At the beginning of this year, I attempted to do something I called SIA365 (Screw It All 365). It was an experiment in writing without word count goals. I declared I would only write whenever I felt like it and only write however much I felt like writing for one year. That lasted until about June. The problem with not having a word count goal wasn’t, as I feared, that I wasn’t productive. Instead, it left me with a queasy feeling of never being sure if I’d accomplished enough. I felt unsettled, because no matter how much I wrote, I never knew when I was done. I never felt…successful.

So, in June, with school out and a complete lack of structure in my life, I returned to word count goals for the sheer safety they offered me. Since I wasn’t working, I was able to easily write 4000 words a day without breaking a sweat. Thus, the first Toil and Trouble Trilogy book was born.

Sometime in the summer, I also began thinking about things that had tripped me up in the past. I realized that I’d never finished a project that I’d begun in August through October, and I attributed it to the stress of starting the school year and getting my classroom in place, etc. So I decided that this year, I would take those three months off. No writing. I would just relax.

I tried. It didn’t work. I felt, much as I did when I was trying SIA365, like I hadn’t accomplished anything. Without any clear cut goals or projects, I felt adrift and confused. So I did write some stuff. I wrote two short stories of about 8,000 words and about 12,000 words on That Last Onset, the last Jason and Azazel book. Which means, that during the time when I was supposed to be relaxing, I actually wrote 28,000 words.

The point of all of this is that I’m not particularly good at not having goals to work towards. And also that I’m way too hard on myself when I don’t accomplish my goals. Probably, instead of trying to stop having goals, I should recognize that I can’t actually function without them and instead tackle the elephant in the room and learn to be easier on myself when I don’t accomplish what I want to accomplish. This is hard, since, you know, I’m a perfectionist and am always finding myself lacking, no matter what I do.

But enough about that. I’m pretty glad it’s November, and I can return to word count goals. So, I wrote 2,000 words on Onset tonight, and I wrote some last night, meaning that puppy’s up to about 16,000 words and is on track for a release in early 2012. I’m writing from Jason’s POV, and it’s super fun. Well, actually angst-ridden and tortured, since he’s on a guilt kick. But I’m having fun with all the angst. I can’t wait for it to be done and for you guys to read it!!!

Now for a plug. The Toil and Trouble Trilogy needs some love, you guys. It’s sold ten copies. And I want to personally thank each and every one of the ten of you who have taken a chance on Olivia and Brice. You are simply fabulous people. Some of them have written reviews, too, so you don’t have to take my word that it’s worth a look. Just check what other people are saying: Amazon reviews.

Okay, yes, I may have mugged a bit for some of those reviews. Okay, begged. Okay, bribed.

But, the point is, it’s a fun book, and you should check it out. (You can read a free sample on the Amazon page, you know.) All right, my untoward begging and groveling is over. Have a fabulous November, all!