This week is going really well so far–way better than last week, that’s for sure! I’m going into day 14 of NaNoWriMo ahead of the minimum by 570 words…not a lot, but I’ll take them. It’s feeling really easy to make my daily quota, and it’s because of the writing I’m doing in the mornings and evenings when I’m riding the train.
I have 28 minutes to do nothing but try to ignore the crazy people and block out the screaming children, so I just pop on my earbuds and fire up Writing Kit on my iPhone. I don’t really have the room to pull out my iPad and type most of the time, so I decided to try my phone instead and it works much better than I thought it would. Even though I’m typing with my thumbs, I’m able to get between 500-750 words per ride. My progress gets synced to Dropbox, which then syncs back up to Scrivener when I get home and open up my novel file. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing my session target bar almost complete and knowing that I can relax for the rest of the evening!
The struggle to write after a full day at work has always been tough for me, so I am more than pleased that this strategy is working for me so far. I’m going to keep it up throughout the month and seek to write on the train at least a few days a week after that (it’s also great reading time!) so that I can keep some great momentum going on my upcoming projects.
Hope you are having a fantastic week too, my ROW80 and NaNoWriMo friends!
It’s that time of year again…Texas heat is mellowing out into something that feels like fall, Target is already airing Christmas commercials, I’ve got no idea what I should be for Halloween…that must all mean that it’s time to get ready for National Novel Writing Month!
Last year, I didn’t participate in NaNoWriMo, as I was working a lot of freelance and trying to find a new full-time job. You would think that being unemployed would mean plenty of time to get those 50,000 words in, but my heart just wasn’t in it. But this year I’m really excited to participate. Life is busy, of course…when is it not? But I am determined to get those 1,667 words a day in on a new project.
Drawn Together is still going strong, but I’m setting it aside for November and working on something different. I pulled out a file of old writing ideas and I’m planning on starting a sci-fi novel that I think will be a lot of fun to write! It will have romantic elements and maybe be a little YA (still haven’t decided on the age of my heroine!), and plenty of tech and action. I’m going to be outlining it over the next week so I at least have a place to start. Planning is the fun part for me, but also the stressful part. I’m looking forward to getting lost in the writing process and making my sketchy roadmap and characters come to life. My favorite character so far isn’t even human!
Another great thing about this year’s NaNoWriMo is that I have my own writing space in our new home. It’s far from finished–I need to paint another coat on the walls, paint the half-paneling, built-in shelves, and cabinets, and get my art and other things hung up around the room–but it’s mine, and I adore having my own little oasis. I can’t wait to hole up in here during November, feet propped up on the ottoman under my desk, music playing while I’m typing away. I plan on organizing the craft supplies I’ve unpacked and decorating a little bit this week as part of my prep. Maybe I’ll take some pictures when I’m done!
I’ve also picked up a couple of things to prepare for the month. One of my favorite threads on the NaNoWriMo forums is the “Survival Kit” thread, where everyone lists out their necessities to make it to the finish line. A couple of my must-haves are lip balm and hand lotion…I can’t stand having dry lips, and my hands get so parched that they’ll crack if I’m not careful. So I stocked up on some yummy lemon lip balm and thick, scentless hand cream from Bath and Body Works. While I was there I grabbed a candle for my new space that smells like frosted cupcakes, since I love to have a candle or two lit while I’m writing.
How do you prep for NaNoWriMo? What’s your routine and your “survival kit”?
So I missed my Sunday wrap-up of last week, but my Friday post really covered it. It wasn’t a great week thanks to being sick. I was kind of bummed about my week on Sunday (when I was feeling MUCH better), but I knew that I couldn’t go into this week with a bad attitude. I have a BOOK to finish!
This week has been churning right along. I’m a bit behind on my goal at this point thanks to being sick, but only by a couple thousand words. It’s nothing I can’t make up for by writing above my daily minimum this week. It doesn’t put me actually behind my original due date of March 24, since my daily minimum adjusts accordingly. Even so, I’d like to get ahead of myself again so that I can wrap this book up by mid-week at the latest. I’m eager to get to editing!
