4 • 8 • 15 • 16 • 23 • 42

9 Dec

Now that I’ve dethroned the reigning Boggle Czar (also known as: my dear, sweet husband) and eaten tasty food (despite the fact that I forgot to buy pine nuts for my pesto, and despite the fact that I accidentally put way too much garlic in it), I thought I’d give a quick update on today’s progress.

I spent some time on my novel, though it wasn’t all spent writing new words – actually, I’m getting to a place where I’ve been planning to borrow some stuff from the first draft and work it in to this one.¹  So, I pulled out the old manuscript, and wow.  I knew my second draft was different, but man, it kind of blew me away to see just how much it has changed in these past few months.  

In the time I spent working today, I searched the old draft for stuff I want to work into the current one, then picked pink as my trusty highlighter-of-choice² for the day and began to mark sections that would still work.  I spent some time figuring out how to weave the old scenes in, then wrote a little bit, went to yoga, and called it a day.  (So far.)

Depending on how you define progress, I made some.  Looking forward to making more tomorrow, and maybe even tonight, if I get really ambitious.  

How are you guys doing with your Diligent December goals?  

Encouragement of the day: you are only one person, and if you’re like most people, you’ve got a lot of stuff going on right now.  In each day, you have things you must do (eat, sleep, care for family, order Lost: Season 5 on DVD, etc.), things you should do (strive to meet goals, be diligent with work/home responsibilities), and things you want to do (read and/or write all day long, while drinking lattes from pretty mugs, beside a cozy fire, with Remy the Cat — or the adorable-cat-equivalent-of-your-choice — curled up on or beside you).  Sometimes the musts, the shoulds, and the wants overlap, but not always.  As we are all acutely aware, we only have so much time, and being but one person, we can only do so much.  So!  All that to say?  Life happens.  Do the musts, prioritize the shoulds, and sprinkle in some wants.  Set goals, strive to accomplish them, aim for greatness in whatever you do, and enjoy the things you do as you do them.  If you run out of time, you run out of time.  Sleep, sleep well, and then get up again the next day, ready to go forth and conquer some more awesomeness.  Take it from a former serve-everyone-but-herself-all-day-every-day-for-years kind of girl, the road to burnout is paved with extremes, guilt, joyless work, and being a people-pleaser.  

I feel like a fortune-cookie therapist.  Your lucky numbers today are  4  8  15  16  23  42.

¹Perhaps now is a good time to tell you, since I don’t know if I have, that this second draft is pretty much a complete re-write of the first one.  The basic plot and characters have remained in tact, but after much thinking, rethinking, and note-jotting, it has more depth, stronger subplots, and is generally more cohesive this time around.  I’ve hardly used any actual writing from the first draft.

²Always a difficult decision.  I love my ten-pack of Sharpie highlighters.

Amendment: The former Boggle Czar would like it to be known that I have only temporarily dethroned him, and that I only beat him by one point.


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16 Responses to “4 • 8 • 15 • 16 • 23 • 42”

  1. Merrilee Thursday / 10 December 09 at 1:12 am #

    Well, so far so good for me. I’ve finished one short story and working through another which I should be able to knock off today or tomorrow.

    Editing never gets the high wordcount process like first draft does, but it’s still important progress!

    • owlandsparrow Thursday / 10 December 09 at 8:25 am #

      Good job! That’s wonderful, and good luck on this next one.

      I agree about editing & wordcount – I’m trying to remember that at this phase, it’s kind of good that I’m not flying through words, and that progress is measured in many different ways. Editing is kind of like sculpting or chiseling, I think, and those things take focus and much patience (well, so I hear).

  2. Linda Thursday / 10 December 09 at 9:47 am #

    Ha ha very clever using those numbers as your post title; this post will be showing up in Google searches for a long time.

    I confess, I do too many wants and not enough shoulds in my days.

    Interesting end note about your ms. I read some writing advice that said, essentially, that you should write your novel, put it aside and then write your novel again without looking at the first draft. I’ve wondered about that. If I ever get time, maybe I’ll try that with the first novel I wrote and never fully edited. Maybe I’ll end up with something great.

    • Christi Craig Thursday / 10 December 09 at 11:51 am #

      I love that idea, Linda! Makes me wonder if I shouldn’t do that with my first NaNo novel that refuses to give way to a rewrite.

      As far as my Dec. goals, I’m committed to writing (or editing) 500 words a day, and so far so good. That reasonable goal gives me a little more freedom to dip my hands into other fun activities, like knitting and what-not. Plus, I’m editing, with more care, a short story that just got rejected, trying to turn it into a better piece that I hope to send out again.

      • owlandsparrow Thursday / 10 December 09 at 2:17 pm #

        Hey, Christi! Your goals sound similar to mine – I set them just high enough that I’d have good goals, but low enough to give me freedom to enjoy the holidays. Especially with editing, word count is a tricky way to measure progress, since you’re going for quality, like you said, and not mere quantity!

        PS: I love knitting, too, and have been having the best time creating (thank you, loooong car trip to Kansas!) bright, chunky scarves to wear! If only Texas gave me more opportunities to wear what I make, it would be great! ;)

        Good luck on your goals!!

    • owlandsparrow Thursday / 10 December 09 at 2:13 pm #

      Thanks, Linda! I didn’t even think about the Google search thing, haha, but you’re right, it probably won’t hurt.

      As far as the rewrite, it’s definitely worked in my favor to not look at the first one very much. When I start the edit, I’ll probably go back through the original draft to see if there’s anything I liked that didn’t make it in the second time around. If so, and if it fits, perhaps I’ll work it in.

      I think your idea sounds like fun – let me know if you try it out with your first novel!

