Monday, August 29, 2011

the struggle

Not gonna lie, last week was a little tougher than the past few:

Total Words Written: 2,679
Total Hours Spent Writing: 4
Total Word Count Overall: 23,772

Hey, at least I was over my goal of 2K though, right? But still a bit under that 3K mark that I've been hitting without any problem for the past several weeks. I'm not sure if that's because I'm getting into the "meat" of the story now and it's getting a little tougher to crank out words quickly, or if I just flat out wasn't feeling it this week. I had Friday night to myself, and I'd really planned on having a super productive writing night. I should've had a super productive writing night. Instead, I found myself staring at the TV, my eyes glazing over while watching several episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, my laptop humming sadly as I ignored it in my lap.

I guess that'll happen sometimes.

I did get a couple pages written that night, but the words just weren't flowing the way they have been. At least I was more productive again yesterday. Sundays seem to be my best writing days by far, probably because I don't feel so guilty for ignoring all the other things I should be doing instead. Or, I get all my chores done early in the day so I can take a couple hours to write in the afternoon/evening.

Luckily, I have a nice looooong weekend ahead of me. I have Thursday and Friday off, so you better believe I plan on spending a good chunk of time both of those days hunkered down in front of my laptop. Well, after I allow myself some time to relax and catch up on 87 DVR'ed episodes of Days of our Lives, anyway...ahem. Anyway, I'm going to challenge myself this week to get out of the slump from last week. Word count goal for the week: 3500 words. Dun dun dun!! Can she do it??

Monday, August 22, 2011

On A Roll

I'm feeling mighty proud about my accomplishment this week:

Total Words Written: 3,135
Total Hours Spent Writing: 4.5
Total Word Count Overall: 21,023

If you remember from last week, my goal was only 2,000 words. I guess it just goes to show that when I put my mind to it, anything is possible. I was determined to hit the 3K mark again even though I knew I had a crazy week ahead. It feels so, so good to be sitting down weekly to write, even in the midst of a hectic work week and busy social calendar. I feel like I'm finally learning how to make my writing more of a priority. Which is fantastic, because it's extremely important to me and there's not much else I'd rather be doing (other than reading, of course). Oh, to be able to sit and write day in day out!! It's like a far off fantasy...but maybe, just maybe, one day it could become reality.

I also got my first round of feedback from my loyal readers (well, almost all of them, anyway) and the response so far has been good. I got comments like "it's so much better than your first one" (which, you'd think might hurt a little, but in all honestly I know deep down that this one IS better), and "I can't wait to read more!" These are amazing comments to get on a crappy first draft, trust me. And I don't think they're giving me false encouragement. If something wasn't working in the story, I can trust them to let me know. They know they won't hurt my feelings- I am well aware that criticism is utterly necessary and I totally welcome it! Provided it's constructive, of course. Anyway, so thanks to Karyn and Debbie for providing me with some feedback last week! You guys know how much I appreciate it.

Well, another busy week and weekend lie ahead. Should I aim lower or higher? Hmmm...As to not stress myself out unnecessarily, I think I'll stick with the 2,000 words goal one more time. If I surprise myself and surpass 3,000 yet again, I think it'll be pretty clear that I should aim for 3,000 every week. It's clearly not that difficult for me to accomplish it, and it's the pace I'd like to keep going at regardless. If I do keep it up, it's totally possible for me to have the first draft completed by Christmas. How cool would that be??

Friday, August 19, 2011

Things I've Learned (so far)

While I haven't been lucky enough to land an agent yet, in all the months I've been researching them and going through the query process I've definitely learned a thing or two about the business of it all. I'm by no means an expert, but here are a few of the things I've picked up in my quest to write the next great YA novel and get represented by someone who believes in me and my writing:

1) DON'T GIVE UP. Perserverence is what ultimately pays off in the publishing world. You may get rejected 60 times (like Kathryn Stockett did) but all it takes is for ONE agent to like what he/she reads. It's such a highly subjective business, hopefully, sooner or later your manuscript will land on that agent's desk (fingers crossed!!).

2) DO YOUR HOMEWORK. I can't believe how many agent blogs I read where the agents have to reiterate over and over again what kind of work they are looking for. Do people really just send mass submissions out to whatever agents they may stumble across on the internet, without even glancing to see what kind of material the agent represents?? I mean...that's just common sense. Why would an author waste their time (and the agent's time, for that matter) sending a YA fiction manuscript to someone who represents adult mysteries? Just seems silly to me.
a) Along these same lines, pay attention to what the agent requests. Do they
want your query & the first 5 pages? The query, your synopsis, and the
first chapter? Attention to detail is very important!!

3) CLEAN IT UP. Before you even start sending out queries, make sure your work is as polished as it can possibly be. Have some trusted readers help with this. After writing 80,000 words or so there are bound to be some errors and typos. Having a second or third (or fourth, even) set of eyes going over your MS can only make it tighter and cleaner.