I also may have accidentally developed ideas for a second, third, and fourth book in this little universe of mine. Making it into a series would be so much fun! Each book could stand alone but would definitely pull pieces and characters from the other books. Things have fallen into place for this story and these people in my head in ways I never imagined or hoped for. I’m having a blast.
So, for my goals this week: my focus is still hacking away at my word count and getting this book to the finish line. I’m at just over 25K now, should be at at least 27K tonight, and I’m shooting for around 40K total before I get to editing.
If I have any downtime, or need a bit of a mental break, I’m going to work on the site for my pseudonym. I need to get that sucker up ASAP!
How is your week going, fellow brave writers? Check in with our other ROW80 friends here.
This has been another great week, despite losing a day to a migraine that started Wednesday night and took me out for all of Thursday. I managed only 66 words on Thursday, but I was proud of even getting those down considering how bad I felt! I finally had to shut the laptop because it was just too painful to look at anything bright, even with the backlight turned all the way down on my screen.
I haven’t had the 2K days I enjoyed last week, but I have plugged along steadily and exceeded my daily planned goal by at least a little bit every day but Thursday. It hasn’t always been easy, as I’ve been tired and have a bunch of good new books to read, but I’m still super excited about this project and really enjoying myself while writing it.
This constant push to meet a daily goal has really helped me in re-creating my writing habits. They have been in woeful disrepair for too long, and it feels so good to finally get in the groove again. I’ve written over 6K since Monday and hopefully today I will have a little more time to write and get myself to the 20K mark on my draft! I’m about 2K ahead of where I should be in my planned goal despite losing a day this week, so that feels really great. I’ve added a word count meter to my sidebar to keep myself motivated.
I had two more awesome things happen this week–I found out that I don’t have to strip wallpaper in our house after all! I got one wall almost done, but we were talking with our contractor about retexturing the drywall underneath, and he said that it’d be better and easier to just prime and retexture right over the existing paper! One less step is fine by me. I can’t wait to get to the painting…I have all our colors picked out, except for my studio. I’m still waffling on that one.
The BEST thing about the week happened on Saturday, though…my husband and I scored badges to San Diego Comic Con in July! Tickets went on sale early in the morning and we parked in front of my laptop with our fingers crossed. We were over 10,000th in line when we got into the online ticket waiting room, but we managed to grab two 4-day passes right before they sold out. It’s our first time to go and we’ve both wanted to for a long time, so it will be a fun vacation. I even managed to score us the last room at a hilariously themed but awesome B&B right across from Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo for our stay. It’s totally affordable, has great amenities, is in a great location, and should get us away from the daily crazy. We’re beyond thrilled to finally visit Geek Mecca.
Finally, my goals for this coming week:
- Keep up the pace on Drawn Together! I am so proud of my current progress and I can’t afford to lose any steam if I’m going to make my goal date and get this thing polished for submission.
- Write a few more non-ROW80 blogs.
- Work on the site for my romance-related alter ego.
How has your week been, ROW80-ers? Are you meeting your goals? Have any lofty new ones for the week ahead? Click here to check out how everyone else is doing.
Bless me writers, for I have sinned. It’s been over two weeks since my last check in. How is that even possible? I feel like I blinked and suddenly February is almost over.
The good news is that while I’ve been gone, I got some writing done. I’m a few thousand words into Drawn Together and I am having fun. I’m also writing a TON for work, so it has been hard to turn it back on once I’m home and relaxing. One small drawback of a writing-intensive day job—you aren’t always jazzed about spending your free time trying to make the muses behave.
This week, however, I will be kicking it into high gear. Drawn is pretty perfect for an anthology call that’s been pointed out to me, which means I have to finish a draft pretty darn soon in order to have it edited, critiqued, and edited some more in time for the submission date. I may not make that, but I’d like to try. Eeek! My goals just get loftier. You’d think I would learn.
Outside of writing, we are just getting more and more ready to move. I can’t wait to be out of our apartment and into our house…especially because of the sweet writer’s den/craft room I’ll have! Do you have a special writing room or area? It will be so fun to set mine up.
