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Writer-Talk Tuesday: How’s Your Writing Going?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It’s time for your monthly update on how your writing is going.

Mine is . . . going very slowly. I was supposed to start writing An Honest Heart on June 1 and write at least 1,000 words per day every day in June, July, and August.

As you can see by the word counter, that hasn’t happened.

However, now I have even more incentive (though, as of yet no momentum) to really get cracking on the manuscript this month. You see, I’ve agreed to teach a Freshman Comp class for the online program in which I’m a full-time academic advisor—starting August 18 and running for five weeks. Which means an intense workload of grading (though, thankfully, the class is intricately planned and already laid out, so no lesson planning other than coming up with discussion topics for each of the five units).

But that five weeks is going to take a chunk of time out of my writing time between now and October 15. So I know how important it is that I make myself write every single day whether I feel like it or not. Whether I write 500 words or 5,000 words. I must write every day if I’m going to get this draft finished and maintain my sanity.

Of course, I’m also kind of hoping that by getting myself scheduled to the nth degree with responsibilities and obligations and deadlines, it’ll help me focus better and give me the momentum I desperately need. After all, I wrote prolifically (and with much joy) back when I was working at the newspaper full-time, putting in anywhere from 20–40 hours a week as an officer with ACFW, and taking 9 hours of undergraduate and/or graduate courses. Only when my life was so busy was I able to completely abandon the real world for my story worlds. I’m hoping the same will still hold true.

So I’ve decided to blitz my writing this week to try to capture my characters and dive into the deep end of my story instead of just wading in the shallow end. I’m planning to do at least one 1k1hr writing sprint every evening this week—and several on Wednesday (interspersed with cleaning the house). If you’re interested in participating, I’ll post the sprint challenges and results on Twitter.

Which brings me to the first-Tuesday-of-the-month question:

What are you working on writing-related, and how’s it going?

  1. Tuesday, July 3, 2012 2:48 am

    I found out at the end of the school year that I had to take 12 graduate hours to keep my job. I had planned to write, write, write every day. What a dent this news made in my plans. I’ve had such a hard year, I want to return to normal. I want to write. And as soon as I finish this 3000 word paper for one of my classes, I’m locking myself in a room and I’m writing!


    • Tuesday, July 3, 2012 5:25 pm

      Are these Education courses or Journalism/English courses? Are you getting any enjoyment out of them?


      • Wednesday, July 4, 2012 12:07 am

        I have my master’s in journalism, but I am teaching college dual enrollment English classes. I am thoroughly enjoying the classes, and the experience is lighting my creative fire again. I just have a terrible time focusing. I’ve never really been through the grief process in my life, so I didn’t know the lack of focus is part of the process. I have to focus in my classes. I just wasn’t expected to have to take them. I’m sure God has a plan. He always does. I usually end up saying, “Oh, so that’s why that happened.”


  2. dingo4mum permalink
    Tuesday, July 3, 2012 6:41 am

    Hi Kaye 🙂

    I hope you are able to crack open your jar of inspiration and write like there is no tomorrow!

    I’ve just finished my first manuscript (about 94k) in just under a year. I’m now going through the critiques and editing it. I have started research on my next book, which will be ‘The real story behind the jolly swagman who camped by a billabong’. So that is a ton of fun to learn about Australian history in 1891.
    All the best as you write for His glory. 🙂


    • Tuesday, July 3, 2012 5:27 pm

      I’ll be doing a little bit of research on early Victorian Australia for this current book—the hero is secretly from Australia (though everything takes place in England). He’ll be involved in the group that put together the Australian display for the Great Exhibition of 1851.


      • dingo4mum permalink
        Wednesday, July 4, 2012 12:45 am

        Ooh, that sounds very interesting. I do have one question though, how can he be ‘secretly’ from Australia, wouldn’t his accent give him away? Even if he moved there at a young age? The accents are quite pronounced and different. 🙂 Can’t wait to see how that turns out. Ooh, maybe he could take voice training lessons with a special somebody 😉


        • Wednesday, July 4, 2012 1:54 am

          Yes, the accents are quite different now, but 170 years ago, they probably hadn’t diverged quite as drastically yet. Plus, his parents are both from England, and he has lived in Oxford with his grandmother since he was twelve. They made a concerted effort to make certain he did not have a trace of an accent that would give away the place of his birth. (And his father is a surveyor, not a convict.)


