Wrapping up 2015.

In my time zone, it’s 2:18am, which means my computer is letting me know it’s December 30. The thirtieth! How did that happen so quickly? I’m still in shock myself, and I’m feeling the pressures to wrap everything up before the new year. Life doesn’t always work like that, though, and years don’t always fit neatly in boxes. Days tend to bleed into each other, as I so often see since I don’t “start” my night’s work until after midnight, which is, of course, technically a new day.

My goal is still to finish this manuscript before the first, but I would be okay finish until the end of Friday the first. I’m currently sitting at just over 95,000 words, which is more than I’ve ever written on anything, and I only have eight more scenes to write before I reach “The End.” I’m giddy with excitement at the thought of finally finishing something, but I’m also finding that my fingers feel leaden. Motivation has not been my friend the last few days, which is why I’m so behind, even though I’ve wanted to write.

It serves as a good reminder: I can make all the plans in the universe and I can even be excited about them, but unless I take observable action to complete them I will get nowhere.

I suppose I can call that the lesson of 2015.

 

Stay tuned for a post about my goals and intentions for 2016!

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Self-publishing gem

While doing my routine procrastination – and, let’s be honest, what writer doesn’t procrastinate – I found a hidden gem in the world of self-publishing.

I’m starting to really come around to the idea of being a self-publisher or going with an independent press. Before, I was so hung up on finding a literary agent and getting published by a large literary house that I failed to see other options that are available. By talking with a lot of the authors on NaNo forums, I discovered that self-publishing is, in fact, not a cop-out. It’s just as validating and just as rewarding – if not more so – than being traditionally published.

Naturally, I was curious. I’ve been reading indie author blogs, getting to know techniques and different approaches, and generally scoping out the entire idea. That’s when I stumbled across this little gem. It’s called Book Works, and it’s part of the Self-Publishers Association. Here’s my profile on there, if you feel so inclined to check it out. I just signed up so I haven’t fully explored it, but it sound promising to writers of all levels. I signed up for the basic (free) package, which includes newbie things like articles and assistance. There are other packages that come at different costs, each tailoring to people at different levels. Right now, I’m okay with being a newbie. Everyone has to start somewhere, right?

I’m looking forward to diving into this resource when I have some “free time” this weekend. I’ll let you all know fun things I find!

 

Revision isn’t just for manuscripts.

If there’s anything I’ve learned about writing it’s remembering to be flexible. Goals that sounded reasonable at 3am are actually ridiculous. The last thing I want is to feel so overwhelmed and discouraged because I can’t keep up. So, the best way that I know how to fix it is just to revise the entire goal itself – and that’s exactly what I did.

When I made that first goal of writing 17 scenes in  week, I realized later that there were 17 days left in the month. Instead of four scenes a day (which is, for lack of a better word, ridiculous for me to attempt), I would only be responsible for writing one scene a day or doubling up on the weekend.

Okay, already I feel like I can breathe easier, and with a working scene plan written down, I can easily dive into the day’s work without having to backtrack and figure out what to write. Four scenes to one scene. That’s all it took for me to feel optimistic.

Now the trouble is staying on track. I discovered a tool to help called Pacemaker. It’s free and accessible online. Here’s the one I created for this project. I love being able to watch my progress and see the lines of the chart increase each writing session. It motivates me to keep writing, and isn’t that the whole idea anyway? So pop on by and check on my progress as I work to finish this draft by the end of the month.

 

Keep an eye out in early January for what’s to come in the new year! There are a lot of things in the works, and I’m excited to share them all.

Success – NaNo 2015 & beyond

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This is the first year I feel like I can honestly say I won NaNoWriMo. It wasn’t just reaching the 50,000 word goal this year; I’ve done that before. For me it was about sticking with a project and holding out for those 50,000 words. I ended up writing a grand total of 81,546 words – the most I’ve ever written on a project. Guess what? It’s still not finished! While I wanted to finish a first draft for NaNo, I don’t feel like I’ve failed my goal. I’ve gone further than I’ve ever gone before, and, to me, that’s the most important thing. I have improved.

 

December has been difficult for me. Since I managed to write every day for 30 days, of course writing would be constantly on my mind during December. Yet, here I sit on the fifteenth, with zero words written during the month. Yikes! I’m close to the end. I can feel “The End” burning on the edge of my fingertips. I just can’t seem to get myself to open the document to write more. I decided, yesterday, that enough was enough. I needed to just sit down and figure out all this mess. And I did.

I discovered that I only have 17 scenes left in the story. (Actually, it’s 16.5 because I’m in the middle of the scene. Can you believe I ended NaNo in the middle of a scene, and I didn’t have the wherewithal to finish it? Neither can I!)

I have a goal in mind. I want to finish writing that half-scene today and write 4 scenes per day after that. My end goal is to finish the first draft on by midnight on Friday. I’m giving myself some wiggle room, though. Since I’m pregnant and exhausted after getting home, I’m extending that deadline to Sunday, which is my hard deadline. I want to print the entire manuscript on Monday and start planning WIPs for 2016 that evening.

By sitting down and figuring out where I was, I realized that I didn’t have anything to be worried about. I was closer than I thought! By writing out an action plan and creating soft and hard goals for myself, I have an end in sight. In fact, it’s so in sight that I feel that sense of urgency even stronger than I did before.

Time to get typing!