So, here are this week’s goals:
- Write at least 1,000 words a day on Drawn. More on Tuesday for sure at my writer hangout.
- Set a plan to meet for writing and editing Drawn for the submission call.
I also want to do at least one chore a day that gets me inching closer to being packed and moved! What are your goals (writing and non-writing) for the week?
Fresh starts have been on my mind all month. I began an amazing new job right before Christmas that I am really excited about. My husband and I will start preparing in earnest for our move later this winter. And, with 2012 looming on the horizon, I am getting serious about writing goals for the coming year.
I am a part of a goals group with some of my writing friends that will help keep us accountable for what we want to accomplish throughout the year. The goals group is actually my first step toward actually meeting my goals–the accountability and encouragement from friends are both super important to me.
To start with, I broke my goals down into quarters. I am concentrating on three things for the first quarter, January-March:
- Outline the contemporary romance idea I have been kicking around, tentatively titled Drawn Together
- Continue research for my alternative historical fantasy, The Recollector
- Figure out what to do with my novel Burn. It has two plot “iterations” and I cannot decide what rabbit trail to go down. Hopefully my group can help me with it!
- Write one blog post a week.
I also plan on participating in ROW80 again (a lot more successfully this time) so that I can boil things down to weekly mini-goals, such as finishing a section of an outline or hitting a daily word count.
This seems like a lot when I write it down, but I have to remember that it is over the course of three months, and if I do a little bit every day, I will meet those goals easily. I know this first quarter will be busy, with a lot to do at my new job and preparing for a move, but if I want to fit fiction writing into my life I have to make it happen even when things are a little crazy.
What are your 2012 goals? Did you meet your goals for 2011? Happy New Year!
One of the most dangerous things about being a writer is dealing with ideas that strike like lightning. You’re focused on one project, and all of a sudden all you can think of is the shiny new plot that has forced itself to the forefront of your mind.
I had a bit of idea lightning hit me last night while watching television and doing some copyediting. It’s funny how something completely innocuous can trigger the weird plotting thought process, but before I knew it I had a text file with over 500 words of plot outline in it.
It would be fun to work on right now, even though my current writing plan involves focusing on my YA novel–a project that, quite frankly, I am having trouble with. The more I write, the more the key themes and ideas mirror those in a popular, already-published book (even though I started working on the idea long before that book came out, all that matters is that it came out first), and the twist is giving me fits. I really need to strip it back to basics and rework it so it no longer bears resemblance to another (fantastic) book, which fills me with dread but needs to happen before I can really take this thing to the finish line.
It is tempting to focus on this new, shiny idea and just let myself write. I need a project that isn’t so complex, that I can finish and feel good about, that is fun and easy to write. A writer friend of mine has a short story idea that she doesn’t even want to write down because she has so many other projects to work on. What do you do when a shiny new idea distracts you from your current project ? Do you shelve it, forget it, or do you let it carry you away, at least for a little while?
I love seeing how writers apply technology to their writing lives. Part of what I enjoy reading about from other authors is their writing process, and I am always happy to stumble upon a fellow tech geek writer who successfully incorporates gadgets into their writing routine.
I got my iPad alongside a new Mac Mini that I share with my husband. The iPad’s intention was to replace my aging netbook as a mobile writing tool and couch web surfing machine. It not only met my expectations, but exceeded them. It has become one of the most useful things in my writer’s toolkit over the past year. So how do I use it as a writer?
The iPad wouldn’t be very useful to me at all if I couldn’t use it to create. A lot of people will argue that the iPad is strictly a consumption tool, but I disagree wholeheartedly, especially if much of what you create is text-based. I got my iPad with the intention of using it to write an I have not been disappointed. There are a number of writing apps available to meet almost any writer’s needs, from simple plain text editors to more complex word processors. I use a few different apps based on my writing task:
Elements – This is the app I use for all my fiction writing. It syncs very easily with Scrivener on my Mac via an Elements folder in Dropbox. It has a pleasant interface, an accurate word counter, TextExpander support for frequently typed phrases or names, and a scratchpad for keeping notes separate from my manuscript. I have tried similar apps, such as the excellent free app Plain Text, but I always come back to Elements.
