Archive for the ‘Young Adult (YA)’ Category
I am enjoying this drafting series way more than I expected, particularly since I’m blogging while doing NaNoWriMo. And I’ve done a lot of talking about the things I’ve learned and continue to learn about the drafting process. But as I’m closing in on my #NaNoWriMo halfway mark (which means that I’m far enough along that the novelty has worn off and not far enough along to see the light at the end of the tunnel) I’ve realized that part of drafting is…
As in, knowing when to say I would rather sit on the couch tonight and catch up on The Voice while eating a big bowl of ice cream, than think deep thoughts about writing. Especially when my brain already hurts. So, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
When you’re pushing to reach a deadline, how do you “know when?” And what do you need to do to take a small break?
I’m 19,000 words into #NaNoWriMo and one of the things I’m learning about is when to draw a blank, or really when to write one. Normally when I’m drafting and I arrive at a thought that’s related to a previous thought, I take a break to go back and look up the detail. Sometimes I take a minute or two or three to ponder the direction I might be heading with something that’s surfacing from my subconscious. This break allows me to examine a creative thought or remember the name of a character I’ve been fleshing out or keep a place description uniform. It also slows me down. Normally I don’t care, I like my process and it works well for me, but in November, dilly dallying and day dreaming is a luxury I can’t afford when I’m participating in NaNoWriMo.
During my regularly scheduled drafting, slowing down might make my first draft take longer, but in my opinion it does’t really hinder my overall process because I’d have to go back and sort it all out eventually during one of my revisions. Do it here or do it there–it all has to get done in the end, right? And to be honest, I like the practice of taking a moment to look back. It allows me to better “place myself” in my own writing. When a world or it’s characters are new, it’s easy for me to get lost. I can wander around like a girl from the suburbs in NYC. Sometimes I have to retrace my steps to see where I was going.
But during crazy NaNoWriMo style drafting, I’m pushing myself to think less and let go. Stopping is counter productive. It is the fine line between drafting and revision and there’s no room for it in November or any time when you’re speed drafting. So, what’s a girl to do who can’t keep it all straight? Or what happens when I need to spend hours dreaming about what perfect book my MC should be reading in English class? I’m learning to substitute the missing thought with a CAPITAL BLANK. Here’s some of my favorite BLANKS from my draft so far…
BLANK shivered and I was sure she was picturing BLANK’S disgusting butt on the kitchen island.
“I’m not a good liar. My mother knows every single time I tell her BLANK,” I said.
“Remember that Saturday after BLANK, when she had the flu and your parents had to cancel your trip to BLANK?”
I’d seen the school’s production of BLANK and even though BLANK didn’t have a big part, he’d been in that crew of guys who’d had the audience in stitches.
I looked at my plate, there was a table spoon of BLANK in a middle of the dish. I looked at my mom’s plate, which had a serving of BLANK and BLANK that wasn’t much bigger than mine. Dad on the other hand had a large helping of BLANK.
And it works. It’s a hot mess, but it’s getting the job done at the moment. But here’s the big question–will I draft like this all the time? Absolutely not. LOL! It feels like trying to run a marathon in the dark. It makes me anxious and confused. BUT…the experience of drafting outside of my comfort zone has taught me that my natural drafting rhythm, can (and often has) easily morphed into unproductive procrastination. And getting comfortable with pushing over those unnecessary speed bumps is why I always think it’s important to try new things with our writing process. You never know how an experience will clarify your process. How it will make you a better, more flexible writer. Conscious doing almost always evolves into growth–especially when you’re drawing a BLANK.
Do you use BLANKS in your drafting process? If you do, do you find it helpful to your process? Have another method for speed drafting over the rough patches? Please share–I’m always looking for more ways to drive myself nuts LOL!
Today I’m stepping away from my ongoing NaNoWriMo experience to talk about what happens after Thought Splinters and Monkey Mind and Writing the Wrong Book. If you’ve been following this series, we’ve been talking about making drafting progress by figuring out what’s driving us to write. And we’ve been discussing how to get our publishing-centric, monkey mind to behave so we can writer the right book. And we’re also holding ourselves accountable by setting a reasonable productivity goal and then showing up to write. Hot dog, we are doing great. So, it seems like this is the perfect time to get to a drafting rewards. I like to think of this one as the horizon.
I often hear people talk about how glorious the first third of drafting is. Everything is shiny and new.
