Posts Tagged ‘drafting’

Nov

1

2016

NaNoWriMo with a Tini Twist

Filed under: Community, Drafting, NaNoWriMo, Pondering, Stuff I Love, Writing

NaNoWriMo with a Tini Twist

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post. It’s been a conscious decision–one I’m happy with. Although I will tell you, I do miss blogging from time to time.

Where have I been?

I’ve been writing and growing. It’s that simple. I’ve come to realize that my blog (no matter how much I love it) takes time away from two very important components of life as a writer.

  1. Writing
  2. Improving craft

So, I made a new contract with myself when it came to my blog. I would only be spending time posting when I had a topic I was passionate about sharing. I would no longer be taking time from writing a manuscript and improving my craft, to cultivate a blog post. All posts would either be on the tip of my finger tips–straining to become a link in my blog chain–or they wouldn’t be written at all. Because, let’s face it, there’s nothing that I have to blog about that so important the world will stop spinning if I don’t show up every Tuesday and Thursday. In fact–I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you haven’t even noticed I’d gone MIA. And that’s okay. I’m hoping you’ve been busy doing productive and inspiring things, too.

But today I do have the urge to check in and to share a bit of info with you. Guess what today is????

 

November 1st.

NaNoWriMo 2016

Others wise known at the kick off to National Novel Writing Month!

Just to be up front–I am not a die hard NaNo-er. I’ve attempted the challenge on a few occasions. And once I even completed it. Score!

But my inability to be a NaNo Winner–more than that once–was rooted in all kinds of complexities.

*Sometimes I wasn’t in the right spot in my WIP to participate. Bad timing.

*As a die hard PANTSTER I often wrote myself into a corner that I couldn’t dig my way out of if I’d been driving a back hoe. Depressing and a waste of time.

*And sometimes real life, company and obligations severely challenged my writing time. It is what it is.

But despite all these very legit speed bumps. And despite more failure than success in this venture, I still find myself fascinated and addicted to the frenetic group mentality. It’s exciting, supportive and motivating. And by golly, I want to be able to order the NaNoWriMo T-shirt at the end.

So, I’m doing NaNoWriMo again this year. Starting today.

But if I’m being honest with you–I’m doing it with a Tini Twist. (Play on words oh, so deliberate.)

*First–a confession. I am no longer a DIE HARD PANTSTER. And I will NEVER go back. I’m not judging you if you like to pants the hell out of everything you do. I’ve just had my own epiphany. And there are two books that have been instrumental in rocking my writer world…

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SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder

and

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STORY GENIUS by Lisa Cron

These books were complete and utter game changers for me. I ADORE THEM. In fact, I could blog post for days about them both. But you’ll be better served by reading them than listening to me wax poetic. Just know they’ve made me a better writer. Which leads me to my next point…

*I’m going into this year’s NaNoWriMo Challenge with two months of foundational work on this project. SLICE was a twisted little scrap of an idea that flew down and inspired me over a year ago. It’s been sitting in my recesses, incubating and waiting to grow into something more. The moment I found STORY GENIUS–I figured out the tools I needed to put this story together. And with the support of SAVE THE CAT, I’ve found my way from PANTSTER to BOOKSTORMER. I’m not calling myself a PLOTTER deliberately. I feel like both of these methods offer so much more than just plotting. They are helping me to take my book, my writing, my story telling and my ideas by storm. So, I’m a BOOKSTORMER now. It’s my thing. And because of the books’ positive influences on me, I’ve been developing my own hybrid method of drafting, culled and pasted from these two great approaches. I’m finding what really works the best for me. And because of that, I have never been more ready to take on NaNoWriMo

*And lastly, I have adjusted my expectations for this year’s challenge. I’m confident I can write the 50,000 words after all the pre-planning I’ve done. In fact, I think I’m going to find it rather enjoyable to finally start this thing. But I’ve also wrapped my mind around the big picture for this project. This book storming process is a fluid one that requires me to write the draft from beginning to end, but it also demands that I’m constantly moving and planning with fluidity over the whole project. It requires creativity and flexibility as I move forward in my process.

And because of that, my mantra is…The Work Will Not Suffer. What does that mean to me? Basically, it’s an acknowledgement that I will benefit from the challenge, but I will not write less than my best work just to complete the challenge. I am using NaNoWriMo to my best advantage, but I will never forget my true goal and purpose and the real finish line for me is the one that creates the best book I can write.

