The Recap – November 2018

Bloggos,

Video games are how I decompress, and apparently I really needed to decompress this weekend. I completely missed the fact that Saturday was the first of the month and spaced on writing up my usual monthly recap post! I’m so sorry for the delay.

November Goals

  • Write 800 words/dayLogo_of_National_Novel_Writing_Month
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Keep Reading!

How’d I do?

  • Write 800 words/day
    • YES! This was a really big win for me and I am still doing (exhausted) happy dances.
  • Continue short story submissions
    • Yep! Both Lifelike and That Which Illuminates Heaven were submitted to various magazines in November.
  • Keep Reading!
    • Um… Yes! I read four titles in November, more than I thought I did.

Total Monthly Word Count: 25,069

November was intentionally straightforward. Three bullet points are not remotely daunting, but the prospect of writing 25,000 words sure as hell is. I needed to keep the docket relatively clear in order to make time and mental space for the giant hurdle I’d set for myself.  And it worked.

Did you see that word count? Did ya? It’s the most I’ve written in a single month in all of 2018 and I am ecstatic about it. I worked hard, stayed up later than I should, drank a TON of coffee, and committed myself to making the time to make my goals, which is the entire point of National Novel Writing Month. So, that was a wild success!

Screen Shot 2018-12-03 at 12.37.27 PM

As for submissions, my stories continue to do well but not quite well enough. It’s an emotional rollercoaster with every email notification, but it’s getting easier. I think I’m becoming desensitized. Which, if that could hurry the eff up, that’d be great. The sooner I don’t feel the sting of rejection, the better.

And then there was the reading. Despite my four titles and my one book review, I don’t feel very successful on this front. I tried to read A Map of Days, and had to abandon it because I simply wasn’t motivated to pick it up. I am on the cusp of doing the same for Skyward, although I am motivated to read it, only too late. I’m out of time with it and there are a slew of holds on it. I’m going to move on to Lies Sleeping and buy Skyward so I can read it at my leisure.

Adding two books to my Did Not Finish pile in November does not feel good, but I’m not really surprised either. There’s simply too much going on in the month for me to feel accomplished at everything I wanted to achieve.

December Goals

  • Write 10k
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Read three more titles!

Another straightforward month. It’s December, a busy time at Starbucks and in my personal life so I want to give myself some wiggle room. The holidays are stressful enough without adding my own unmet expectations into the mix. Besides, I want to end the year on a happy and accomplished note, so I can springboard into 2019 ready to shine!

I’m confident that I will make my reading goal for the year. I only have to read three more titles, and I think two of them are a shoe-in. I just have to pick a third book that will read quick.

Short story submissions will continue until each story finds a home. I am stubborn, infuriatingly tenacious, and there’s a steady supply of ice cream in my house. I will get these stories published!

The writing goal might be a close thing if I let video games get in the way. 10k feels like nothing after the blistering word count of November, but that’s kind of the point. I can’t write at that pace for two months in a row, at least not right now. I’ll just burn out if I try. So, I’m going to dial things back and write a little bit each week. Slow and steady wins the race or something.

Hopefully you’ll see some more book reviews this month, and I’ll get good news about one of my stories. Fingers crossed!

Until later, Blogland!

 

BZ

 

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Wrimo Wrap Up 2018

Hiya, Blogland!

I wanted to take this chance to talk a bit about how my NaNo season went this year. Now, a lot of this will probably end up in my monthly recap for November, but I’ll try to go into a bit more depth here than I do there.

I was really straightforward with my goal for Nano this year: 800 words each day, or 24k words for the month. Now, if I’m being honest, 800 words isn’t all that much to me. When I do sit down to write I almost always pump out at least 1000 words, and usually closer to 2k before calling it quits for the session. In a free day, with proper motivation and focus, I can write 5k before my brain liquifies and dribbles out my ears.

So, 800 felt really doable. Which was the point. I work over 40 hours a week most weeks, and this is the first major writing project I’ve undertaken since working both jobs again. I went from 25 hours or less at work, to 40+. That’s a big change in routine, and I needed to be realistic with myself when setting the goals for Nano if I wanted to do well.

Still, 800/day nagged at me. Was it too easy? Too doable? Should I have stretched for 1000 words a day? Would that have been the better challenge? Truthfully, I don’t know. I think I could have done it, but I would be even more exhausted than I am now, and my recoup time would leak even further into December. I don’t want that. I want to keep working on this novel into the new year, and hopefully finish it by March.

And, well, I’m off to a great start because I made my goal for the month. I wrote 25,069 words in the month of November! It was a struggle and there were a lot of days where I didn’t write at all. Sundays were my most productive days, and that’s directly thanks to the local Write-Ins my Nano Chapter hosted each weekend. I also need to give a shout out to my writer’s discord community, for all the impromptu sprint sessions and encouragement they provided this month. They were a huge help and motivator.

