In Training Mode

This latest rewrite, which is, by far, the best stuff I’ve ever written, has pushed me into a whole new level of motivation and creativity for my writing.

To the point where I am training my body to wake earlier and earlier each week so I can get to a coffee shop or cafe in the wee hours to write until I have to see my first patient.

And you know what? It’s awesome!!!

Don’t get me wrong… I’ve been super tired the last couple weeks in the morning, but the payoff has been huge in the way of productivity and word count and immense fortification of the creative juices

I should have known. I’ve always been more of a morning person, anyway, but I just didn’t want to get up at the armpit of dawn to write.

Currently, my alarm is set for just before 6, but I’m hoping to back that up to 5 a.m. over the next few weeks.

I won’t overtax myself if I need a morning off, because we all do, but the best writing I’ve ever done is bubbling forth from this fountain of morning inspiration and motivation.

So… I shall continue!

What have you changed or had to adjust to for the sake of your writing? Have you given anything else up in order to make time/room for your writing?

Happy writing!

 

“Morning is wonderful. Its only drawback is that it comes at such an inconvenient time of day.”
― Glen CookSweet Silver Blues

“Write in the morning, revise in the afternoon, read at night, and spend the rest of your time exercising your diplomacy, stealth, and charm.”

― Roberto BolañoThe Savage Detectives

NaNo Convert

There is a very solid reason for my absence over the last few weeks/month.

I was entrenched in the yearly event of National Novel Writing Month.

Now, up until I actually participated in it this year, I was firmly anti-NaNo. I thought, what the heck do people need this for? Don’t they have enough motivation to write every other month? What’s the big deal?

Welp, here’s my story.

Usually the fall is the most productive writing time for me, but I hit a block. Not writer’s block. I knew exactly what I wanted and needed to write. But I was in the middle of my second book in the MG fantasy series I’m writing and the immensity and scope of it was getting to me. Plus the fact that my hopeless perfectionism kept slapping me in the head. I have a hard time with writing anything less than amazing.

Which is ridiculous.

Which explains my block.

So, at the very last minute possible (the afternoon of October 31), I signed up for NaNo. And decided to completely chuck my second book to the side for the time being.

Instead, I focused on a dream I’d had a week or two previous. I’d written down a lot about it, because I knew it’d be a good story, and thought it would help if I got a lot more down while it was still semi-fresh in my head.

And you know what? It worked!

Ignoring my problem child helped me channel my writing into a cohesive draft. While it isn’t completed, my NaNo book is coming along swimmingly. And is some of the darkest stuff I have ever, or maybe will ever write. I mean, seriously, where did all this stuff come from?

And thanks to the website, I could see where all my friends were in their progress. I have a SLIGHT competitive streak, and seeing their little bars go higher and higher made me push myself to write more than them.

Shameless, probably, but whatever.

Now, I know some people are still very much anti-NaNo, but I’ve been converted. People think it’s the wimpy way out. That we should be motivated and strong enough on our own.

But I’m okay with being thought of as wimpy and weak. Honestly. It got me writing again. Against many barriers.

I finished five days early. And during November I moved back to Michigan from Washington state, started a new job, got sick, began a new exercise regime, lived in a hotel for three weeks, moved to a new apartment, furnished said apartment, prepped for Thanksgiving, and visited many of the people I hadn’t seen in months.

So I don’t believe NaNo ran my life at all. If I can do it with all that crap going on, I know I can do it any other time. And even better? While I was NaNoing, the creative juices began to churn again for my second book I’d set aside, and I even got some writing done there! Yay!

Is my NaNo book perfect? Far from it. Will it ever get published? Who knows? Do I care? Only a little bit. My goal was to just write, even if it sucked, to get over my perfectionist tendencies.

I don’t think I’m cured yet, but well on my way.

How did everybody else’s November go?

Happy Writing!

 

“There’s an old folk saying that goes: whenever you delete a sentence from your NaNoWriMo novel, a NaNoWriMo angel loses its wings and plummets, screaming, to the ground. Where it will likely require medical attention.”
― Chris Baty

“Don’t be offended if you encounter some good-natured ribbing; the idea of
writing a novel in a month deserves to be laughed at.”
― Chris BatyNo Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days

 

The 777 Challenge

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Ha! Do you like my joke?

My most humble thanks to Caroline Peckham for nominating me to participate in this challenge. Her blog is awesome-sauce and I comment on there all the time because of her inventive posts and faboo ideas! Go check her out!

The concept behind this challenge is to share a tidbit from a WIP. I think any WIP will do, but since I have so many of them, I thought I’d share from my most worked-on piece that is about ready to be sent to agents.

