NaNoWriMo 2020 Update!

If there is one thing I have learned from NaNoWriMo this year, it is that I do not have time to write 50,000 words in one month. And that’s not a complaint or an act of self-deprecation, for which I’m definitely not known.

It’s just an acknowledgment that my life and my priorities have changed since the first few years I participated in NaNo with great success. I’m still happy to be participating, and I’ve made some real progress.

Follow me on NaNo!

Continue reading “NaNoWriMo 2020 Update!”

November Write Day: Time to Refocus

October was a pretty good month. I started off with a long weekend vacation in Rehoboth, DE, which already feels like ages ago, and ended with a rapid turn towards winter weather the last few days. I’ve found it oddly comforting.

Writing was meh, and National Novel Writing Month is now in full swing, but we’ll get to that.

Last Month’s Goals

  1. Write 6,000 words.
  2. Prepare “Uprooted” for next steps.
  3. Continue yoga and workout routine.
  4. Read more.

So how did I do?

Write 6,000 words?

I honestly forgot that 6,000 words was my goal. I had just assumed it was the usual 10,000. I may have been more motivated for this one if I remembered that I shorted my own goal.

I wrote about 2,850 words in October for part 2 of “The Herb Witch Tales”. I’m kind of stuck on larger structural changes that I’ll get to in the next section, but that stymied my creative flow a bit.

Prepare “Uprooted” for publication?

Yes.

Sort of.  If by “prepare” we mean that I confirmed that “Uprooted” is nowhere near ready for publication. (That’s an important step in the publishing process.)

I sent my draft of 38k words to two readers for some feedback, one being Marcy and the other being my editor. I’ve gotten some incredibly insightful feedback, and it’s spurred a lot of note-taking on my part for improvements to make.

But that means I have another round of revisions coming. that’s not a bad thing. It just means it’s still too early to think about publishing right now.

One piece of feedback was that the end of the story didn’t feel like a true resolution — more of a cut-off before an inevitable sequel. That’s not how I wanted “Uprooted” to end. I want a true ending.

And it turns out, I may be in the process of writing that ending right now. Part 2 of this series opens not long after “Uprooted” ends and actually ties off a lot of the loose ends one of my readers pointed out. So the first few thousand words of part 2 may really be my ending to “Uprooted”.

That also means that “Uprooted” is likely to be in the 40-45k word range, much more in novella territory than short story. The more I think about this shift, the more it makes sense. I’ll just also need to shift where part 2 begins and maybe some of the early plot set-up.

Continue yoga and workouts?

Yes, mostly. I’ve definitely been doing yoga and working out more days than not, which is really the goal. I’ve also started doing longer and more intense yoga sessions, which has been a huge boost.

I’ve found myself sore in the day or two afterwards, which is a good feeling.

Read more?

Yes! I finished two books in October (on Audible), including one that I will be reviewing next week. It’s still difficult to find time to read a physical book, but I’ve managed to work Audible listening into more daily activities, even if it’s just for 5 or 10 minutes at a time. That has really helped.

Goals for November

  1. NaNoWriMo! Rather than writing 50,000 words, my real NaNo goal is to finish the first draft of part 2 of “The Herb Witch Tales”, in whatever form it takes. I’m writing this draft in a journal, so even if I decide to shift part of it over to part 1, it would be amazing if I could bring part 2 to a meaningful close.
  2. Yoga and working out. I’ve been pretty good about this, so I just need to be disciplined and carve out the appropriate time during the day for longer yoga sessions.
  3. Not lose my mind. With work stress, election stress, and creeping holiday stress, I just want to have a good month.

Steve D

September Write Day: Marching Onward

Update: I somehow wrote and published this post without actually setting any goals for this month… so I fixed that. See my goals at the end.

August was tough for reasons other than anything writing- or family-related. I took last week off from writing a real post because I just did not have the mental energy. I’m not yet convinced September is going to go much better, but I’m excited to share some news in this post. Continue reading “September Write Day: Marching Onward”

August Write Day: Energy Lacking

July strangely felt like a long month, but I still can’t believe it’s August. Summer is almost over! And I haven’t been to the beach! I’m hoping to have an extended beach weekend in October, when there would be fewer crowds and (ideally) still some warm weather. But we’ll see.

I procrastinated soooo much in July. Maybe I cursed myself by declaring the Return of the Summer Doldrums. I also feel like I haven’t had a free weekend in months. We’ve been going pretty hard at home improvement things for like eight straight Saturdays.

Still, I did halfway decently with my goals.

Continue reading “August Write Day: Energy Lacking”

July Write Day: The Return of the Summer Doldrums!

June was a slow month on the writing front, and kind of on every front. It’s yet another month that passed by so quickly, yet I can’t say with much confidence what I did.

We did a ton of work on our cellar, I suppose. It’s an old brick foundation with some cement, and we spent three or four weekends in a row filling in gaps and cracks with hydraulic cement, then painting over it all with water-sealing paint. We’re still not done.