Nebulous Notes – This is my all-purpose, Swiss Army knife text editing app. It gives me access to the contents of my entire Dropbox. I use Nebulous to write blog posts, take random notes, make lists, or edit text documents. It features support for writing in Markdown, which helps with easy formatting, various export options, TextExpander support, constant Dropbox syncing, a customizable keyboard bar for shortcuts, and numerous themes and fonts.
Notability – I use my iPad at the office as well as everywhere else. I was a copious notetaker all through school, and my professional life is no different. Detailed notes have been my saving grace far too many times, and they are a part of my learning process. However, I usually don’t take typed notes unless high speed capture is necessary, because I don’t absorb the information as well as when I handwrite. Notability is a great tool that lets me handwrite, type, draw, and record audio. I use a Targus stylus to take notes just as I would on paper, and Notability’s zoom function makes it easy to write normally. It syncs to Dropbox so I can easily pass the notes along to coworkers or review them at my computer when I am working. I really like using Notability when I am brainstorming for a story. Writing my notes versus typing them, or sketching out mind maps, gets me deeper into the details. Often, that helps me get unstuck on a plot point or character interaction.
One of the best things about the iPad is that it makes surfing the web so easy. I love sitting on the couch with my husband, spending time next to him instead of chained to my desk. I have a pretty handy research process I’ve been using for a while and it is even further simplified on the iPad.
Instapaper – This is one of my all-time favorite web services. It allows you so save things to read later and strips out all the unnecessary junk, leaving only the text of the content for your reading pleasure. I have the Instapaper bookmarklet installed in all my browsers on both my computers and my mobile devices. You can organize things into folders, and I have entire folders of content, complete with originating URL, for my projects that require research. It is dead simple to use and helps me lessen my bookmark load.
iCab Mobile – I like Mobile Safari, but it is far from being a fully featured browser. When I heard about all the added features of iCab, such as the ability to download files (and upload them to Dropbox) and built-in support for Instapaper and other services, I had to give it a try. I really love it and it makes surfing the web on my iPad that much more like a desktop experience. I really don’t miss a thing now.
Nook, Stanza, GoodReader – I don’t use my iPad as my primary reading device; I have an eInk Nook for reading most books. But for highly visual books, PDFs, or material that I need to refer to at some point while writing, I have a handful of go-to apps. The Nook app syncs with my Barnes & Noble account, letting me access any of the books in my library. Stanza is a very flexible ebook reader that I have connected to my Calibre library at home. GoodReader is a PDF reader with annotation abilities that has proven invaluable when reading source PDFs or even when editing my own writing. I love marking up my manuscript with “real” editing marks as I read.
Form and Function
Apps aren’t all that make the iPad a joy to use. It is practically a feather compared to my old hefty netbook, which got surprisingly heavy to tote around (especially considering the fact that I had to carry the charging brick too). I can throw it in almost any bag or purse I have and not notice the extra weight. I love having my writing tools with me wherever I am!
The battery life is also excellent. I have the original iPad, which was reported to get around ten hours of use on one charge. I have actually exceeded that and see closer to 11-12 hours of use, including plenty of browsing online. That of course lowers with lots of video watching or other processor intensive app use, but on the whole I rarely need to worry about leaving the house with my iPad charger. The freedom of no longer being tethered to an outlet is awesome.
I write, blog, chat, Tweet, and more on my iPad. 90% of my computing takes place on my iPad (or iPhone) instead of in my office at the Mac Mini. All this may change when I am able to afford an 11″ MacBook Air, but who knows…I also plan on getting an iPad 3! Have you worked an iPad into your writing routine? What about another tablet? What is your favorite writing gadget?
It’s October. The air is getting crisper (and for Dallas, that means under 90), the leaves are turning (and for Dallas, that means dying and falling off the trees), and it’s time to prepare like crazy for writing 50,000 words in 30 days.
