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and eventually they add up.

This month I've rejoined [livejournal.com profile] novel_in_90 and signed up for a cancer fundraising ride in July, and my reasons for doing both are the same--I needed goals.

As I've mentioned before, ever since I began supporting the corporate finance databases, I've had trouble balancing the day job and the rest of the life. My DBA responsibilities now involve scheduled work several nights a month as well as the occasional weekend. This was prime writing time, and I found it hard to get into a writing routine, especially in the absence of an externally imposed deadline.

Similarly, this year's bike trip isn't until September. Which seems very far away, and thus I've slacked off on the training, letting myself take a pass when it was too hot/cold/wet.

But time is slipping away, unnoticed, and I realized that it was June and I had nothing to show for the past couple of months. So I gave myself goals. First, Novel in 90, which is a commitment to write at least 750 a day, every day, with the ultimate goal of 67,500 words in 90 days. It worked for me last summer when I was finishing up THE FINAL SACRIFICE, so I decided to give it another spin.

Since Saturday I've written 5,750 words. That's an entire chapter that didn't exist before. All because I was no longer waiting for the right time. I'm not even waiting for the right words. In true Nin90 spirit, I've written paragraphs that I knew were crap, just to keep moving. It's the end results that matter, words on pages. I once heard Nora Roberts tell a room full of writers "I can fix a bad page. I can't fix a blank page." I'm following her example, and so far it's working.

I know I won't get to write every day in the 90. But I'm committed to try my best, and to keep making progress. Small, manageable goals that will add up to the whole.

As for biking, rather than training for a week-long trip in September, I'm now focused on training for a 1 day ride in July. By giving myself a short term goal to work towards you can bet that I'll be out on the road this weekend, regardless of the weather.

Now if only I could figure out a way to write while biking....
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After spending five months trying to make it work, it has dawned on me that I should stop expecting to achieve a satisfactory work/life balance. Each time I think I have a handle on things, a new curve ball is thrown my way. For instance, up until yesterday I was anticipating a moderately busy June, to be followed by the madness that is quarter-close in the financial world.

Instead there are now three major projects that need to be accomplished in June, any one of which would be daunting. And oh yes, all of the projects must be done with minimal user impact, while still getting ready for 2Q close.

So screw it. It's not going to get better, so I'm just going to go with the flow. Thus, starting June 1st, I'll be signing up for [livejournal.com profile] novel_in_90 again. It worked last summer, and hopefully it will work again.

Now it's off to beat databases into submission. And explain to end-users that I'm not actually psychic, so if they need changes made to the system they have to tell me, rather than expecting that I'll somehow be able to read their minds.
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1,000 words written today, an auspicious start for the new project. I've also started another round of [livejournal.com profile] novel_in_90 to help me keep it on track.
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Wrote the last scene of THE FINAL SACRIFICE this morning. Celebrated by jumping on the bike for a ride, hiring a painter to paint my house, then lunch at my favorite place. As soon as I post this, I'm heading off to the movie theater to hide from the heat.

The final totals are:
     Total manuscript: 103,250
     Words written since June 1st: 85,250.


As you can see, it's been a crazy couple of months. I don't think I could have kept on track if it wasn't for the great folks over at [livejournal.com profile] novel_in_90. I don't necessarily recommend the level of effort required to write this much in such a short period (especially for folks like myself who are fitting this in around a day job). But it can be done.

And I know that there's good writing in there. The scenes I wrote over the past few days are some of the best I've ever done.

And, to make my day even better, spotted a great rec for THE SEA CHANGE over at fireun's LJ. THE SEA CHANGE totally kicked my ass while I was writing it, so it's nice to see that the effort was worth it.
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Anyway, here's how I'm doing on the [livejournal.com profile] novel_in challenge:

Week 1:    8,750
Week 2:    2,250
Week 3:    1,000
Week 4:    2,250
Week 5:  18,000
Week 6:  14,750
Week 7:  12,750
Week 8:    6,000
Week 9:  14,000

Total since June 1st: 79,750

So damn close. 2-3 scenes left. Hopefully this weekend.
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Have you seen this writer?