But hopefully, my writing, even with it’s Tini Twists will make me a winner at NaNoWriMo and with the bigger picture.

Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month? If yes, do you have any “Tini Twists” that you use to enhance your NaNo experience? Any NaNo tips you want to share? Have you read SAVE THE CAT or STORY GENIUS? I’d love to know what you think. And if you’re looking for a NaNoWriMo Buddy–you can find me at Kimmiepoppins. Let’s do this!

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Apr

19

2016

Mind and Matter

Filed under: Drafting, Pondering, Revision, Running, Writing

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I can’t run right now. *growls* I mind and it matters.

The weather is perfect.

And up until last week, I was kicking milage butt. I was on track for one of my best months of running to date.

And now–not so much.

It started with some mild leg pain. But it wasn’t too bad, more like a sore muscle, so I was running through it. And it always felt better after the run. But even so, I started to notice my runs were getting slower. And instead of the leg warming up over the course of the run and feeling better, it began to hurt throughout the whole run. Clearly I was compensating for something wrong by changing my gait and now more of my leg was beginning to hurt. At this point I realized “running it out” wasn’t going to be the answer.

Boo!

I was going to have to stop running and rest the leg, which means I need to find other ways to keep up with staying in shape and eating right. Exercise is essential, because I may be willing to count those calories and hold myself accountable, but I’m not capable of doing it without some extra calories providing me with real food in moderation.

But here’s the problem…running is the quickest, most efficient way I know of, to stay in shape. I’m not saying there aren’t others, but this is the one that works for me. So, this means I’m now stuck finding other ways–more time consuming ways–to get a somewhat comparable burn. And I also have to go to a podiatrist and get my inserts checked. *sigh* And all of this takes time. Time I need for my writing.

You see where this is going, right?

WRONG!

And while all the changes have been inconvenient, the truth is that I’ve committed to writing at least a little bit every day this month with #WriteDaily30 a challenge run by Linda Urban. And because I’ve eliminated my excuses and decided that a little is better than nothing at all–I’m making daily progress on my writing. Really good progress that makes me happy.

So, what I’m trying to tell you is that I’m really grumpy because I can’t run and my leg is being a pain in the leg. But I’m also really excited because I got retrained on the nautilus machines at the gym and some day I’m going to be kinda buff. And then the pup is  dog-wagging excited that I’m taking him for longer walks. And despite it all, the writing is getting done because as I was recently reminded that it’s all about mind over matter…if you don’t mind being flexible, it won’t matter.

When has mind over matter worked for you? Have you had to cope with a running or sports injury? Were you climbing the walls?

 

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Feb

25

2016

Know Your Process

Filed under: Drafting, Pondering, Revision, Running, Writing, Writing Style

Yesterday I headed to the gym to run on the treadmill. While I was there, I learned it was an advantage to know your process. I went to the gym, not because I hate running in the rain, I kind of like it actually. But I didn’t think I’d want to run in the rain AND THEN go back out and play ball IN THE RAIN with the dog. Plus, I may have wanted a strawberry smoothie with flax afterwards.

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But, I digress.

As you may have heard me mention in the past, running on the treadmill is not ideal for me. Why?

  1. I get bored.
  2. I spend a large amount of my run trying to convince myself not to get off earlier than I should.
  3. I get a strawberry smoothie with flax afterwards. Yum! But let’s be honest, it’s not a lunch replacement.

Know your process. Running outside combats these three treadmill challenges rather nicely.

  1. Lots to see–nature and wildlife–never bored.
  2. If I run out as far as I can, I still have to come back. No one is going to give me a lift back home. I’ll get there quicker if I just run it out.
  3. After running, I’m way too lazy to make a smoothie. And the dog isn’t going to wait for more than a shower and pouring a cup of coffee to go out and play ball.

So, in general I’m aware of what works for me–I know my process. But sometimes, even when I know what’s good for me, I end up on the treadmill, despite my best intentions. As I listened to music I could barely hear in my broken headphones (asking for new ones for my birthday) while watching the really bizarre closed captioning that used to be so much better when humans did things, I realized that it helped to know my  process in a different way. Or maybe the best way to phrase it is I needed to create a process for the situation I couldn’t avoid.

