36 Days

Blogger was down for a good part of yesterday, so probably many of you couldn't sign in to post a crazy fact about yourself. Yeah. That was it. *g* But the two that are there are great! Thanks, Feyrhi and Anna!

Pulled a writing marathon yesterday, twelve hours, and for that I have to show six new pages. It may not sound like much but they're six pages that work. I think. And they move the story forward. Definitely. So it's all good.

In my current coming-to-terms mindset, I did a reality check yesterday. On a shiny new 2007 calendar, I pinpointed my February deadline and, working backward, I marked in red the number of days left. There are, as of today, 36 days left. Then I whipped out the calculator and determined the number of pages, new pages, I'd have to write each day to make deadline. That would be five (5). That's if I write the next 36 days with no break. If I miss a day, or fudge a page count, well, you do the math.

I've never resorted to numbering a calender like that. I'm not that organized. Nor disciplined. However, I've never been this behind this far into the game either. So I had to do something to head off the train wreck ahead. Train wreck being me as I screech toward deadline week no where near on schedule. Trust me, messy.

I tacked that calendar on the wall right next to my inspiration bulletin board, directly above my laptop. Glancing up and seeing those red numbers helps. It keeps my whimsical mind on track. Whatever works, right? At least I hope this works. I'll let you know in 36 days.

What about you? Any new tricks in your bag to maintain focus? To increase productivity?


Jennifer Elbaum said…
I recently read on Rachel Vater's blog that she recommends getting an accountability partner. Someone who checks in every day to ask how many words/pages you've written.

Sounds like a dangerous job...
Anna Lucia said…
If you aim for more than five, then you're building in some leeway for problems, editing, illness... going to the bathroom... ;-)

Tips for productivity? The Going Somewhere Else to Write thing works for me. At the moment I'm doing strangely well on the productivity front, by identifying spaces in my schedule that I COULD do writing stuff in, and making sure I DO do writing stuff.

And starting the next task as soon as I've finished one, so I've broken the seal, as it were. So I finish one thing, put that down, pick up the next thing, start it... THEN take the break I'd usually take between things.

Sounds complicated. Makes sense to me!
Anonymous said…
I still haven't cracked that nut. I'm writing every day, in varying levels of productivity, but it's not going as fast as I'd like.

I think I have new book-itis. This is the first new thing I've written in over two years! All my previous books were revised old ones. A totally different process, as you know. I'm having to remind myself not to info dump. Never thought I'd be back there again, lemme tell ya.

BUT, I've had accountability partners and it *does* help. I also keep telling myself to go to a damn coffee shop to write for a change. But I'm so warm and cozy here in my fleecies.

This was a long winded post for nuthin' *gg* Thanks for letting me bitch.
Scott Oden said…
My deadline's May 1, though to be fair I really should try for April 1 instead, to allow my agent a chance to read and weigh in on it (though, since Agent Bob and my editor are friends, sending to both on May 1 might not be a problem). To get done on time, I need 2000 words a day.

I am officially screwed.

I have days where 2000 words flow like wine, but most of the time it's far less and it flows like molasses in Anarctica.

I repeat: s-c-r-e-w-e-d.
Anonymous said…
I lie to myself.

"If I write 10 pages today, I don't have to write any more until the day after tomorrow". Then tomorrow, I tell my myself, "Ha! You still have to write at least 5 pages today. But if you write 10, then you don't have to write any more until the day after tomorrow."

Somehow, I never seem to catch on to myself. >:P
I also should have written War and Peace by now, but that's another story.
Beth Ciotta said…
Sorry for the late replies, all. Been a long day. Let's see now...

Jen, I'm at this point I'm kind of looking at all of you as my accountability partners. You and the calendar with the red numbers. ;)

Anna, you're right, a higher amount would leave room for leeway, and if I can produce more, trust me I will, because there are days, like yesterday, when time is very limited and I don't even make the five. As for going somewhere else to write, I need silence and believe it or not, we don't even have that at my library. LOL
Beth Ciotta said…
Ann, new book-itis! Gotta love it. Lara Adrian has a recent blog post on starting a new story. I just kept nodding and thinking, I know and love that feeling. As for info dump, depending on the subject matter I can fall into that as well, but I don't worry over it in the first draft. Either my CPs earmark it for deletion or I usually catch it myself on second read. For now, try to knock the editor off your shoulder. Just write and enjoy. :)
Beth Ciotta said…
Scott, so that's close to six pages per day (if you're writing in Times New Roman). Gads, man. You're worse off than me. But I wouldn't say you're screwed. Heh. You can do this. Although you may have to give up some game time. (Was that you I just heard screaming, "Noooooo!") As for the word flow, I am exactly like you. It's either wine or molasses. And for me, last night, it was the latter. *sigh* Hang in there, my friend!
Beth Ciotta said…
Ah, Constance. You always brighten my day. That process of yours... My head's spinning, but I'm smiling. *g*
Roni said…
I haven't had the tight deadlines you have, but when I work on a book I have a notebook paper out and I record how many pages I do each day and each week. I usually aim for 20 pages a week (4 pages 5 times a week) until I get near the end, then I push myself further. BUT many times I try to do more than the 20 pages. you, of course, have contracted projects so you have to do more!
You can do it. I have a partner who we exchange goals each week and a group, too. Just knowing I have to report in...it keeps me on task.

Good luck.
Beth Ciotta said…
Roni and Mechele, thanks for the support and advice. I'm pushin' on!! :-)

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