I started making videos to document my writing journey, but it soon turned into a creative outlet all its own. Still, I like to pop in every now and then to share my progress. With November nearing an end, it feels like the right time to look back on the “journey”: from my very first NaNo (2012) to today.
Rock Your Query: A Simple System for Writing Query Letters and Synopses by Cathy Yardley (available as a Kindle ebook)
The draft is “done”. The words are down and the review copy printed. Next steps include: writing my synopsis, drafting a query, and reviewing the first 50 pages. As usual, I am left with writerly ambivalence (It was the best of drafts; it was the worst of drafts.) but there are only so many times you can rewrite before you’re just avoiding the next step. So, wish me luck.
The numbers, as they stand:
- Words (re)written in August: 27,431
- Words in 2018 to date: 135,148
- Words before revision : 80,160
- Words after revision: 77,930
Making this the second shortest version of “Anúna” since my 100+k first draft (the shortest draft was just over 70k). I’m brutal when it comes to trimming excess.
There are two other manuscripts I’d like to revise, but I’m probably going to focus on a fast draft of last year’s failed NaNo project. It’s a story that I may not be ready to write, but I’d like to give it another try and see where it goes. If I do decide to join NaNo, I will do so completely safe in the knowledge that I will fail to reach 50k in a month. I’m just not there right now, but it is a nice motivator.
So all plans re: blogging/vlogging/social media were tossed out the window in July. But that’s ok—the writing is strong and the words are coming. Unexpected circumstances aside, this draft will be done by the end of the month…
Now, for the stats:
- Words (re)written in June: 16,888
- Words (re)written in July: 33,609
good job, self. keep at it.
I have news! The draft is complete! Except, it’s not… not really, but you know what I mean. This draft, as it stands, is completely revised and mostly rewritten. I finished it on Saturday and had a nice lunch to celebrate, before writing up a quick plan for next steps.
The first step: proofreading and a deep review of the first 50 pages (plus, take care of all those notes I added in the margins).
Next: query and synopsis research, as it’s been a while since I’ve done this and need a refresh.
Agent research, list-making, and more to follow. But, for now, it’s in a happy place and I can relax when I go to my yearly library conference next week.
- Words (re)written in May: 9,998
- Total wordcount: 80,163
- Previous wordcount: 83,124
- Words that survived from the last draft: probably 163
*Patting myself on the back.*
I wrapped up the month just shy of my goal, completing 5 chapters (including the prologue. I started the month strong, with some serious, day-long editing sessions, but the end of the month brought a couple of health issues (knocked out by migraines and cramps) and some personal life drama that made it difficult to do more than the basics. That said, it was my best month yet (wordcountwise) and I’m ready to take on the last three chapters.
- Words (re)written in April: 15,530
- Words (re)written in 2018 (to date): 47,222
My goal is to finish this draft by May 19th (ideally, the 13th), giving me two/three weeks before I proofread, and time to focus on the switch from drafting to query prep. Deep breath. I’m going to get over my anxiety and do it.
March marks a small milestone for my current project: I’ve completed the first two parts of my three part rewrite plan! 7 more chapters to go before edits (and maybe [finally] querying prep).
- Words (re)written in March: 11,024
- Words (re)written in 2018 (to date): 31,692
I’m sticking to my weekend writing schedule and it’s working well for my mental state. My goal is to finish the last section before I leave for a conference in mid-May.
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.