Sunday, June 24, 2012

Weekly Progress Report

The week goes by way too quickly. Here's my stats...

words written: 8,647 on The Hostage Heart, 3,309 on my infertility WIP, for a total of 11,956
time spent writing: 236 minutes (3 hours 56 minutes)
days spent writing: 4
WPM: 51

Woot woot! It was actually a pretty productive week, and my WPM has increased as well. Can't wait to see what this coming week brings!

Anyone else want to report their stats?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Weekly Progress Report

For some reason I had a hard time finding my groove this week, so my totals aren't what I would like them to be. I did start my new infertility WIP which is exciting! And The Hostage Heart is going really well too.

  • words written: 2,845 on The Hostage Heart and 7,118 on the infertility WIP for 9,963 total. SO CLOSE to my weekly goal!!! I should've written another sentence or two just so I could make it but I got caught up in editing. 
  • time spent writing: 213 minutes (3 hours 33 minutes)
  • time spent pre-writing: 90 minutes
  • time spent editing: 3 hours
  • WPM: 47

Since I presented at critique group this week I spent a lot of time working on revisions of the first chapter of The Hostage Heart. I'm still working on those revisions 3 hours later, but I am loving where this is going. I have a feeling good things are coming...

So how did everyone else do this week?

Critique Group

On Thursday we had our first meeting of a brand-new critique group. My old critique group dissolved awhile back after about a year and a half of slowly dying, and me and one of the members from that group have been trying to get something put together ever since.

Thursday was the much-anticipated (for me, at least) meeting, and I think it went really well. I volunteered myself for the first critique, and I was so happy with the results. These ladies know what they are talking about, and they were able to point out problem areas in my chapter that I could no longer see. It is always scary when you get in a new critique group. My fear is always that they will be too nice and it will be a waste of time because I won't get any constructive feedback. I am happy to say that is not the case with my new group. I got lots of feedback, all of it excellent.

I've been working hard on revising the first chapter since Thursday, and I am really excited about where it is going. I feel like the world building I've been doing combined with the critiques from my online group as well as this new one have given me some great ideas on how to make the story better. The characterization is much more solid in my mind and that makes writing SO much easier.

With these critiques in mind, I am anxious to get back to actually adding to the word count on this WIP. I think the end of the first draft is in sight, and it's so exciting! I haven't finished the first draft of a WIP in 5 or 6 years. Awesome.

What always is the most nerve-wracking for you when joining a new critique group?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

In Which I Start Another WIP

When I was into writing before--you know, pre- five year break--I had a backbone of steel when it came to accepting critiques. You literally could say anything to me in a critique, and as long as it was constructive I would eat it up. I LOVED critiques. I lived for them. When most writers were crying to see the red ink dripped from the pages of their manuscript, I was doing a happy dance (not really; I don't dance) because I knew my WIP was going to get better.

I've softened a bit. Critiques are harder for me to take now, although I still love to get them. I'm not easily offended, and I love nothing more than an honest critique partner who will tell it like it is. But I don't rejoice in the suggestions quite as much as I used to. Maybe it's because I feel like my brain isn't as sharp as it once was (turns out my mom was right, children really do cause brain damage). Maybe it's because I don't have as much time and so every suggestion feels like a mountain I have to climb. Maybe it's because I feel so out of sorts, I'm not really sure how to go about fixing things. Maybe I just need to make my skin a little thicker. I used to be a pro, but I'm out of practice.

At any rate, I got an AWESOME critique back from my online critique group on The Hostage Heart the other day. She pointed out some continuity issues that are quite glaring now that I think about it. I took a few days to consider what she was saying, and realized the issues were there because I didn't have a clear idea of  the world in which the story takes place. So I've been doing some world building over the past few days, and it's going great! I've already got some great ideas on how to improve things. But I can't just not write, so in the meantime I've started the first draft of my infertility novel. It is hard to write and emotional and makes me dread the coming year. Now that the boys are approaching their first birthday, we'll soon be back in the middle of all that infertility crap. I'm not looking forward to it. But I am loving writing this book, and now more than ever I feel it needs to be written.

