Tag Archives: progress

Two Years!

3 Jun

Happy blogobirthday to you…

Happy blogobirthday to you!

Happy blogobirthday dear blog-o’-mine—

[insert warbling that goes on longer than it should]

Happy blogobirthday to you!

Ahem. *clears throat* (A warble got lodged in my windpipe.)(Never a good thing.)

As of today yesterday, the blog is a two-year-old! Now, we all know what they say about two-year-olds—they’re terrible, and whatnot—but my blog is determined to shatter that stereotype and prefers you think of him (I guess the blog is male?) as a terrific two-year-old instead.

These two years have flown by—in fact, it feels like just yesterday that I wrote this post (last year’s “it’s been a whole year!” blogobirthday post).

Following the tradition I started last year, here’s a list of things I have now that I didn’t have a year ago:

  • A so-close-to-being-finished novel (albeit one that still needs a bit of work)
  • Two more novels in the first draft phase
  • More amazing Twitter/blog friends, and deeper relationships with the ones I already knew
  • A very, very, very full bookshelf
  • A new apartment in a new city
  • A baby boy (currently, uh, still baking)
  • A first writers’ conference experience
  • Numerous in-person writer friends
  • A fantastic critique group, and more experience giving/receiving feedback

I’m sure I’m forgetting things, but that’s a good thing! There is much to be thankful for. Happy writing and reading to you all!

 

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.

So.

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.

Thwarted

22 Jan

Something awful put me out of commission for two days, thwarting my plans for all things edit-related (and even, somewhat, all things plain-old-fiction-reading- and reality-TV-watching-related).  I’m feeling a bit better this morning, so I’m going to try this again.

So.

Here’s hoping that after two days of absolutely justified rest, my mind is actually ready to dive back in — because I so want to keep reading, keep analyzing, keep making colorful notes.  I still hope to meet my self-imposed deadline (one week from today), but it was a bit ambitious to begin with.  Now that I’ve lost two working days, the deadline might need to get pushed back just a bit.  I’ll make that decision next week, though, and only if I have to.

And now, with my paper Starbucks cup filled, not with a latte, but with still-steaming Earl Grey tea, I toast: here’s to diligent work, to diligent rest, and to the ability to decide when to do which one.

Revision Update, Phase One | 40 pages down, 296 to go

PS: You can check out all the updates for Project: Edit, and other projects, on the “Challenges!” page in the sidebar out to the right.

Snailwriter.

27 Jul

Today, Week Four begins.  Between the thunderstorm and my too-comfortable pillow, I’m off to a late start this morning!

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of last week while I was experiencing it.  

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you’re constantly working, but don’t feel like you’ve gotten very far?  That was my week, last week.  I spent a lot of time on my novel, but wasn’t quite sure how to judge my progress.  

The first draft came so quickly, and I judged my progress by my sky-rocketing word count. (Well, sky-rocketing on some days.  Kite-high, on others.)  I’d end the day with pages commensurate with my time spent, and I’d feel über-productive.

Progress is not so easily measured this time around.  You’d think that with knowledge of where the story needs to go, it would get written quicker – not so.  Writing better takes more time.  It takes more focus, more concentration.  It means making sure action, dialogue, and motivation are all fitting for my characters.  It means becoming a scene wizard, where I accomplish a few layers of things at one time.  And, it means condensing paragraphs of unnecessary, empty words into a few meaningful, accurate sentences.  

In short: lower word count, more time spent.  A paradigm shift in the definition of productivity.  

Friday morning, I typed the final line of a particularly difficult chapter.  Everything clicked.  The scene felt like it came together in just the right way, layered and not too in-your-face.  Suddenly, all those hours of fastidious focus exploded into this exciting sense of satisfaction.  No questions, anymore – it was, without a doubt, a productive week.

I might feel like a snail, but I’m finding the payoffs are higher with this draft.  Well-written scenes trump quickly-scribbled ones, for sure.  

PS: Thank you all for your feedback on my last few posts.  I’m loving the privilege of reading your stories, what drives you, and your thoughts on things.  Your blogs are fun to read, too.  So, thanks again.