My IBS was still bothering me today, but I still wanted to get some work done. I did some of my “frogs" in the morning and early afternoon, since I could do them even though I wasn't feeling well. So I got some marketing and my email done even though ...
My IBS was still bothering me today, but I still wanted to get some work done. I did some of my “frogs" in the morning and early afternoon, since I could do them even though I wasn't feeling well. So I got some marketing and my email done even though my IBS was bothering me.
By the time my IBS symptoms died down, it was already in the late afternoon and I was feeling really tired. However, I remember blogging yesterday about how it was hard to get myself to start work. In order to combat my tendency to procrastinate, I decided to try to do at least a little bit of dictation every day, even if it was only five minutes of writing to do the bare minimum in order to keep up my writing streak.
I decided to try something a little different today, and I did my dictation at my desk, using my podcast microphone. I wasn't sure how that would work out, especially because my podcast microphone is pretty heavy, and I don't have a boom mic stand to use with it. I will probably need to get some things so that I can use my podcast microphone without needing to hold it. But for now, I needed to hold it in my hand in order to do the recording.
I again struggled with procrastination before starting my dictation. Part of it was that I was feeling exhausted after battling the IBS discomfort this morning. I also developed a little bit of a sinus headache because of my allergies, so I really was not feeling 100%.
However, I was determined to try to get some dictation done today. If I can develop the discipline for it, I would like to try to do a little bit of dictation every day. Maybe then, I wouldn't have to struggle so much with procrastination before I start doing my work.
I don't really understand the procrastination. Because I have been doing my writing streak for so long, I never had problems starting writing. But I have noticed that I had to struggle more and more with procrastination since I started doing the dictation. It's probably because I need a lot of equipment in order to start the dictation. When I write with typing, I just sit at my desk and start work.
I have tried to do my best to make it easy for me to do my dictation. I have my blocking notes on my Kindle and I have my digital recorder and extra batteries all stashed in a small backpack which I take with me when I do dictation while walking. I can just grab the backpack even if I do dictation in the backyard. And when dictating at my computer, I already have the podcast microphone set up, so all I need to do is start a recording up and go.
Yet even though I've tried to make it as easy as possible for me to do the dictation, I'm still struggling with procrastination. I'm not entirely sure why I am procrastinating so much these days. I suppose it just goes to show that even if I have developed habits to try to battle the procrastination, it can still crop up again, especially if I make some small change in my writing routine.
Also, I noticed yesterday that dictation takes a lot more brain power since I have to focus while dictating. This might be because I have to remember what I’d dictated so that I don’t lose my place or forget what I’ve already said, or it could also be because I am focusing on dictating without stopping, or maybe it just takes more energy to have the writing go from my brain to my mouth instead of my hands because I’m not yet used to it. This increased energy requirement might be why it’s harder for me to just start dictating, and why I procrastinate.
Anyway, I did my dictation at my desk today. I was intending to only do five minutes, just the bare minimum, because I was tired and I still had a bit of a headache, but I ended up doing a little bit more work. However, I didn't want to dictate for too long, because I also wanted to have enough time to do the cleanup editing afterward before it was time to cook dinner. So I cut the dictation short at about 30 minutes.
I thought I was trying to dictate faster than yesterday, but it ended up being about the same words per hour speed, around 2500. And I ended up needing to do more work during the cleanup editing, so it ended up being about 900 words per hour when I included both the dictation and cleanup editing time.
It's not quite as much work done that I wanted, but it's better than nothing. It's also not bad considering I started off the day with bad IBS symptoms.
I hope eventually I can start feeling better and I can spend more time doing my work. Or at the very least, I won't be so tired in the afternoon.
But in the meantime, I want to try to work around my IBS symptoms. It was harder when the symptoms were exceptionally bad, but now that they are not quite as awful as they to be, I'm hoping to be able to arrange my daily writing schedule so that I can get my writing done despite my IBS.
Writing streak: 323 days
My takeaway for today: Keep trying to do dictation everyday to get more used to it and try to combat procrastination.
I had a really bad IBS flareup for the past two weeks. It was so bad that I had to take full sick days because of the pain and nausea.
Some days, the pain subsided for a few hours. I did get the cleanup editing done on the dictation from 9/6 and 9/7, and I also managed to do the final round of edits on the 4th book of my series, which I had given to my editor.
