Friday is the New Wednesday

Hey all,

Happy Happy Friday. 🙂

So I’m late posting this week—again. Yikes, I’ve got to stop doing this. But maybe it was worth waiting to post this week because I now get to share with you my neice’s new blog.

Riley posted for the first time last night and seeing her words on the page, well, it made me catch my breath a little. How can my sweet neice, Riley—one of my very first readers of this blog and one of the very first kids to read my very first novel be officially writing too? Some of you may remember her from her participation in our Critique Corner events. Well, now she has her own blog and her first post is amazing—incredibly helpful for any writer. You can check it out at https://rileyiswriting.wordpress.com/ .

She’ll be blogging about mixing her writing life with college life. I have a feeling it will resonate with many college age writers out there—or any writer really.  And BTW, her writing is extraordinary. I have a sneaking suspision we’ll be reading her books one day.  🙂

So besides reading Riley’s blog this week, I made some pretty hefty goals.

I decided to give my Writing Grid a go…you know the one I mean. Click back to last week’s post if you don’t. Now that my MG  is polished and patiently waiting to find the perfect home, I’m onto Book 2.  Yes, Rebecca, my lovely agent extraordinairre, and I are hoping I’ll need a Book 2!

I’d like the draft (and hopefully one round of revsions) to be completed before winter’s end. I could take the plunge and try to whip off a basic draft by doing NaNoWriMo next week, but that method just doesn’t fit into my life right now. Why, you ask?

Well, My son’s 16th birthday is the first week in December. That means a fair bit of planning has to happen in November. (Note to other parents out there: It doesn’t pay to make a giant deal out of your daughter’s Sweet 16 birthday, if you aren’t planning to do the same for your son.) Hence the upcoming Super 16 Celebration. Yikes!

My daughter is leaving mid November for a 9 day school trip abroad. (More on that later.) So that will take a fair bit of my attention too. Ya know, worrying, stressing, worrying, stressing… No amount of writing will alieve that, so I won’t even try.

And then off course there’s normal life-work, kids, husband, house… I do envy those that can push all that aside and motivate themselves to write 50,000 words next month. Believe me, I’ll be cheering each of you on!!

So anyway, I’ve decided to instead embark on a 20 week to completed draft experiment. I began this week, and I’m planning to average 2500 words (or more) each week, until I hold that baby in my hands by early March. The timetable is managable and I’m so hopeful it will work for me.

I have all the tools in place…I ’ve never completely planned out a draft ahead of time like I have with this one. I feel so organized and accomplished! I’m usually a combination planner/ pantser. It feels kind of good to be at this point. Before this week I had already completed the first two chapters. I was at 2265 words when I started Monday.

Now today, after writing this week, I’m now at over 5,000 words. I was able to check off all five 500 word blocks on my grid for week one by Thursday and now any writing I do today or this weekend will be a bonus.

I’m posting about this draft and my writing grid because I know how it feels to be a hampster running on the wheel. With so many family, work, and other life commitments, it’s hard to fit in time to write. So I’m here to motivate you—to tell you that you can fit it in. It may not be easy to do so everyday, but if you find a pocket of time that works for you, and you consistently attempt to find that pocket of time, pretty soon that’ll become your norm. That’s why I’m using a writing grid to keep me on track this time around. I’m hopeful that even with all the other commitments the next few months throw my way, I’ll still be able to fit in my 500 words 5 times a week. That’s the plan anyway. 🙂

Have a fantastic weekend, my friends. Happy Halloween! May it be full of many delicious, gooey treats and even a few fun crazy tricks!

Grid Goals to Keep You Writing

Hi everyone,

I’m so sorry for my blog absence last week.  It has been CRAZY around here. I don’t mean to sound melodramatic though. I’m sure you’re all as busy as I am. But during those weeks when things become overwhelming, it’s usually something that I love that doesn’t make the cut.  This time it was my blog post. 😦 😦 😦

However, I’m back now. I have my freelance project under control and my own manuscript polished up shiny and bright. But this period of crazy has gotten me thinking…

How in the world do other writers manage it all?

I’m trying to organize my writing time for the next few months. So what is the best way to do that? I read something on Twitter this week. I really wish I had the energy to search my feed and see if I retweeted it. But the gist of it was to get a calendar.

Hmm. I like calendars. I like checklists. I love being organized. In fact, I thrive on being organized. Maybe that’s why I fall to pieces when I’m not…Sad but true.

The article suggested that writers break their large tasks into small ones. Let’s suppose you are beginning a new manuscript. If you have a chapter outline, you could break the tasks down into chapters. Perhaps write 5 chapters a week. However, it also went so far as to suggest creating your own grid type calendar—especially if you don’t have a chapter outline. In it, you could create boxes. Let’s say you know your target word count is 50,000. If you’d like to complete the draft in 20 weeks, you would shoot for 2500 words a week.

But how do you determine your goal for each day?

Some writers write every day without fail. Some writers (like me) tend to write most days, but not all because some are way too crazy with other obligations. I usually write five days a week though.

So, considering I have a new MG manuscript to start, I think I’ll create a grid…five boxes across and twenty down. Each box represents 500 words. I’ll put a checkmark in each box that I write my 500 words. It won’t matter whether I write Monday through Friday or skip a Monday and add Saturday. I’ll shoot for five sessions a week where I write 500 words. By the end of 20 weeks, I’ll have my completed draft! If I write more than 500 words in a day, I’ll be ahead of schedule. 🙂

Drafting a story is the hardest part of writing for me. I love to revise and so the thought of having my draft completed in 20 weeks sounds awesome. Now of course if I find I have to complete the draft sooner than 20 weeks, I guess I’ll have to adjust my grid goals. Besides, I’m a rule follower, If I have a grid to fill within a certain amount of time, I just may stay on track!

I may try this method for my freelance projects too. For me even though it’s a business project, it’s still drafting a new story. And even though I work most mornings, and I’m pretty disciplined, it is sometimes very hard to keep going. A grid box could help here too.

What do you think? Would this method help you at all? I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you have a different method that works for you, let us know. If you have a new manuscript to write, let us know that too. We’d love to cheer you on!

Thanks for checking in, my friends. I hope your week is full of amazing things—both writing and other stuff too!

There’s Writing to be Done!

Hey everyone!

I hate to admit it but I need to take a break from blogging this week. I’m on a tight deadline with my freelance project-like real tight, and with the rest of life happening, I just can’t muster up a useful post. So…instead I’ll leave you with this:

If you’re planning a story… let your mind wander. That’s when the best ideas will flow. 

If you’re drafting…keep going. Plow through no matter what and get those words on the page.

If you’re revising…be fierce. Tough love will make your story stronger.

If you’re polishing…stay focused. Your story will thank you later.

And if you’re taking a break…get over it! No story stuck in your brain will ever get published.

I hope this helps, no matter where you are in the writing process.

Enjoy the week, my friends. I must go now…

There’s writing to be done!! 🙂