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

Finding a Way to Enjoy Your Story

Creativity Sessions writing process. Evening Satellite Publishing.

I don’t always enjoy the story I’m writing. There, I said it. Sometimes, the story doesn’t feel right, or it doesn’t excite me, and it’s just not working the way I had intended it to. And I start to dislike it… maybe even resent it a little for taking up so much of my head space and typing capacity.

However, there is one simple reason that I think lies at the heart of not enjoying the story you’re writing: you haven’t figured out what to like about your story yet. Continue reading “Finding a Way to Enjoy Your Story”

Leaning into the Discovery Draft

I’ve been known to self-edit when I write… a lot. For the first draft of WoEM, I think I wrote and rewrote the first couple of chapters three or four times before I made any real progress on the story.

I’ve been knee-deep in the discovery draft of my short stories for a couple months, and it’s taken a while to convince my brain that it’s only the discovery draft.

So I just wanted to talk about some things to keep in mind as you write a discovery draft. Continue reading “Leaning into the Discovery Draft”

When the Doubt Creeps in

I had totally planned to write about marketing strategies this week, but I am mentally drained. Next week.

For now, I’m just going to unload a bit. A few things coalesced over the last several days that had me in serious doubt about my writing endeavors. As in, I honestly questioned whether I should be in the self-publishing arena, whether I even wanted my stories published at all. That was a first.

Here’s what happened, in the order that I remember it:

  • Writing my short story was extremely slow for me last week, and felt more tedious than anything.
  • I applied to a convention for this autumn, then realized that if I don’t make the cut, it might be difficult for me to get to any conventions this year, which is one of my big goals.
  • In not looking into conventions sooner, not thinking about Awesome Con over the winter, and making unrelated plans that made it too difficult to commit to Awesome Con at this point, I felt like I was already losing out on a big opportunity this year.
  • KDP emailed me saying they found parts of my book published elsewhere online, which is against their terms of service, and they took my book down from their market

That last one still irks me. They claimed to have found places where content in my novel were published online and asked me to provide explanations as to why.

…I have not published a single word of my novel anywhere in any online forum. They asked me to send them links of where they found my book’s content published, as if they were protecting my copyright by not telling me if anyone else was infringing on my copyright.

I sent them four links, two of which were on this site, one on YouTube, and one on Wattpad, and told them that I used my cover image in marketing materials, which is… kind of… what you do when you publish a book.

I then emphatically asked that they identify any other places they had allegedly found my book published online, because I was terrified that someone had stolen my story.

They replied thanking me for my cooperation, confirmed that my book would be made live on their platform again, and gave me no other information!

What the hell?

Am I supposed to assume that the four places I use my cover image online were what flagged their team to potential copyright infringement of my own book?

Maybe. I haven’t even bothered asking for clarification, because I’m 90% certain I won’t get any.

This episode took place over the course of about 18 hours, but that day-and-a-half had me questioning every decision I had made about writing and publishing stories over the previous six years.

The good news is that I’m mostly over it, I think. The first draft for my short story was bothering me, because I know it’s terrible at this point, and I wasn’t sure how to make not terrible.

But I also know that the first draft is always terrible, and that I just need to get the thing written so I can go back, scribble some notes, and rewrite it. I wrote up a small outline to help me figure out how to get from the middle of the story to the end, so that should make the writing process a little smoother.

Except tonight (Tuesday) because I can barely look straight ahead without my eyes drifting.

The moral of the story is this: You will always find a reason to doubt yourself as a writer. Sometimes, the universe gives you several reasons all at once! Take a moment to breathe, and then find a way around it.

I can still publish this short story this year. I can still attend a convention or two. And I can do some quick Google searches to make sure no one has stolen my book, even if it’s just for momentary peace of mind.

Steve D

February Write Day: Moving Along

January went by pretty quickly, but I feel pretty good about how I’ve started off the year. I was on a pretty good rhythm with both writing and going to the gym.

Last week, I attended a four-day seminar at work, which included later-than-usual nights and a couple dinners. It was a great time, but it threw me off my routine a little bit. I should be able to jump back in pretty easily though.

Continue reading “February Write Day: Moving Along”

June Write-Day: Summer is Looking Up!

May turned out to be an interesting month, although the first half is a blur to me. Honestly, most of the good parts happened in the last two weeks.

We had a nice weekend at the family lakehouse, where our son was baptized by his great-uncle the pastor. The baptism itself was a nice at-home affair, and was more about the family gathering than anything else. It also served as a great excuse to go boating and lounge in the sun, two of Teddy’s favorite activities (see above). Continue reading “June Write-Day: Summer is Looking Up!”

April Write Day: Progress at Last

March felt like a long month, likely because I spent much of it at home. I am still unemployed, but I was able to use my wide-open schedule to make some legitimate progress on The Warden of Everfeld: Legacy.

But how did my other goals for the month fare???? Find out, next! Continue reading “April Write Day: Progress at Last”

Don’t Sweat the First Draft

Writing the first draft of your manuscript is tough. I think it’s easily the hardest part of the entire publishing process. Not only are you trying to create a plot with authentic characters in a believable setting, but you want it to sound good. There’s a constant pressure to write something worthwhile, for you and for your future readers.

However, there is one thing I constantly have to remind myself of before I get bogged down in perfecting my first draft: don’t sweat it so much.

Continue reading “Don’t Sweat the First Draft”