Yeah, not for me. Hate those people.
The shiny new part I experience, is the pliable lump of clay in my brain that has a few shiny splinters in it. That’s where my “new draft high” takes place. I’m giddy BEFORE I put a word on the page. But once I start writing I struggle. I find the first 1/3 of a draft like wandering around on a pitch black, moonless night in a place I’ve never been before. Without being able to see, I’m supposed to find all the good stuff out there, without bumping into all the dangerous pitfalls. It’s a scary, hot mess. And it’s slow going, which doesn’t endear me to the process. There are too many options and the whole thing gives me monkey mind.
But then something wonderful starts to happen. About the time I reach 2/3 of the way through my manuscript, I’ve started to figure out where I am. Every time it happens it’s the sun coming up and illuminating my world. I may not see everything clearly yet. There are still clouds and obstacles in my way, but I get the undeniable sense that everything I need is out in front of me. I can see the horizon and it’s beautiful.
It’s at about this time my characters start to reveal their true selves to me and I also begin to understand how they interact with each other and why. And the world I’m building begins to solidify and have rules and structure. And most importantly, sentences fly out of my mind and through my fingers that I know speak to deeper truths. They dangle there like vivid threads, brightening my horizon and waiting to be woven together later in the revision processes. This part of drafting is such a gift–enjoy it. Take a moment to appreciate what you’ve done and what you plan to do.
What is the toughest part of drafting for you? What moment gives you the gift of knowing that you’re headed in the right direction?
Officially I’m writing this on October 29th, but you should be reading this post on November 4th. Why am I so uncharacteristically prompt and organized? It’s because it’s National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWRiMo!!!!
I’m only FOUR days into my 50,000 word drafting adventure, but I’m really trying to set myself up for success. In fact, just doing NaNoWriMo, is one of the important ways I put myself in a great writing spot. I may have mentioned this like a gazillion times, but drafting is the most “painful” part of my writing process. If I could dig into my brain with a hook and pull the ideas out I would. But obviously it doesn’t work that way. Damn. But there are other ways of getting those ideas from brain to laptop. NaNoWriMo has become one of my secret techniques. I love the collective energy and I’m a wee bit competitive. It is exciting to be doing something so energetic with writers all over the world. Just watching the #NaNoWriMo thread on twitter gets me excited. And now that I won last year’s NaNoWriMo, do you really think I want to come up short this year? No, I do not. And another perk of NaNo is that it gives me a sense of writing legitimacy that I don’t have unless I have my editor giving me deadlines. With NaNo, my family seems to join in the collective enthusiasm with me anyway. They ask me if I can do (whatever it is they need me to do) AFTER I’ve gotten my writing in. It’s such a small thing, but it really illustrates how much they value my passion for my job. It makes me want to write better books and make them proud.
NaNo has also been helpful in giving me drafting success outside of the month of November. What I used to think I was capable of, has become a completely different thing than what I know I can do. This has been very enlightening to me. I’ve become a much more productive writer since I started doing NaNoWriMo. Now, don’t think it’s a magic fix. I still have days where writing gets pushed to the side for other really important things like my family and friends. And I still have stretches where I dream instead of dot i’s and cross t’s. But I really value those breaks and creative moments more now that my productivity has increased. I need that balance, but it feels better now. Setting realistic goals, based on what I know I’m capable of, has made me a better at drafting and more content with my process.
With the help of Victoria Schwab and her star calendar idea, I’ve been tracking my word count and holding myself accountable with stickers. You can find out more about it HERE, but basically it’s kind of a less intense, personalized, version of NaNo that I can use on a daily basis. It feels manageable, not as wildly all-consuming as the month of November usually is. My goal is to write at least 15,000 word a month. Which means about 500 words a day. That’s something that’s very manageable for me, especially since if I miss a couple days here or there, I can make it up with longer writing sessions at other times. And I’ll be honest, it’s the first 500 words that’s the hardest part. Once I’ve gotten going, I can usually get more words flowing.
Part of my drafting success with my Star Calendar is giving myself the same public accountability that inspires me when I’m doing NaNoWriMo, so keeping it real, here were my stats for my drafting in October…
I’m happy to report that I wrote on 20 out of 31 days (plus an extra mini two where I didn’t make stars) and my word count was 22,689 . *fist pump* Of course, that’s not 50,000 words, but like I said, outside of November, I’m looking for sustainable drafting–not burn out. I hit that mark in October and now I’m all warmed up for NaNoWriMo.