        • dingo4mum permalink
          Friday, July 13, 2012 3:23 am

          Okay then. Sounds like you have it all sorted out. 🙂 Very well researched. Well done! Can’t wait to read it. 🙂


  3. Tuesday, July 3, 2012 7:13 am

    Hi Kaye!
    I’m a lot like you–the more I have on my plate, the more I can get done.

    My writing has been up and down–I had a spinal fusion on March 29th and dealing with bursitis so sitting for any length of time is painful. So I’ve been writing either standing up or lying down. I’m 70% done on my next WWII manuscript, turned in a proposal for a lovely story set in 1856 Michigan and have just started editing another book based in 1829 Georgia.


    • Tuesday, July 3, 2012 7:45 pm

      Patty, I can totally sympathize over the back pain. Back in 2007, when the scar tissue from my lower-back surgery flared up (just in time for the ACFW conference) and (felt like it) wrapped around my sciatic nerve, I couldn’t sit, stand, or lie down comfortably. The only position in which I wasn’t in excruciating pain was standing and bent forward at almost a 90-degree angle. Not conducive to getting much accomplished!


  4. Tuesday, July 3, 2012 7:39 am

    Summer’s rough for staying in the chair and writing. So much going on. But, I am very excited that I now have an excellent critique partner, who will keep me focused and moving forward.


    • Tuesday, July 3, 2012 7:45 pm

      Good for you for finding a crit partner! Hopefully you can keep each other motivated through all the distractions this summer.


  5. Tuesday, July 3, 2012 7:53 am

    I feel the same as you. I had plans to write every day this summer on my new WIP, but can’t seem to do it. Longer hours at work make me too tired and drained, and though I have Friday’s off in the summer, they have been jam-packed with activities with friends.

    I wrote much more when I had a more stressful job…I wonder if it really is that “escape” thing you mentioned. When you have so much on your plate, it gets easier to escape into your story world and let go and write.

    Here’s hoping that you blitz it out of the park this week!


    • Tuesday, July 3, 2012 7:47 pm

      I’m still fighting fatigue from the depression, which doesn’t help me want to do anything when I get home in the evenings (probably also one of the reasons why I’ve started five or six books in the last month and haven’t finished a single one). When I start looking at the clock at 8:30 every night and telling myself that I need to stay out of the bed at least one more hour so that I’m not up at 5 a.m., there’s definitely something wrong! I hope to start back to the gym next week (I’ve been saying that for over a month now!) and hope that adding regular exercise will help smooth that out.


  6. Tuesday, July 3, 2012 12:56 pm

    I’m still full speed ahead on my space opera romance. It’s officially a space opera now. At 63,325 and counting. Getting into the home stretch now. When I finish this first draft it’s back to my finished historical to redo the opening again and do some work on my heroine.


  7. Tuesday, July 3, 2012 1:10 pm

    Working on a proposal (synopsis and three chapters) i need to turn in within next couple of weeks. Another proposal to go in by end of month. Several short stories in progress, and I just applied for a freelance editing position. That’s just the writing stuff.

    But it’s as you say, the busier we are, the more we get accomplished. I have to remind myself when I feel the pressure of it all, as deadlines approach, that it’s what I want/choose, and that I’ll eventually get it all done…or not.


