In a way, it's almost like the basketball player that continually shoots baskets, over and over, to hone his skill.  Simply by doing, you get better.

Thankyou! You hit the nail on the head I think.... I love this place, everyone 'gets' what I'm on about! :) :)

Offline Gisele_1169

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 209
  • Gender: Female
  • Atlantic Canada
    • View Profile
    • G.R. LeBlanc - Haiku Poet and Fiction Writer
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #111 on: April 20, 2016, 12:01:27 PM »
Ended up with 1,044 words today, for a grand total of 72,948 words! Love it when scenes come alive. Now, time to go do that yoga! :)

Offline Smarte

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 48
  • Gender: Male
  • Filthadelphia
    • View Profile
    • The Wandering King Blog
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #112 on: April 20, 2016, 01:55:04 PM »
Ended up with 1,044 words today, for a grand total of 72,948 words! Love it when scenes come alive. Now, time to go do that yoga! :)

Congrats!  Sounds like you are finding your groove. 

Offline AlexaGrave

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 439
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
    • Born to Write
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #113 on: April 20, 2016, 03:30:53 PM »
Oh, I completely agree that it's best for some people to not even look at the word count and just look at the progress and forward momentum. If that helps you feel less stressed, then that is the way to go!

Me though, I am obsessed with numbers. I love them. Hence my crazy spreadsheet. Maybe at one time it deterred me and depressed me, but since I have been writing for over 2 decades, I don't get as down about it. I still see the, "I've made it one step forward" no matter how many words I've written. But I've finally settled into a groove where since I know myself and how I write better, I can make word count/progress goals for myself that I know are attainable. And if I fall a little short, I'm not frantic. I make sure the stuff for publication is planned to be done WAY ahead of time, so I have plenty of wiggle room. Which is kind of funny because I'm also an awesome procrastinator. I'm a walking contradiction - lol.

I am actually thrilled with my progress this month, especially since it's way better than the previous 3 months.  :D

Oh and yoga -- been planning to pick that up again, but I keep putting it off. I should really just do it! But today I think hubbie will try to help with a shoulder rub.  ;)
Thorns Entwine the Blade - Trinity Torn Book 2 (Revisions): 18%

GSD vs. Everything (1st Draft): 60%
Dark Fantasy Writer
Alexa Grave | Born to Write | Website | Newsletter | Haunted Unicorn Publishing - Developmental Editing

Offline Debra Purdy Kong

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1907
  • Gender: Female
  • Canada
  • BC Mystery Author
    • View Profile
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #114 on: April 20, 2016, 04:48:37 PM »
Hallo Adam :) My favourite quote is from Doris Lessing "You should write, first of all, to please yourself. You shouldn't care a damn about anybody else at all. But writing can't be a way of life - the important part of writing is living. You have to live in such a way that your writing emerges from it."
It takes me a year to write a book, that's why I was so delighted to find this place!! :)

Welcome Adam, and some of my writing colleagues would say that a year is fast Stevie. I've belonged to a critique group for quite some time. A number of our authors have been working on their first books for 5 or 6 years. I and another colleague who've been doing this a while each took 10 years to write and edit our first books. It got a bit faster each time after that, but I'm still not prolific by any means.

And as a mystery writer, I'm a big fan of outlining the first third of the book, where characters and subplots are introduced, murder happens, etc. I do some outlining in the middle section and by the last third, I let the words fly because the story's been set out and there's a logical way to ramp up the tension action and reveal the killer. In other words, I always know who did it and why before I start writing. Once in a while it changes, during the writing process but I spend a lot fair bit of time thinking about what I'm going to write before I begin. And I really like that part of the process!

Offline Gisele_1169

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 209
  • Gender: Female
  • Atlantic Canada
    • View Profile
    • G.R. LeBlanc - Haiku Poet and Fiction Writer
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #115 on: April 20, 2016, 05:41:15 PM »
Congrats!  Sounds like you are finding your groove.

Yes, and hopefully I won't lose it this time!  ;)

Oh, I completely agree that it's best for some people to not even look at the word count and just look at the progress and forward momentum. If that helps you feel less stressed, then that is the way to go!

