life: June update

Just another monthly update: life, health, birthdays(!), and more. With technical difficulties for that extra touch *wink*

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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: May draft update

writing

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.

The stats: 

  • 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.*

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.

 

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.

video: writing update, readthrough and NaNoPrep

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.

video: writing and financial safety nets

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.

life: still kicking around

I am alive! But barely. I caught the flu right as I was preparing to start my health reset (not a diet, just a kick in the rear exercise-wise). As happens, I was a mess for a good week and a half and am only just getting over the gut-wrenching cough, headaches, dizziness, and general breathlessness. It’s been rough, but I really do feel like I’m finally on the mend.

Of course, I tried to write and that didn’t go well. I’ve been focusing on my promotion file, so my writing is limited to weekend sprints at the moment, but even that went on hold while I recovered. I have a hard time divorcing my academic voice from my creative voice, so I need to set clear boundaries between professional writing and fiction. That means weekends, which means slower, but less schizophrenic results.

So here we are, sloth-like but chugging along.

life: what have I done?

It’s never a “good” time to apply for promotion… not when it’s academic and requires a sh*t-load of documentation, writing, and compiling of letters. But I applied, and now I’m in it to win it (she says with a strained smile). I’m nothing, if not committed. But it does mean that my lofty writing goals are going to become a bit more down-to-earth. Namely, there’s no way I can reach my current word goal, while also putting together a promotion file, keeping up with reviews (something I do professionally, outside the blog), and grading essays. It’s crunch time! And some things are going to have to wait. I’m glad I’m between drafts with project #1, because there’s no way I was going to get any work done. I’m going to keep writing, but I’m going to scale back. Take things slow and steady, rather than rush and try to meet some arbitrary word count (it’s a rough draft, after all, there’s always Camp NaNo in July).

Things may be a bit quiet around here, but I’ll continue to check in from time to time. Wish me luck!