Writing–March Projects

English: A White Clover (Trifolium repens). Fr...

Something old, something new…I’m in the mood to pile a whole bunch of stuff on my plate right now and since I’m feeling so eager and willing, I’m going to go with it.

In the old category, revisions continue on The World (Saving) Series. I’m done with this round of serious business revisions, but I’m going to start from the top in a couple of weeks and go through it again. I’m getting pretty happy with the way everything is working out and I don’t think I want to do any more major changes to the story. Thank goodness.

Also in the old category, revisions on Night of the Nothing Man. I’m tightening things up and getting picky with the sentences. The goal is to have it up on Smashwords before the end of the month, which I’m pretty sure is going to happen without much trouble.

In the kind of old, but kind of new category falls a couple of short stories. They’re Outskirts stories that I’ve already written and intended to get up on the blog a while ago, but never got around to revising to completion. That’s going to happen.

In the totally new category, I’ve got an idea for another short story that I’d like to write and put up in the freebie section. Free reads are good reads.

And finally, in the classified files, work on the sooper sekrit project continues and I’ve added sooper sekrit project #2. In my continued effort to broaden my abilities, I’ve started work on a script. I’ve only completed one before and actually had quite a lot of fun doing it. I’ve got an idea (don’t ask) and I’m going to run with it and get some practice in.

Getting some of these things done is not an option. I’m running out of room on my plate to add anything else.

Writing–Does My Productivity Look Lacking In This?

English: Slalom race in urban street Italiano:...

I know I shouldn’t compare myself to other people, but I do it anyway. I’ve gotten better about not comparing my work to that of other writers (thought I still have my jealousies and wish I could do certain things as well as others), but when it comes to the process, I can’t help but compare.

I judge myself harshly when it comes to comparing my productivity to others. I feel like I’m never working hard enough/fast enough/producing enough. I feel like a right slacker compared to the other writers I know/follow/interact with. On Twitter, I see the word/page/project output and I look at mine and think it’s a good thing I talk more about reruns than I do about my writing.

I know I should just be pleased with what I can get done. Any progress counts. But I can’t help but hold myself to a much higher, sometimes unrealistic standard.

For example, working The World (Saving) Series revisions, I think I should be working much harder and much faster on it. Except I’m SUPPOSED to be going slow. I made a conscious decision to go slow so I won’t rush myself, so I’ll pay more attention, so I won’t feel pressured.

Yet here I am, pressuring myself because I see other people doing more.

Writing is a very individual process. What works for one person doesn’t work for another. What speed works for one person doesn’t work for another. I forget that. I want to be done like yesterday and I want to be done twice as fast as the person next to me.

It’s not even a question of making it an active competition or trying to be better than anyone else. That’s just where my standards lie. I don’t want to look like a slacker to the writers I associate with. I want them to respect my productivity.

It’s a silly ego thing and I fight with them all the time. I can only go as fast as I can go and I can only do as much as I can do. I shouldn’t be ashamed of that. I should own up to what I can do.

So while others are doing theirs, I need to remember to mind mine and ONLY mine.

I’ll work better that way.

Writing–2013 Writing Goals


Last year I gave myself the goal of getting 50 rejections and ended up falling miserably short. However, I did learn quite a bit when it comes to goal setting my writing like that. First of all, I need to be more realistic. Second of all, not every goal is going to work for me.

The idea of getting 50 rejections seemed like a good one at the time because it would motivate me to submit more of my short stories. The problem with this approach is that I really don’t have the short story inventory to generate that many rejections, particularly when the rejection process is on a completely different time table. I have no control over when I get the rejections. They can take days or months. Combine that with a limited inventory and I found out that I tore my ACL before I even made it out onto the track.

However, had I not given it a go, I wouldn’t have learned that. I’m a sucker for learning things the hard way.

This year, I’m going to take a different approach to my writing goals.

My biggest goal is going to be revising The World (Saving) Series to a point of doneness. Not THE point of doneness, but A point of doneness. That means that I want to get the novel to a point that I’m done messing with the story and the structure and all I’m worried about is consistency, word choice, and descriptions. I want to be satisfied with the big picture of the story, so to speak. Giving myself until the end of the year seems reasonable, I think.

I’ve got seven short stories waiting on my ready list. I want to submit them all at least once. I’ve got three stories still out from last year. If they all get rejected, then I want to submit them all at least once, too. Any new short stories I write, I want to send those out at least once as well. Not exactly a lofty goal, for sure, but sometimes I feel very divided with my writing. This is a way to motivate some progress without being too hard on myself and getting discouraged. It also encourages me to give all of my stories a chance on the market instead of holding them back, afraid to let them be seen by the world.

I haven’t abandoned my idea to edit Night of the Nothing Man into a novella and self-publish it. That will get done sometime this year.

My current sooper-sekrit project is under way. Even though I don’t want  to talk about it, I’m working on it. And even if I don’t like the way it’s going or think it’s a flop, I’m still going to finish it. I need to develop a little faith in myself when it comes to working on non-fiction projects (that’s the only hint you’re going to get!).

