Tag Archive | writing

Changing Channels

I’d been slowing down on one project (the one with a deadline), finding it harder to produce more words each day.  I’d only been working on it for the past ten days, since I’d had limited writing time.  Tonight I had a little more time, so I decided to hop between it and another story.  Eureka!  Things started flowing more easily.  I really should have at least two projects in rotation.

I don’t know why it took me so long to try this technique.  I’m never content with one thing when it comes to entertaining my brain.  I always read at least three books at a time.  I prefer listening to music on my own because I’ll start listening to one song, then decide to skip to the next.  I should have known that the output of my brain would function better on multiple channels, since that’s how I prefer my input.

Writing Work-Out (cue theme from “Rocky”)

Writing is a lot like exercise.  Who am I kidding, it’s EXACTLY like exercise (except I’m FAR more likely to write than work out).  During the month of July I’ve written every day, with July 4 being my only day off.  That is the most regular I’ve written since before I gave birth, almost 3 years ago.  Over the past couple months, I’d started writing again, but it was irregular and the words weren’t always coming.  Lately, though, three things happened. 

First, I found a project with a deadline.  Deadlines are ALWAYS good for me.  That’s why I love work-for-hire projects so much and why I ended up with three degrees in writing: I blossom under a deadline.  Self-imposed doesn’t work, but give me something that someone ELSE gave me (someone in the writing world; alas, my husband or friends or family won’t work!), and I will meet it. 

Second, I found not just one, not two, but THREE projects to work on!  Only one has a deadline, so that’s getting my full attention, but for a few days, I was actually working on three books at once.  That wasn’t nearly as confusing as it could be, especially since all of them were very different.  I actually found it refreshing: if I got stuck on one, I’d just flip to another one, write a bit on that, and then switch to yet another once I got stuck, and then keep bouncing around.  I doubt that would be a good process for me all the time, but for a few days it was fun.

Third, I committed myself to writing EVERY day.  100 word minimum.  Hard on some days, but I seem to be able to count on getting a bit of writing time every evening, either after hubby gets home and can watch the Wyrmling, or just after Wyrmling goes to sleep.  Many people swear by writing first thing in the morning, but that does NOT work for me.  Never has.  I’m finding that the more I write every day, the easier the words come.  I’ve set a 100 word min, but, as you can see by my writing spreadsheet below, I exceed that almost every day by more than double.  I scheduled out the deadline project to write 100 words every day so I’d be finished by Oct 1 (which would give me time to revise), but, as you can see by the numbers, I’m currently at 2,347 words and min goal by this date was 800.  Whoohoo! 

Not sure how long I’ll be able to keep this up, but it’s working for now!



Date Beginning Word Count Ending Word Count Words for Day Goal Worked On
07/02/13 0 810 810 100 Notes, Chapter 1
07/03/13 810 1038 228 200 Chapter 1
07/04/13 1038 1038 0 300  
07/05/13 1038 1272 234 400 Chapter 1
07/06/13 1272 1480 208 500 Chapter 1
07/07/13 1480 1613 133 600 Chapter 1
07/08/13 1613 1819 206 700 Chapter 2
07/09/13 1819 2347 528 800 Chapter 2

Why I love the internet

I had some time to actually *GASP* WRITE today, so I’m working on the sequel to “Thread,” tentatively titled “Ashes.”  I’m just trying to get back into writing semi-regularly (every day would be awesome, but that’s doubtful), so I was thrilled that I was able to produce over 600 words.  I often keep a spreadsheet with my writing progress: if I’m working towards a deadline, I REALLY need one to help me keep on track, and if I’m just pantzing along, it helps show me how I’ve progressed and makes me feel better.  Plus, doing word counts and entering in the spreadsheet when I have a break in my thought process is probably better than checking Facebook (which I do anyway).

I often think I should turn the internet off, but today I looked up or made a note to look up the following things related to just 600 words I wrote:

1) Do turnips grow in England?

2) How did people wash clothes in the middle ages?

3) Treatment of burns in the middle ages

4) Doctors & midwives in the middle ages

5) Abbeys: are there lands around them that are farmed?  Villages?  Would the villagers work in the fields for the church or for a lord? 

Sigh.  WHY do I write historical fantasy?  Let’s take a metric-ton of research (no matter how much you read and watch in various time periods, when it comes time to write day-to-day life, you HAVE to look things up) and combine it with creating rules of magic.  Sure!  Easy!  Um.  No. 



Work in Progress Wednesday!

I’m sure other writers use Wednesday for WIP posts, because there’s nothing writers like more than alliterative posts.  However, I am taking this opportunity to pimp my cousin’s site, where she blogs about crafty works-in-progress, like quilts and dollhouses.  Stop by if any of those things interest you.

I thought that I’d post about the office work in progress, especially since, because of the snow, my husband is home so we’re actually getting some things done during the week (gasp!).  However, I’m also putting the final touches on my current WIP, soon to be a WIP no longer but a finished project winging its way out into the world.

I’ve submitted this work to many, many places, editors as well as agents.  However, finishing it for the agent and giving her the go-ahead feels final in a way that it never did before. I find myself questioning things, like the name change.  There’s other things that I’d thought about tweaking, but I’m forcing myself to stop after I finish the name change and make sure that there’s no scenes that address the old name.

I let my critique group read the scene where I discuss the name change.  I’m very glad I did, as they came up with some very good points.  I cannot stress how important in-person critique groups are to me.  I’ve tried online over the years, but I find them impersonal, even when I’m very good friends with the person who’s doing the critiquing.  I like being able to bounce things around with my readers, and see what happens.  I think of things when I’m sitting at a table with a few other writers discussing my words that I probably wouldn’t think of on my own. 

Ta ta for now.  Next week I’ll probably resume office posts for WIPW, but for now, I must write!

What’s in a name?

I’m currently debating changing the name of a major, albeit non-speaking, character in the manuscript my agent is about to begin marketing.  This is something I’ve been considering for more than a year, so this isn’t last minute scrambling and tweaking (well, it is, but the decision has been floating around my brain for a while now).  It’s a big change because I’m also changing the name of the book.  To the name of this character.  Changing the name of a character is a very weighty decision, but knowing I’m changing this name to the title of the book is huge.  Can this character carry it?  Will this change people’s expectation of the plot once they’re introduced to the character, knowing that is the title of the book.  To be fair, the title also refers to a few other things, not just this character, but it still could have a major ripple effect.  On paper, all it is is changing one two-page scene and doing a search and replace on the old name and new name, but in terms of the spirit of the book and people’s reaction to it, it’s so, so much more.