Today was a bit rough.  Had a session with the therapist today and it got me thinking.  Which is the point.  Ha.  But still…

Anyway, I spent some time with the hubs.  He had a fire call almost immediately after getting home from work last night.  I think he had to run out around one am (he usually gets home between 12:45 and 1, but his schedule is changing a bit) and then didn’t get home until 5:30, bed at 6am.  House fire.

I love my volunteer fire fighter, but knowing he’s one of the ones that is trained to go inside the homes leaves for a terrified wife.  I didn’t even get into that with the therapist.

He called me at 4:15 to let me know he was okay, but that he had to do something else before coming home.  Luckily once he called, I fell asleep, feeling much better.  Then up at 9am.

So the writing didn’t get done first thing in the morning, or even second or third.   I hung out with my man, made him lunch and saw him off, then started writing.

I’m heading up a Ten Minute Timer Challenge at HollysWritingClasses.com, but it’s not to just write for ten minutes a day (unless that’s all you have).  It’s to set a timer for each time you write.  It just helps focus.

Today I did ten sessions of the timer.  3106 words.  But holy crap.  During the not ten minute parts I was running all over doing other things: laundry, nap for a headache (and, let’s face it, very little sleep) dealing with animals, etc.

Today was really tough to keep the words coming, but not in a muddy way or uninspired way.  It was in a story way.  I’d have to think when not doing a ten.  I’d do three in a row, take a break.  Two in a row, take another break, think.  I’m trying to find ways to connect the cards and use the story I’m building now and it’s working.  I just have to focus and  find areas of the story to pull from to add depth to scenes as well as tie in the new stuff.

Off to work on something else.  Not sure what just yet.

Forgetting a Major Component to my Schedule

Further adjustment. I realized I had not added in days off and intentionally left them out. Unfortunately, working with not writing to failure and realizing that limited willpower and decision fatigue are real things, Sunday would be a nightmare to write. We have two episodes to record, I have about 4 hours I spend with my husband, I have those two episodes to edit and schedule, the information on all topics to write, a blog to schedule and THIS Sunday I have a third episode to wrap up on. The holiday schedule with podcasts is nuts.

In addition to that, I’ve let other things fall in order to make sure the writing gets done, so another day off is needed (because Sunday does NOT count as a day off from work, just from writing).

Now my deadline is pushed back a few days. *sigh*

Forgetting a Major Component to my Schedule

The Research Black Hole

Ha, even after having recorded a full episode of the podcast on research and the most recent 16 Bad Habits Writers Have episode, I still got sucked into maybe 30 to 45 minutes of researching disabilities and syndromes that cause limb loss from birth.  I want to get this stuff accurate, but I also want to write and get it done during my best hours to do so. I need to remind myself to research after I write.

I got 3197 done (originally I thought it was 3148, but then I remembered a scene I started from the antagonists POV) and that felt amazing to get to.  It was slow writing today and also dealing with interruptions and a break (I typically make lunch for my husband and spend a little time with him before he leaves for work) meant I didn’t finish my writing until around 5pm.  The research didn’t help, and neither did my big baby:

Screen Shot 2018-11-29 at 6.19.20 PM

She and her brother were playing cat tag (and eventually got one of my dogs, Shiny, involved) in which I was Base & Safe.  So most of the time she came running to me and Ollie would wait, but Ollie jumped up twice himself.  If they weren’t playing tag, she was either cuddling or sleeping which meant many, many pats on the face – her indicator for come closer so I can lick your face too hard (a bit of a special needs kitty).  HA!  I love my babies.

So despite interruptions, research and distractions I hit my word count of 3k (and a little more) which has me super, duper happy.

Now I’m off to do chores, a little minimizing, clean and knit.  Which honestly also makes me a little happy.

The Research Black Hole

Lessons Learned!

Today’s word count is 3096!  I was done in about 2 hours, which was slower than the previous two days, but I had a lot to work in.

