If you’re new to the blog, Hi! If you’re not, you’ll know I’m in the middle of revising Draft 6 of my main writing project. My goal is to finish this draft by April, but my slightly more realistic goal is May…
In February, I revised Chapters 20-23, or 9,981 words. As usual, life has a way of getting in the way, but it didn’t stop me from meeting my goal 🙂 🙂 🙂
What I’ve learned so far:
This draft has shown me that I get as much work done if I schedule two solid, 4-5 hour weekend writing sessions, as when I squeeze in 30 minute to 1 hour sessions after during the weekdays. These shorter sessions also have a way of breaking up my thoughts and making me lose focus, resulting in the mess I made of the last two drafts (sigh). Adjusting my schedule has allowed me to focus on those weekend sessions, and use the weekdays to review chapters and consider revisions. This also grants me more head-space and allows me to enjoy my evenings after work, rather than strain my eyes for another hour. v. good.
I’ve been thinking about writing lately (the act, not the manuscript) and reading a lot of posts with lots of opinions. I too have opinions, but I also know that for every writer who gets up two hours early to shell out 3000 words before breakfast, there is a writer like me: slow, who has to balance a day job and a drive, the split-mind persona of scholar and creator, and the drain of being an introvert in an extroverted world.
Here are some truths I’ve learned about (my) writing:
- I can write fast, but I must edit slow.
- Rushing the process only leads to more revision and poor development. I am coming to terms with this, but it is hard. It requires a lot of humility and learning to set aside lofty goals and expectations. The process takes long but it is a process.
- I can let go of writer jealousy.
- I do not need to follow in another writer’s footsteps. I can make my own path, take my own journey. I can only write as I know how to write.
- The story is mine.
- Writing is personal. I am willing and open to critique. I seek improvement and welcome feedback. But, ultimately, it’s my book and it’s my voice.
- Every book is different.
- The process changes every time. I am currently a weekend warrior. It’s a slow draft and a slow process, but it’s the best process that I’ve found for this particular draft. The next one will be its own beast.
- I need to take care of my physical and mental health.
- I don’t believe in sacrificing my body for my art. I need sleep. I need exercise. I need food. And I need to work to pay the bills. These things have to come first or my writing will and does suffer.
There are many more truths. Every writer has their own. These are mine.
It’s been a rough year, which really shows in my writing. I had a hard time focusing—-life, work, health, it all came together to result in a convoluted mess of a draft full of gaping holes. I was brutal in my cuts during the last revision, and what I thought was the right choice, led to a weak plot that really lacks punch. But I couldn’t see it until now. The readthrough was painful, but I received some solid feedback from two of my betas (thank you for being my victims) and had a major breakthrough. I’m in for a hell of a lot of rewriting (and new writing) but I know where things went wrong and I know how to fix it (fingers crossed), which is a very good thing.
Here’s to another round as a NaNo rebel. No real word goals, just a purpose: rewrite, revise, redraft.
Today’s video was inspired by Theodora Goss’s recent post on “Writing without a net,” wherein she discusses the reality of writing without a financial safety net. I’m definitely a writer without a net.
Next week, I’ll share some thoughts on NaNo-prep, readthroughs, and revision plans.
I can now say that I’ve finished draft 5. New prologue and all. I learn something new from each draft, but one element that really became obvious is how sparse I am when it comes to description. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, it’s just a fact. I tell myself to add more, but end up taking out. My very first rough draft was around 98k words (give or take, I have the numbers saved somewhere). The first draft rewrite clocked in around 90k. The next one was around 79k, followed by around 90k again. Current draft is complete at 83k.
Of course, now I need to do a continuity read, because I edited out of order and things might be screwy in places. But that will wait. For now, I will celebrate and get over the cold that finally got around to me. (I thwarted it for a good two months)
March is underway and my writing is coming along at a really good pace. If I keep at it, the draft will be done by the end of the week (next week, if I rewrite the prologue now rather than later). I’m riding this wave to the end!
I’ve also made good progress on my Camp NaNo plan. I’ve been toying with this idea for a while, but I didn’t realize how long until I unearthed a brain-dump file dated July 2011(!). That’s well before I started working on my current project (which dates to 2012). The idea has definitely evolved since that early document, but the spark remains. I’m definitely eager to delve into this new world.
Next stage: beta readers and drafting!
It’s been a month. Seriously.
So my Whole30 was an epic failure, but that’s ok. I realized half-way that it just wasn’t the right time. I wasn’t in the right mindset, and mindset is a HUGE part of that program. I will try again, but not right now. I’m just going to focus on eliminating the foods that make me feel sluggish, sick, or throw off my digestion. Focusing on health and feeling good, rather than restriction or program rules.
Yoga happened. Not every day, but it happened. Walking, not so much. There were migraines. Lots of them, and stretching and relaxing was my main priority.
On the upside, I finished my edits for the month! With time to spare! Yay!
Edit wordcount: 13531.
I call that a good run, so I decided to film an update video to pat myself on the back. Check it out 🙂
Goals for March:
- Finish the draft! Do it!
- Prepare for April NaNo experiment
- Try to complete 30 Days of Yoga Camp, because I really enjoyed that series and feel ready for a repeat.
It’s a cold, wet, gloomy Sunday (cue Billie Holiday). Winter seems to have arrived (or what passes as winter in Miami), which means I want nothing more than to cuddle up with a book and a fresh cup of tea. No such luck.
This morning, in that lovely space between sleep and waking, I realized something that seemed so obvious, I’m a little ashamed I didn’t notice before. In the middle of what I thought were the easy chapters (quick revisions rather than full-on rewrites), I now see a glaring issue in the order of events that will require a complete overhaul of nearly 4 chapters. Luckily, they’re chapters I was planning to work on during February, but this will mean some serious attention to detail, and a much longer process than I thought. Nevertheless, what’s the point of revision if not to catch things like this? After all, no one is waiting on these revisions but me. I’m only accountable to myself, and I’m won’t skimp on editing for the sake of meeting a self-imposed deadline. Who knows? Maybe I’ll meet it after all.
January by the numbers:
- Chapters revised: 4
- Wordcount (new and rewritten): 12,492 (I started tracking. It keeps me grounded.)
- 1 chapter in progress, 3 to be reviewed and outlined
I’m writing with a mission in mind: to polish one draft to a submission-ready state. I have two other drafts that are in early stages, and two stories that demand to be written, but I can’t do it all and I need to focus. Sometimes, I get bogged down in the details and forget to look beyond the manuscript to the craft of it. Every hour I spend writing is an hour I spend finding ways to improve and that’s something worth noting.
Right now, I’m building steam, but I know I can burn out fast. To keep myself going, I’ve lined up three books to read.
I’ve read these authors before and I like their method of instruction. Sometimes I just need a push to keep going.
Are you working on a manuscript? How do you find the motivation to keep writing?
I have a journaling habit. Always have, always will, it keeps me stable. Here’s my year-end journaling update 🙂
What I’m loving, what I use every day, and what I can’t live without.