Average words a day: 835
Total Manuscript word count: 25,488

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Here’s the thing about NaNo that so many people seem to miss: it isn’t really about the word count. Yeah, crossing the 50k threshold is one hell of an adrenaline rush, and it’s feels beyond amazing to know you could write so much in so little time. But, it doesn’t matter how many words you vow to write. It only matters that you write them.

National Novel Writing Month is about making time for your writing. It’s about establishing a writing habit and working out that writing muscle. Because it is a muscle. The more often you write, the easier it is to continue to be consistent and productive. If you write in spurts and starts it’s harder to get back into the swing of things and feel like the work you’re producing is actually worth a damn.

I think that’s my one complaint about NaNo. A lot of writers are willing to sacrifice the quality of their writing in order to log the sheer quantity that the terms of the traditional challenge demand. One Wrimo (Nanowrimo participant) confessed that when she’s sprinting, she doesn’t use punctuation. I was floored. How could that even be possible? How could you go back and read it, how could you edit it into what you’d originally intended?

And then she admitted, “I always mean to edit, but I usually never make it back to the novel. I move on to the next one.”

During National Novel Writing Month, the words are king. You are advised never to edit, not even if you decide to change your word choice. Just strikethrough the one you don’t want to use and write in the new one. Every word counts, don’t cut ANYTHING!

But I can’t do that. It’s why my sprints are so comparatively slow. 300-500 words in 15 minutes, maybe just over 600 if it’s a 20 minute sprint. And I think that’s good. But others pound out over 1000 words! It’s mind boggling.

I’d rather write to my usual quality than hoard words on the page like a dragon hoards gold. Nano for me is as much a celebration as it is a challenge. It’s a time for writers to come together and cheer on one another as we all work toward whatever goals we’ve set for ourselves.

And that’s exactly how my month went. Celebrating the love of storytelling that brings us all together and encouraging each other through the struggles of writerdom. And despite the stress of the challenge and the looming holidays, I freaking love it.

If you participated in Nano this year, I hope you enjoyed yourself, and are proud of all the hard work you did to reach your writing goals.

I’ll be back soon with the monthly recap, so keep an eye out for that!

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 47

Oh, Blogland. How does November seem to fly by with ever increasing speed? How has Thanksgiving come and gone already? How am I supposed to get anything done if the whole world just keeps zipping past me?

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Read Audient Void submissions
  • Finish reading A Map of Days
  • WRITE!

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yes. Barely. And let’s be honest, there wasn’t much substance there. But, that’s how I felt this week, relatively substance-less.
  • Read Audient Void submissions
    • …No…
  • Finish reading A Map of Days
    • No. And I finally bit the bullet and moved this book to my “Abandoned” bookshelf on goodreads. It just didn’t grab my attention enough to compete with Nanowrimo and Spyro. I’ve moved on to the next book in my TBR pile.
  • WRITE!
    • YES! Oh my goodness, so much yes!

Weekly Word Count: 8,682

Do you see that word count? Do ya? Holy moly do I feel like a rockstar whenever I think about it. Granted, I’m so tired from all the writing that I don’t feel quite as excited as I probably should about crossing the 24k word mark on my manuscript, but I still feel really good about my progress so far. Less than 1k to go this week to officially make my Nano goal!

With all the writing this week, it really makes sense why I fell behind on everything else. Honestly, I’m not really even mad about it. I’m bummed about the Audient Void submissions, but I should be able to knock those out this week no problem.

Also, I maybe sank more than eight hours into playing the remastered Spyro games… Trevor bought me the Reignited Trilogy as an early birthday present, and I’ve been playing it a bit over the weekend. Thank goodness the majority of my writing was already done by the time I opened my gift!

spyro gif.gif

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Read A.V. submissions
  • Read Skywardskyward.jpg
  • WRITE!

I have a surprising amount of free time this week, which I’m really excited for. It’ll be nice to get caught up on my reading, finish up my writing for the month, and get some chores done around the house.

That’s if I can keep my Spyro time to a healthy level. Trevor bought me the Reignited Trilogy as an early birthday present, and I’ve been playing it a bit over the weekend. Thank goodness the majority of my writing was already done by the time I opened my gift!

So yeah. Writing, lots of reading, and plotting out how to wrap up this year. Can you believe it’s almost over already? We’re we just here, talking about the updates to the blog and all my dreams and hopes for 2018?

Yikes. I think I may be getting old. Time is going WAY too fast these days.

Talk soon, Bloggos.

 

BZ

 

That Time of Year

I love it. Really I do. I love the holidays and the change in the weather and the excuse to be cozy at any given moment. I love fall drinks at Starbucks, and pies, and hot chocolates on weekends shared with the people I care about.