I think these goals are good enough to keep me busy for the year. We’ll see how it shakes out.

If you’re taking bets on if I’ll be scrambling to submit stories in December, it’s probably a pretty safe bet to take. I know me.

Writing–January Projects

World of White - winter snow

Towards the end of December I got a real bee in my bonnet about ripping apart and revising The World (Saving) Series. I put it off because with the holidays and all, I didn’t want to get into it. And there were a few short story things I wanted to wrap up.

Hopefully, the bee hasn’t settled down and I can get some major work done on World. I’ve really got to be more consistent and dedicated to revising a novel to completion. This is my shot at doing that and I’m going to take it. I want to see how far I can get this month.

I’m also kicking around an idea for another project. I don’t want to say too much about it because I know how I am. I think something is a good idea, I talk about it, I start doing it, the idea dies, and nothing comes of any of the talking that I did. Talking about an idea that doesn’t have some actual substance to it in the sense that I am either done working on it or nearly done working on it is a jinx for me. Total jinx.

But there is a project idea I’m kicking around, so if it comes to being anything, we can all refer back to this post as the one in which it was first mentioned.

Because that totally matters and whatnot.


Writing–November Projects

Fall leaves in Vancouver

It’s NaNoWriMo time!

This year’s project is called Night of the Nothing Man. In addition to the challenges raised by not coming up with this novel idea until a week before the start, I’ve given myself some other guidelines that I’m going to try to follow as I write. I’ll reveal those at the end of the month.

If you recall, I wrote a novel manuscript this summer in a different fashion. I outlined a few chapters, wrote those chapters, and then revised those chapters before moving on. I’m going to be doing something similar with this NaNo project. I managed to get about six chapters outlined before the NaNo countdown clock wound down. This was partly by design. I do better during NaNo when I outline, but in the course of my writing, I end up changing or deviating from my outline that typically results in some frustrating revisions and rewrites. I liked the outlining and then writing of the summer novel experiment in that I stayed on track, but I could make changes. So I’m going to attempt to do NaNo in this fashion.

Dangerous business for me, but I like living on the edge.

Also during the month I’ll keep working on my Lucy and Jamie story. I’ve got a good idea where it’s going and I think it might be good for me to write a page or two of something else while working on NaNo. Kind of like a morning warm-up.

I may or may not start poking at The World (Saving) Series again. I’ve got an idea of some revisions I’d like to do and I’ve been kicking them around for the past couple of months. They wouldn’t be too taxing to do when I need an evening break from NaNo, but don’t want to be unproductive.

It should be a good month full of words.

Writing–August Projects

Flower of Gazaia rigens

My focus in August is going to be finishing the revisions/rewrites on The World (Saving) Series. I’ve got less than ten chapters to go and while the rewriting is going to be heavy, it shouldn’t take me the whole month to finish.

I started two short stories at the end of last month, “Just Visiting” and “Lady on the Stairs” which I’ll be finishing as well.

And then…?

I need to get back to working on the Ivy novel. Things got derailed when I did my writing protest for a week last month. I’m not sure how much I like the outline/write/revise method. I think that’s where part of my writing frustration came from. I may just finish the outline and then write the rest of the novel so I can call it done. As it stands, I’ve written/revised over half of it so I wouldn’t be in horrible shape if I did it that way.

I’ve got half a mind to start outlining another big project. It’d be a freebie for the blog. However, I make no guarantees that anything will ever come of it. It’s just something I’m thinking of doing.

And of course, I continue on with the 50 Rejections saga. It’s been rather disappointing lately. I don’t want to talk about it now.

I’ll wait until I can go on and on at length in a post of its own.

Writing–Writing Retreat Results

Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site, near Ch...

The week in solitude with only two dogs and three cats to demand my attention and limited Internet access did me some good. Not only did I get several chapters of the Ivy novel written and revised, but I also found a new creative spark for revisions on The World (Saving) Series.

The first two days there I admit that I kept the same slow, slightly distracted pace. But by Saturday night I realized that I was getting bored and needed to do more work to better fill up my time. That was good enough to light the fire under my butt.  I found myself doing twice as much work as I usually did when I was home.

The exceptions were Tuesday and Thursday. Tuesday I had a job interview and was gone a good chunk of the day, so I only did some outlining. Thursday I got a chapter written and one revised, but didn’t have the attention span to push it past that. I was looking forward to my aunt coming back that night so I could go home. It was nice to get away, but I was ready to get back to my bed and my fridge and my animals.

I’m pleased with the productivity I had that week and I hope at least a little of it carries over back at home. The Ivy novel is going to continue to take its dear sweet time and I’m going to get frustrated with my lack of progress on it and I’m going to deal with my bad habit of procrastinating, but I think this burst of productivity will help propel me through the hard parts. And I’m really glad that I had a chance to tinker with The World (Saving) Series again. It’s gotten me excited to get back to the project and I think I can hammer out the revisions on the first third of the novel before the month ends.

