Writing Diary Day 3: Where did the time go?

I’m starting this diary a little later in the day than I have for the past two days.

It’s almost 7 PM, and up until about half an hour ago I didn’t have a lot to show for the day.

Not the most impressive thing to be telling you, I know. Alexi has been away at work since roughly 12.30 and yet I haven’t written anything until just now. Why, you ask? Well, I have been doing other stuff. I re-read and edited another 10% of Deadhead. I also spent some time last night and this morning outlining the next Charlie Davies book, Higher Learning. Just now, I dictated that outline from my hand written notes into my computer and found that in the space of about half an hour I managed to get 1000 words done. That is insanely fast for me. So fast, in fact, that I have decided to dictate this blog post.

I’m up to about 150 words and it’s taken no effort from me. Well, that’s not totally true, but definitely minimal effort. I’m standing here with a glass of wine speaking to my computer and the words are just appearing on the page (with remarkable accuracy, really, considering that I haven’t purchased any special software – I’m just using the inbuilt software on my Mac).

The jazz playlist I've been listening to while writing my romance novel. If you haven't tried writing while listening to music, I'd definitely recommend it.
The jazz playlist I’ve been listening to while writing my romance novel. If you haven’t tried writing while listening to music, I’d definitely recommend it.

I think dictating is a very good idea when you’re outlining stories, but I don’t know how well I would go in the more detailed scenes, because it does require reading back through what you’ve written and fixing up any errors. As impressed as I am with the accuracy of the software, especially given that it’s free software, it’s still only about 80-85% accurate. Having said that, with the time it saves you in writing a first draft, even with the added editing it’s still a big time saver.

I don’t know what I’ve done with my time today other than edit Deadhead and cook dinner. Before writing up the Charlie outline – or I should say dictating the Charlie outline – I really cannot think of anything else that I did with my time and yet here we are at 7 PM. This is why a routine would be a really good idea – because apparently the day just disappears without me having any clue where the time went.

This dinner was worth spending time on, though. It’s a vegan cottage pie – and don’t panic, ‘vegan’ doesn’t mean ‘gross’. Seriously, look at it.

I think tomorrow rather than set a goal like going for a walk which is apparently too hard for me as I did not bother to do that today, I think I will set a goal to get out of bed, check my stats, reply to emails, and then write for 30 minutes, perhaps with dictation, seeing as I know how many words I can get done with that now. Then at least I should get 500-1000 words written early in the day. I just really need to establish a routine around my writing.

One of the hidden benefits of dictation that I’ve found so far is that when you speak aloud you censor yourself far less than when you’re typing with your hands. I think part of this is that it’s so much harder to go back and edit yourself with voice commands than it is to just hit the backspace key when you’re typing. This leads to a more productive day, because rather than struggling to come up with the perfect wording, you’re just trying to get words on the page. Not only are you able to get more words on the page because you are speaking them and you can speak faster than you type, you also don’t censor yourself as much so you remove that block as well.

This is my comfortable footwear - standing desk chic.
This is my comfortable footwear – standing desk chic.

It’s now 7:30 and I already have 600 words done on this blog post. I think dictation really is the way of the future.

8 PM. In between now and the last time I spoke to you, I’ve eaten dinner. I’m about to start editing Deadhead again, because it feels like the best use of my time at the moment. The sooner I re-read and re-edit Deadhead, the sooner I’ll be able to start proper work on Hell’s Belles, which I would like to get done within the next couple of weeks so that I have enough time to edit it properly before it’s due to be submitted.

In between editing chapters of Deadhead, I will be working on the outline of Higher Learning, which I’m currently about half way through. At the moment I’m not totally sure where I’m going with the story. I have some ideas, but I really need to figure out some things before I can finish it. That’s another reason why reading through Deadhead and getting started on Hell’s Belles (which I’ve already plotted out completely) seems like a better use of time.

9 PM and I’ve edited another 7% of Deadhead. It’s slow going, although I’m not entirely sure why. Part of it is because I wrote this book a long time ago and now I just want to edit all of it. I don’t have time for that, however – I’m just catching any leftover typos (there are more than there should be) and re-reading it to immerse myself  in that world before writing a new book in that series. After Hell’s Belles, I think I’ll take a break from that series, at least until next year – unless it suddenly takes off, that is. For some reason my heart just isn’t in it when I write those books as much as it is when I write the Charlie books, or even when I write my romances. Even after the trauma that was Graceless, I’m super keen to write the next two Charlie books, both of which I’m hoping to have out by Christmas. (The lead up to Christmas is a period of high sales even for ebooks, so it’s a good idea to get as many books written before December as possible.)

Argh, the dreaded editing...
Argh, the dreaded editing…

11 PM. Alexi got home from work an hour and a half ago, so we’ve been hanging out and watching TV for a little while. I’m getting back to writing now, though. I’ve decided to work on Rosie because I’m so close to hitting the 10K mark, which is the point where I really feel as though I’ve made a solid start on a novel. While I was sitting on the lounge watching TV, though, I stupidly decided to use my computer, and scrolling on the trackpad brought back my wrist/elbow issues. (I’m too young for this joint pain, man. It’s a bit ridiculous. It was bad enough when it was just my knees.)

Anyway, I’m hoping to get at least up to 10K words on Rosie today, and then I’d like to outline some more of Higher Learning. I probably should edit some more of Deadhead, too. Sigh. I’m really not feeling it at the moment, but I know I just have to get through it.

My dictating setup in the bedroom. Plenty of tea to keep my throat moist. (I apologise for using the word 'moist' - you didn't deserve that.)
My dictating setup in the bedroom. Plenty of tea to keep my throat moist. (I apologise for using the word ‘moist’ – you didn’t deserve that.)

2.30 PM. I locked myself in the bedroom, planning to do some yoga, but instead ended up working on Rosie. Via dictation, I surpassed my goal of getting up to 10K on that manuscript – it’s now up over 11K, and actually running closer to 12K. Dictation is magic.

Chocolate cake makes everything better. (Also vegan. Also delicious.)
Chocolate cake makes everything better. (Also vegan. Also delicious.)

Spurred on by that success, I decided to do some more work on Deadhead. I didn’t get far into that, though, because suddenly I realised how late it was. Even for me, 2.30 means bedtime. However, I’m glad I persevered with the editing because I got up to a part that I actually quite enjoyed, which made me feel better about the series overall.

Also, you have to bear in mind when you’re reading something you wrote a year ago, if you still like it and don’t pick up on a thousand things you want to improve, then you aren’t growing as a writer.

Rosie word count: 2062 (almost entirely done with dictation)
Higher Learning word count: 1138 (entirely dictation)
Blog word count: 1403 (mostly dictation)

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