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 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.
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!
Because it’s been so quiet around here, I decided to film a vlog explaining ALL. Watch me rock the wet hair, no-makeup look, as I blather on about all the things.
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?