NaNoWriMo (otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month) is the 30 days out of the year that I go momentarily insane and decide that even though it’s the start of what always turns out to be the busiest time of year, both personally and professionally, it’s a GREAT idea to write at least 1,667 words per day. This year it’s going to be compounded by the fact that my husband and I are moving into a house in January and we have a LOT of wallpaper stripping and painting to do (and an estate sale to have) as well as an entire apartment to pack. Crazy? Yeah, that’s me.
Writing on a novel can be really hard for me to do every day because, well, I do it every day. A large part of my job involves writing and being creative. I have been feeling creatively numb the last few months and not inspired. I have to be rigid about making myself write regularly and, quite frankly, I have failed miserably.
All this makes it sound like NaNo is a terrible idea for me, but it is actually great. NaNo holds me accountable and makes me re-form my habits of writing every day OUTSIDE the office. NaNo pushes me and challenges me. It can be a chore sometimes, but if I am unmotivated it completely reinvigorates my creativity and my writing. I am looking forward to that.
I am trying to write on an idea that I have been messing with since 2005. Its current incarnation is a YA fantasy. I’ve tried more than once to write it for NaNo and failed–both at getting to 50K and at completing the story. This year will be the year I tackle it head on and make it work. I am really excited about the plot right now because I feel like I have worked out some of the issues that made it not work before.
Another reason I really enjoy NaNo is that it gives me the perfect excuse to hang out with the friends I made LAST NaNo. My husband has a crazy school and work schedule that keeps him out until around 11 every night now, so I need something to do to keep me occupied other than packing and stripping floral wallpaper off my future library room walls.
I will be spending the next 20 days fleshing out the main plot points of my novel and working on an outline. I am not a pantster, though sometimes I play one at work. I write best and easiest when I have a plan in front of me (or at least really, really good notes). I wouldn’t have gotten to 50K the last couple of years without my super detailed outlines. If I discover anything as I write, it is the characters and their personalities. The plot has to be planned out pretty well for me to churn through the required wordcount. I want to be ready to start pounding out words on November 1.
Who else is doing NaNoWriMo? Are you getting ready?
So, I appear to have put the cart before the horse (as usual).
Last week felt like a really good, productive week from a writing perspective, even though I didn’t get more written than a couple thousand words on a semi-detailed, high-level plot outline. I did quite a bit of reading and research for my novel, which I really need to do in order to get it right. I set a writing goal of 1,000 words a day; for the days I wrote, I met my goal. But I set my goal without really hitching my cart up to my horse first. Research comes BEFORE writing. Logically, I know this, but I am so excited about writing this story I almost forgot.
Some people might tell you to just jump right in on the first draft, get the bones of the story down, and worry about making it truly realistic in your edits. For certain kinds of stories I might agree with them, but not for a story like this. One thing I appreciate as a reader is a detailed, clearly well-researched historically based novel. Even though I am twisting history, I want to get the details right. I also need to get the details of Victorian life just right or the plot isn’t going to come together. I know that from my first draft this story for NaNoWriMo 2010…my character’s backstory was all wrong for the timeline. I got so frustrated during NaNo that the last 25,000 words (everything after I realized it wasn’t working) are probably nothing but fluff. I’ve changed her family and background up so that she has the proper freedoms and constraints for a woman of her time period.
My research is also leading me to setting the story during a different period of the 1800s. Originally I had my eye set on 1897, to take advantage of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, but now I’m leaning toward 1851 and the Crystal Palace. This gives me more opportunity with the Queen, Albert is still alive, and more of her enemies (or sensible ones to create) are available to me. Now I just have to figure out why these historical jerks want to take down the Queen and destroy London!
So, my goals are going to be adjusted slightly: I’m going to write when it makes sense to write during this research period, and when I do, I’m going to write 1,000 words during each session. That’s going to be mostly outlining and notes right now. I’m going to either write or research every day…I managed to do that every day last week and I’m going to keep it up. My goal is to have the research and outline finished out by the end of the month so that I can write in August.
How are you doing so far? Have you already changed your goals?