As I pushed myself through my treadmill run, I pictured my favorite outdoor run route–the one that I do so often I no longer need to hear a voice in my ears telling what mile I’m at. Envisioning this was helpful to me. Instead of selling myself on the benefits of getting off the treadmill, I over layed my outdoor run process, on top of the treadmill run I was struggling with. I knew When I hit the one mile mark I knew I’d only gotten to the top of the very first hill and quite honestly, I’ve never in my life run that route and turned around at that point. Or the two mile mark for that matter. Why would I do it now? There was no reason to stop running.

I made it to 6.3 miles by knowing my successful outdoor process and using it to inform my treadmill process. Hey–whatever gets it done, right?

Additionally, part of my process when I’m running outside is to think. I realized I could still do that if I stopped some of the noise pollution around me, like the Live with Kelly and Michael Show subtitles which looked something like this…

Kelly: That tat two back is Adam Levine.

Michael: 6 mthdsa….hurt…xdhxdnl

Kelly: Never had–

Michael: Pain…

Kelly: Yeah, Buddy–childbirth! yahdl.,,sxsss

You get the picture. Or maybe you don’t. Instead of trying to follow the Adam Levine, tattoo, childbirth indecipherable subtitled conversation, I started planning this blog post. And the more I thought about my running process, the more I also thought about my writing process. How could I carry over the idea of…know your process…from one activity to another.

Here’s the facts. I’ve heard hundreds of authors, more experienced than me, talk about how every book is hard in it’s own way. I believe that.

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We all struggle at some point–or at many points in the journey.

But I also think that if you know your process–your writing process–you have a template you can use to help get you through any manuscript. It’s all about being aware of your mile markers. Do you struggle with getting started? Do middles make you mad? Is the wrap-up your biggest hurdle? Is character development killing you? Or maybe the plot fairy never shows up to your house. Knowing what obstacles make you want to get off the writing treadmill isn’t a quick fix for your speed bumps, you’ll have to put in the work in the area that challenges you, but it is still helpful. The more you know about where you get stuck, why you get stuck and how you got unstuck in the past–the more likely you are to keep pushing through the miles of drafting and revision you have ahead of you–no matter how much they make you feel like a turkey on a treadmill…

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Do you know your process? How does it help you through the tough spots? Is your process always evolving? How does it change with each manuscript you write? Any runners in the house? Treadmill or open road? And by the way, who likes strawberry smoothies????

 

 

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Jan

26

2016

Draftvision

Filed under: #lifeofriley, Chasing Adaptation, Check-it-out, Critique, Drafting, Family, In the Wild, Pondering, Revision, Writing, Writing Style

On mornings when I’m not running or running errands, after I get the boys all off to school, I look forward to plowing through my emails and knocking out a blog post so I can spend the lion’s share of the day working on my WIP. Doesn’t that sound delightful? Yeah, yeah–I know it’s not that easy. After all it is Monday (I wrote this yesterday) and every person in the house managed to drag a laundry basket upstairs in retaliation for my subversive parenting techniques…no one eats chips or watches football until their clothes are put away, their rooms are clean and their bathroom isn’t gross. So, now I have chores to do in-between my projects. But that’s not my only problem, there is also this guy…

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By rights, he should be in a snow coma at the moment. He’s been outside non-stop for two days playing in the snow with the kids or by himself if every other human was exhausted. I figured by today, his get-up-and-go would most likely be his got-up-and-went and he’d pass out quietly in the corner, providing me with a quiet writing day.

No such luck.

Why doesn’t the dog understand that I NEED this writing day!!!!  I’ve been a bad, bad writer and I’m in the middle of DRAFTVISION????

Wait, you don’t know what draftvision is? You do–your just blocking it out. It’s when you’ve drafted 75% of a manuscript and because you’ve struggled with some aspect of plowing forward to the end of the draft, you’ve started to revise the front end while still drafting the back end. Draftvision. It can be a cold mess. Ugly on the scale of the 2016 Blizzard Jonas.