The Rules:

– Go to page 7 of any WIP

– Scroll down to line 7

– Share the next 7 sentences in a blog post.

– After the excerpt tag 7 other writers to continue the challenge.

(Wouldn’t that make it the 7777 challenge? Meh. What do I know?)

Here’s the excerpt from my MG fantasy novel (first in a series):

Iphigenia opened her mouth, but Wilfrid clamped a hand over it. “Shut up, you two!”

The Colonel’s long-dead heart beat faster and faster. He wanted to rage at them to stop bickering when Ava was in danger!

“Ladies, please,” Gaspar said.

Iphigenia pushed Wilfrid’s hand off her mouth and scowled at Tess. She opened her mouth to speak, but the Colonel flew back down and interrupted.

I’m literally LOLing right now because this excerpt tells you absolutely nothing about the plot of the story. BAHAHA!!! You’re introduced to six characters in seven sentences. Confused yet? Hehe!! It’s much clearer in the book.

Now, I’m supposed to nominate seven others, but I’ve read many people’s WIPs and I know many of my bloggy friends have done this challenge already and I can’t keep straight whose done what, so…

I nominate everybody!!! (I’m such a rule-breaker).

I just love reading tidbits from people’s lovely and amazing creative minds, so if you have WIP with seven pages completed, let’s see a few sentences!

Happy writing, everyone!

“Turning a manuscript into a book is easy; getting the manuscript ready to become a book is hard.”
― A.P. Fuchs

“When you write a manuscript, it feels like being in a relationship with someone. You’ll hate it, get bored with it, be pissed of, like you just want to break up. But, just like any relationship, you will fall in love again and again, like you don’t want to lose it.”
― Alvi Syahrin

“manuscript
meanuscript
moanuscript
manurescript
and so on”
― Katerina Stoykova Klemer

James Patterson’s Master Class

Has anybody else seen this? I rarely pay attention to Facebook ads, but this one caught my gaze and I had to see what it was about.

In 22 video lessons, James Patterson, currently the bestselling author in the world, teaches writers how to write a best-selling book.

Now I’m not naive and think I’ll write a bestseller after taking this class, because a class can only do so much. But I think it would be fascinating to take a course from one of the most prolific and widely read authors of the past fifty years. Not to mention the fact that I can’t afford to go to writing conferences at this point, so online learning and reading books/magazines/articles/blogs on writing are the current tools in my toolbox for improving my writing.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never read a single James Patterson book. Not one. It’s not that I don’t like him. I either haven’t gotten around to it or the books I’ve seen with his name on it just aren’t in a genre I normally read. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t learn a TON from him. He’s obviously a talented writer and fantastic at marketing and selling his books. Who wouldn’t want to learn more about the business and get some tips on writing?

And how much is this class, you ask? Only $90!!! I was stunned! It may seem like a lot of money, but I was expecting a class like this to be at least $250.

I’m going to see if I can work it into my budget. I’ve been a little stale in my writing recently and I think this would give me a great boost, or a swift kick in the pants. Either one works as long as it gets me writing more frequently again.

Please go check out the site and see for yourself! Apparently all kinds of talented, well known artists teach “master classes” on this website. I’m so glad I found it.

What do you think? Would you ever take a class like this?

Happy writing!

P.S. No, nobody is asking me to advertise this class on my blog. I’m not receiving any compensation for talking about it. I just think it’s interesting.

“When I write I pretend I’m telling a story to someone in the room and I don’t want them to get up until I’ve finished.”

~ James Patterson

“I was always a good student, but I didn’t read that much until I was 18 and I was working my way through college.”

~ James Patterson

“I’m a very good storyteller; I have a lot of compassion for people. That’s very useful for a novelist. A lot of novelists are snots. They’re just mean people. I’m not a terribly skilled stylist, nor do I want to be. I was a lot of people to read one of my stories and go, ‘That was pretty cool.'”

~ James Patterson

Another Draft Down!

Ahhh…

I just finished rewriting and editing yet another draft of my first book. I cannot tell you how amazing that feels. Primarily because it’s the best thing I’ve written up until this point.

Have I neglected my blog and bloggy friends to get it done?

Yes.

Have I done little else but write and edit?

Yes.

Do I regret those actions?

Not a bit.

I have a love-hate relationship with my writing at times, but I’m proud of this draft, and this time I’ll have two different writers/editors give feedback before I resubmit it to agencies and publishers. I’m so excited (and terrified!) to receive their feedback so I can make my book even better!