Hope you’re signed up for NaNo. If you are, we can be buddies. I’m writing under Kimmiepoppins if you want to find me. If you aren’t ready or able to try NaNoWriMo, that’s okay, but hopefully you’re doing some kind of activity that gets you inspired and enthusiastic. At the very least, get yourself your own Star Calendar and start pushing yourself to get your drafting done! Have you been using your calendar? How’s it going? Are you four days into NaNo too? How’s it going? What’s your favorite method for getting that NaNoWriMo feeling?
For me, drafting a book always starts with a question or two or three? There are always a few unshakable things floating around in my mind that puzzle me. They are like splinters–thought splinters. They get beneath my skin and won’t leave me alone.
All my books start with these sharp slivers and I love that. But thought splinters are not a plot. They are not a handful of developed characters with well rounded arcs. They are certainly not a book. No wonder drafting is not my favorite part of the process. It is very far away from the finish line and so undefined.
But at the same time, drafting is the most organic, uncensored part of my writing. If I’m doing it correctly, I get to create without a filter.
My thought splinters may be small, but they are relentless irritants that inflame deep thoughts. They are my beginning.
How do your drafts begin?
Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This tri-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!
Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX (yes, you heard me correctly!) contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the GREEN TEAM–Go GREEN MACHINE!!!!
But there is also RED, BLUE, GOLD, ORANGE and INDIE teams. Participate in all the hunts for a chance to win different sets of signed books!
If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage.
SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
Directions: Hidden somewhere below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number in GREEN. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the GREEN team, and then add them up and don’t worry if you have to take off your socks and use your toes to keep track. Or a calculator works too.
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by 10/5/14, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
SCAVENGER HUNT POST
Today, I am hosting Cynthia Hand on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt!
Cynthia Hand is the New York Times bestselling author of the Unearthly trilogy with HarperTeen. A native of southeast Idaho, she has graduate degrees in creative writing from Boise State University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. For the past seven years she has taught writing at Pepperdine University in Southern California. She and her family have recently moved back to Idaho where they are enjoying the fresh air.
Find out more information by checking out Cynthia’s website or find more about THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE here!
There’s death all around us.
We just don’t pay attention.
Until we do.
The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn’t look at her like she might break down at any moment.
Now she’s just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that’s all she’ll ever be.
As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there’s a secret she hasn’t told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.
Lex’s brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn’t have to be real to keep you from moving on.
From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a gorgeous and heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and letting go.
This is the opening segment of THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE:
First I’d like to state for the record that the whole notion of writing this down was not my idea. It was Dave’s. My therapist’s. He thinks I’m having trouble expressing my feelings, which is why he suggested I write in a journal—to get it out, he said, like in the old days when physicians used to bleed their patients in order to drain the mysterious poisons. Which almost always ended up killing them in spite of the doctors’ good intentions, I might point out.
Our conversation went something like this:
He wanted me to start taking antidepressants.
I basically told him to stick it where the sun don’t shine.
So we were at a bit of an impasse.
“Let’s take a new approach,” he said finally, and reached behind him and produced a small black book. He held it out to me. I took it, thumbed it open, then looked up at him, confused.
The book was blank.
“I thought you might try writing, as an alternative,” he said.
“That’s a mole-skin notebook,” he elaborated when all I did was stare at him. “Hemingway used to write in those.”
“An alternative to what?” I asked. “To Xanax?”
“I want you to try it for a week,” he said. “Writing, I mean.”
I tried to hand the journal back to him. “I’m not a writer.”
“I’ve found that you can be quite eloquent, Alexis, when you choose to be.”
“Why? What’s the point?”
“You need an outlet,” he said. “You’re keeping everything inside, and it’s not good for you.”
Nice, I thought. Next he’d be telling me to eat my vegetables and take my vitamins and be sure to get 8 uninterrupted hours of sleep every night.
“Right. And you would be reading it?” I asked, because there’s not even a remote possibility that I’m going to be doing that. Talking about my unexpectedly tragic life for an hour every week is bad enough. No way I’m going to pour my thoughts out into a book so that he can take it home and scrutinize my grammar.
“No,” Dave answered. “But hopefully you might feel comfortable enough someday to talk with me about what you’ve written.”
Not incredibly likely, I thought, but what I said was, “Okay. But don’t expect Hemingway.”