I do have good news. Besides the fact that Jonas only dumped a mild 10 inches in my yard. (Thank you mother nature for the pass) I’m very pleased to announce that I’m no longer stuck on my work in progress, spinning my wheels on the big expanse of white page. I know what to write to get out of draftvision. But here’s the thing, even when you’ve finally been able to plot your escape–you’ve still got to shovel yourself out of that shit. There ain’t nobody coming along with a word plow who’s going to do it for you. Which ultimately leaves you with lots of work to do on your WIP, plus a blog post and mountains of laundry to climb and whether you want to be or not, you ARE outside with the frisky snow pup who just wants to play ball.

My compromise is to brainstorm my blog post while running the dog silly. Sometimes this means “mind-writing” a topic I’ve already been thinking about. And other times, like today, it means I’m hoping to be struck by inspiration while I’m hanging out in the good old outdoors.

Today my connections started firing when I tossed that first neon orange tennis ball across the field and into ten inches of snow. I hadn’t really thought it through. White snow. Orange ball. This was going to be easy. That’s what I thought until this happened…

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Gone. I hadn’t expected snowball hide and seek. And it quickly became apparent (to me at least) that playing ball in the deep snow was a lot like struggling through draftvision. One minute your tossing your best stuff into the air and the next minute–BOOM! Ball is gone and you can’t find it anywhere. But you don’t panic because the snow is pretty pristine and there is a ball shaped space letting you know where to start digging to fix the problem.

But the dog isn’t close to being done yet and you realize you are still playing ball in the snow and the more you play, the more foot prints, dog paws and old ball holes there are lying around. Take your eye off that ball for a minute and you suddenly have to change your strategy for finding what you need. Now you have to begin looking for new clues to solve your problems. But eureka!  You realize that as the snow packs down, initially it’s harder to see where the ball went, but now it’s easier to search by color. You wander around until you spot what you need to throw the next ball.

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But now your sweating. Deep snow is tiring to trod through and the whole yard is starting to look a bit off. It’s just when you’re on the edge of leaving that ball out there until the spring thaw that you have to dig deep. You must get in there and start poking around until you find what you need. You do not have time to let that manuscript sit for a few months and lose momentum. Start moving stuff around until you make some progress. If you stumble around long enough (trust me–i know) you’ll eventually find something you can toss around, under all that mess.

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And incidentally, as if finding these disappearing balls isn’t hard enough, you should also know that the balls you’re throwing  aren’t traveling as far as they usually do. I’ve never been a major league pitcher, but momentum has always been my friend. I’ve relied on a little bounce, bump and roll to get some distance. But in draftvision, that ball stops where it lands, without getting a lot of milage or tiring out the dog and now you still have to go find it. Grrrr. After awhile, you may realize that even though you’re trying very hard, nothing seems to be working. In this case, you just might want a little help.

You NEED a critique or two to help you sort out what you’ve got going on. Sometimes that critiquer will tell you things you didn’t know, which is pretty freaking fabulous. Yay for new insights that solve old problems. But usually, the critiquer will do the same thing you are doing and tell you what you already know. Yup–it works like that sometimes. Believe it or not, you’re smarter than you know. But even though you’re a bright light, the black hole of draftvision has sucked the illumination out of your life. There’s no shame in it, some times it helps to have someone else flip your switch. It can help to see your process laid out from a different perspective…

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Oh, that’s how you do it????

See–it isn’t magic. Do the work and you end up with a cold, orange ball at the end or a finished manuscript–whatever you prefer. Either way, you too, can get everything you’ve ever wanted. Be persistent. Believe in your story. Be willing to try different approaches as the rules for what your throwing on the page keep changing.

And so you’re aware (because tough things exist even if we don’t acknowledge them) none of this process guarantees you anything, other than the completion of your art to your satisfaction. No matter how hard you work at writing or how diligently you learn your craft–publishing is a wild card. No one can predict it. You can work hard to stack the odds in your favor like an arsenal of snow encrusted tennis balls and that’s a great thing to have in the fight to get published. But it’s important that your goal is always to write the best book you can write, regardless of where that takes you.

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And there’s  another important reason to have your own measuring stick for your work. Sometimes we do not know when draftvision turns to revision, which then turns into TOO MUCH revision. It can be a slippery, ice encrusted, slope and once we are on it, we start moving ass-fast downhill and don’t know how to stop sliding and get off.

At the end of my blog post plotting, I pocketed both bright orange balls for another day, trading them for a large stick that I tossed up into the woods. Somewhere between the toss and the run to find said stick, the pup forgot what he was looking for and spent the next umpteen minutes looking for his ball in every conceivable place. He was completely unaware that the orange ball part of his story was already over.