  3. jenniferneri Thursday / 10 December 09 at 9:48 am #

    Nice post – nice reminder! Thanks.

    I was going to ask if this is a re-write. Wow. Impressive. What made you decided to re-write rather than work with what you have?

    • owlandsparrow Thursday / 10 December 09 at 2:46 pm #

      Hey, Jennifer! Thank you. :)

      Let’s see…what made me decide to re-write? This could probably be a separate post, but I’m in the mood to leave it as a comment. There are a number of reasons. When I read through the draft, it wasn’t too bad, actually, but I was determined to make it deeper, better, more cohesive.

      My story is based on four kids, but only the main character was completely fleshed out in that draft. Also, the story involves a hidden, secret world. In my read-through, I discovered I didn’t really know anything about that secret world except that it was, well, secret, and somewhat dangerous. I needed to know how it got discovered in the first place, how the villain came to be the villain, and overall, make it scarier and more menacing. I needed to learn more backstory so the important information would make it to the forefront. Some things I meant to communicate, I hadn’t (both with the characters and the plot), so I set out to figure out what would make it work better. The structure felt off, too, so I needed to rebuild it.

      So…I took a long while to think, think, and think some more. In discovering more about the secret world, ideas kind of spread like wildfire. Things fell into place as little connections surfaced between major and minor characters, which in turn affected the entire story arc of those characters. I spent a while developing all four kids, so that even when they aren’t front and center, I know exactly what’s going on with them. That way, when they walk into a scene, they are consistent and multi-dimensional, with actions/reactions that influence the plot.

      By the time it was time to write again, my ideas had exploded and it became too different to just tweak scenes here or there. Essentially, I’m weaving together several separate lives, so it’s kind of difficult at times. In my opinion, though, the work is well worth it. The first draft felt flat, since I only knew my main character well. I used it as a foundation to build on, and now, I have a believable cast of characters with real problems and real stakes on the line. It’s much better (though it’s been hard).

      Whew! Sorry so long. Thanks for asking! :)

      • jenniferneri Friday / 18 December 09 at 9:12 am #

        Hi! I’ve been meaning to get back here for a few days now – sorry!
        Sounds like an amazing experience, and very rewarding re-writing. It sounds almost like the advent calendar my kids open every morning. Familiar, yet still magical and unknown.
        Good luck with it!

  4. J.C Thursday / 10 December 09 at 2:03 pm #

    I actually rewrote a novel I wrote as a teenager as my second ‘novel in a month challenge’. It was a blast! While chunks of the story are the same (I think, I don’t actually have a hard copy of the first), the story definitely matured and grew in the rewriting. That said, i don’t think every novel necessarily would benefit from rewriting without looking at the first draft.

    Anyways, sounds like you are doing great! I’ve had a lovely break through with my writing and seem to have come out of my pregnancy fog thank goodness for that! Was starting to wonder if it would ever end lol

    • owlandsparrow Thursday / 10 December 09 at 2:21 pm #

      Hey, funny, I was just leaving a comment on your post, and came back to find this one from you!

      I agree, I’m not sure every novel would benefit from a total rewrite without looking! But, like your story, mine has definitely matured and grown throughout this process. I think that’s why it was so weird to see that old draft – I hardly knew my characters when I wrote it!

      I’m so glad you’ve had a breakthrough, and that the ‘pregnancy fog’ (hehe) has settled down a bit!! Like I wrote on your post, thanks for the inspiration to push through to do more, even when the daily goal has already been met! :)

  5. islesam Friday / 11 December 09 at 12:28 pm #

    Boggle Czars are so pushy. Yeesh.

    Glad to see your december goals are going well! I’m truly enthralled with everything about your book & can’t wait to find out more about it once it’s over.

    I decided that I need a little time to let my brain heal before diving into another project, because NaNo really took it out of me. For a few days, I didn’t have a single desire to write one word. The days of 8k a day are over & I NEED REST! But then I went “oh crap!” and am back to small tasks until I feel fully recovered & the month of mayhem is over. I should probably take to actual blogging, just to keep something going. It’s amazing how much I can churn stuff out that way. Apparently, I’m a talker/storyteller. WHO KNEW? ;)

    Anyways. I’m dying for a spoiler about your book.

    • owlandsparrow Monday / 14 December 09 at 9:20 am #

      I’m so glad we’re friends. You make me laugh! :)

      Sounds like a good Diligent December to me: being diligent to rest!! hehe Seriously, though, when you’re so used to being productive all the time (especially after the 8K days of yore), it can take some major effort to plant yourself down and just breathe. And/or sleep.

      Sounds like you’ve got good balance going on, though – consistently working on smaller tasks (as opposed to not working on anything writing-related at all) will probably help you get back into the swing of things later. I’m glad some of these smaller tasks include blog posts!! :) Yay!

      • islesam Monday / 14 December 09 at 12:50 pm #

        What can I say, Kayla. I try to run away & you keep draggggingggg me back.

  6. littlehousesouthernprairie Sunday / 13 December 09 at 1:03 pm #

    i like this … glad you are making you + your work a priority, and for the reminder to all of us to do the same! it’s hard.

    • owlandsparrow Monday / 14 December 09 at 9:28 am #

      Thank you. It is hard. Especially in December, where priorities can begin to feel skewed. (Meaning: I have to bake something sweet for a party tonight; Wednesday, my old roomies and I are getting together for a cookie exchange which means three dozen more cookies to make; and I had considered making a big batch of double-chocolate walnut biscotti to give to some other friends…) (Oh: and then, after baking and eating some of this stuff, the GYM!)

      Writing. Making it a priority. Hard, when everyone just wants to eat homemade sweets.

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