Well November is over and December is here! I really can't believe how fast this year has went. As many of you know, last month was National Write a Novel Month. A month where people write like crazy and try to get a 50K novel written. Now as I have talked about here on this blog before, I have been struggling with words this year. Like really struggling. So it should come as no surprise when I tell you that I did not hit 50K. Not even close. However that does not mean that I am seeing November as a failure. No! Far from it! I got a lot of writing done for me. I more than doubled my word count from October in November. I got all three rounds of edits for my Christmas novella Very Friendly Beasts done. I managed to get Very Friendly Beasts up for preorder. I managed to keep this blog active with three blogs a week. I worked some on this website and marketed my work. I also wrote and submitted three short stories for some upcoming anthologies, so look for some announcements coming soon on those! And I also got a good start on a novel that I have been wanting to write for a long time. So did I hit the NaNo goal? No. Did I make personal strides to getting back in the writing groove? You bet I did and I am counting that as a huge win!
So this is a new month, what are my writing goals now that NaNo is done? I want to write two more short stories for anthologies. I just love short fiction and love being part of anthologies, enough so that I made a separate book page to share all the anthologies that I have been lucky enough to be a part of here on this website. I also want to continue work on my romantic fantasy Quest for Self and my NaNo novel Rivals Out of Time.
Well it's a new month and I have new goals as well as many of the same goals that I always have. One of those is my continued quest to find balance and stability in my life and work. I am inching closer to this ongoing goal. My day job is one place where I feel I am succeeding. I have a normal Monday-Friday schedule that is letting me structure my week and days in a way that allows for more writing and art time. I go to work, do my job, then go home. No one calls me at home, I can leave work at work and that is such a relief. This structure is starting to carry over into my writing life. I am writing every day after work, or working on writing related work like my website or marketing. Surprisingly having consistency is what I think I was missing. I am writing more now that I have actual hours blocked out for writing. I am still not where I would like to be in my writing work/production, but I am moving in the right direction. I am treating my writing like part of my job, something that I have time to do each and every day. I am feeling more professional in my approach at last and am going to continue learn and grow in my writing career and in my life. I want to put out not only more work, but better work. I have not found the balance that I seek yet, but changes in the day job situation was a major step in getting there. Making scary and sometimes hard decisions is the best way to grow and change your life sometimes.
Now back to writing for it is NaNoWriMo and I am hoping to actually write 50,000 words this month! That's more than I have written in the last 4-5 month combined, but I am optimistic that I now have the schedule that I need to write like mad once more.
The month is over half over and I am proud to say that I am slowly getting back into a writing routine that is working for me. I recently started a new job that means I work a normal schedule and have time to write in the later afternoons and some on the weekends. I had to make some tough decisions, but I have found a schedule that I think will really work for me for the long term. This means that I am finally upping my productivity a little. I am proud that I have finished the final edits for The Discovery of a Lifetime and it will be released as scheduled next week! I also finally got my Christmas shifter novella into my editor, we are going to work hard to get it out by the end of November or early December at the latest. I also wrote a short children's story for a friend's blog. I am on the sequel for Quest for Redemption, titled Quest for Self. I am also working on notes for my NaNoWriMo fantasy novel. Life is busy but I am feeling more like myself at last.
Earlier this month I talked a little about writing and organization and I am now figuring out what I can personally change to get my own writing more organized. First off I have developed a spreadsheet to help me track my daily and monthly writing and words. This way I can see concrete proof of what I do each month, the progress that I am making. I am going to have a spot for my blogs, am going to count the words in each project I am working, see what kind of work that I am actually doing.
I am also going to attempt to outline a little more on each of my upcoming projects. Maybe not in depth outlines, but I want to have some general scenes already worked out as I begin writing. I want to see if this helps me write more and faster. I have a day job, health issues to worry about, a husband and extended family, art, basically a busy life and I want to learn to optimize my writing time since I have so many stories that I want to get out into the world.
I am also starting to track my social media work, which is something that is indie authors need to do in order for people to discover our work. I am working on marketing more. I am trying to build towards more success. Revamping my writing and marketing processes are just one more step in bettering my life, which is my main focus for the rest of this year and beyond.
A big question for any writer is when is my story done? How do you know that your story is done? How many drafts do you do before you consider your work ready to head out in the world? Do you use beta readers and if so, when in the process? Does having a deadline make it easier to send your word babies off to your editor or publisher? Do you get stuck revising so that you are never really finished?
I am going to attempt to answer these questions for myself here. Personally I consider my story done when I don't feel like I can make it any better at the moment. If as an author with my current skills and with three rounds of edits with my editor I feel that this is my current best work then yes, I am finished. As far as drafts, since I use word and track changes when working with my editor, I feel that my one draft is constantly evolving into the next draft. I make changes almost every time I get on the computer to work on a piece. I do use beta readers often, usually before I send it to an editor or publisher, kind of after I have self edited as much as I can. Having a deadline really does help me finish a project. Even when I self publish I give my editor a date by which I will get my manuscript to her and then tell her to smack me metaphorically speaking if I miss that deadline. It really helps and my editor is more than happy to get on my case to finish a story. This stops me from revising forever.