First I was writing from a character I hadn’t written in yet, and I needed to get a feel for him as he’ll be the love interest in book 3.  That was fun but a small challenge.  I’ve written up just a small amount for him.  He’s mentioned in Leaving Wandalucia and I have a paragraph or two covering a small basic of his past.  It was interesting seeing how much he hates Brock, but fitting for his character.

Second, I had a lot from the lessons I learned taking the How to Revise Your Novel Course coming through (not an affiliate link at the moment as Holly’s AP is still being reworked and updated).  I had moments where my muse was telling me “This has to matter, note that” and asking before writing what were the important things in a scene to cover.

Or is that left brain working with my muse?  I don’t know.  Maybe I’ll remember to ask Holly in the next podcast.

Either way, it was a good writing session.  I also did something I don’t remember having done before.  After the first two scenes were written, I skipped a scene, wrote half of the next scene, then went back to write the first half of the previous one.  I’m usually very linear and it wasn’t running to a candy bar scene.  It was just something I wanted to get down first.

On to the rest of my day.  Writing done first again.  Creating good habits, breaking bad ones.

(If you haven’t listened to our most recent episode on 16 Bad Habits that Writers Have, you might want to; just recording it has motivated me a lot.)

Lessons Learned!

Word Count Update

3078 today!

Working through this one I am seeing some deep subtext and themes.  I can’t help but wonder if I am just so fixated on the book right now and in that stage of ‘THISISGREAT! THISISGREAT!’ when I’m flowing and getting deeper stuff than I’d realized…  But that’s perfectly okay.  I’m writing, I’m getting words and I can revise when I’m done!  Then I’ll find out how deep or shallow things really are, ha!

Word Count Update

Forgot to blog about this! Oh no!

3181 done on 11/26.

Reconfiguring goals is part of my freaking life – and that is okay.  And if you’re listening to the podcast I host with Holly Lisle, Alone in a Room with Invisible People, you’ve been following my vacillation – with possible  amusement.

So much in my very recent life has taken longer than I wanted it to.  Then new stuff gets thrown on top of that, add in the time I spent on the screenplay (when I allowed myself to get distracted, which you would have also heard about in the podcast) and I had done nothing else on the book since the last time.

Let’s add some more, shall we? I’m stubborn (gee, I wonder where I get that from *headdesk* my mother, of course) and I don’t like change. So when I set the deadline for the book ,I stuck with it in my head. The more days that passed, the more the total of words per day added up.

So I figure I can either be insane and work at more than 10K a day or I can just adjust.  Now, at a different time of year the 10K or more a day is a fun challenge.  I’ve done the 3 Day Novel.  In fact, I’ve got the stickers to prove that I have completed it three or four times.  It’s fun!  But the end of the year?  With holidays, commissions, a trip and my current mental health state – on antidepressants, dealing with anxiety and seeing a therapist?  Nope.

I think so many people think if they don’t hit self-imposed deadlines they’re failures.

No.

They failed to hit the deadline. But the only way to be a failure is to allow that to stop you.

So I am biting the bullet and accepting that as much as I want to hit that arbitrary deadline, it is arbitrary. I have the time and space in my life to work with a new one. I won’t always. So I need to take advantage of the time I have. We have a roughly 5 or 6 day trip coming up right around the holidays as well, and that’s going to be stressful, so I need to kind of be gentle with myself, especially with everything mentioned above.  Just because you can do something and it’s been fun in the past, does not mean it’s the right time to rinse and repeat.

I am shooting to finish the first draft in about 17 days (starting from 11-26).

Because my draft for LW came out at under the 70k (I think it was something like 56k) I am looking at hitting about 50k, but will GLADLY go over if I need. At the moment my plan is to write 3000 words a day, what I can usually comfortably fit into my days. This might grow if I am consistently doing more but only slightly (so much covered in this new episode of the podcast, 16 Bad Habits Writers Have, and I am trying to be mindful of it all!).