Me though, I am obsessed with numbers. I love them. Hence my crazy spreadsheet. Maybe at one time it deterred me and depressed me, but since I have been writing for over 2 decades, I don't get as down about it. I still see the, "I've made it one step forward" no matter how many words I've written. But I've finally settled into a groove where since I know myself and how I write better, I can make word count/progress goals for myself that I know are attainable. And if I fall a little short, I'm not frantic. I make sure the stuff for publication is planned to be done WAY ahead of time, so I have plenty of wiggle room. Which is kind of funny because I'm also an awesome procrastinator. I'm a walking contradiction - lol.

I am actually thrilled with my progress this month, especially since it's way better than the previous 3 months.  :D

Oh and yoga -- been planning to pick that up again, but I keep putting it off. I should really just do it! But today I think hubbie will try to help with a shoulder rub.  ;)

I think it's wonderful that you know what works for you, Alexa! And I'm glad to hear that you're having a productive month! Hope the shoulder rub helps! :)

I'm also really enjoying reading about everyone's processes. This thread has become so encouraging!

Offline kdiem

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 510
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #116 on: April 20, 2016, 07:24:04 PM »
Yes, and hopefully I won't lose it this time!  ;)

I think it's wonderful that you know what works for you, Alexa! And I'm glad to hear that you're having a productive month! Hope the shoulder rub helps! :)

I'm also really enjoying reading about everyone's processes. This thread has become so encouraging!

Wonder if we could convince all of our spouses/significant others/local masseuses that shoulder rubs are a vital part of the (slow) writing process?

Author. Bibliophile. Fangirl.
Karen Diem | website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

Offline N. D. Iverson

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 395
  • Canada
    • View Profile
    • Author Website
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #117 on: April 20, 2016, 07:42:32 PM »
Does anyone else find pressure a hindrance rather than a motivator? I am a slow writer and probably will always be, but lighting a fire under my butt doesn't really seem to do what it's supposed to for me. I got this lovely line in a review of my sequel: "so all I can say is N D Iverson had better be putting in some night shifts because I for one am counting the days till book 3 !!!!"

Kind of languishing now... :P

Just call me the thread killer.
N. D. Iverson | Author Website

Offline Debra Purdy Kong

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1907
  • Gender: Female
  • Canada
  • BC Mystery Author
    • View Profile
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #118 on: April 20, 2016, 08:17:49 PM »
Does anyone else find pressure a hindrance rather than a motivator? I am a slow writer and probably will always be, but lighting a fire under my butt doesn't really seem to do what it's supposed to for me. I got this lovely line in a review of my sequel: "so all I can say is N D Iverson had better be putting in some night shifts because I for one am counting the days till book 3 !!!!"

Kind of languishing now... :P

The way I cope with pressure depends a lot on my frame of mind. Also, if it comes from a publisher, it tends to be a great motivator because I don't like to let people down. The same is true for my writers' group, although the pressure isn't as tense because the stakes aren't as high. The pressure I put on myself can be relentless, but if I'm too hard on myself I get tired, then fed up, then apathetic. I've learned to be much easier on myself, content with taking baby steps at times, because at least I'm moving forward :)

Offline N. D. Iverson

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 395
  • Canada
    • View Profile
    • Author Website
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #119 on: April 20, 2016, 08:30:49 PM »
The way I cope with pressure depends a lot on my frame of mind. Also, if it comes from a publisher, it tends to be a great motivator because I don't like to let people down. The same is true for my writers' group, although the pressure isn't as tense because the stakes aren't as high. The pressure I put on myself can be relentless, but if I'm too hard on myself I get tired, then fed up, then apathetic. I've learned to be much easier on myself, content with taking baby steps at times, because at least I'm moving forward :)

As you said, frame of mind is a big factor. I've been stressed with LIFE in general lately and thus have been putting more stress on myself because I'm not writing the 3rd book as fast as I should be...