As much as that stuff needs to get done, it definitely ate up my weekend downtime. But, no excuses!

Last Month’s Goals

  1. Finish the second draft of “Uprooted”.
  2. Write 12,000 words.
  3. Continue reading.
  4. Continue doing yoga daily (or almost daily).

So how did I do?

Finish the second draft of “Uprooted”?

No! Ugh, I have no idea what I did in June… aside from watching Community and sealing and painting our cellar.

What’s crazy is that I did not have an objectively bad writing month, it just looks so compared with the stellar progress I made in April and May. I wrote 4,031 words in June, but quite a bit of it was rewriting a pivotal section that I simply did not like from my first draft.

I had transcribed it the previous month, but then found that I couldn’t continue. It just didn’t feel right. So after mulling it over for way too long, I decided to change the scene entirely. That process of rethinking this one section of the story really slowed me down in the first couple weeks of June.

The rest of the time, I was just lazy. We’re going on a trip this weekend to a (socially distanced, non-touristy) family vacation home, and I’ve been looking forward to it all month. My brain started to slip into vacation mode, which always seems to happen to me around this time of year. Anyone remember this post?

Anyway, I didn’t make nearly as much progress as I had wanted to on “Uprooted”, but I’m not going to expend energy beating myself up about it. Maybe this was the mental hiatus I needed. Plus, I’m looking forward to starting part 2 longhand this weekend, while sitting by a lake sipping tasty concoctions.

Write 12,000 words?

I just realized that I had separate goals for finishing a draft and total word count, but the previous section flows pretty well and I’m not changing it. See above.

Continue reading?

Yes, but not as much as I may have liked. I’m just about finished my second Audible Original for the month, which always run short, but I haven’t read much in the way of paper pages recently. I’m just not yet into the fantasy book I had picked up, but I’m going to keep plugging away at it.

Strangely, a random post from a friend on Facebook led me down a rabbit-hole of Warhammer 40,000 related content, so I’ve been reading a ton of articles on a fan site. I started with the Night Lords and keep finding more things to read. Man, I miss that game. So expensive, though.

Continue doing yoga?

Yes! My one big achievement in June! I haven’t done it every day, but it has definitely been most days. I’m still using Sarah Beth Yoga on YouTube, and I now have a few favorites I’ll go back to for specific types of exercise, focusing on specific areas, etc. But, I’ve branched out a lot to and have made an effort to try new videos each week.

What’s great about yoga is that my workout can change depending on my mood. Some days I need high-intensity strength training. Some days I’m sore and want to loosen up. Other days, I just want to feel relaxed. Yoga gives me all of that, which has been incredible for my mental health as much as physical.

Goals for July

  1. Actually finish “Uprooted — The Herb Witch Tales #1”. I don’t think I’ll have a problem finishing. I’m now over a bit of a plot hump that coincided with the summer doldrums, and I genuinely want to complete this draft.
  2. Write 10,000 words. I’m going back to basics. Word counts sometimes put the wrong kind of pressure on my writing. I don’t care what I write for part 1 as long as I finish. Drafting part 2 longhand will be a longer process, especially starting out, so I’m aiming lower than last month.
  3. Continue with yoga and hit the gym. My gym is open with social distancing policies in place, so I want to get back into weight training. The good news is that I feel physically ready to do so, without the pressure of jumping into it too fast. For the first time in 15 years, weight training is now the complement to my exercise staple: yoga.
  4. Find a way to read more. Listening to audiobooks are basically the only thing I miss about driving all the time, but I can definitely be doing more. I still need to pad my 2020 reading goal for GoodReads posterity.

Steve D

June Write Day: #Gains

I can’t really tell if May flew by or dragged its feet. On one hand, I can’t believe it’s already June, with summer weather in full swing in MD. On the other, it feels like a lot has happened in the last month, both personally and otherwise.

My short take on current protests around the US:

Black Live Matter.

Now then, onto events primarily taking place at the simple new desk pictured above. Continue reading “June Write Day: #Gains”

May Write Day: Onto the Second Draft!

April flew by, but I’m pretty happy with where I ended up. I ended up deciding to shift my goals mid-month, and I think it’s important to be flexible where possible.

For instance, my now more chaotic work area pictured above. My desk is sitting in the middle of my office as I try to rearrange the furniture and prepare for a much smaller desk in my ever-shrinking office/storage closet. Continue reading “May Write Day: Onto the Second Draft!”

April Write Day: Writing in Quarantine

March has been weird for everyone, I’m sure. Maryland, my home-state in the US, has been under a state of emergency with escalating degrees of a shutdown for at least three weeks.

My wife and I are incredibly fortunate to both still be working. I am working from home, and she is considered an essential employee for a healthcare institution. (She works in a lab, so she’s not on the front lines of the pandemic response, like most doctors or nurses are.) My son is out of daycare for the time being, and I haven’t left my house in a week.

I’d be happy to talk about life under quarantine if you’re interested, but not in this post.

This post is about writing! And other goals. Continue reading “April Write Day: Writing in Quarantine”