Friends, it’s been a weird seven days. After a successful Monday of writing, I proceeded to go on a five day anti-creative skid during which even thinking about writing made me want to crawl under the covers and hide.
Fortunately, the brain fog eventually lifted and yesterday I managed to put together one of my most productive days as a working writer/mom/person who needs to relax some of the time.
Today I woke up and there was still more to do. Over the weekend I got back not one but TWO projects for editing, to say nothing of the edits my current manuscript needs, I’m still two days behind in my word count, and November is just one short week away.
In short, I got shit to do.
And, truth be told, I thought I would be overwhelmed. But, honestly, it felt kind of… inspiring to be this busy. Like, this is what it means to be a working writer. And maybe it’s just because I woke up with the right brain chemistry today, but instead of feeling disillusioned, I felt… grateful. Grateful to have this opportunity and grateful that I’m in a position to utilize it when so many others are not.
So, I’m going to tackle those edits and I’m gonna write some more words, and you know what? I might even pitch an article (gulp). Because I’m a writer and that’s what I do.
Good morning and welcome to another fun filled writing week!
Honestly, I had a hard time writing this post, because I am feeling seriously UNmotivated this morning. I think I worked myself into a small burnout this weekend. Which, don’t get me wrong, needed to be done. I needed to push myself over the hump and prove I had the work ethic necessary to do this whole freelancing thing.
But, man, I’m tired.
And I can’t stop now. Deadline is Friday and while I am no longer pulling my hair out worried that I’m going to miss it, I still have some work to do. A chapter and a half to write and about half the manuscript to edit. The editing I’m less stressed over, since I know it’ll get an edit on the other side too. I would just really like to turn in a clean, cohesive draft.
Then, no rest for the wicked, because I immediately start work on the second project. Which means I really need to be working on the outline now. I keep reminding myself that no one forced me to submit three pitches in three months. I’m not sure I’ll be doing that again, but at least I’ll have the measure of my mettle as a writer by the end, right?
I’d also like to finish this damn book. I know I’ve been saying that for two months now, but I’m finally over the midpoint hump and I always tend to binge the climax. If I can carve out time between editing, outlining, drafting, and Mass Effect (sorry, saving the galaxy comes first, I don’t make the rules), then I should be able to finish. But it’s not looking good.
So those are my big goals: edit, finish, format, and submit this first project, and outline the second, maybe even get the first 2k words down toward it. Read if I can, and get a nap. Preferably soon.
Until next time friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.
This week has been a real two steps forward, one step back kind of week. Actually, to be totally honest, it has felt more like two steps back, one step forward.
When I get close to the end of a draft, I like to do what I call a post-mortem outline, although outline might be a bit of a strong word since it’s more like a skeleton. Basically I just jot down the major plot points from start to finish to make sure everything still makes sense and contributes to the forward momentum of the story. I can honestly say that 100% of the times I have done this I have flushed out weak points or gaps in the narrative that I wasn’t able to see before.
The same was no different for this freelance project. Today I drew up a post mortem and I identified a few places in the soupy middle area that needed shoring up. No big deal, right? Re-edit a few chapters here, add an extra chapter there. Easy. Well, my deadline in *checks calendar* one week says otherwise. I still have about 9000 words and most of the third act to finish drafting, and about half the manuscript to edit.
Honestly? I’m starting to panic a little. I’m hoping that, in this case, panic is a good thing that kicks my ass into some sort of hyper-productive mutant for the next seven days. I have always said I work well with a deadline, and, well, now is the time where we find out if I was just bullshitting myself all along.
And then, guess what? I get to do it all over again. That’s right, I get to start my second freelance project immediately after. Then, there’s a third one after that. Then it’ll be pitching time again, when, barring some sort of magical mental unlock/upgrade, I will not be pitching three stories again. I mean, probably. I don’t know. Part of me still thinks that I actually could slay this kind of work, but the last week has really dampened my self-confidence.
I just really want to prove that I can do this, but I also think I under estimated the time consumption and let myself off the hook one too many times, and now I’m here in crunch. Maybe next time, now that I know what to expect, I’ll be able to plan better and it won’t feel like running a marathon at a sprint every day.