Which brings me to a question...anybody have any title suggestions for this infertility WIP? All the ones I've come up with personally are lame, and the few suggestions I've had are awesome but just don't seem quite to fit.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

New Segment - Weekly Progress Report

I've decided to start something new. Every week, I am going to post my progress from the previous week on my WIPs. It's a way for me to keep myself accountable. Maybe I'll continue to press forward with my writing each week if I know on Sunday I'll have to tell the whole internet about it. :)

words written: 12,453, all on The Hostage Heart 
time spent writing: 262 minutes (4 hours and 22 minutes)
time spent pre-writing: 4 hours on my infertility novel
days spent writing: 6

That works out to about 2,851 words an hour, or 47 wmp. (I'm pretty sure I did my math correctly there, but no promises.)

Not too bad. This is my best week to date, in fact. I've been charting my progress for 5 full weeks now, and I find it tremendously helpful. I've been managing 10.5k-12.5k a week. For someone who hasn't written in 5 years and has two babies, I think that's pretty good. One thing I've learned is to be proud of the progress I've made, no matter how small. If I'm not, I just give up.

I've been doing lots of sprints over at iWriteNetwork lately. I absolutely love it. I've always been somewhat of a social recluse, and it's great to be able to "talk" to others who share my love of writing and feel part of the writing community. However, when sprinting and reporting back my word count, I always get comments along the lines of, "Wow, that's fast!" I had no idea I was writing "fast" until people started making comments to that effect. Let us hope that "fast" does not equate "awful."

So here's how I write "fast." First of all, on a REALLY good day I type 135 wpm when copying things (usually it's more around 90 wpm on an average day though). When writing, I am much slower. I write between 35-45 wpm. Here's how I do it:

1) I use Write or Die. I generally try to write 2k in 40 minutes on gentle mode. Sometimes I don't quite make it--it usually makes more like 45 minutes to get my word count it--but it's something to aim for, and it pushes me. I LOVE the desktop version because it has progress bars at the top letting me know how I'm doing. For goal-oriented, type A personalities like myself, this is invaluable. Well worth the $10.

2) When I am writing, I am writing. I don't get online. I don't answer my phone. I don't do anything but check on the twins if they start fussing in their sleep. If I have no idea what to write, I write anyway because the red flashing screen stresses me out. And guess what? After a line or two of writing crap, I know where to go and am back on track. I find the longer I write, the faster I go and the better things flow.

3) I try to plan ahead an idea of what I will be writing so I know where the story is supposed to go. I don't do a detailed plan, but I do have a general idea of things.

And that's pretty much all I do. I'm still figuring things out, but so far this is working great for me.

I just read this article here a few days ago too. It's all about increasing your word count. Rachel Aaron says things way better than me, and she is actually published and successful so her words hold more weight than mine. Go check it out! Try a few of her tips and see if it boosts your word count. I'm slowly pushing myself and trying to boost mine.

So how did everyone else do with their writing goals this past week?


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Write What You Want to Write

My current WIP, The Hostage Heart, is a story very near and dear to my heart. I have been working on it for 7 years and am currently on my 7th version of the story (I thought it was 5th, but I just checked and it's 7th). When I say "version" I mean each story is drastically different than the others. But this time, I think I finally got it right. And I say that because I outlined this time around.

I'm currently 54k in and having a blast pounding out this first draft. However, as I've been writing, I've also been wondering--what genre is this WIP? Clearly, it is first and foremost a romance, because without the love story the plot would not really exist. But what kind of a love story is it?

The Hostage Heart is set in a fictitious land, reminiscent of medieval Europe. It has that royal, almost fairy tale-like feel to it. However, there is no magic. No fairies, elves, or dragons. No fantasy elements of any kind. There are also no sci-fi or dystopian elements either.

I took the question of "what the heck is this genre?" to the awesome people at iWriteNetwork. The general consensus seems to be that this WIP doesn't have a clear genre. Many of the authors suggested I add an element to make it clearly fit into another genre. Maybe a dragon. Or put it on another planet. Or have it 100 years in the future and make it dystopian. They were all really good suggestions that would make for an interesting story.

I seriously considered this for a few days. Maybe I should add fairy tale elements and go with that. Maybe I should just add a dragon or two and make it fantasy. Make it could work to have it 100 years in the future or on another planet. But then I realized something. I could add any of those elements to this WIP and it would have a clear genre.

But it wouldn't be the book I wanted to write.

And really, if I'm not having fun writing it, the others definitely aren't going to have fun reading it. And what would be the point?

So I'm plugging along, continuing to write the WIP in the undefined genre. And after I'm done with the first draft, I'll step back and see if I should add some other elements to clearly define it. Maybe I will. Maybe I won't. But for today, I'm keeping it as is.

