I both like to travel and don’t. It’s going on an adventure and having fun. But it’s also pretty disruptive. The night before I traveled, the critical voice kept saying, “You’ll wake up late and miss the plane!”

Eating is always hard for me on travel. I’m gluten-free (and am most definitely gluten-sensitive) and dairy free. That just eliminates so many options. Even vegetarian and vegan don’t work well because they include gluten and grains (oats are equally bad for me). And gluten-free versions (i.e., buns) are often terrible. So I was glad to get back and eat normally again!

The 20 Books to 50K conference was amazing! The writers there are very business-focused. Everyone is like, “This worked for me, but it might not work the same way for you.”

This was particularly true for the productivity panels (I took all three). Most of this is from a writer who wrote 185 books, Elaina Johnson.

Track your writing for 30-60 days. She wasn’t talking about traditional tracking, where you endlessly fill out a spreadsheet for the sake of tracking. The 30-60 days is to find out the best times to write, what gets in your way, how you felt, etc.

  • Identify high word count days/months. They can lead to a low word count day/month
  • Identify the lowest performing day of the week
  • Look for patterns

She recommended this word count tracker. The author is also an artist, so these trackers have amazing and fun pictures. I’m trying out the Wonder Woman one.

Some ways to train yourself to write more:

  • Add 500 words to your word count goal
  • If you write five days a week, add another day
  • If you write for two hours in the evening, add another half hour, or even just 15 minutes
  • Learn to write in 15-minute blocks
  • Learn to write in chaos and with distractions. This is the opposite of what Cal Newport is teaching, but probably more realistic over the long term. Not everyone can build an underground layer.

She rattled off a lot of additional ideas:

  • Writing sprints with a timer
  • Force yourself to hit the word count goal
  • No social media until a writing goal is met
  • Try moving to a different location in the house
  • Write the first two chapters of the next book as part of the current project
  • Taking notebook/computer to doctor appointments

One of the things that came out of the conference was that indies need to write three books in the series, then release all three (not necessarily at once). So I’m pushing Broken Notes further out so I can finish book 3 of Dice Ford. Broken Notes will also be part of a mystery series of three books.

My week:

Saturday: I flew back. No writing on the plane. Airlines have shrunk the seats and the aisles yet again. The guy in the middle seat next to me nearly fell over the seat trying to get back in. Just not a comfortable environment.

Sunday: I created a mock cover for the third Dice Ford book. It’s not ready for prime time, given I downloaded a test image to see if it would work before I bought it.

I also bought Atticus, a program for indie publishers. It’s similar to Scrivener. You can write the book in it and then create the files for publishing. Has a very cute terrier! The program is a much cleaner layout and doesn’t have some of the buggy problems I’ve been having with Scrivener. It also formats for ebook and print and has templates, including for copyright.

I jumped in on the first chapter for 1213 words using their timer.

Monday: I took the day off from work because I needed the recovery time from the trip (and also an extra day if I got stuck somewhere because of the weather). Washington, DC was frigid and my brain felt frozen over. I struggled to stay engaged and took longer to write 1009 words.

Tuesday: I redrafted the opening with 1013 words. Openings are always tough for me. I struggle to nail down the voice and the setting.

Wednesday: No writing today. I think the time difference finally caught up with me. I got off work, and my brain went, “Nope, nope, nope. Not doing this.”

Thursday (Thanksgiving): Owing to a family cancelation, I didn’t do anything on Thanksgiving. I went out for lunch at Silver Diner (the chef has been on Beat Bobby Flay and Chopped), which was open until 2:30. Then I had top sirloin steak for dinner. Two writing sessions, one to redraft a chapter in the Time Management book and another attempt at the opening in Dice Ford 3. 1816 words.

Friday: I tried writing today rather than admin. But with the weather bouncing around and dry, I had a sinus headache and was very tired. I couldn’t focus. 375 Words.

All in all, a pretty good week. My critical voice wasn’t happy about the low day, and it still kept nagging at me to stop on the other days. There’s no winning with it!