But on a whole, I felt pain and nausea almost all day. I never knew when I would start to feel better. And while the IBS usually felt better in the afternoon, by then I was usually too exhausted from dealing with the pain all day.
I also realized that while it might seem like dictation is less work than typing, it’s actually more difficult. I have to concentrate harder when I dictate, so it takes more energy. When I’m tired, I can barely string together two sentences, so dictation is completely out.
I’m a bit upset at myself. I had set a personal deadline of September 14th to get as much work done on book 5 as I possibly could, and that passed without getting any more words done. It’s frustrating that as soon as I set a personal deadline for myself, my IBS suddenly got so much worse. I haven’t had to take full sick days for a couple weeks, and I had thought I was getting better.
It’s like, as soon as I set a word count deadline for a specific day, something inside me wants to sabotage myself. I wonder if the deadline itself is causing me stress, and the stress is making my IBS act up?
I finally started feeling a little better this morning, although I did have intermittent bouts of pain. However, I decided to go walking and dictating.
It was really hard to get myself to start walking and dictating. I struggled a lot more with procrastination today than I have before, I think because I got out of the habit of going walking and dictating. I also found myself procrastinating last week when I found myself feeling a bit better (but still exhausted) and had some time to do a little bit of dictation in the backyard. I ended up doing some dictation exercises but not my writing dictation, mostly because I procrastinated doing it for so long and then it was time to cook dinner.
I really need to get into the habit of doing the dictation every day or else I’ll just return to my old struggles with procrastination. The problem is that the dictation has been SO hard to do when I’m feeling sick.
On days when I only intend to do the bare minimum of writing, maybe I should just do 5 minutes of dictation directly into Dragon on my computer. That way, I’ll at least keep up a habit of dictation.
Anyway, today I went walking and ended up doing about 20 minutes of dictation on my book. Since I wasn't certain how long I would be able to be out walking and dictating, I did not to my dictation exercises in order to have as much time as possible to dictate my book.
Ideally, I would have plenty of time to write every day, but because my IBS is usually worst in the mornings, and doesn't start to get better until the afternoon, I wasn't certain how long I would feel okay. So I decided to skip the exercises just to make sure I got some writing done today.
I probably haven't given the dictation exercises enough time. However, I'm not sure if I really see much of a difference in how I dictate. Maybe it's simply a matter of how my brain works when I write. If I start to feel better later, I'll try to do the dictation exercises again. For now, since I'm not sure how much time I'll have to write every day due to the IBS, I'll skip the dictation exercises just to make sure I get work done.
Since today's Thursday, I had a lot of house chores to do. I was still feeling a bit of discomfort earlier, so I checked my email, which I can usually do even if I'm not feeling well.
It's now later in the afternoon, but my IBS has finally started feeling better. I decided to try dictation again in the backyard this time. I'll see how much I can do. I'm hopeful that I might get a couple thousand words done today.
I got another 40 minutes of dictation done in the afternoon, and then ended up taking extra time to do the cleanup editing after dinner. As I expected, my dictation speed was very slow, since I haven’t done any dictation for 2 weeks, but I think I managed to get a bit more comfortable with it by the end.
It’s only 2 hours of work, but considering how I was feeling this morning, it’s better than nothing.
Writing streak: 322 days
My takeaway for today: Try to do my bare minimum of writing via 5 minutes of dictation directly into Dragon, just to keep up the habit of dictation. It might help battle my habit of procrastination when I haven’t done dictation for a while.
I had bad IBS yesterday, and I woke up a little late. I had wanted to do dictation earlier in the morning, but because the IBS was really bad, I decided to do other things instead. What I should've done was get some marketing done, but instead I ended up doing house chores.
I was trying to do the dictation in the backyard yesterday, since I had been distracted by cars and pedestrians when I went walking, plus I’m getting a bit of plantar fasciitis from walking too much and wanted to rest my foot.
Unfortunately, it was really difficult for me to simply get started on the dictation. I putzed around and got distracted by various house chores. I must have wasted at least 45 minutes.