Just call me the thread killer.
N. D. Iverson | Author Website

Offline Stevie O

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 49
  • Gender: Female
  • England
    • View Profile
    • Stevie O'Connor Writer
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #120 on: April 21, 2016, 01:28:34 AM »
Welcome Adam, and some of my writing colleagues would say that a year is fast Stevie. I've belonged to a critique group for quite some time. A number of our authors have been working on their first books for 5 or 6 years. I and another colleague who've been doing this a while each took 10 years to write and edit our first books. It got a bit faster each time after that, but I'm still not prolific by any means.

And as a mystery writer, I'm a big fan of outlining the first third of the book, where characters and subplots are introduced, murder happens, etc. I do some outlining in the middle section and by the last third, I let the words fly because the story's been set out and there's a logical way to ramp up the tension action and reveal the killer. In other words, I always know who did it and why before I start writing. Once in a while it changes, during the writing process but I spend a lot fair bit of time thinking about what I'm going to write before I begin. And I really like that part of the process!
Debra, I've just written an English detective thriller (it's in the KS program right now...cue bitten nails, sleepless nights etc) and now I'm trying to plot the second & third one. I once read of a famous thriller writer who didn't know himself who dunnit till the very end, which sounds fantastic but I'm not sure I could do it!  Thing is I think I would be making a lot of work for myself, it's difficult to know how successful my own thrillers are because I know them inside out..... but thanks for the encouragement, I love this thread! Everyone is so warm and friendly :) :)

Offline Stevie O

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 49
  • Gender: Female
  • England
    • View Profile
    • Stevie O'Connor Writer
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #121 on: April 21, 2016, 01:32:17 AM »
Does anyone else find pressure a hindrance rather than a motivator? I am a slow writer and probably will always be, but lighting a fire under my butt doesn't really seem to do what it's supposed to for me. I got this lovely line in a review of my sequel: "so all I can say is N D Iverson had better be putting in some night shifts because I for one am counting the days till book 3 !!!!"

Kind of languishing now... :P
Languish and dream....I'm just awkward, if I get peer pressure I just do the opposite! tuttut! But seriously,  I've noticed a lot on this thread of how much work you can do that isn't a daily word count and I think it's true. Anything that inspires you must be good for your writing surely? ( Can you tell that this is what I keep telling myself?? )

Offline Gisele_1169

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 209
  • Gender: Female
  • Atlantic Canada
    • View Profile
    • G.R. LeBlanc - Haiku Poet and Fiction Writer
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #122 on: April 21, 2016, 04:56:49 AM »
As you said, frame of mind is a big factor. I've been stressed with LIFE in general lately and thus have been putting more stress on myself because I'm not writing the 3rd book as fast as I should be...

Who decides how fast "you should be" writing your third book? Sounds like you're being hard on yourself. Instead, focus on the fact that someone loves your work, and take the writing one day at a time. :)

Offline Smarte

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 48
  • Gender: Male
  • Filthadelphia
    • View Profile
    • The Wandering King Blog
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #123 on: April 21, 2016, 09:37:22 AM »
Does anyone else find pressure a hindrance rather than a motivator? I am a slow writer and probably will always be, but lighting a fire under my butt doesn't really seem to do what it's supposed to for me. I got this lovely line in a review of my sequel: "so all I can say is N D Iverson had better be putting in some night shifts because I for one am counting the days till book 3 !!!!"

Kind of languishing now... :P

I don't mind external pressures.  I work as an advertising copywriter, so am dealing with daily deadlines.  They're a great motivator for cranking out work. 

I'm not fond of internal pressures.  When you put pressure on yourself, you're apt to explode.  Rather than putting pressure on myself to write X number of pages in X number of hours, I prefer to set up routines, like I'm going to work on my fiction on Sunday afternoons.  Once such routines become habit, it releases the pressure.

Offline sstroble

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3950
  • Gender: Male
  • CA
    • View Profile
Re: Slow Writer's Progress Thread
« Reply #124 on: April 21, 2016, 10:27:43 AM »
I don't mind external pressures.  I work as an advertising copywriter, so am dealing with daily deadlines. 

Am curious if your day job skills help you to write the blurbs for your books?   
Writing the blurb is my least favorite part of writing.