Probably not, since she's been chained to the computer. A little over halfway in [livejournal.com profile] novel_in_90 challenge, and here's how I'm doing.
Week 1:    8,750
Week 2:    2,250
Week 3:    1,000
Week 4:    2,250
Week 5:  18,000
Week 6:  14,750
Week 7:  12,750

Total since June 1st: 59,750

If I were writing a Regency I'd be practically done by now :-)
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Writing: 5,250 words today. I rock!

Though yet another ship has gone to a watery grave after being boarded by Lady Ysobel.

Today's writing spree was partially inspired by thoughts on the Novel-in-90 challenge. Yesterday marked the one-third point, but I realized I'd only written 19,500 words for the month, versus the official monthly goal of 22,500. Not too bad, but I'd skipped more than a few writing days.

I'd managed to write every day until June 9th when I went to Connecticut for the diabetes ride weekend, and then went on a one day business trip. This threw me off my routine, and I didn't manage to write before I left later that week to spend four days in Florida.

I came back from Florida with a vicious cold/flu/sinus infection and missed a few more days writing. And with each day I missed it became easier to miss the next one.

Discipline in general fell apart, as during this same period I also stopped going to the gym. Fortunately I managed to drag myself out of the rut last week, and resumed both writing and going to the gym.

Today I wrote in the morning, grabbed lunch and had a bike ride, then managed another writing session after dinner. So I'm doing better, but I need to stay focused and keep on this horse. It's amazing how putting off writing for a single day can slide into two, and then three, and the next thing you know...

you've blown another deadline.

At least I have the [livejournal.com profile] novel_in_90 folks to keep me on track.
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But first a brief word from your sponsor.

Reminder, if you want to enter the contest for a free ARC and chocolate, deadline is Sunday at midnight. Details here.

And this weekend I'll be biking in the Tour de Cure so wish me luck.

Back to Novel-in-90, I managed 8,750 words for the first seven days. Adding in the 1,500 2,250 words that I wrote this afternoon, that takes me up to 11K. Not outstanding, but pretty darn good. That's two entire chapters that didn't exist on May 31st. I'm hoping that I can keep up the momentum despite having two travel weekends in my near future.

The [livejournal.com profile] novel_in_90 community has been motivating--I know I need to write so I can post my totals, and so I do. But the community is also a bit like the gym after New Year's resolutions. Lots of folks show up on the first day--then the crowd starts to thin out. It will be interesting to see how many are around and still active by the time we've been at this for a month, and how many are still going when the 90 days is up.

Though I understand why people drop out. Between the day job, writing, and squeezing in time for the gym, I'm frazzled. I nearly had a meltdown trying to figure out how I'd get my hair cut and a grocery run in this week, before I left town. And at least I don't have to worry about children looking to me for food/grooming/entertainment.
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Today is day four of the Novel-in-90 challenge. I've been posting my daily word counts over on the community [livejournal.com profile] novel_in_90, but to recap:

Friday: 1,250 words
Saturday: 1,000 words
Sunday: 1,500 words
Monday: 1,500 words

Not too shabby. Not good either-- I'd like to be averaging closer to 2K a day. But it takes a while to get the pump primed, so we'll see.

In the meantime, [livejournal.com profile] jennifer_dunne brought me books on crime and dead bodies from BEA, which will be added to the ever growing stack of TBRs. As well as pigeon-drives-the-bus stickers, which will be immediately useful.

Oh, and in an important safety note--if you're the first one to post the daily total comment to Novel-in-90, you can expect over 200 LJ comment notifications in your inbox as everyone else chimes in with their daily totals. Just what you want, when you are simultaneously collecting contest entries in that same inbox. D'oh!

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