Personally I don't think that any story of mine is ever completely done, just as done as it can be at this moment. Sometimes you just have to stop revising and stressing and know that you have put out the best work that you possibly can as the author you are now.
This week I am focusing on lessons learned at Bubonicon and today I am going to talk a little about writing and organization. I attended a panel about work flow and this was one of the main topics covered. Stuff like the classic are you a plotter or a pantser, do you outline your work, etc. The panel was split on these subjects, but one thing that everyone stressed was that if you plot or not, if you like to outline or loath them, you still need some sort of organization to become a successful author.
Now I personally am a pantser who rarely outlines anything. I usually have a general idea of where the story is heading and know the ultimate end, but everything else is all a surprise to me when writing. It keeps writing fun for me, but that is not to say that I am completely unorganized. I might not outline, but I usually have some notes about scenes that need to take place. When it comes to writing series, I keep pretty detailed notes about what happens in each book so that I can keep expanding the world. I guess you could say I sometimes reverse outline books so that I can write a good sequel when the time comes. Reverse outlining is also a good way to see if something just doesn't fit in the flow of the story. That is one of the reasons I am considering doing this for all of my books, even stand alone ones.
To my fellow authors out there, how do you organize your writing? Do you plot? Do you outline? What do you think about reverse outlining? Let me know in the comments.
As I am planning out my writing for the rest of the year and my tentative releases for next year, I must say that I have entered a very fantasy and sci-fi heavy part of my writing career. Will there still be some romance? Of course, I have the two sequels to Quest for Redemption that I hope to have out next year and while those are fantasy novels they are pretty heavy on the romance. I hope to have about 6 more Gods Behaving badly books out between this year and next. But I also have some hard fantasy novels involving dragons and dragon bornes, and wizards that I want to work on. And I have an epic time travel novel that I have been wanting to write for a couple years now. Well I think that the time is now! I hope that my fans will follow me into these new genres, that they will enjoy the wild ride that I am about to take them and myself on!
As an author I of course understand the importance of reading, though even I sometimes struggle to fit reading into my busy schedule. I have been making a real effort though to read more this past month and I must say that I am happier for it. Not only has making time for reading giving me some time to relax and rest, something that I truly need right now. I am very bad at making time for myself and this has helped my mental and physical health. Reading more has also helped me with my writing. As I have talked about before, this year has not been my best on the writing front, but I feel that I am finally getting back to a good schedule and am finally getting some decent words down. Not only do I plan on finishing two novellas, but also at least one novel before the end of the year. But despite all of that, I am going to keep reading as much as I can and of course posting reviews here on my blog.
How are we already over halfway through the month? Time seems to be flying by. I have had a major health setback, so I am not quite as far as I would like to be this month but I have still been having a decent writing month. First round edits for The Discovery of a Lifetime are back to my editor and I should have the second round next week sometime. I am hoping to have a mid-September release date soon! I had a flash fiction story accepted for an anthology and will have more on that release when a date is set. And as for actually writing, I am about a third of the way done with my Christmas novella that I hope to get to my editor by the end of the month. Hopefully I have a couple good days of writing and will catch up. I even have found a cover for the Christmas novella that I need to purchase this month as well. So all in all a fairly productive writing month thus far despite some setbacks, I really can't ask for more I suppose.
We are already are half way through July and really summer if we are thinking about it. Where is the time going? While I am not the biggest fan of summer, I can't believe that it is flying by so quickly. Well, fast time aside, I thought that I would start giving little writing updates at the middle of each month. I am still struggling to get back into a writing groove and I think putting this out there will help keep me accountable.
So July is slowly getting me on track. I am doing much better writing wise than the past few months that is for sure. First off, I have been able to keep blogging three times each week so far. That is a good thing to get me back in the habit of writing on a regular basis.
I have been brainstorming several ideas and I think there are some real gems in my idea notebook right now. I am even sharing my ideas with my husband and getting feedback, trying to just get the creative ideas flowing and have things to write about. One of those ideas already turned into a completed 750 word flash fiction short story that has been submitted and will hopefully be accepted for publication soon. Fingers crossed. I am also working on a horror story at the moment to be submitted before the end of the month and another story to be turned in mid next month. When all is said and done I should have written over 10,000 words this month. That may not seem like a lot, but after the year I have had it seems like a triumph to me.
I am also working on some outlines for a couple of series that I have come up with and am going to work on ideas for my Gods Behaving Badly series and my Quest series. I am starting to really feel excited about writing again and this is a great thing.
Author, artist, jewelry maker and all around creative person. I write in many genres and have a lot of fun doing so. Please take a look around and enjoy!