And then once I finally did get started on writing, the dictation was absolutely terrible. It was a combination of factors, but the biggest one was probably because I got called away right after I did my dictation exercises to do some house chores, so there was a break before I started dictating my Regency novel. And I think I could really tell that I’d gotten “cold” because the dictation was almost as bad as the first day of dictation, lots of silence and I had a hard time figuring out what to say next.
But there is also a heat wave this week and the temperatures were soaring yesterday (and still are, today). I drank lots of iced water and even had my feet in a tub with water cooled by a frozen water bottle, so I didn’t feel as hot and uncomfortable as I could have. But it was still really unpleasant. The heat was the reason I’d wanted to do my dictation earlier in the morning, if my IBS hadn’t prevented that. So I only dictated my book for 1 hour and went inside.
I was going to do the cleanup editing after the transcription, but maybe because the heat was making me tired, or maybe I was just plain lazy, but I ended up reading the rest of the afternoon and evening and not getting any work done.
So yesterday was a combination of health issues and regular procrastination.
I think I know why I procrastinated starting my dictation. When I go out walking, it’s like my brain instantly goes into dictation mode since I’ve been doing this for about 30 days now (on and off). Plus, I can’t do anything else when I’m walking.
But I have no such trigger when I simply go out into the backyard. So I wasn’t in the “dictation mindset.” I realized I need to train my brain to go into dictation mode when I go into the back yard, too.
Today, I got up early this morning. However, I noticed that I do tend to move a little bit more slowly in the morning, so I don’t immediately get started on what I need to do.
I nearly did not do my dictation this morning because I had IBS issues. It's always so tempting for me just to throw in the towel on the entire day when I'm not feeling well.
However, I read my Bible this morning and prayed a bit, and somehow got the energy and motivation to just push through the pain and discomfort in order to do a bit of dictation in the morning. It's very frustrating because I think that my mind is fresher in the morning, but my intestinal tract tends to have issues in the morning. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
I'm still doing my experiments to see if my dictation is better in the morning when my mind is freshest. At the very least, since it's been a very hot summer, doing dictation the morning is a bit more comfortable than doing dictation in the afternoon when it's hotter. And I know from yesterday that the temperature makes a huge difference in terms of my productivity. I hope to get more work done today, especially once my IBS calms down.
I again decided to do the dictation in the backyard, but since I had procrastinated starting work yesterday, I was very focused today and tried to just get everything together and go out to the backyard to write. It helped that I was starting work much earlier than yesterday, so the temperature was a lot cooler.
I took a little extra medication and the IBS calmed down a bit, but the IBS was still bothering me off and on.
I'm going to continue to do my dictation exercises before starting work on the Regency novel, although I did consider that should make more of an effort to cut them short. I don't want to spend half an hour doing dictation exercises if I only need 15 minutes to warm up to get started with the dictation. I think I'll have to experiment with the amount of time I spend on dictation exercises in order to see what is the bare minimum I need in order to feel comfortable with dictation. I don't want to make myself think that I need a long time of dictation exercises before I can start work on my writing. I don't want to get into the habit of thinking that it has to be that way, when I know that it's possible to simply sit down and write for 15 minutes without this type of warm-up. Maybe once I get more used to dictation, I won't need this kind of warm-up it all.
I got two hours and 20 minutes of dictation done in the backyard, and it wasn’t too bad. I could tell that I had a lot of silence as I thought about what to say next, but I was focusing a lot on trying to think in longer phrases, and I think I managed to do that more. My dictation speed was 2700 words per hour, which is slower than what I’ve been capable of before. However, I still managed to dictate over 6000 words, which was my daily goal.
It felt really good to have done my dictation all before lunch. However, after lunch, I really had to battle procrastination to do my cleanup editing. Why am I like this???
This is really becoming a problem. The only way I know how to deal with myself when I procrastinate like this is to do the work first thing in the morning, before I do any of my other “frogs.” It always seems easier to start work when it’s the first thing I do.
But I’ve been trying to do my dictation first thing, to compare how my writing is when I do it before lunch versus after lunch.
However, my procrastination is becoming more of an issue. I wish I were like normal writers who didn’t have these kinds of issues with editing!
I might need to scrap this experiment in order to do my editing first thing in the morning, just to make sure it gets done and I don’t procrastinate.