But, I also hate the time all of that demands. It always seems like so much requires my attention during the fall. Work gets busier as the air earns its chill, NaNoWrimo holds me hostage, and then there are the birthdays and holidays that require my attention.

It’s exhausting, and I love it. But, did I mention it’s exhausting?

I have so many things I want to do, and so many of them simply get missed in the shuffle of everything else. And when I’m not actively working on something, odds are I’m asleep. Which, I can’t reasonably blame myself for sleeping, can I? I mean, I suppose I can, but it’s not very realistic. A girl’s gotta sleep sometime.

But, this is mostly just me complaining. I’ll survive. I always do.

How was your holiday weekend? I hope it was everything you wanted and you’re prepared to finish out the year strong!

Talk soon,

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 46

Blogland,

This past week was a weird one. I felt monumentally exhausted all week, until Sunday arrived and I found myself just bubbling over with productive energy.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Barker line edits
  • WRITE!

How’d I Do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Barker line editsthe hanging tree
    • Yes! Finally. Don’t know why they took me so long, but at least now they’re done and I can continue reading the Audient Void submissions.
  • WRITE!
    • YES! Until Sunday I had only written 15 words on my nanowrimo novel, but then I went to the Write-in and joined some sprints in my writer’s discord to churn out the most words of the month yet!

Weekly Word Count: 5,943

So, the blog was pretty active this week, with three posts, including the book review and photo changes across social media. I took a big leap and had professional headshots done and I freaking LOVE them. Sorry if you follow me on multiple platforms and was inundated with my virtual squealing.

The Barker line edits are out the door and off to land on Dan the Designer’s desk, and then Obadiah’s for final approval. I look forward to seeing the final copy. I even managed to get some pleasure reading in this week as well, finally breaking the 100 page mark on A Map of Days, and finishing Monstress vol. 3. I’m hoping to finish reading the Peculiars book this week so that I can move on to the newest Sanderson novel. That one will only take me a couple of days to power through, I’m sure. I tend to inhale his books more than I do read them.Monstress vol 3

But, really, the highlight of this week was the writing. I’ll be honest, I spent the majority of this week avoiding any and all responsibility. I kept waffling on downloading the Spyro Reignited trilogy, and that indecision pretty much paralyzed me. I wanted to play so. freaking. bad. But, I know myself, and I know I won’t get anything else done if I let myself start a new game halfway through Nano.

On Friday, I think, I wrote a little tumblr prompt because I am a weak woman, and when I can’t seem to write the project I should, I write something else instead. That was 700 words-ish, and I think it was enough to remind my brain that we had work to do.

Saturday was Pre-Thanksgiving (aka friendsgiving), so there was no writing, but lots of fun and delicious food to be had.

And then Sunday I wrote over 5,200 words. I stayed up too late, but when you’re on that good of a roll, you don’t stop for something as trivial as sleep! The crazy part, to me, is that I’m already five chapters into this novel. Over 15k words. And really, I still have no idea where it’s going. This is the most panster/discovery novel I have ever written, and at first it was really stressful. Now it’s almost freeing. There are no restrictions on how characters can or should be. No rules as to what happens, no guidelines to hinder the possibilities of this book.

Which, of course, means the revision process will be a complete and utter nightmare. But who wants to think about that when I can think about how the seven Archangels interact with one another when they meet in my protagonist’s outdated kitchen?

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Read Audient Void submissions
  • Finish reading A Map of Days
  • WRITE!

You’d think with the Thanksgiving holiday, I’d have more free time this week. But, sadly, it’s not the case. Today I work at both jobs until 5pm, and then have my usual social engagement. Then tomorrow is another of day of both jobs until the evening. Wednesday I have a bit of free time, but it will all be devoted to prepping for Thanksgiving. Then the holiday itself, which will be busy and relatively screen free.

Black Friday I work and will finally have some free time in the afternoon. Each year my Nano chapter challenges Wrimos to write 10k words on Black Friday. I came SO close last year, crossing 9k, but I don’t plan to try for it this year. Instead, I’ll aim for 5k, since all my other goals are more or less Nano goals cut in half.

Screen Shot 2018-11-19 at 11.30.42 AM
The latest and greatest stats for my nano novel.

Then Saturday is another day with both jobs, and then Sunday is the final Nanowrimo Write-In. I may have to rely on the Write-In once again to hit the week’s word count goal if Friday doesn’t pan out.

So, yeah. Lots of reading this week, and LOTS of writing. We’re entering the home stretch of Nano, and I have just under 10k to go to meet my own personal goal of 24,000 words. Anything over that is just gravy on the mashed potatoes. I’m hoping that somewhere in there I’ll trip over the actual plot of this novel and know where to go in the coming months.

But that’s a discussion for another blog post.

Until later, Bloggos.

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 45

Oi, Bloggos!