    • Tuesday, July 3, 2012 7:49 pm

      I think creative people are too easily distracted when we have too much time to allow our minds to wander and that’s why it’s harder to accomplish things when we aren’t scheduled down to the minute. Or, at least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! 😀


  8. Barbara Hoeffler permalink
    Tuesday, July 3, 2012 1:47 pm

    Wow! That’s a lot of stuff to deal with! I’m still picking away at my mystery. Followed your advice and changed it to a YA mystery, but now I have to change the main characters. Struggling with transitioning between scenes for some reason, and, as always, dealing with over-analyzing everything, and trying to add too many details. Think I’ll just charge through and get a terrible first draft, just to have it done and be able to rewrite calmly. Random question: Does anyone else have this problem: Every time I sit down to write, I suddenly crave ice cream and get up to eat!!! This needs to stop!!!


    • Tuesday, July 3, 2012 4:06 pm

      The purpose of a first draft is to be terrible. That’s why it’s called a first draft, and why the next stage is called revisions/editing. The more first drafts you do the better at it you become.


    • Tuesday, July 3, 2012 7:55 pm

      Barbara, it’s a truth universally acknowledged . . . that the more we know about writing, the harder it is to do it! It’s hard to turn off that internal editor and his pal, the internal critic, enough to just let the story flow.

      That was one of the hardest things for me in writing Follow the Heart. The last four or five books I turned in before it were all first-drafts—which meant I had to edit and research as I went. I had to make it perfect before I could move on to the next scene/chapter. After much pain and agony with FTH, I finally had to put all ideas of a perfect draft—a “turn-in-ready” draft—out of my head and just allow myself to develop the story and the characters and the setting and everything else on the page. To allow myself to do blank lines and comment bubbles out to the side reminding myself what word I needed to look up or what facts I needed to research. It made finishing the *first* draft much easier. That gave me a little bit of time to do a quick round of revisions before I turned it in. By the time I got my macro (story) edit back, I’d already had several ideas of how it could be improved. In my third draft (the one I brainstormed with my editor), I added 13,000 words and actually started to not just like but love my main characters, my setting, the time period, and the story.


  9. Tuesday, July 3, 2012 5:24 pm

    Because it was a slow day-before-a-holiday at work today, I was able not only to add a couple hundred words to my first chapter, I was able to do some setting research. Check out my pinboard for An Honest Heart to see images of North Parade Avenue in Oxford (a real place) where seamstress Caddy Bainbridge’s shop will be located as well as Chawley Abbey (template: Buckland Abbey), home of The Honorable Mr. Oliver Carmichael.


  10. Tuesday, July 3, 2012 7:57 pm

    I’m at 1,325 words for the day so far, and hope to get another 1,000 written before bedtime tonight—I’d like to get Chapter 1 finished and work on Chapter 2 (and 3???) tomorrow.


  11. Tuesday, July 3, 2012 9:53 pm

    Writing as editing–which means two different hats (as I’m sure everyone here knows). Editing Chapter 27 and adding a new scene.
    Chapters 1-5 are done and locked in a closet 🙂
    I decided to finish editing Chapters 27-33 then go back to smooth and rewrite again and again and again…
    Yes, this is the same book I’ve been working on forever. Finished it in 3/2010, finished editing it in 10/2010, pitched it in 3/2011 and have been editing it ever since.


  12. Thursday, July 5, 2012 12:16 am

    I think I’m doing well if we go by the word count only. Time to hammer an outline now that my initial stream of consciousness has be typed out. I am getting long winded and lacking fluidity. I have no idea what I’m doing really [other than there is a story to be told.] I was comforted to see that you started five or six books last month 😉 I keep reading everywhere that you can only work on one at a time. I am devoted to one specifically but like to visit and dabble with my other characters… visit and spend time with them.


  13. Thursday, July 5, 2012 9:53 am

    Praying for inspiration! Did you know we have a #1K1HR group on Facebook? Love to have you join us there! [I may have mentioned it before…]

    This week I’m doing my best to bust out a rough draft on a historical [can’t believe I had a full request on a historical], including several hours at the library today and Panera tomorrow and Saturday. Need 18-20K or so to finish it. It may not get done in the next three days, but gotta do my best.

    Plus I’m showing a movie in class today also I have another hour or so to work now… And now that I’ve caught up on my Facebook and blogs and stuff, I’m gonna get to work [after I ffwd through a song or two – musicals… and too long at that…]


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