Also, I haven’t seen a HUGE difference in my dictation words per hour speed for the few times I’ve dictated in the morning. I think if I were going to see any difference, I’d see at least something, but so far, my morning speed is actually about the same or a little bit slower than my afternoon speed.
I’m also a bit concerned because even though I have done dictation in the morning, every single time I was also battling some discomfort from my IBS. So far, I simply haven’t had a morning where my IBS hasn’t bothered me. And in fact yesterday, the IBS was bad enough that I couldn’t dictate as early as I wanted to. The slower speed of my dictation may be because I was also distracted by the pain of my IBS.
The easiest thing to do would be to simply stop trying to dictate in the morning and accommodate my IBS. A part of me feels like I would be losing if I gave in, but at the same time, I want to be as efficient and productive as possible. If that means writing in the afternoon when my IBS is not bothering me, then maybe I need to do that rather than trying to work during a time when my IBS usually bothers me. I can hope that my IBS will get better and I will be able to write in the morning consistently, but right now, that’s not happening.
Anyway, I battled the procrastination but didn’t really overcome it. I did a small amount of cleanup editing, but didn’t complete the cleanup for my dictation from yesterday (9/6), and I didn’t do the cleanup for today’s dictation at all.
So I am essentially throwing in the towel in terms of writing in the morning.
Tomorrow, I have a doctor’s appointment and also a lot of house chores, so I’ll spend an hour or two working on my Hawaii serial novel instead of the Regency, and then the rest of the time doing marketing work. I have a lot of marketing to do, especially if I end up releasing book 4 next month, which I am hopeful I’ll be able to do. I’ve been complaining about my dictation speed, but the reality is that I’m already at 48,000 words in book 5, and I had been planning to release book 4 once book 5 is nearly done. It’s entirely possible that I might finish book 5 within the next two weeks, and I set a personal deadline of September 14th. If I can get to the 75% mark on book 5 by then, I’ll start work to release book 4 in October, with plans to release book 5 in November.
I’ll do the cleanup editing first thing on Friday. I feel like I’m wimping out, but I know that I’m less likely to procrastinate if I do the editing first thing.
Writing streak: 305 days
My takeaway for today: Go back to doing the writing in the afternoon because (a) the IBS has been preventing me from doing the writing in the morning without discomfort and pain, and (b) doing the cleanup editing first thing is the only way I know how to prevent procrastination.
My battle report is a lot of words, but that includes my dictation from both yesterday and today, and includes the words from my dictation exercises.
I'm really disappointed in myself. I got up extra early, but I ended up wasting time. One half hour here, one half hour there. I'm not sure if it's because I just tend to go slowly in the morning since I'm not a morning person, or if I just need to improve my discipline.
Regardless, I got started late this morning, but I am now going walking and dictating. It's supposed to be very hot today, which was another reason why I had gotten up early in order to try to get started work earlier, but now that I am leaving the house so late, I'm not sure how long I'll be able to go walking. I may need to cut my walk short if it gets too hot.
However, even if I do have to return home early and cut short my walking and dictating, I will try to make up the extra time by dictating in the house or in the backyard. I want to try to get at least 6000 words today. That means I will have to do at least two hours of dictating, and possibly five or 10 minutes extra just to be sure, since sometimes my dictation speed is less than 3000 words per hour.
I am doing my dictation exercise first, starting with this free write. Although, to be honest, I am finding myself pausing more than I should, when the point of a free write is to keep dictating and not stopping.
I will also do a fiction dictation exercise of short sentences using my Regency side novel. Yesterday, I'm not supposed to work on Sundays, but I admit I took a look at my side novel blocking notes. I was tempted to do some editing, but instead I simply took a look at it so that I would know where to start the dictation during the exercise today.
Probably because I am using it as a prompt for my dictation exercises, but the cleanup editing for my Regency side novel is really quite awful. For every 5 to 10 minutes of dictation exercises I do on the Regency side novel, I am finding myself doing 45 minutes of cleanup editing. I'm not sure if it's because the dictation exercise is all short sentences, or maybe because my blocking notes are quite poor, or maybe because it's the first fiction I'm dictating when I start my dictation walk, and my brain hasn't warmed up yet. Or it could be a combination of all three.
I hope to be able to try to concentrate on thinking in longer phrases and complete sentences. I don't know if my dictation is better in the morning or not, but it would be great if it was.