I don’t know why I agreed to it. I try to be a good little patient, I guess.
Dave looked supremely pleased with himself. “I don’t want you to be Hemingway. Hemingway was an ass. I want you to write whatever strikes you. Your daily life. Your thoughts. Your feelings.”
I don’t have feelings, I wanted to tell him, but instead I nodded, because he seemed so expectant, like the status of my mental health entirely depended on my cooperation with writing in the stupid journal.
But then he said, “And I think for this to be truly effective, you should also write about Tyler.”
Which made all the muscles in my jaw involuntarily tighten.
“I can’t,” I managed to get out from between my teeth.
“Don’t write about the end,” Dave said. “Try to write about a time when he was happy. When you were happy, together.”
I shook my head. “I can’t remember.” And this is true. Even after almost 7 weeks, a mere 47 days of not interacting with my brother every day, not hurling peas at him across the kitchen table, not seeing him in the halls at school and acting, as any dutiful older sister would, for the sake of appearances, like he bugged me, Ty’s image has grown hazy in my mind. I can’t visualize the Ty that isn’t dead. My brain gravitates toward the end. The body. The coffin. The grave.
I can’t even begin to pull up happy.
“Focus on the firsts and the lasts,” Dave instructed. “It will help you remember. For example: About twenty years ago I owned an ‘83 Mustang. I put a lot of work into that car, and I loved it more than I should probably admit, but now, all these years later, I can’t fully picture it. But if I think about the firsts and the lasts with that car, I could tell you about the first time I drove it, or the last time I took it on a long road trip, or the first time I spent an hour in the backseat with the woman who would become my wife, and then I see it so clearly.” He cleared his throat. “It’s those key moments that burn bright in our minds.”
This is not a car, I thought. This is my brother.
Plus I thought Dave might have just been telling me about having sex with his wife. Which was the last thing I wanted to picture.
“So that’s your official assignment,” he said, sitting back as if that settled it. “Write about the last time you remember Tyler being happy.”
Which brings me to now.
Writing in a journal about how I don’t want to be writing in a journal.
I’m aware of the irony.
Seriously, though, I’m not a writer. I got a 720 on the writing section of the SAT, which is decent enough, but nobody ever pays any attention to that score next to my perfect 800 in math. I’ve never kept a diary. Dad got me one for my 13th birthday, a pink one with a horse on it. It ended up on the back of my bookshelf with a copy of the NIV Teen Study Bible and the Seventeen Ultimate Guide to Beauty and all the other stuff that was supposed to prepare me for life from ages 13-19—as if I could ever be prepared for that. Which is all still there, 5 years later, gathering dust.
That’s not me. I was born with numbers on the brain. I think in equations. What I would do, if I could really put this pen to paper and produce something useful, is take my memories, these fleeting, painful moments of my life, and find some way to add and subtract and divide them, insert variables and move them, try to isolate them, to discover their elusive meanings, to translate them from possibilities to certainties.
I would try to solve myself. Find out where it all went wrong. How I got here, from A to B, A being the Alexis Riggs who was so sure of herself, who was smart and solid and laughed a lot and cried occasionally and didn’t fail at the most important things.
But instead, the blank page yawns at me. The pen feels unnatural in my hand. It’s so much weightier than pencil. Permanent. There are no erasers, in life.
I would cross out everything and start again.
Thanks, Cynthia!!!!! And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, Cynthia Hand, and at least 7 or maybe more than SEVEN fabulous authors! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is. Have you figured it out yet? Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the blue team and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!
CONTINUE THE HUNT
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next GREEN Team author, Alyxandra Harvey!!!
Spread the word by Tweeting #YASH
And before you go…BONUS CONTEST!!!!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
What is the YA Scavenger Hunt???
The YA Scavenger Hunt is a biannual online event that promotes collaboration between YA authors from different publishing houses, offering fans an opportunity to see the latest and greatest in young adult literature. During the hunt, we showcase exclusive bonus material, give readers access to top secret insider information, and offer fabulous prizes and giveaways for zealous YA fans. I’m sharing never-been-seen information about TOUCHING THE SURFACE!
This year we have 125 authors participating. Yes, you read that right. One hundred and twenty-five! We’ve made six teams which has never happened before. Incredible! You’re going to want to set aside your whole weekend for this hunt.