One good thing to come out of this week (although, in retrospect, it is partially contributing to my time squeeze now) was that I got a shit ton of reading done. I made a goal on Monday to get to 50% of the book, and by Wednesday I blew right past that. I’m in the build up to the climax now and I so wish I had time to just sit down and just consume the rest in one go, but it’s just not possible with this book. Even at 63% I still have over 250 pages to read. I’m also getting to that dreaded point in a novel where the characters start making really dumb, groan worthy decisions that I know are necessary for tension or whatever, but still give me the worst case of second hand embarrassment in history. It’s still really good though and I can’t wait to finish.
Me: fusses about being extremely short on time to get actual paid work done.
Also me: spends an entire hour writing a blog post nobody asked for.
See yall next week, pals! Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.
Hello friends! I’m a bit belated this week because I had a scheduled day off yesterday from work and I decided to apply that to all types of obligations on my time.
That being said, the end of my week last week was a bit of a shit show that completely threw off my routine, and I am ready to get back to the familiar, even if that means a Monday Motivations on Tuesday. Let’s get to it, shall we?
I am now officially 10 days out from my first deadline and I’m starting to feel the pressure. I still have about 13,000 words to pound out and while that doesn’t sound like a lot, I still have to edit them as well. I did a shit ton of editing over the weekend, though, and am feeling really good about the state of the manuscript, unfinished ending notwithstanding. I just need to stay focused and keep grinding. I’d like to focus on edits during the day and new words at night, that way I can keep an even balance of forward momentum and necessary revision. I would also like to reserve the final two days before deadline on copy edits and formatting, which gives me just over a week. Gulp. But, this is what I signed up for and now is the time to find out if I am equal to it.
I did a lot of reading yesterday during my downtime which I really enjoyed, I just wish I could read faster. I’m starting to feel a bit down on myself for letting my reading schedule get so off track, but I really like this book. I’m not likely to discover new time to read, however, with my next freelance project already lined up after the first wraps up. I just need to keep plugging away and stop feeling guilty. Ha! Easier said than done, right?
So, even though I did workshop a one sentence synopsis for my Snowflake project last week, I wasn’t really satisfied with any of the results. I just found it really hard to to distill the concept down to 10 or 15 words. In a way, it feels like I failed the creative exercise it was meant to be. I would like to keep working at it this week. There isn’t any rush for this, it’s purely a vanity project. I want to make sure I get it right.
Okay, so concrete goals:
Reach 30,000 words by Friday.
Edit 3 chapters
Get to 50% of my current read
Relax with an episode of Bridgerton
Is it a sign that you’re overworked when you have to set a goal to relax? Actually, on second thought, don’t answer that.
I’ll be back on Thursday (hopefully, barring any other day job fires to put out) with your regularly scheduled blog post. Until then my friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.
Well, my New Year’s Resolution to blog every week is officially dead. Lasted longer than I thought. RIP 1/1/2020 – 2/6/2020.
But enough of that, I’m back after a month long mental health break and ready to make an ass of myself by talking about something I have very little knowledge of.
Sometimes, when I’m laboring away over my WIP, but even more often when I’m reading, I wonder if maybe I should have been an editor, rather than a writer.
My writing “career” is young, and largely shaped thus far by fanfiction, but last year I learned how much I enjoy the editing part of writing (and I say that doubting my own understanding of the term “editing”). My favoritest favorite part? Brutal, merciless cuts.
I adore crossing out entire sentences. I love circling paragraphs and jotting in the margins “Is this necessary?” Though I haven’t gotten to this point in revision yet, I already have a handful of scenes in mind that are destined for the axe. And I’m excited.
This mindset, perhaps to my detriment, doesn’t go away when I’m not writing, however. In fact, it seems even more pronounced when I’m consuming other media. I’m going to give you an example.
Warning! Hot takes incoming!
In November, in the throes of NaNoWriMo, I, like many other nerds across the country, sat down after work on a Tuesday evening and watched the premiere episode of Disney’s new Star Wars TV show, the Mandalorian. Spoiler… warning?
About 30 minutes into the episode I remember saying to my partner, “I’m assuming ‘The Asset’ is interesting and important, because otherwise why would I care about this show?”
Turns out, I was right. Baby Yoda, and the conflict it created in the narrative, was what made the show worth watching. Not the titular Mandalorian (at least not him by himself). So, though I found 99% of episode one to be kinda (read: really) dry, I sat down the following Friday for episode two.
Friends. Fellow Star Wars fans. I’m sorry. I hate to be the one to tell you this.
