Oktoberzest, Revisited.

1 Oct

So, uh, wow.

I have it on good authority that October has arrived.  How is this possible?  This year has flown by.  FLOWN, I tell you.

Last year at this time, I was in the early phases of rewriting my first draft.  Now, I’m about to start actively crafting a fourth draft.  (As opposed to the past few weeks, where I’ve taken no concrete action on it, but have been mulling over crits received and changes to be made.)

  • Somewhere along the way, I developed two systems that worked well for my writing habits.  One was for adding meat to a WIP and re-writing it from a blank page, the other was for tightening a WIP based on the basic structure already in place.  (Here and here.  Both links are for the tightening phase, not the total re-write.)
  • I entered the beta-reading world, both as reader and as writer.
  • Over the summer, I participated in Merrilee Faber’s creativity workshop, which sharpened my coming-up-with-ideas skills, produced several ideas for new novels, and even resulted in two YouTube videos where I covered songs by Patty Griffin and Lennon/McCartney.  (Here and here.)
  • I read a tall stack of novels.
  • I figured out how to use Twitter to my advantage (as opposed to letting it rule my day and destroy my writing time).
  • At the end of the summer, I finished the third draft.
  • In the interim between finishing and starting the fourth draft, I started writing a pressure-free first draft for a totally different novel.


That brings us to now.  Sorry to get all I did this, I did that on you.  It can be easy to forget just how far we’ve come, especially when we’re focused on how far we still have to go.

Where have you been, and where are you going? Specifically, where are you going this October?

Personally, I’m headed into somewhat uncharted territory: the wow-my-betas-have-given-me-some-awesome-feedback-now-how-on-earth-do-I-deal-with-it? territory.  This territory, I hear, is sharpening.  And by sharpening, I’m thinking it’s like an arrow: you have to whittle away at it so it has a sharp point, and will therefore pierce the target with precision.  Unfortunately, the whittling may be painful. That said, precision seems to be worth a bit of temporary pain.


11 Responses to “Oktoberzest, Revisited.”

  1. Melissa Friday / 1 October 10 at 10:16 am #

    It wasn’t until now that I realized I met you over a year ago! How CRAZY, because I totally remember all of these accomplishments on the list. Considering I just got back into the writing game, I call this a huge accomplishment in and of itself 🙂

    Also, I’m super proud of you for everything you have achieved. Your diligence truly shines through.

    Let’s see… since October I:
    1. Won NaNoWriMo – completing my first ever full length novel
    2. Learned writing something I have no passion for results in fruitless editing attempts that waste like, half a year
    3. Wrote a pretty awesome short story I plan to one day expand on
    4. Participated through about half of the Creativity Workshop, but learned a ton AND got the catalyst for my current WIP while doing so
    5. Started said WIP and crafted a heavy background for the story
    6. Learned to plan for a story
    7. Beta reading/writing. Always exciting
    8. But apparently forgot how to count, as I initially labeled the above point as “5” instead of “7”. Awesome.
    9. Laid groundwork for a budding online presence & found a bazillion resources from my previously axed Twitter account
    10. Read some amazing books & found my genre niche

    I guess it’s been a good year, eh?

    • Kayla Olson Friday / 8 October 10 at 10:08 am #

      Dude, I was just thinking about that this morning when I saw your FB status. You mentioned you’ve been at your job for a whole year – I totally remember the day you got hired! WOW.

      I must say, you have had a wonderful year.

      PS: I’m supposed to be keeping you on track today. ARE YOU WRITING?!?!?! How is Miss V? Do I get any more sneak peeks, or are you going to torture me with suspense?

  2. Simon Friday / 1 October 10 at 10:21 am #

    Holy cow! You figured out how to use Twitter to your advantage and not have it eat your productivity? Do share, good lady!

    Also, good luck heading back into the revisions.

    I’ll be trying to crank out the words on the novel this month in the leadup to World Fantasy Con. 🙂

    • Kayla Olson Friday / 8 October 10 at 10:09 am #

      Hey, Simon! Thanks for the comment. If/when I write a post on my secrets to all things Twitter, I shall let you know. 🙂

      Thanks for the luck. I’m going to need it. (And patience. And wisdom. And a dash of brilliance, too.)

      Good luck with cranking those words! I’m sure you’ll do well.

  3. Merrilee Friday / 1 October 10 at 5:35 pm #

    What have I done? Erm…fiddled about, mostly. Small man’s sleep patterns have not been conducive to writing lately 🙂

    • Kayla Olson Friday / 8 October 10 at 10:10 am #

      I seem to remember you initiating, organizing, and executing a fabulous creativity workshop this summer. That’s a lot right there. 🙂

  4. J.C Friday / 1 October 10 at 6:26 pm #

    I made, grew and birthed a baby 🙂 got my first pieces published, started a million things and only finished some of them. I kind of think that the baby thing makes up for all the unfinished stuff though.

    • Kayla Olson Friday / 8 October 10 at 10:13 am #

      I agree! Wow. A lot can change in a year, huh?! Hehe. All those things you started can eventually be finished, so it sounds like you’ve set yourself up well. 🙂 That’s awesome, too, about publishing your first pieces!

  5. Liza Kane Saturday / 2 October 10 at 9:10 am #

    It’s so much fun to list all the things that have happened over a significant amount of time…it always makes me thankful for all the things that I have been blessed with and encourages me to chase after more! (Stay hungry, stay foolish, as ole Steve Jobs said…)

    Over this last year, I really had one “A-HA” moment, and that one moment allowed for a cascade of events that has led me to now. (This is why I believe that mindset is so terribly important: thoughts lead to changing behaviors, which leads to results.)

    1. I’ve been recognized as a top-performing manager in my company. The recognition only made me realize that I was tops in a field that at the end of the day, I have no passion for. The passion that I put in my work to make me one of the best is just my unending drive to “do my best” no matter where I am. This led me to re-evaluate and prioritize my life around my true life goals. Plus, I turned 30 in January, which really lit a match for me to “do something.”

    2. Part of my “do something” involved regaining my fitness level that I neglected in my 29th year, again for a job that paid the bills but did nothing to nourish my true passions (imagine realizing that I could have “sacrificed my health” for basically nothing. That was truly eye-opening). From Dec-Feb, I achieved my body composition goals, and have since maintained (even improved upon) it.

    3. And, of course, as part of my prioritization, I knew, KNEW, that this was the year to stop “dreaming” about writing, and truly live it. Funny knowing that “waking up” meant that I got to live my dreams.

    I know I’m still in the beginning stages, but I am truly motivated to get this done and start living the life that I want to live.

    Thanks for letting me ramble. I’m actually going to repost this on my blog so that I can look at it and see how I got to where I am, and keep my momentum moving forward.

    • Kayla Olson Friday / 8 October 10 at 10:14 am #

      Like I told you on your blog post, I loved reading your answers. Thanks for leaving such a thoughtful, thorough answer – feel free to ramble any time. 🙂 Glad this post fostered some reflection and forward momentum!!


  1. This Is Why I Love Blogging | reading makes me happy - Saturday / 2 October 10

    […] by Liza Kane| Leave a comment So, over at Kayla Olson’s blog, Owl and Sparrow, she asked, “Where have you been? Where are you going?” and since I was able to really look at my life and acknowledge that I have come a long way since […]

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