4) KEEP WRITING. Start your next project while you're querying your first. From what I've read, and as heartbreaking as it may be, your first novel has a good chance of getting shelved. The more you write, the better you get at it. Well, hopefully anyway. I personally feel that my WIP is showing a lot more potential than IMME already. I'll always be proud of IMME- how many people can say they finished writing a novel??- but in the back of my head, if it doesn't go anywhere I know that I'll still be proud of it. And I will move on with the next one.

5) GROW A THICK SKIN. Look, rejection sucks on any level. It hurts, and it's soooo hard not to take it personally. I'm still getting used to it myself. It's hard to remember that the agent is not rejecting YOU, it's your work they aren't feeling passionate about. Again, it's a subjective business and you just have to find that one person who does connect to it. AND, even once you do get published you still have to deal with bad reviews and people who hate your books. People can be freaking brutal. You just have to be confident that you wrote the best book you could and go on with your life.

That's about it, for now anyway. These are all tidbits off the top of my head, so I may think of more to add later.

Happy Friday and happy writing!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

I did it!

Your next installment of my weekly word count series:

Total Words Written: 3,101
Total Hours Spent Writing: 4.5
Total Word Count Overall: 17,748

Ya-HOOOO! I did it! My goal was 3,000 and I even surpassed that, my friends! I'm on a roll with this one, like, for real. The story is taking some twists I wasn't even expecting as I write it, and I'm just allowing it to flow. We'll see where it ends up going...

I think I'll be letting some peeps read through it this week if they have the time. But just like IMME, I feel like the beginning needs to be reworked a little. Nothing major, but I'd like to get that part fixed before sending it to them. It doesn't really matter that much, though. For now, there's no major editing I want done- I'm really trying to avoid revising when I open it up myself, instead just moving forward with the content- I just want to know how they think the story is going. Are the characters' voices strong enough? Are they individual enough (it's from two POVs, Riley's and Ella's)? Do they want to keep reading or are any parts boring, too descriptive, etc?

I can't remember where I was at this time last year with IMME. I think I was closer to halfway done, maybe a little further than that. But if I can keep up this pace, maybe I can actually have the whole thing written by the holidays. Then let the revisions begin!

That being said, I think I'm going to set my goal a little lower this week, mainly because there's a lot going on after work and I won't be around much this weekend coming up, either. Plus, I want to get some more IMME submissions out, too. I've been slacking with that, and it can't hurt to keep going with those. All it takes is just one person to see its potential, right? Anyway, so we'll set the goal this week at 2,000. I'm hoping I can get closer to 3,000 again, truthfully, but I have a feeling it's just going to be one of those weeks.

Today's Happy Thought: September, my favorite month, is only 16 days away! :o)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Weekly Word Count

As promised, here's my word count for the WIP last week:

Total Words Written: 2,822
Total Hours Spent Writing: 4.75
Total Word Count Overall: 14,524

I'm thinking I'll start setting word count goals for the week, too...just to give me something to strive for. This sounds good in theory, and I know a lot of writers do this, probably HAVE to do this, and I should as well...I think I'm just worried it'll end up stressing me out if I don't meet my goal. But then again, not taking time to write in general stresses me out too! One big ball of stress over here, that's me.

Alright so, we'll give it a whirl, and keep it small this time. I'll say my word count goal for this week will be 3,000. I know that's actually higher than the total amount I wrote last week, but since I don't have a lot of plans this week I'm thinking it should be possible to squeeze in more time to write. We'll see!

What kind of goals do you like to set for yourself, if any?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

bad blogger

It's funny, because I was just thinking about how bad of a blogger I've been for most of this summer, when bam! I see on at least three of the blogs I normally read that they're either taking a blogging hiatus for a while, or just flat out haven't been very inspired to post lately. I fall into the second category. And I've been reading up a lot about how to be a "successful" blogger; things like making lists of topics you'd like to cover, writing your posts ahead of time all at once & posting them later, etc. They make it sound so easy. But I think my problem is that if I have time to write, I want to work on the WIP. And that's exactly what I'm going to start doing from this point on. I just don't feel like I need the added stress of being a "bad blogger" right now...not when I'm busying querying IMME and writing the WIP.

This isn't to say that I'm NEVER going to blog again, of course. When the mood strikes I'm still going to ramble about whatever here. In fact, to make myself a bit more accountable, I'm going to commit myself to at least ONE post a week. And if nothing else, in that post I will sum up how many words I've gotten down in the WIP (new tentative title, btw- This Life) and how many hours I was able to spend writing that week. I think seeing it added up in front of my own eyes will inspire me to keep going with it, to make myself sit down and take an hour here and there to write. Although who am I kidding, I can hardly ever write for just an hour once I get going. And therein lies the problem; it's difficult to schedule writing time when I feel like I need to commit an entire evening to it. Perhaps that's something I should start to work on, too. Anyway. I believe I will do those summary posts on Fridays...or maybe Mondays, since at times I get a good amount of writing in over the weekend. I'll ponder this & let you know...erm, on Friday or Monday.


Today's happy thought: Baby ducks. Who doesn't love fuzzy, wobbly baby ducks??