I also want to try to get my dictation speed up higher than it already is. When I do my free write, my dictation speed is usually around 4000 or 4500 words per hour, so I know that it's possible. I think that I am pausing too much when I do my fiction dictation. So I am probably not relaxing enough to just speak the next thing that comes to mind. I aim to improve my ability to dictate.
At the same time, it is sometimes frustrating to have to edit out all the repeated sentences that I dictate. Plus, I noticed that lately, a lot of the repetition is because I think of something that I should've added in a paragraph earlier. And so I have to leave a note to myself to add something in “somewhere up there” which often involves editing what I’d written in order to slip that addition in.
One option is that I could simply not add the part I was going to add, and just hope that I'll remember to add it when I do the cleanup editing. I don't really like doing that, because I'm a control freak.
I suppose a lot of my slowness in dictation is because a part of my brain still wants to try to edit as I go. I don't know if it's possible to turn this off. When I was trying to vomit write via typing, it was really difficult for me to leave typos. They would bother me until I gave up and went back to correct them.
Because of my tendency to want to correct errors, it might be why the dictation is slow. I'm not sure how to make myself stop doing that.
Maybe it just takes practice. If I just keep trying to dictate quickly and not try to correct myself, I'm sure I’ll eventually dictate faster. But a part of me worries that the writing will not be as good, because quite frankly, I don't trust in my cleanup editing skills. I think I'm afraid to let go of the inner editor because I don't trust my self-editing to take up the slack and fix bad vomit writing.
This is a quandary for me. I want to dictate faster, but at the same time I am distrustful of vomit writing and my self editing skills in combination. My highest priority needs to be the quality of the writing, not in how fast I write.
Maybe I just need more editing passes? Would I feel freer to dictate if I knew I had three instead of two self editing passes?
At the same time, I don't know if an extra editing pass would make much of a difference. I hate editing so much that the extra editing pass may not be very detailed because I would simply want to get through it more quickly.
Well, for now, I will try to focus on thinking in complete sentences. I will also try to dictate without stopping, although I think I should prioritize dictating complete sentences over not stopping.
And if it turns out that I can't dictate faster than 3000 words an hour, I may just have to accept that. If I want to write more words in a day, I will simply have to write more hours.
It would've been nice to be able to dictate 5000 words an hour and be able to dictate for two hours, and then do two hours of cleanup editing for 10,000 words in four hours. But I'm not sure if I'll be able to do that.
Or am I setting myself up for failure by thinking that I can't do it? Maybe I should just be more positive. Yes, I can do it. I just need to practice more. I need to focus more. I need to concentrate.
I happened to have a lot of people and cars pass me today, which disrupted my dictation rhythm, so that might have contributed to my slower dictation speed (see below). It got very hot, so I cut my walk short and did some dictation in the backyard today, and it was actually really nice. I think I should do that more often.
It certainly felt like I was dictating slowly today. I started out at 1700 words per hour during the dictation exercise, and then it jumped to an average of 2600 during the first scene that I dictated today. When I switched to a new scene, the average was 3000 words per hour. I dictated a total of almost 7000 words in 2.5 hours, which is an average of 2800 words per hour for the raw dictation.
So far, my dictation in the morning isn’t significantly faster than my dictation in the afternoon, but I’ll keep trying it so that I have more tests to compare. I also want to try to dictate in my backyard rather than walking and see if that makes a difference.
I’m disappointed that my dictation speed hasn’t improved, even though I was trying not to pause and just dictate what first came to mind, but I was also trying to think in sentences, and that probably slowed me down. And 7000 words in one day is great! Although I still have to do the cleanup editing, which I hope won’t take more than 2.5 hours.
Unfortunately, getting myself to start work on the cleanup editing is a chore. I just don’t have good discipline when it comes to forcing myself to do editing. In this way, editing as I go while typing was better since I did that editing as I was writing and the prose was as clean as I could make it, and I didn’t have to fight myself and battle procrastination.
Even with the increased editing time, dictation and cleanup editing is still a little faster than typing—an average of 1200 words per hour versus 900.
I did manage to get my cleanup editing done today, but I ended up deleting about 700 words, which was more than 10% of my total dictated words. I had no idea I’d had so many mistakes! Since I had dictated close to 7000 words, I still ended up with a higher total word count than my goal, which is 6000 words a day.
