Two years ago I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, and it worked for me – I hit the 50,000 word goal by the end of July and pushed on to complete the first draft of my novel in August. Since then? I’ve been working with a critique group to revise the draft, making it better all the time. I’ve almost gotten all the way through the draft with them, and expect them to be reading the last chapter for the first time in a couple of weeks.
So now I’m going to try camping again. This time it doesn’t make sense to set a word-count goal. Instead I’m setting a time-on-task goal: 30 hours (almost, but not quite, an hour a day in July). I’m also thinking of it as a chapter a day, since I think my book will have 25-30 chapters when I’m done putting it all back together.
If it all works out as I hope, I’ll have a completely revised version to share with my critique buddies in August. Wouldn’t that be something?
Wish me luck.
Yes, I’m still working on my book. That was actually the original focus of this blog, way back when it started, and it’s still part of what I do here, though I’ve branched out and most of my posts are on other things. Today I get to connect the writing-a-novel thread with the weekly-photo-challenge thread in one image.
About 18 months ago I visited the real-world spot where most of the action in my book takes place, and I wrote at the time about how useful this visit was. For today’s photo challenge I’m sharing one image from the trip, one that shows what the view might be like from my fictional hotel.This is the vista of Lake Ontario from the Devil’s Nose bluff, and the sign warning me to keep away from that edge. It was good advice. The drop to those frigid waves is about 20 feet (around 6 meters for those of you in more scientifically enlightened places), and it would not be easy to climb back up the muddy bank, especially if you’re wet and shivering!
In other ways, though, I don’t want to keep away from the bank. There are times when the whole idea of writing a novel is terrifying. Maybe that’s part of why I’ve taken so long to get from finished first draft to first revision. I blame it on other things (taking on extra responsibilities at work, preparing for my daughter’s wedding in JUST FOUR WEEKS), but we all know that I could carve out more time for this if I really tried. There’s an edge there that’s scary. So now I want to tell that sign to go jump in the lake – I will NOT keep away from bank. I will go to that bank, right up to that edge, and finish that book.
Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge: Danger!
On today’s Wednesday Words, I’m mostly giving you other people’s words, not my own. I want to share some recent blog posts related to creativity. Enjoy!
First, Roz Morris, in her Nail Your Novel blog, posted her inspiring Writer’s Manifesto for 2017: Take Your Imagination Seriously. We’re writers! Imagination is our main tool and purpose, but we tend to be sheepish about it. This is all just pretend, after all. But no, Morris says – we have to step up and welcome our imagination, fight for it, be proud of it. Amen! So now I’m all fired up to get serious about imagination. But how?
Here’s how: 8 Ways to Improve Creativity, posted by Beth Nelan on the Writer’s Edit blog. She gives a series of specific techniques that can make any of us more creative. They range from the simple action of looking up (and around) to take in more of the world than we usually do, to more involved actions like taking courses or traveling the world. Yes, these are excellent ideas that can give any of us a creativity boost.
Coincidentally, I just discovered a blog aimed at my day job, but with ideas that any of us can use: The Creative Professor. Risa Stein posts frequent messages about creativity in the classroom. I can use them in how I teach, but they are also valuable in my writing as well. Here’s the most recent post as of right now: Crappy Pictures are Awesome. She talks about how fearful we all are that others are judging us, and our failures will be on display for all to see. Better to keep our thoughts to ourselves, stick just to what’s safe and expected, right? This kills creativity. Don’t worry if your pictures, or your ideas, seem crappy. I’m reminded of a frequent exhortation from a choral director I know: “Be right or be wrong, but be bold!”
How do you nurture your creativity? What helps you take it seriously? How can you make sure to do more of that in the weeks and months to come? Pick a creativity-bolstering activity and make a pledge to do more of that.
This is not a political or economic post – it’s this week’s Wednesday Words. I’m reblogging something I read today on the 10 Minute Novelist that really resonated with me, about how you can dream big in just 10 minutes a day. I did some math and found that 10 minutes is 1% of a nominal 16-hour waking day. Can’t I manage to devote just 1% of my time to this writing thing I claim to be committed to? You would think so, wouldn’t you?
I’m not one to make new year’s resolutions. Why commit to an important change just because we managed to get through another solstice? But this is something that I really should be able to do, even in the midst of a very busy life. Just 10 minutes a day. That’s not much; but it will be enough.
So here’s my pledge to myself: I’ll schedule at least 10 minutes of my day, every day, to working on my novel, starting today. I pledge to do this for at least three months, after which I’ll review what happened to see whether I want to renew the promise. I’ll post my success or failure to live up to this plan each week as a footnote on the Wednesday Words message. You’ll be my witnesses, which is important because knowing I have witnesses may help me stick with my promise.
Here’s to becoming part of the 1%. What do you think – want to join me there?
This blog is supposed to be about my author’s journey, right? That’s why it’s called WordWacker; I’m slogging through a jungle of words, looking for the right ones and slashing away at the wrong ones. I haven’t posted anything about the book in weeks, though, so it’s about time for an update. Continue reading
I’m working my way through my revisions – but very, very slowly. I keep thinking, “Yes, I need to do that, only right now I need to do this, so I’ll get to the revision tomorrow.” But you know what? Tomorrow never comes. Continue reading
What’s been happening with the novel lately? I’ve been talking about other things (Photo Challenges, Flash Fiction Contests) and not so much about the book. Here’s the update about where I am on that path. Continue reading
This is the start of a new college semester where I teach. I wear this button on the first few days, to invite new students to ask for help as they try to find their way around a very confusing place. Today, I’m thinking about optimism and new beginnings. Continue reading
It’s time for my November check-in with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, the lovely mutual aid society that connects those of us struggling with our words. This month’s awesome co-hosts are Stephen Tremp, Karen Walker, Denise Covey, and Tyrean Martinson. Thanks to the whole support group!
I’m a lot less insecure right now than I was 24 hours ago, because I did it – I read from my work to others for the very first time at the monthly meeting of R-SPEC. I promised last month that I would, and I did! From this experience I learned three important things. Continue reading
Two birds with one post: a response to this week’s Daily Post photo challenge: Boundaries, and to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (hosted this time byTB Markinson, Tamara Narayan,Shannon Lawrence, Stephanie Faris, and Eva E. Solar). I’m an insecure writer trying to understand the boundaries, outside and inside, between me and my writing goals.