My latest draft ended up being 126,000 words, which is FAR too long for a middle grade book. I whittled it down to 108,000, which is three thousand words MORE than my last draft! HA! I’d hoped to shorten it with the rewrite, but so much changed I just couldn’t. Once I get feedback, I’m hoping to cut that to less than 100,000, but I have no idea where else to cut.

I’m sure some of the cuts will break my heart, but them’s the breaks when you’re a writer striving for publication.

So, tell me… what have you been working on since I’ve been shamefully absent? I can’t wait to hear about your projects! Hopefully now I can get back to blogging regularly since this monkey is finally off my back.

Now… on to outlining the rest of the series! Woot! And continuing my work on the second book.

Happy writing!

“I do three drafts handwritten and then it’s typed up… They are different from each other, they are hopefully improvements in the sense you’re going back over something. The first time you write it, it’s the first thing that you can think. The second time you’re trying to shape the dialogue, helping the characters. The third time you’re doing it because you want the words to sound nice, hopefully making the prose better, making it more fun to read, making the jokes funnier and the scary bits scarier.”
― Clive Barker

“Your first draft is a petulant teenager, sure it knows best, adamant that its Mother is wrong. Your third draft has emerged from puberty, realising that its Mother was right about everything.”
― Angeline Trevena

“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
― Dr. Seuss

Illness Breeds… Progress?

Hey, friends.

I hope you’re all enjoying the wonderful Christmas season this year!

There has been so much going on the past few weeks for me, I feel like I’m caught up in a tornado of insanity. There’s so much to update you on, but some I can’t reveal yet.

No, I’m not getting published yet. I’m still in the midst of a massive re-write, beginning at page one, which will probably take me months to finish and edit.

I know many of you have been under the weather lately. A good portion of my patients have also been calling in sick, or I’ve been sending them home when they come to clinic with flu symptoms. My other patients certainly don’t need that.

It was only a matter of time before I fell ill, as well. Though I don’t think it’s the flu, it’s a close facsimile that kept me home today and feeling gross.

However, I have been more productive in the last two hours being sick at home with my writing than in the last few weeks combined!

Does this happen to anyone else?

Sometimes I think illness forces us to reexamine our priorities, and it also removes the barriers to creative thinking. When we’re feeling under the weather, our thoughts are inherently tuned to improving our health, or we’re wallowing in our illness, which can sometimes be the perfect environment for writing sad, emotional scenes.

This is certainly true of me today. I’m in the depths of chapter two where my MC is kidnapped by henchman of the “bad guy” and it’s flowing much easier than it has the past week.

You can read a little more about my book right here, from an entry posted this summer.

I’m thrilled that this fantastical journey my character is on continues to astonish and amaze me. The things that fly out of my fingers into the Word document make me smile, cringe, laugh, cry, and shout for joy.

I still have much to learn on my journey to publication, but, for now, I’m just happy to get a few pages written.

Happy writing!

Home Is My Enemy

Does anybody else have a hard time concentrating on their writing while at home?

I find there are just too many things to distract me at home.

Whenever I sit down at my laptop to write, I’m distracted by the internet (and no, just turning off my wi-fi signal on my computer doesn’t work), my roommate, cleaning (yes, I’ve put off writing to clean. What’s wrong with me?), staring off into space, movies, food, and being lazy. How did it come to this. There have been times in the past when I’d sit at my computer and pound out 20,000 words in a day or weekend. Granted, those are few and far between, but why is it I’ve felt busier than ever the last few months?

I’m tired all the time, and a tired mind is good for plotting amazing things, but not so good at getting them down on “paper.”

Does anybody have any tidbits of advice? I’d love to just unplug my internet from the wall for a few hours, but my roommate needs it, too, so I can’t deprive her of that.

I need discipline!

The only upside to all of my busyness is that my mind has still been working away in the background and I’ve had so many amazing ideas for my stories. Both the mega-series I’m working on, and the smaller side projects that I’ll finish eventually.

I hope you’re all much more productive than I am currently.

I love December – it’s one of my very favorite months of the year. Not just because of Christmas, though that definitely is a part of it. And I feel like it’s passing me by this year. Gah!

In other news, my good friend, Emily, has her first book coming out next week. Yay! If you don’t know who she is, go check her out. She’s awesome!

Mark your calendar for this Tuesday, December 9. Her first book, Demon’s Heart, will be released. Super exciting!

Happy writing, all!

“All profound distraction opens certain doors. You have to allow yourself to be distracted when you are unable to concentrate.”
― Julio CortázarAround the Day in Eighty Worlds

“Computers are quiet and clean and totally distracting because the Internet is there, lying in wait for a moment of weakness to pounce on your creativity and progress.”
― Arlaina TibenskyAnd Then Things Fall Apart