I will have to do some reading to see how I can reduce my procrastination when it comes to doing my editing. I don’t want it to become a problem like when I procrastinated editing book 4.
I’m also determined to figure out how to become better at dictation. Maybe I just need more dictation exercises? Or maybe I need a different prompt? I have a different series idea that I have been kicking around. I might use that story world for a few prompts for my dictation exercises. I will have to think about it.
Writing streak: 303 days
My takeaway for today: Try dictating in the backyard since there are fewer distractions and disruptions than when I go out walking.
My second takeaway for today: Read some book to figure out ways to reduce or eliminate procrastination in doing my editing.
My third takeaway for today: Consider other ways to improve my dictation, such as using my other series idea as prompts for dictation exercises.
I wanted to try walking and dictating earlier in the morning again today, but I woke up extra early with bad IBS pain, and the medication only half-worked. There are some days where I have the energy and want to push through the pain in order to get work done, but today wasn’t one of those days. So instead of dictating in the morning, I’ll do my dictation later in the day, whenever the IBS lets up.
Since I couldn’t dictate, I decided to do my cleanup editing, which I’m way behind on anyway. Some of the editing took a really long time yesterday, so I didn’t finish editing all the dictation from Wednesday, and I didn’t do any of the editing of the dictation from yesterday (Friday). It’s not easy doing the editing while I’m feeling sick, but it’s easier than trying to dictate.
I had done marketing and my Hawaii book on Thursday, which turned out to be good since I was behind on my marketing tasks before then, and I’m getting behind on my marketing again now. It seems I have so many marketing tasks to do, I don’t know if I’ll ever catch up!
I had a brilliant idea. It’s been hard for me to have enough time to write on Saturdays since I tend to have more distractions and family obligations, and it’s been hard for me to have time to do an hour of marketing everyday. Right now I’m doing extra hours of marketing on Thursdays, but why not devote all of Saturday to marketing also? Then I don’t need to try to do a little marketing each day and I’ll be able to just write my Regency series on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
(I also admit that I decided to try this because I spent so much time doing cleanup editing this morning, and now I don’t have much time left to do dictation and the cleanup editing today.)
I also looked over my marketing To Do list and it’s HUGE! I want to try to whittle it down a little more.
If my marketing To Do list gets sparse, then I can go back to writing my Regency on Saturdays, too.
The idea of not doing marketing on MTWF also appeals to me because it reduces the number of “frogs” I have to do on those days. Lately, my writing time has been taking longer than 4 hours on those days—sometimes I dictate for longer than 2 hours, so the cleanup editing time corresponds and takes longer than 2 hours.
Also, I haven’t been counting the transcription time because I try to do other things while it’s going on, but in reality, the transcription has been taking a lot longer because of my old computer. While I can do some of my “frogs” on my iPad while my computer is held up with Dragon running, there are some things I can only do on my computer, so sometimes I’ve been trying to come up with creative ways to get other stuff done while I’m waiting on the transcription.
I’ve been ending up skipping my marketing since I run out of time before bed.
Skipping the marketing entirely won’t really give me more time in the day, but it’ll feel like I have more time since I have one less “frog” to do. I’ll also be able to aim for closer to 5 hours of writing on those days (2.5 hours dictation, 2.5 hours cleanup editing).
So I’m going to use the 2 hours left of my day today to get more marketing done. I feel good about this decision, even though it means I’ll only do the bare minimum of writing on the Regency today. I’ve been a bit worried about all the marketing I haven’t been doing on the days when my writing time goes long, so this will help alleviate my stress.
I ended up doing a lot of marketing today and I feel really good about it. I think that doing 2 days of marketing for now will be really good, but I’ll also have to try to write more on my writing days to make up for the extra marketing day I’m taking.
I’m a bit disappointed I wasn’t able to do at least a few dictation exercises, but I just had too much to do and I never got around to it. I wonder if my dictation isn’t going as well because I’m not doing it everyday? I’ll have to think about that. Hopefully I’ll be able to do a little dictation tomorrow, even though it’s Sunday and I only have to do the bare minimum.
Writing streak: 303 days
My takeaway for today: Try doing marketing 2 days a week, on Thursdays and Saturdays.