writing: April words and progress

writing

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.

 

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video: thoughts on goals and 2016

I only just realized it’s Friday (!). Where has the time gone? My days are a blur; I’ve been off all week. Been writing, cleaning, and mentally preparing for the feasting and gifting. Can’t wait to hand out all the presents and finally clear the corner in my bedroom where they’re piled.

This may be the last video for the year… or maybe not… all depends on how things turn out. If it’s not, see you next Friday. If it is, see you next year 🙂

writing: the read-through of doom and editing prep

Another video on my current writing process and how I’m using the read-through to plan for the next stage: editing in rounds! Also received feedback from the first of my readers and looking forward to combining that with the changes I’m already planning :).

Are you drafting? How do you handle your edits?

writing: finding the will to go on, or self-motivation

I’ve been thinking about writing, next steps, and how to find the will to go on when there is no end in sight, so here are some of my strategies for staying on task (or trying to, anyway).

What are some of your strategies for staying motivated when working on a long-term project?

Let me know some of your thoughts in the comments 🙂

Now, I’m off to be frivolous (2.5 days of being in proper academic mode will do that to you).

writing: Camp NaNoWriMo

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Just wanted to announce that I decided to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo :). I wasn’t sure I would join this year, but it feels like a good time to start thinking about outlines and plot points for my future NaNo project. I set a doable goal of 5ooo words (though that may change). It’s an “other” project, and Camp goals are flexible, so I don’t feel pressured to aim higher than I can reach. Just going to cruise along and mull over the details.

Also searching for a beta or CP for the latest draft of Anúna… *hint hint* if anyone’s interested in an adult fantasy about rival queens and elemental magick. Around 90k words.

chipping away: writing and small assignments

Met my first draft milestone! Only one week behind (but not bad, especially since I flaked out during the first week in February and did NOTHING). Just completed Ch. 8, which was my February goal for the first third of the draft rewrite. Chapters 9 through 11 are going to be a doozy, but here’s hoping that I meet my next small assignment goal by the end of March (rework 9 through 11 and get through 15, if all goes well). My large goal is to have a complete draft by the end of April, though I gave myself some room to revisit chapters and revise details. My self-imposed deadline is June 20th (my birthday, when I will take a well-deserved break from life in general).

NaNo 2015 update, nearly midway

NaNo is well under way and the “sea story” is officially a WIP. It’s also starting to veer in new directions, steering me away from my outline as I delve further into the story (always a welcome occurrence). I’m totally riding the new-novel-high (the happier, less angst-ridden cousin of the third-draft-low). My NaNo goal is on target, but spending the last three days away from home at a conference really disrupted my progress. Looking forward to get back on track tomorrow.

wrapping up October

on writing

It’s been a little over a year since I last participated in a proper NaNoWriMo challenge and the thought of trying to write 50k words is definitely intimidating at the moment. My calendar for the next month is already filled with things to do: the boy’s birthday, a library conference, holiday parties at work and at home, and other little time commitments scattered throughout November. Plus, I’ve been in rewriting/revising mode for so long (between Cassiel and Anuna, it feels like all I’ve done in the last three years is rewrite and revise), I’m anxious about delving into a whole new story, setting, cast of characters, etc. I’m excited, but scared… and not sure I’ll get to 50, even if I squeeze in every free minute I can. My schedule has changed so much since the last time I participated in NaNo, I’ll be happy if I get close.

on life

It’s been nearly three months since I took in Caramelito, my half-blind rescue kitty, and we’re finally making progress. He’s no longer running scared when a new person comes for a visit, and (after much trial and error) I think he’s finally adjusting to my sleeping schedule and knows that I’ll be back to play in the morning. There have been LOTS of sleepless nights in the last two months, but the last two nights have been blissful. In my desperation, I purchased a cheap, disposable cat cube that is providing hours of entertainment, and a short scratching post thing with bouncy balls hanging off the ends, so he can bat at them to his heart’s content. It feels like he’s been here longer than three months; I’ve been so wrapped up in figuring out how to make the house friendly to a young cat. He requires lots of energy, but getting to know all his little quirks and habits has made for a nice change, and a good distraction after losing Didymus.

on books

After finishing the latest draft of Anuna, I decided to focus on reading, especially genre reads. Some of the latest include:

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black – an original, post-apocalyptic/sci-fi style take on vampire YA.

Evernight by Kristen Callihan – the 5th book in the Darkest London series, Victorian paranormal romance (these are naughty fun).

Selfish, Shallow, and Self-absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision not to have Kids, edited by Meghan Daum – a series of essays on choosing to remain childless. Definitely resonated.

and A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab – still reading it, not sure how I feel about it, but interesting.

on recognizing the writer within

My friend and former library director invited me to speak about my NaNo experience in front of a group of aspiring student writers; it’s made me stop and think about writing and what it means to call myself a writer…

I don’t remember a time when I haven’t been a writer, but it took a long time before I was comfortable identifying as a Writer. What does it mean to me, this writing thing? It’s a part of who I am, when all’s said and done. There are days when I question why I write—-why I bother with the work and doubt and disappointment—-but I know I can’t give it up. Even if my work is never published, I would be cheating myself if I didn’t write. There are stories in me. That’s the thing that keeps me going. There are stories in me that I need to write. Stories that are alive in my mind. They’re the kinds of stories I seek and often fail to find when I wander the stacks. I feel compelled to write them myself.

Growing up in a working class Hispanic community, being a writer was not a career goal that seemed practical. We need to work. We need to eat. We need to improve our lives. Imagination is all well and good, but it won’t put food on the table. Good writing will help you excel in school, but what else is there? I kept a diary, played with dolls for hours, creating lives and stories for them. I think of these as my earliest efforts. Those dolls were my characters, even before I knew what plot meant. I wrote stories for school, poems, won contests… my teachers were encouraging, reminding me that I had a skill worth nurturing. My mom had always been supportive, even if she doesn’t quite understand the process. She knows it means sitting in front of a computer for hours at a time, that it makes me grumpy and surly when I can’t get my work done, that I groan to think of another draft… but then there’s the payoff: articles, books, chapters. Academic pieces as much as creative. They’re all a part of my journey and they keep me moving forward.

Academic writing is a different beast altogether, but the struggle is the same. You learn the conventions and find the patterns and deal with editors who may not understand what you’re trying to say, but are willing to help you make the most of your work (or not). I have my own way of writing. Sometimes, it gets me into trouble with purists. I press on.

As I prepare to start a new project and sink into another round of editing, I have come to know myself as a writer. I continue to grow with each word. As I prepare to talk about writing a first draft, I look back at my own first drafts, at the joyous mess of them. First drafts are the worst, but they’re also the best. You just can’t beat that feeling when you find a story you need to tell. So my advice is the same I would give a writer embarking an academic paper—love your subject, you’re going to be spending a lot of time with it.

i did the thing

I finished Draft 3 on Saturday… and though I know there are more edits to come (including some changes to the opening chapters), it’s such a huge relief to know that I managed to get this done despite all the complications, drama, life fiascoes, and sleepless nights. It’s done. For now. But it’s done.

I’m going to enjoy this short reprieve and look forward to getting to know some new characters in November.