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It’s important to know that all good games of fetch and stories have a beginning, a middle and an end.

Looking back I’ve realized that sometimes draftvision is completely unavoidable–like snow. It’s one of mother natures challenges. But when we find ourselves walloped by the blizzard of draftvision, it’s great to have some tactics to help you shovel out of there as quickly as possible…

  1. Look carefully at what you already have for the clues you need to move forward.
  2. Be tolerant of where you are in your writing and forgiving of how you got there.
  3. Then be positive about where you are going.
  4. Don’t be afraid to go digging, no matter how big of a mess it makes–journeys are important.
  5. Keep your eye on the ball. But if you lose track of it, don’t be afraid to ask someone else to help you. Perspective is key.
  6. Know the real reason you are playing ball in the first place. Understand what is in your control and what is out of your control.
  7. Don’t keep playing when the game is clearly over. There is a time to stop or you end up chasing the wrong things. Send that work out when it feels done, not when you think it’s perfect. There is no such dog.
  8. Drink hot chocolate–it makes everything better.

Have you spent time in DRAFTVISION before? What are your tips for getting out? Do you have a dog that makes you throw balls in the snow? What other pets mess with your writing time? Aren’t you glad dogs don’t wear clothes and don’t add to the laundry pile?

Hang in there and keep tossing balls in the snow and words on the page.

 

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Oct

29

2015

NaNoWriMoANoNo

Filed under: Community, Drafting, NaNoWriMo, Stuff I Love, Writing

It’s that time of year again…

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NaNoWriMo!!!!

Otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month. And even though I’m NOT participating this year, I’m completely jealous. I LOVE the sense of excitement and adrenaline that comes with being a part of this community. So, why would I give NaNoWriMo the cold shoulder if it’s such a blast? It’s simply not the right time for me to be drafting something new. I’m deep in another project and that takes precedence at the moment.

But I promise, I’ll be rooting you all on.

Are you planning on tacking NaNoWriMo this year? What’s your favorite part of participating? Did it before, but you’re ditching like me? What’s your reason for skipping it? I’d love to hear what everyone’s doing or not doing.

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Mar

3

2015

Take That Flag and Shove It!

Filed under: Drafting, Pondering, Writing, Writing Style

I wrote just over 2,000 words yesterday and I’ll be honest, it was relatively easy. Don’t get me wrong, it was still the, I have to force myself not to fart around on social media kind of hard, but the words came easy. And as I danced around happily while sticking a SILVER star on my March calendar, a piece of me still couldn’t be happy, in between dancing, because, obviously I can do this 2,000 word a day thing when I want to. Right?

But then I reminded myself where I am in the manuscript. I’m over 50,000 words into the draft and I’m a detailed drafter, not a slap it on and fix it later kind of a girl. At this point, characters have started to become familiar, the world has good definition and there is a light at the end of the tunnel akin to spring after a long, cold winter. I want to get there. I have a beginning, a middle and by golly I want and end. I don’t even care how messy that end might be. I just want one so I can stand on the top of a mountain and plant my revision flag.

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I love the revision flag. I LOVE revision. *sigh* But if I spend too much time blogging here, it will take me further away from the day when I’m shoving that flag…well…you get the idea.

Which do you prefer, drafting or revision? Do you write at a steady clip or are some areas of your process more lucrative than others?

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Feb

19

2015

The Best Things Happen When You Aren’t Looking

Filed under: Drafting, Pondering, Writing, Writing for Children, Writing Style, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Sorry I missed you on Tuesday. I was thawing out.

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The whole family was away on a ski trip that was awesome but very, very cold. How cold you ask?
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Yeah, about a -24 on the top of the mountain. It was a mighty breezy gondola ride LOL! I felt like I was frozen half the weekend. Thank the stars for hot tubs. But, when I did get home, I was rather occupied. I had a long lost puppy to hug.

IMG_0418 It was the first time the little fur baby stayed with someone else. He did great but once we had him back, there was lots of hugging going on. And don’t forget that when I arrived home, I had a whole different mountain to climb–Mt. Laundrious. I think I’m still out there on one of the permanent press peaks. Bleh!