Want to see who is participating and what team they are on? CLICK HERE
Not sure how the Hunt and these color coded teams work? Never fear. Everything you need to know is right HERE. But don’t be afraid of just jumping in and figuring it out. It’s not that hard and totally worth it. With 125 authors and 6 teams, you will have a very full 72 hours (October 2-5) to go through some or all of the teams. You might have so much fun reading all the content and learning about new authors and books you’ll have to cancel your weekend plans LOL! Never a bad thing for us book lovers.
And don’t forget to spread the word–To keep the hunt going, we need YOUR help. Start tweeting #YASH
Like hunting for new reads? Join the @YAScavengerHunt to find 125 #YA books! http://bit.ly/1mE8uqC #YASH
Are you #TeamYA? With over 125 #YA books given away you don’t want to miss the @YAScavengerHunt! http://bit.ly/1mE8uqC #YASH
You can also follow…
The YA Scavenger Hunt on Twitter @YAScavengerHunt
And Like YA Scavenger Hunt on FB
See, not too bad. But now I’m curious. What team are you going to start with? What book would you beg, borrow, steal or scavenge to get your hands on? Any idea what the bonus information from TOUCHING THE SURFACE might be?
The contest kicks off on Thursday October 2nd at midnight Pacific time. That’s 3am on the East coast. I can’t wait!!!! See you on Thursday…
There are lots of things I’m super excited about–fall foliage, apple cider donuts, Thanksgiving stuffing and mashed potatoes, my first Christmas in my new home and of course–book babies. In 2015 I’m going to be a Book Auntie for a few of my very special writer friends and you’re going to hear me squeezing about all the book baby stuff. That’s what Book Aunties do–so be prepared.
Today’s act of Book Auntie Braggery is the very intriguing book trailer for WHEN REASON BREAKS by my good friend Cindy L Rodriguez. But before we get to it, here’s a little bit about the book…
WHEN REASON BREAKS
13 Reasons Why meets the poetry of Emily Dickinson in this gripping debut novel perfect for fans of Sara Zarr or Jennifer Brown.
A Goth girl with an attitude problem, Elizabeth Davis must learn to control her anger before it destroys her. Emily Delgado appears to be a smart, sweet girl, with a normal life, but as depression clutches at her, she struggles to feel normal. Both girls are in Ms. Diaz’s English class, where they connect to the words of Emily Dickinson. Both are hovering on the edge of an emotional precipice. One of them will attempt suicide. And with Dickinson’s poetry as their guide, both girls must conquer their personal demons to ever be happy.
In an emotionally taut novel with a richly diverse cast of characters, readers will relish in the poetry of Emily Dickinson and be completely swept up in the turmoil of two girls grappling with demons beyond their control.
Age Range: 12 – 17 years
Grade Level: 7 – 12
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (February 10, 2015)
And here is some early praise for WHEN REASON BREAKS…
“When Reason Breaks is infused with a rare blend of suspense and sensitivity, despair and hope. The poetic spirit of Emily Dickinson shines through the gloom of daily struggles faced by modern teens, as they discover the possibilities where they dwell.” –Margarita Engle, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Surrender Tree
WHEN REASON BREAKS is available for pre-order. I’ve already got my copy saved, but you can reserve yours here…
Indiebound | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Powell’s | Book Depository | Books-A-Million
You can also add WHEN REASON BREAKS to GOODREADS!!!
For ARCs & publicity, contact Lizzy Mason at Elizabeth.Mason@Bloomsbury.com or (212) 419-5340.
Now I need to know–what was your favorite part of the trailer???
Today’s Bookanistas Review is THIS IS W.A.R by Lisa Roecker & Laura Roecker.
This is W.A.R. begins with a victim who can no longer speak for herself, and whose murder blossoms into a call-to-arms. Enter four very different girls, four very different motives to avenge Willa Ames-Rowan, and only one rule to start: Destroy James Gregory and his family at any cost. Willa’s initials spell the secret rallying cry that spurs the foursome to pool their considerable resources and deliver their particular brand of vigilante justice. Innocence is lost, battles are won—and the pursuit of the truth ultimately threatens to destroy them all.
Kimberly’s Review of THIS IS W.A.R.:
THIS IS W.A.R is an intriguing creeper of a read. It’s loaded with suspense, twists and turns. And I never quite knew exactly what was going to happen next and who was going to be responsible. If you want a plot full of conniving with a side dish of revenge, be sure to check out THIS IS W.A.R.