One day, I'm going to find an agent that wants to sell the books that I want to write.  And that is going to be an awesome day. I'm going to hold out for that agent, and not start writing books just because a particular agent wants to sell something of that nature. Writing is a passion, one I hope to eventually make money at. But that's not why I'm doing it. I'm doing it because it makes me happy. Because the days where I pound out my 2k are better than the days that I don't. Because I enjoy it.

I don't know if this WIP can even sell written as it currently is (after I polish it up and make it pretty, I mean). If I end up getting a zillion and one rejections all saying it isn't marketable without adding some other element, then I'll seriously consider doing just that. But for now, I'm not going to stress. I'm not going to worry. I'm just going to write, and love every second I am doing it. Because I am writing something that I love.

What do you love to write?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

When Nap Time Changes

My twins are teething. The only thing worse than one miserable, cranky baby is two.

I don't know if it's the teeth or a phase or what, but nap time has changed. For a solid month there, I could plan on the boys going down 3 hours after they woke up, usually around 10 am, for 2 hours. That meant from 10 am - 12 pm, I had writing time. I also could plan on them taking another 45 minute to an hour long nap at 3 pm or so. Those three hours of sleeping babies were my sanctuary. I would write for an hour, then clean, fold laundry, and in all other ways try to make my house presentable.

Those three hours have disappeared. Vanished. Poof. Now I have two babies that refuse to go to sleep, that are crying to be held, and that basically are overtaking every second of my time. It's been a challenge to find time to eat let alone write the past few days. To top it all off, I have a pounding headache that is going on a week now thanks to my teeny sinuses and this awesome Utah allergy season.

I have managed to still get my writing done each day, but the quality of it isn't like I want it to be. Now, for example, the babies are finally down for a nap. I've already got my 2k done for the day and I really should be doing some research for my women's fiction novel that's coming up next. But I can't think. I can't focus. I can't write and I definitely can't research. All I want to do is veg. What I really want to do is sleep, but I have this overwhelming fear that the second I lie down for a nap they will wake up. And so here I am.

I keep reminding myself there is a time and a season, and it's okay to have days like this. I have tried to cuddle and hold and comfort the boys and not worry about everything else that I should be getting done. Spending time with them is what's important.

But it's really hard for a type-A person like myself to be okay with going yet another day without finding time to pull out the vacuum.

H cut his first tooth a few days ago without any fuss at all. Tooth #2 is causing him discomfort though, and J has been absolutely miserable cutting tooth #1. His gums are swollen and he gnaws on everything (except what I want him to gnaw on, like his teether or a wet rag). I hope they get feeling better soon for all of our sake's. Two screaming babies and one mommy can drive a person insane.

I hope it's just a phase, and once they are feeling better they go back to their regularly scheduled naps. I realize they won't sleep 3 hours a day for forever, but at this point in time, nap time is really more for mommy.

Monday, June 4, 2012

JumpStart WriMo

So I decided to participate in Julie Coulter Bellon's JumpStart WriMo. I guess it's technically NaNoWriMo who does a NaNoWriMo for June (since supposedly this is a better time for teacher's to write than November...don't you mean a better time for practically the entire world?).

Well, I'm not planning on writing an entire novel in a month. But I am planning on working on some things. My goal for June is to finish The Hostage Heart, which means I will be writing approximately 40k. Currently my word count is 47,943 words. Considering I started writing on May 8, I am pretty darn proud of myself. Right now I'm at a weird place in the novel, where I'm not sure what's going to happen next or what I'll be writing tomorrow. But I keep writing my 2k a day, and it's about word 300 I always know where to go next. I'm sure I'll have lots of cuts to make once I start polishing this baby, but I have something on paper which means I have something I can edit. And that's more than I've had for 5 years now.

I also want to finish outlining my new infertility WIP by the end of June so I can jump into that while I let The Hostage Heart sit for awhile before I begin editing. I have 3 of 6 character sketches done so far, and the hero's journey outlined for one of the three couples. So I feel like I'm making good progress there as well. I am plunging into the researching side of that WIP and it's daunting, depressing, and very informative. It's giving me great ideas on what to write. Don't worry, though...I'm hoping to put a humorous slant on infertility. We'll see how it goes.

Anyone else out there participating in JumpStart WriMo? What are your goals?