But today, even though it was still cold, the kids went to school on time. There were no weather delays, which allowed me to do something fabulous called writing. *sigh* It was wonderful to have an UNINTERRUPTED chunk of time with my manuscript. I hammered out over a 1,000 words in a reasonable amount of time, but it isn’t the word count I’m writing about. (Although it makes me very happy.) Rather, what’s worthy of a blog post is the unexpected thing that happened…

BAM! One of my characters blindsided me right along with my MC.

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We are both still reeling from the unexpected development. He did what??? I’m still baffled. I NEVER thought this character would do THAT. But he did. I knew it for absolute certain even though I don’t know exactly what that means for my MC at the moment. It has rattled my cage, but it also makes me content to be a pantster. The truth is that some days I panic, being a fly by the seat of my pants kind of a girl. When I hit a tough spot, I’m SURE  if I could just outline, my life would be complete. COMPLETE!

But then a moment like today happens and I bask in my creative process. This development could have never come from an outline. At least not my outlines. Those are nuttier than an peanut factory. The simplest way I can explain the joy of this thing that happened, is to say that it’s a small moment of confirmation. It reminds me that I’m not really crazy–not THAT crazy anyway. *shrugs* I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, y’all.

And of course, tomorrow or maybe next week, I’ll be back to wishing I had a road map for a book, instead of just headlights, hope and instinct to guide my way. Traveling in the dark can be hard and even kind of scary, but that’s why I wrote this post. It’s to remind me that sometimes the best things happen when you aren’t looking.

 

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Jan

22

2015

Drafting Series: Chasing a Hot Mess in the Dark

Filed under: Drafting, Writing, Writing for Children, Writing Style, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I’ve spent the last couple weeks digging back into my WIP. After the crazy holidays and the introduction of the puppy, I needed to take my printed copy and read it while making notes. I needed to be reminded of where I was going and what I’d been trying to do as I strung words together.

But in typical fashion, every time I curled up on the couch with my pen and highlighter in hand, I felt myself getting nervous. What was I going to find as I sorted through the pages? What would I discover when I read what I had from beginning to end? The truth is that I’m always expecting a hot mess. And why shouldn’t I? It is a rough draft after all. Those are always ugly.

 

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I finished the detailed read through today and got what I expected–something that still needs a ton of work. But I was also pleasantly surprised by what is coming out of my head when I’m not really paying close attention to the big picture. There is great stuff in there and I’m super excited. In fact, it’s giving me the incentive to push forward with the draft because, I know that when I’m done, I’ll have something worth revising. There will be avenues to explore, threads to weave and countless possibilities. I WILL make it to revision with this book LOL! Sure, CHASING ADAPTATION has sent me on a merry chase, but suddenly it feels as if it’s unfolding the way TOUCHING THE SURFACE did when it started to come together in my head. And that makes me very optimistic about the future of this story. It makes my soul flutter.

So, for all of you writers out there in the same position, stop focusing so much on the draft and just write. Think of it like driving in the dark. You can still make the journey even if you can only see as far ahead as your headlights. You’ll get there if you just keep moving forward.

 

 

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Nov

25

2014

Drafting Series: Sponge

Filed under: Drafting, Uncategorized, Writing

Sorry I missed you on Thursday. Boys with half day schedules and teacher conferences were cramping my blogging schedule. But I’ll tell you a secret–I didn’t mind not writing because I’m rather busy with another important aspect of drafting which is being a sponge. I’ve been kicking butt with my writing since buckling down in September and sending those boys back to school. *grin* And it’s been awesome and I’ve been loving it, that is, until my NaNo battery ran out of steam and d-i-e-d.

It was bound to happen. In my excitement to produce prolifically, I forgot what kind of an artist I am at heart. I am a sponge.

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I soak up all kinds of stuff floating around me and then I squeeze it to see what kinds of questions pour out. But lately, I’m afraid that in my enthusiasm to write, write, write–I wasn’t absorbing as much as I need to. Writing can only a numbers game when we have thoughts in storage and I realized I was exhausting my supply faster than I could replenish it. My sponge was on the dry side.

But I’m happy to say that my “break” from word count is not a break from my drafting process. It’s very important for me to day dream, observe, read, ponder and experience. What are the more hidden aspects of your drafting process? What stimulates and feeds your artistic process?

