video: Camp NaNo update, hitting a wall, and saving a plot

An update on my Camp NaNoWriMo project, what happens when I overthink, and how I hit a wall and worked my way back to save the plot.

Cue obsessive thoughts and Upholder tendencies.

Are you working on a writing project? How’s it going? Let me know in the comments 🙂

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video: writing | Camp NaNo, starting a new novel, and planning for writers

How I plot, my current planning process, and a quick overview of the HB90 planner designed by author Sarra Cannon.

 

MENTIONED

5 things – tools for [writer] productivity

five things

 

Evernote for writing, plotting, notes, story details
I fell in love with Scrivener but hated the lack of cloud-ability (there was no app when I started using it and I’m still leery of the Dropbox option for reasons). Cue, Evernote.

I create a notebook for each project and add sub-folders for Characters, Settings, Details, Research, and Drafting. I then create individual notes per element (some, like minor characters, are part of a single “character bible”). I return to this method again and again because I can access it from anywhere and it gives me the all-in-one-file feel that Scrivener provides.

Google Calendar/Happy Plannerfor time-blocking (scheduling time to write)
I rely on Google Calendar for time blocking, which is essential for me. Combined with the Happy Planner (link to video/post) that I use for work, it keeps me on track and helps me plan for writing when life gets in the way.

Spreadsheet – for wordcounts
I keep a long-running spreadsheet in OneDrive, started when I first started drafting Crown of Ice, which helps me keep track of my words on a single manuscript over time. I have individual spreadsheets for each project, but I combine final word counts by project in a single, yearly spreadsheet that helps me track progress over time.

Trellofor planning and content creation
In an effort to create more content and maintain a steady post schedule, I decided to give Trello a try (I used it once for work,  but it didn’t catch on). It’s perfect. I use it as a content planner, and organize projects for the podcast, details for querying, and more. It’s an all-around win for me.

HB90 methodfor quarterly [writing] project planning
Whether it was serendipity or the magic of algorithms, I stumbled up author Sarra Cannon’s Heart Breathings channel and all the wonders therein. One of these wonders is Cannon’s dedicated planning method for writers (HB90), based on a 90-day quarterly system that encourages writers to think of their work in terms of goals, projects, and tasks. It’s brilliant and I’m using it to plan/track my current writing project, as well as the query process, and future plans for a story that needs editing.

writing: recapping a 6-year writing “journey” [with interruptions!]

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.

MENTIONED

Rock Your Query: A Simple System for Writing Query Letters and Synopses by Cathy Yardley (available as a Kindle ebook)

writing: August update

writing

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.

5 things: music to write to

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a 5 things, and with the death of Polyvore, I’ve been thinking how to create new themes.

For today, I give you 5 of the Spotify Playlists I listen to when I need to focus on writing, or while working on projects where I crave no distractions.

Thor: Ragnarok soundtrack

This album is electronic, atmospheric, and just the right amount of adrenaline-pumping to get me going. Really good for writing action.

Late Night Jazz

This playlist works for me at any time of day, but particularly when I want to relax into writing and forget about everything else. I also enjoy this playlist when settling in for a good reading session.

The Dark Knight Rises soundtrack

Like the Thor soundtrack, this one is atmospheric enough to get me going, but smooth enough when I need to focus on words rather than pacing.

Ambient Chill

I listen to this at work. It’s my version of office muzak. Unobtrusive and easy to listen to when working in an office.

Femme Fatale

Sometimes I need something dark and sexy to set the tone.

writing: March progress

writing

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.

writing: February update

writing

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.

writing: a few things I know for sure

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

life: mid-month writing check-in

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!