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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

IWSG for January, 2018 - Plans and Dreams

This is the January entry for The Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog Hop.

The hop takes place on the first Wednesday of every month.  All are welcome to sign up and participate, and visit the blogs of the other participants.  

The co-hosts for the January 3 posting of the IWSG are Tyrean Martinson, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Megan Morgan, Jennifer Lane, and Rachna Chhabria Go visit their blogs!

The question for January's blog hop is: 

What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

Tempus Fugit...if you haven't noticed.
Speaking as a writer who had not written anything substantive or published anything at all in three years for a lot of very good reasons (there: I've said it!), even thinking of writing was a step in the right direction. But that was only the first step. 

I read a man's blog where he mentioned an app that reminded him to write 1,000 words per day. It was on his iPhone, he couldn't avoid seeing it, and it was a nice reminder for him. I sat back, blinking. That was what I needed! A reminder, rather like getting jabbed in the ribs with a thumb, rather than a rather muzzy, wistful 'Gee, I should really be writing...' thought I.

I went hunting for the app and discovered that it is an older one and unavailable right now. Apparently it is not mainstream and is undergoing an overhaul.

After some searching, I found a similar one for iTunes: Momentum Habit Tracker.  

I have set it to remind me to (1) write 1,000 words per day; (2) READ (amazing how you can stagnate if you don't read other peoples' work...), and SCOOP (my cats' litter box).  Hey, what's good for writing is good for cleaning.  It also offers to 'discuss' any issues with you.  I haven't taken it up on that offer just yet, since I am not sure how to address  my iPhone.  I'm sure I will learn.

So far, so good.  I get pinged around 8pm if I haven't set up my writing time.  Or reading time, or scooping time.  I've enjoyed getting reacquainted with other writers like Georgette Heyer and Tolkien.

Once writing, I have to keep up with it.  There is a nice (?) little app called 'Write or Die' (by Dr. Wicked), which I encountered during NaNoWriMo:

Write or Die by Dr. Wicked

This is the dashboard.  You set the time (in this case, 60 minutes) and the output (1,515 words in this case - attainable).  You can select the screen background - white works for me - and any deterrents or incentives that will keep your nose to the grindstone.

There are levels of motivation,  including one where the program starts erasing what you have written if you don't write fast enough to suit it.  This was a little too harsh for me, so I selected different motivations and rewards. 

If a certain amount of time passes with no output (I selected two minutes), an alarm sounds and I am treated, so to speak, with an alarming image - in this case, it is Grumpy Cat, superimposed on my typing and scowling at me.  It is hard to be alarmed and buckle down to slave at the keyboard while laughing like a fool, but it does help.  The beep is more effective than Grumpy Cat's scowl, but the grin is helpful at any rate.

If you manage to meet your goal, you are treated to a rewarding image.  I chose a cute puppy wearing a birthday hat, which appears behind the text that I have typed after I have reached my goal.  If I am cooking along at a great rate, it is a little startling to see that I am scattering text over the face of a cute puppy in a party hat, but it makes me laugh and continue typing.

Have I written every day?  Well, no.  But I'm reading more and writing more and thinking more and jotting more, and the cause of the blockage, a combination of work, eldercare, health issues and exhaustion, is now beginning to crumble.  The momentum is back, and while it may be a bit of a struggle, I am going to commit to having my most urgent WIP, an eagerly awaited (by my readers, at least) installment in my Egyptian series, in a state to be published by September.  I can do it.  Besides, I don't want to have Grumpy Cat mad at me.  

I know that cat is SOMEWHERE!

How about yourself?  Do you need to do something to get going?  It's a common problem, and not just with writing.

Read the other entries in this hop and see what they say - I will be reading them, too!


  1. I am impressed with your research on all these writing apps. I'm not sure if I'd like the one that erases my words if I am not typing fast enough. Yikes! I don't use an app reminder. I simply make myself get up every day when the household is quiet and do what I can. My alarm does go off every day. I wish you luck Diana, with all your writing goals and dreams.

    1. Thanks, Erika -
      In my case, eldercare issues, job issues, serious financial issues and general worry and upheaval had trashed my writing habits and I needed something to get me going again. It's been helpful. I have hopes of being able to settle back into my (former) writing habits in short order.

  2. That app seems crazy but fun. I would freak out if it started erasing what I'd written!

    1. Hi, Deb -
      I read that option and jumped a foot. NO Way!!!! I said - and deleted that feature.

      It does keep you laughing, and somehow I can compose better with a grin!

  3. I've heard about Write Or Die, which sounds like it would be great...until it started deleting my words. This is why I've never tried it. I didn't know they had other motivations.

  4. Thanks for sharing these, Diana. Maybe an app is just the soft kick in the pants I need. I knew something! Best to you in 2018.

  5. Hi Diana, writing 1000 words a day is a wonderful idea and its quite achievable and will get us closer to completing the manuscript. I'm going to do that this year.

    Rachna Chhabria
    Co-host IWSG
    Rachna's Scriptorium

  6. Yeh for momentum! Keep going!

    Although I'm trying to stay off my phone more, I might have to check out that Momentum Habit Tracker for a few things I need to work on.

  7. Thanks for the tip on the Habit Tracker. I am downloading it onto my IPhone. It is so hard to get writing done. I thought that once I had retired, it would be smooth sailing. But no, up sprang some enormous family issues, which I won't go into except for mentioning the 22-month-old toddler (grandson) and his mentally ill mother (my daughter) who now lives with hubby and me, and provides distractions galore, few of which are welcome.

    And so it goes. LIFE.

  8. I know some people who swear by Write or Die. *shudders* There used to be a similar site called "Written Kitten" that rewarded you at set intervals of words with a picture of a cute kitten (or puppy if that was your choice). No deletions, but you had to write a certain number of words to get any rewards.

    Still, having Grumpy Cat peeking up on my screen, definitely would make me smile too. So it sounds like you got exactly what you needed out of WoD

  9. Definitely I wouldn't want Grumpy Cat mad at me, Diana! LOL It's been impossible for me to write this past month, but I'm getting back on track. Outside motivators don't seem to work for me, but I get a lot of inspiration from other IWSG members. I'm in the midst of setting up a writing plan for the year. I've been consistent in the past with devoting Wednesdays to writing, and my plan starts with that. Wishing you all the best with your writing in 2018!

  10. Now that is a fabulous reminder AP!! Any progress is progress.

  11. Love the idea of being rewarded by a cute puppy. Genius idea!

  12. Hi Diana - as Donna says .. great post to remind ourselves to get in the habit. Habit seems to be the thing too - good luck as 2018 progresses ... cheers Hilary