As far as the editing goes, I am shooting for eight weeks. Because I have to take into account the trip, the holidays, two commissions and a goal planning workshop for myself (and possibly running a second one, this for the art group I am in) I am thinking that if the first draft is done in 17 days, that will be December 12th. So 2 months from that will be leading into the second week of February. I have art covers for Holly to do and those are a priority in 2019. I’m thinking that 2 months is doable.

This might adjust for a cool down period for the finished rough draft, so if I give it two weeks to cool, I’m looking at the end of February or the beginning of March being when this book is finished all the way through revision.

So… there.  The update.  HA!  Look for another post today with my word count.  Also, just FYI, but the love interest has already made me tear up and I am only 2 damn chapters in!  FFS!

Forgot to blog about this! Oh no!

Be flexible!

Gotta be flexible with my husband’s hours! LOL! I am learning that making time with him a priority means scheduling all sorts of nutty hours.

He’s home early today which means I got about half my goal done today. Had about an hour and 15 minutes to write and got 1329 words, the first scene and the start of the second. That is decent writing for me, almost average. It makes up for bad days.

Usually when I’m running tens with my mom I get good word counts, so it’s nice to see I can do it without the tens too ;) All of Leaving Wandalucia but one or two days was written doing tens with her.

Typically my goal is 2400 words a day, at least five days a week. Bottom line acceptable on rushed, half or weird days is 1200/one scene.

See you all tomorrow!

Be flexible!

54 Scene Cards aaaaand STOP!

Today my goal was to get all of my scene cards done.  BUT as I was filling them out my muse kept telling me to leave a few blank for her.  So I listened!

While writing these cards out I would find sequences that fit together within the story (working from my four page treatment) and put a series of cards together.  This is how it normally works with me.  But I was a lot more… loose than I normally am.  Which is great.  Maybe for me an indication of growth as a writer is not having to plan each and every scene.  And I’ve always gone with better ideas as I’ve had them, so this is kind of allowing the space to form those ideas.  I am excited as it takes courage and confidence to began to break away from the comfort of habit that might also become stale and uninspiring.

Finishing my cards today means I get to start on the novel tomorrow!!  I’m so excited, I can’t express it (not great for a writer, ha!).  This was planned for MONDAY, so I’m two work days early!  Saturday and Sunday (my dedicated podcast day) are supposed to be days off for the writing, but we’ll see how it goes.

So that’s it today.  About 2 hours of work, 54 cards total for 58 scenes, all approximately 1200 words a piece.  A chapter is four scenes, sometimes 5 if it’s super short.

See you tomorrow!

54 Scene Cards aaaaand STOP!

“Four” Page Treatment

Today was another oddly arranged day.  I had to get to an OBGYN appointment super early to check on a mass on my ovaries to see if it’s growing, so everything was thrown back.  Add to that the fact that I only got 2.5 hours of sleep, so after I’d done MOST of my to do list, I crashed and napped for four hours.  Good thing I work from home.  Now that I’ve done my writing, I’m on to work on an art piece.  But first, my work for the day:

I finished up the bio I didn’t finish yesterday, a simple background for a secondary character.  Once that was done I set out to complete a Four Page Treatment, based in Syd Field-style, only I don’t care if I go over a bit (I usually do).

I got 1113 words (and about 4.5 pages) of the plot down.  It’s just a very, very basic idea of the full story from start to finish with important details and a few specific scenes.  It helps me start materializing the action and plot points.  As usual, while writing the four page treatment, I get ideas for scenes.  So I now have 12 scene cards.

Since I try to shoot for roughly 1200 word scenes, I need approximately 58 cards for the 70k book.  I tend to write all 58 scene cards then putting them into a very clear order, but often I end up changing things down the road.  You don’t want to be too rigid, especially because better ideas always come!

So that was my day today!  The Four Page Treatment can be fast in some cases and painfully slow in others.  It depends on how clear the story is to you.  If you’re struggling, just start thinking of the cool scenes you want to write and work backwards, asking “how do I get there?”

And if you’re using the Syd Field instructions to create it, remember that is just one way of doing it.  I don’t follow his instructions exactly.  It’s just a guide.

“Four” Page Treatment