In the end, it’s all about discipline and focus. I need to carry the writer’s retreat mindset of getting my work done in my mind all the time.

A saying has floated on my Twitter timeline repeatedly and it’s so very true:

Writing is 90% not getting distracted by the Internet.

Writing–Writing Retreat

Arkansas River Valley

Starting Saturday, I’ll be house sitting for my great-aunt and cousins while they go to Arkansas on vacation. Their house is only about 20 minutes away from mine, but I’ll be staying there all week to take care of the animals (and a garden, which I hope I don’t kill).

So, in a way, I’ll be getting a vacation, too.

For a week I’ll be on my own (if you don’t count the two dogs and three cats). My distractions and disruptions will be reduced by two people (sorry, Dad and Carrie). I’m pretty sure my aunt doesn’t have Wi-Fi, so my Internet access will be limited. In conclusion, it will be a prefect time for me to get some serious writing work done.

The plan is to continue working on the unnamed Ivy novel as well start the new revisions on The World (Saving) Series. I’m afraid I might get frustrated working on just the Ivy project full-time, particularly with the slow way I’m doing it, so the revisions are an easy way to keep mentally happy and from getting discouraged.

I’m calling this a my writing retreat. I’ve never been on one before and I know from what I’ve read there are usually other people involved, critiquing everything everyone’s written for the day after the sun sets, but I don’t really need that last bit. I just need the time away, the time to focus.

You see, I’ve often told myself that without the distractions of my daily life, I’d be more productive. I could write more if only people would leave me alone or if I didn’t have to make dinner or if I didn’t have to do this, that, or the other. Well, now I’ve got the opportunity to put that hypothesis to the test. Will I be more productive away from it all? Or will I find new distractions and not be any more (or worse, less) productive.

There’s only one way to find out, I suppose. And to be fair, I’m looking forward to both the change of pace and change of scenery. And the challenge.

I just hope I live up to it.


It should also be noted that since I am doing this writer’s retreat, expect no blog posts from me next week.

Writing–May Projects

Ivy Geranium (Pelargonium peltatum) flowers

This month is all about novels.

Okay, that isn’t entirely true. In my quest for 50 rejections, I’ll continue to review, revise (if necessary), and submit my short stories. I’ll also do another round of revisions on “Gone Missing” to try to get it into publishable shape.

But my main creative focus is going to be on two of my novel manuscripts.

The first doesn’t have a title yet so I’ve just been calling it The Ivy Novel since the main character’s name is Ivy. I started working on the first draft last month, taking a different approach. I outlined the first five chapters, wrote the first four, then revised what I wrote. I’m going to do this leap frog method of writing for this draft just to see how it works out for me after doing so many first drafts in the NaNoWriMo style.

Not that I’ll ever stop doing NaNo. I’m addicted to that self-competition. And I like revising a crappy first draft into something better. It’s a winner all-around. But, I also think I should explore as many methods as possible. It’s all in the pursuit of getting better.

I also intend to revisit The World (Saving) Series. I do not deny that I hit a wall when it came to revisions because while I knew significant changes needed to be made and I had a good idea what they were, I also felt like the manuscript was lacking something. Between work on The Ivy Novel (which has a slight connection to Series) and the magic of me getting ideas in the shower, I think I found my gimmick for the book. I want to test it out on the first few chapters of the revised manuscript to see how it works.

I’m looking forward to working on these two projects. I need to stop avoiding the work it takes to produce a good novel manuscript in favor of the more instant gratification of the short story.

It’s time for me to long-haul this with some focus.

Writing–October Projects

It’s getting into my writing busy season.

NaNoWriMo is coming up, which means I’ve got to start planning for it. The loose idea I’m kicking around right now is another Stanley novel called American Vampires. It would involve Stanley, Neda, and Nathan hunting down a trio of, well, American vampires that may or may not exist and may or may not be living by the unwritten vampire code (it’s all hearsay and Nathan’s the one doing most of the hearing and saying and since Stanley doesn’t trust Nathan, well…).

I’m also going to continue revising The World (Saving) Series. I finally got chapter one done after starting over. It’s still not great, but it’s a lot closer to what it needs to be and it’s good enough that I can move on.

Also on tap is more work on The Outskirts site. I need to, at the very least, get some bios up on some of the characters that inhabit the universe and try scratching out some ideas on some of their stories. I’m not expecting miracles when it comes to getting anything accomplished, but I need to get something done. It can’t just sit there.

And lastly (told you it was my busy season), I’ve got an idea for a memoir and I’m going to start jotting down some ideas for it. I have no idea if I’ll even write it, but it’s not going to hurt anything if I do some brainstorming on it. Who knows? If I decide not to do it, I’ll at least have something to come back to if I change my mind.

So, those are the writing projects on tap for October. I’ve got to get my butt out of low gear and into high.