Thursday is Thanksgiving, so I’ll be taking the day off. You’ll all be too busy eating turkey and watching the parade to read blogs. But I’ll be back next week in DECEMBER! How the heck did that happen? Guess I can say…see you next month LOL!

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Nov

18

2014

Drafting Series: NaNoWriMoANoNO

Filed under: Drafting, NaNoWriMo, Pondering, Writing

Well, it’s official. As of Sunday morning, I officially quit National Novel Writing Month aka #NaNoWriMo.

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And I’ve got to tell you, it feels fabulous. But I’d love to share with you why quitting was the best choice I could make.

This was my third attempt at #NaNoWriMo. My first shot at it was in 2012. I was in the middle of debut novel launching and I think I wrote approximately 6,000 words. It was bad timing for me, but I made a mental note to try again. And in 2013 I did and I wrote all 50,000 words. *fist pump* A huge achievement, but I didn’t use any of those words–at all. Even so, I learned a lot about myself and my process and I did a lot of exploratory writing so I felt the experience was deeply beneficial.

Now fast forward to 2014 and this year’s #NaNoWriMo attempt. I was lined up for success. I had a loosely thought out idea with characters that I’d been mulling over for about a year. I’d been increasing my daily writing and consistency for months now and felt I could handle this because I’d been “training” for it. And I’m super competitive with myself and if I did it once, why couldn’t I do it again, right? And I like NaNo–I really do. I’m a huge fan of the collective energy.

I should also tell you, I started out strong. My first two days out, I wrote a lot of words and built myself a little buffer so that I’d be able to miss a day or two in an emergency or my daily word count wouldn’t be quite so high. I was trucking along great until last week. And then something pivotal happened. My story started to rewrite itself. The more I explored the characters, the more I realized that G and C needed to combine and become one character. And I could absolutely not write this story from so many 1st person perspectives, but maybe I should write it from third. So I simply moved forward with these drastic changes knowing I could go back and fix the beginning later. The whole idea was to just move forward with the free flow of ideas. But then 3rd wasn’t intimate enough and the MC was beginning to reveal herself (especially now that she was combined with another character) so I’d write it that way and test out this idea I have for a way to get some intimate information from the other characters. But at this point I am so confused. What I really, really need to do is print it all out and while I reread it, compile all my current information into clear character sketches that would allow me to do a little plotting before starting from the top. But that’s not how NaNo works!!!

So, even though I went from quickly popping off my word count most days, I was now struggling to decide how to move forward. But I felt sure I could still write my way to NaNo success while getting some useful information that I’d be able to mine later. So I kept writing. I left my usual process of writing in consecutive chapters and began to write scenes. And again I unearthed some fabulous information that is a gold mine for this book. I’m so excited I wrote it. And then the well went dry. I had 1,000 words to write by yesterday to hit the halfway mark. I could knock that off easy peasy. But I didn’t. On Friday I only wrote 382 words. Those words took way too long to write. I should have had over 1,000 in that amount of time.

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But I gave myself a 1/2 of a star just for motivation. And even though I was still on track, I wrote nothing on the 15th. I told myself it was still okay–Sunday I could get caught up and this week I could power through. But then I realized I couldn’t–because the truth was I knew I can’t go forward until I go back. And this contest isn’t built for that. Deep in my heart, I knew I had to put a fork in it and call it done, but let’s be honest–I was still trying to find a way to make it happen. I told my husband my dilemma and he looked at me and said it should be about writing words for the sake of numbers. And I smiled and mental quit on the spot. And I ain’t going to lie, it felt great because I was no longer writing what I wanted to write. I wasn’t being true to where the story was taking me and that’s not productive.

What I learned is that the tool I’m using to write should never have more power than the actual writing. And that is why for 2014, #NaNoWriMo became #NaNoWriMoANoNo LOL!

Now, don’t expect me to become a slacker. I’ve still got lots of work I want to do and I believe I even have a couple more Drafting Series posts left in me–at least one for sure. It’s percolating already. And if you’re still doing NaNo–you must keep me updated on your progress. I am rooting for you!!!! But I’m here to tell you that I’m confident that I made the right/write decision for me. More to come on that later.

Are you holding the NaNo course? How’s it going? Did your inner compass have alternate plans for you, too? If so, what are they?

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