Upcoming Content and Paying it Forward

Upcoming on The Writings, we’re going to have some personal blog posts about observations I’ve had during this wild and exhilarating writing-career journey, commentary on on-going projects, book reviews and Author reviews.

I might also repost or link business articles and other posts I find entertaining, so if that’s your thing, fab.

Today I want to talk about reach and the pay it forward effect that we writers can experience while we sit alone in our rooms and talk to ourselves.

When I was in college, one of my best friends was in the process of getting her first book ready to sell. I was so damn Impressed y’all. She was working full time at a library and yet still managed not only to finish a book, but also had begun trying to get an agent to sell it. I began to try a little harder on my own writing, try a little harder to become a better writer and become different from where I was at.

Then in 2012 I graduated, moved, started MY first ‘Adult’ job that was a 9-5 style office gig and my writing dried up. What had been easy in college, became something I had to fight with myself about.

Feb of 2014 I challenged her to a one month March-madness word war.

That word war began a spreadsheet that has spanned since then to present day.

For the last 10 day I’ve busted all the eggs (aka the zeros) and put SOMETHING there.

Accountability cannot be under rated. It was because of that sheet that I wrote 163k of words on different projects from March-December.
This year, between taking time off to move and fighting depression and anxiety, I have 36k between Jan-May plus what I’ve pulled up this month.

Those words are almost 200k of progress and effort that I wouldn’t have if it weren’t for fellow writers pushing me, family members asking and putting myself out there so that I could learn. Thanks to all.

Coming up in new posts:
Book Review on Anne Bishop’s The Invisible Ring
Podcast Reviews
Editing versus Drafting

 

Writing Parties

It’s very difficult to quantify writing in a regular way. Often, writers are completely solitary creatures who lock themselves in corners so that they can hear the imaginary people in their heads easier. Yet that can get really lonely and very frustrating. Especially when the people in your head are NOT playing nice with one another and are ignoring you to do their own thing except they aren’t telling you what that thing is.

Then it’s wonderful to have a friend to talk to who is also familiar with the frustration of imaginary people going about their lives. So, as is often known, so was born the Writing Party.

I am blessed that some of my two best friends are writers, trying just like myself to get some work done. Of course, I’ve already interviewed the fantastic Elizabeth Belyeu on my blog before and I enjoyed this weekend as she plodded her way through the first draft of her current work-in-progress, a sequel for the very excellent Secondhand Shadow.

My other very dear friend Aimee is working on her own book. She and I are in the “I’ve been writing a book forever but haven’t finished it” club.

Still, it’s handy to have people around you who understand the struggle and work to keep writing no matter how hard the words are to put on the page.

NaNo Updated Part 3

We’ve had a couple write-ins so far and progress is going well.

I’ve added a word count widget on the sidebar of the blog for accountability sakes.

When I started doing my Word Challenge with my friends in March, there weren’t daily goals so much as there was the challenge to see what others were writing and the attempt to keep up the habit of the daily word work. Now, I’m running into the challenge of sticking with one project and only one project. Before I’d hop between two to three projects a month. Sometimes this short story, sometimes edits on that short story and a chapter here or there on a novel in progress. NaNoWriMo is much more intense.

Because I’ve worked on the same project for the last two days and it’s NOT a short story.

Usually, at least for me*, a short story has one to three talking characters with three try-fail/scene-sequel sequences. Then, there is a conclusion. Novels, on the otherhand, I set up more like this long rollercoaster.

Chapters 1-10 are the cranking chapters. I like to lay out my dominoes so that I can knock them over, explode them, or shoot them down in a spectacular manner later. Around chapter 20 or so, I like to dip you down to the lowest part of the story, let my main character hang naked over the volcano of her problems for a while then have her haul herself up, cut her feet out from the ropes with the knife she hid in her hair peice and climb her way back to the top and take out the figurative-marauders that put her in that pickle in the first place.

Well. That’s the idea and the plan. The truth is that I’ve never successfully completed a novel. I usually get the first cranked up chapters and then quit because the writing bogs or gets boring. :/

So here is to a year of breaking through barriers and not quitting. It’s Day 5 of Nano today and hopefully we’re all the word goal of 8335 or at least getting there. Hang with me dearlings, and we’ll ride this challenge out together.

*Please keep in mind that this blog is that of an unpublished writer who is documenting progress as she works towards full time freelancer status. I am not an expert. I just am creating a record of what I do in this business every week so that those who are learning like me have a place to reference or learn from.

Accountability

I have been trying to keep a decent writing schedule on this blog since I started it.

If you knew me in meat space you would now begin your cackling and rolling on the ground. However the one thing that all my current habits have in common is this:

Accountability.

Cleaning the cat box? If I don’t, my cat will poop everywhere.

Keeping my dishes done? If I don’t, the roaches will come find me.

Turning in drafts? Deadlines.

Daily word count? My friends and I have a monthly pool going. Whoever has the most words at the end of the month wins.

It really is that easy for me. One of the reasons I think I have never managed to keep a good work out schedule stems from the fact that I dislike working out with people. (If I’m sweating away my delicious calories that I worked hard to collect, I’m not feeling chatty or happy. It makes me unpleasant.) Any other project or task that I’ve procrastinated on all moves back to accountability.

Stories require accountability too. I have so many half-started fiction bits rolling around in my word processor files that one of these days they are going to fit themselves together like Frankenstein’s monster and come eat me in my sleep. How can you get that sort of external check system?

Well, consequences for one. If you DON’T do the daily writing, then you WON’T finish it which is a shame. You won’t be able to show anyone, or at least if you’re like anyone I know, you won’t WANT to show the half-finished bit to anyone. Two, if you have a friend, that helps.

Friends who write aren’t always easy to acquire. I have some writer friends who are fabulous to hang out with but have such different writing processes than myself that accountability with them isn’t as helpful. It takes time and patience but once you have found them, put a ring on it. (Figuratively…unless they are also partner-in-life material then good for you.) If you can find a buddy or at least someone you know to ask about your status on a daily/weekly basis, that can help.

I won’t pretend that I know all the answers. I often feel like I am fumbling forward in the dark, fingers outstretched to find a way through to the other side. That imaginary other side resembles a podium at some awards ceremony where I am being told what a steller author I am.

Done laughing? I am too.

In the end, focus on the stories. Focus on the words and remember: Each keystroke is one step closer to that completed project. The story of 1000 words n’ all that jazz.