Episode two was a complete waste of time. 30 minutes of pure, unadulterated filler. Filler content. In the second episode. Of an eight episode series.
The more I thought about what I had seen over the course of two episodes, the more dissatisfied I felt. TV is one of my favorite mediums, and Star Wars is a franchise I genuinely love and enjoy (though I wouldn’t pass standard gatekeeping tests), but this series was falling well short of my expectations.
All around me, however, I heard nothing but praise. My (long suffering and supportive partner) even brushed off my criticism as coming in the midst of NaNo and therefore I was in full on critique mode and couldn’t just enjoy things for what they were.
And, well, maybe there is some truth to that. I couldn’t stop thinking about what I would have done. What I would have cut, or changed, or moved around to make those first few episodes tighter and, in my opinion, more compelling. But, that inclination didn’t start with the Mandalorian.
A month before, while on a whirlwind weekend vacation out of state for a family wedding, I inhaled a novel that had been in my TBR pile for months. When I say inhaled, I mean I finished at 4AM the day after I started it. Then I set my kindle aside. Laid my head down. And thought to myself, “I wouldn’t have included [certain chapters from secondary character’s POV]. They really slowed down the pace.”
Honestly, it was kind of annoying. It was a good book, good enough that I didn’t bother to put it down even after a long day of air travel and visiting with my in-laws. And yet, I couldn’t just… let it be a good a book. I couldn’t leave it at that.
It’s part of the reason, I’ve realized, that I struggle so much to finish books. It’s not that they’re not good. Because, objectively, they absolutely are. It’s that I can’t turn off the part of my brain that lets me just enjoy things for what they are. It’s always “this sentence doesn’t flow” or “that word isn’t right here” or “the plot is hindered by this sequence.”
Without really knowing what an editor does, I sometimes wonder… if that is what I was meant to do. Maybe that part of me unable to let media go without critique, something that genuinely frustrates me, is actually a calling that I’ve never understood or heeded.
Or, maybe, I’m just a picky ass reader for no real reason.
All I can do is just try to let go when reading, or watching tv, or playing video games, and hope that my inherent inclination to pick things apart will come in useful when its time to turn my eyes on my own work.
This post was literally a month in the making. 2020 has not been treating me kindly and February especially was taxing on my mental health. Thanks to all my lovely friends and followers who are with me on this journey. I hope to be back next week to talk about the decision I made this week to take a break from my WIP.
Until then, my your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.
Alright, I know I said I was going to talk about writing thin this week, but a curious thing happened to me last night almost the moment I laid my head down to sleep.
I’ve been trying to dive back into my draft since the start of the new year, mostly by going back and transcribing the words I didn’t get around to during NaNo. The very first scene, I thought, was really stellar work, even for a rough draft, and got me excited to once again be working on this project. Sadly, that fervor was short lived as I reached part of the manuscript I was less enthused about.
Which made no sense. This particular plot arc was literally the womb from which this story sprung in the first place. Back when this WIP was just a handful of notes that I jotted down in my purse notebook my very first week at my current job, this series of scenes was all I had.
But it’s been close to five years since those first jolts of inspiration, and the idea has evolved since then. This plot thread had not.
You’ve got to cut it, me said to me, my eyes still adjusting to the dark. It doesn’t fit anymore. It’s contrived, and, worse, it’s boring. You can deliver the same pertinent plot details much better if you just let it go.
Honestly, it felt like a weight was coming off me.
Because, the thing is, I’ve secretly known what dark me was saying all along. Even in the first draft, this particular sequence felt shoehorned in, like I was staying precious to it just because it was where my journey with this novel started. I wouldn’t call it a “darling,” because I actually kind of hated it. It bogged down the middle of the story and was unfun to write (I can only imagine how it would be to read).
So, despite the fact that I now had a gaping hole in my outline that needed to be filled and a lot of my now 60,000 word, half-finished MS would have to be entirely rewritten, I felt so much better about what I hope the end result of this project will be.
Then today, I got up and tried to do some brainstorming about how to fix it, came up with exactly two things (jack and sh…ugar), felt entirely dumb and uncreative, and spent a lot of time moping about it all.
That’s all from me this week! Maybe next week I’ll talk about my problems with writing thin. Or maybe I’ll talk about how perhaps I should have been an editor because I love cutting things. Or maybe I’ll have yet another new WIP crisis to share. Who knows? Not me! Unfortunately, though I’m a plotter in writing, life has to be pantsed.