This past week was oddly eventful, which of course means I didn’t get all that much done. At least, in my estimation. Let’s see what the blog has to say about it.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Barker line edits
  • Finish reading The Hanging Tree
  • WRITE!

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Nope. Not for the first time this year, but it has been a much rarer occasion than in previous years, so this is still a bummer.
  • Barker line edits
    • …No. BUT, I’ve got them downloaded and should be able to dedicate some serious reading time to them this week.
  • Finish reading The Hanging Treethe hanging tree.jpg
    • Yes! Finished it on Saturday.
  • WRITE!
    • YES! I’m writing pretty consistently, and while it isn’t happening every day, my word count average for November so far is 922. My goal is 800, so that’s rocking steady.

Weekly Word Count: 4,566

So, this last week was a bit of a wash. I got the “important” things done, but at the expense of the other goals. I’m pleased with my word count, although it is about 1k words shy of where I should be. Thank goodness for that 1,100 word cushion I came into Nano with, hehe.

As expected, my reading has slowed, which is unfortunate since there are so many good books out this month. I’ve got a copy of A Map of Days on my nightstand, a copy of Sanderson’s Skyward on the hold shelf waiting for me at the library, plus the next Peter Grant book is out this week and N.K. Jemisin’s short story collection comes out soon!

Yikes. That’s a lot of reading to get done before the end of the year. But, I only need to read three more titles in order to reach my goal of 65 books this year. I’m confident that I’ll pull it off.  Especially since I read The Hanging Tree, WicDiv vol. 7, and Saga vol. 9 this week.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Barker line edits
  • WRITE!

So, all in all, a pretty straightforward week. I’ve got the review for The Hanging Tree to post this week, so I should have no problem with that goal, and with nothing else but writing, I should FINALLY be able to get those line edits done for Obadiah. Then I can get back to reading The Audient Void submissions.

This is a good opportunity to remind you all that The A.V. is open for submissions through the 15th of November! There’s just a few days left to send your Weird/Dark Fantasy poems and short stories to us!

a map of days

I’d love to say I could finish reading A Map of Days this week, but it’s almost 500 pages long, and with my work schedule and Nano there’s just no way I can get it done in a week. But, if it’s anything like its predecessors, it will go fast for its size. Fingers crossed.

Until later Blogland,

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 44

Bloggos!

Fall has finally arrived in Salem. The clouds and rain and the wind have all showed up today, greeting Monday with a pleasant dreariness.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish That Which Illuminates Heaven
  • Continue editing The Charlatan and the Coinshot
  • Barker line edits
  • Continue Research/Outlining
  • WRITE!!!!

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yep. The Nano prep post is up now!
  • Finish That Which Illuminates Heaven
    • Yes! I am super proud of this story and have sent it out for submission!
  • Continue editing The Charlatan and the Coinshot16f84a70-8aac-4b1c-8a3d-58061c8b2146 (1)
    • Yep. Got these edits all done, and the first chapter is up now!
  • Barker line edits
    • No. Sad to say, but I’ll have to work on them this week.
  • Continue Research/Outlining
    • Yes. I got more research on the catholic church and demons in general done.
  • WRITE!!!!
    • Oh man. Did I ever? My goal was 800 words a day, and I made it!

Weekly Word Count: 4,446

In four days I wrote more than I did in the entire month of October. I’d say that’s a win. It’s been an interesting NaNo already, mainly because I’m not used to writing an original novel for the month. Last year I wrote fanfic, and the words came much easier then than they do now. It’s also been years since I set out to write a new novel so I’m trying hard not to let my mind overthink and stymie my own work. Easier said than done.

I sent That Which Illuminates Heaven out on Friday, but I won’t hear anything back on it until the first week of December. It’s kind of nice to know to expect silence. It keeps me from obsessively checking The Submission Grinder as much. Of course, Lifelike and The Cost of Rain are both still out, so I’m never far from clicking the bookmark in my browser.

The Charlatan and the Coinshot is off to a decent start. Chapter two posts tomorrow, so hopefully there will be more interest as the month wears on.

It was my husband’s birthday this weekend, and we had a great time playing boardgames with friends and watching the Blizzcon keynote and live performances. We also spent a good chunk of time watching season two of Castlevania, which I highly recommend. And I managed to make some time for reading!

castlevania.gif

Whew. That was a lot of work. Now it’s time to do it all over again.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Barker line edits
  • Finish reading The Hanging Tree
  • WRITE!

A little more straightforward this week, mainly because all of my personal editing projects are done. I just need to get the line edits for Obadiah done, and then it’s just reading and writing this week! I do have some social engagements this weekend, so I need to be sure to pad my word count earlier in the week to give myself some wiggle room.

I think I’ll have a book review up this week, simply because The Hanging Tree is so good so far, that I doubt I’ll be able to keep away from it.

Until then, Blogland!

 

BZ