You can find THIS IS W.A.R here…
*Barnes & Noble
Lisa and Laura Roecker are sisters-turned-writing-partners with a love of all things Young Adult. Some call it arrested development, but the sisters claim it keeps them young. Plus, its cheaper than Botox. Lisa and Laura live in Cleveland, Ohio in separate residences. Their husbands wouldn’t agree to a duplex. THE LIAR SOCIETY is their first novel.
You can find out more about THIS IS W.A.R. here…
Want to know what other intriguing books the Bookanistas are reading? Check this out…
I’m not super well read in the YA Thriller/Mystery department. Let me know about you’re favorite creepy YA reads.
Normally Tuesday blogs are a problem when I’m coming off of a three day weekend. But this isn’t just any big weekend, it’s back-to-school week in the Sabatini house. And that mean’s yesterday, September 1st, was the official kick off to Kim’s New Year. January 1st might be for resolutions, but September 1st is always about fresh starts, organization and motivation. At least for me. So, because I’ve had this date on my mind, there was no way I was going to be late or miss this blog post.
Maybe you’re wondering why am I so super focused on my own private and personal back to school reset button? It’s simple–UNINTERRUPTED WRITING TIME!!!! Something I haven’t seen since last November when I completed NaNoWriMo for the first time. *fist pump* It was right after NaNo that we dropped into hard-core, preparing to move mode. There were also holidays, the actual move, an epic ton of snow to shovel thanks to the polar vortex and then my kids switched schools. Before you know it they were all home for the summer. Writing still happened in the middle of all the chaos, but it became this thing I did while unpacking boxes or in the middle of a noisy pile of boys. And it made me appreciate the days when I was allowed to have stretches of time to day dream in silence. At least between the loads of laundry.
Pulling on a few of the many writing lessons I learned from last year, I formulated my plan for this year.
*During NaNoWriMo I learned that showing up to my writing almost daily is very important to staying firmly entrenched in the world I’m creating.
*I learned that I’m competitive with myself and more likely to keep myself honest when I declare my intentions.
*Starting small usually results in larger than anticipated output for me.
*Supportive groups are my thing.
*I love calendars, charts, stickers, markers and spending time in Staples or the craft stores.
Sooooooo here’s my plan.
Right in front of my favorite writing spot, I’m posting a monthly calendar with my daily goal. If I reach my goal for the day–I get a sticker!!! I found some of the cutest stickers ever so this is highly motivational. What’s my daily goal? I have two works in progress that I’m having a blast writing. My daily goal is to write at least 200 new words on each project. Or if I’m in a place where I’m revising, I need to revise at least two pages of either project a day. This is not an unmanageable goal on most days. But the upside is tremendous.
In September, if I write just 200 new words for each project, I can accumulate 6,000 words on each manuscript. BUT…when I sit down to start writing, I almost never write just 200 words. Yesterday I exceeded my goal on a day I might have normally considered a non-writing day because I had company coming over for a picnic. Yeah–I wanted that cute little dog sticker. LOL!
Another part of making this method work for me is the power of accountability. I don’t just have people (aka my kids) walking through my kitchen, looking at my stickers and cheering or *gasp* shaming me because I have too many blank spaces. As if that isn’t enough LOL! But now I’ve also blogged about it. And at the end of each month I’m going to post my sticker chart. Let’s make this clear–I DO NOT WANT ANYONE SEEING ME NOT WRITING!!!!! Especially with my kids back in school. NO EXCUSES!!!! This will be a HUGE motivator for me to be productive. Maybe I’ll even have some banner days where I can draw in stars or hearts for uber excellence. BTW I can do that since I’m in charge of my own behavior modification.
But even public shame and humiliation has it’s limits. I mentioned I do better when I’m involved with supportive groups. Time to step up writer buds. Get your own calendar printed out ASAP! Go buy some stickers. Set a daily goal that is easily reachable. You are free to use or work off of mine– 200/2r x2. It stands for 200 words or 2 pages of revision for the two manuscripts that I currently an working on. Feel free to use the twitter hashtag #writesticky You can tweet to show me your calendars, shout out your successes or feel free to beg for motivation–I’ll be doing that too. Just remember, this is a no-brainer, with a whole lot of upside. So come be brainless with me and let’s get some writing done!
PS–If you’re not a writer, but have a goal and you’d like to participate–you know you can #writesticky too