The Recap – March 2019

March was a crazy month of travel adventures, writing, reading, and working so so much. Considering the utter derailment of my routines thanks to the Cincinnati trip, I’m pretty impressed with my output this month.

March Goals

  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Read one short story/day
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Keep reading!

How’d I do?

  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
    • No. BUT! I got really super-di-duper close. If I take out the six days of vacation/travel in the middle of the month, I wrote 491 words a day. So… Win?
  • Read one short story/daywinning gif
    • OMG YES! This was my favorite thing about this month and I’ve screamed my overtures from the twitter rooftops. You can see the full list of stories on the What I’m Reading page.
  • Continue short story submissions
    • Yes! Both “That Which Illuminates Heaven” and “Lifelike” went out to new markets in March and “The Cost of Rain” is still out from the end of January, so fingers crossed everybody!
  • Keep reading!
    • Yep! I read four titles in March. Not a stellar performance but on track with the rest of the year so far.

      Total Monthly Word Count: 12,276

Last month I was really concerned about the time suck Anthem was going to be. Turns out, that wasn’t a concern. The game, while good, failed to pull me in like I thought it would. I enjoyed the story, and only have one mission left before I can call it finished and mentally move on. Which is perfect timing, because Trevor and I have discovered a new couch co-op (where you play together on a split screen) called Outward and we love it so far!

The novel is coming along. I’ve struggled with this middle bit, but I’m feeling optimistic going into April. Things are solidifying in my mind as Tavi’s life unravels and she has to pick up the pieces. The end is coming, I just have to hope there’s still enough words between it and now. I need 25k more before I’m willing to say this draft is done.

Reading a short story a day was an absolute delight. I forgot how much I love short stories, and this was a really wonderful reminder that wonderful stories come in all shapes and sizes. Although, Flash Fiction still has a special place in my heart, I can’t get enough of them.

If you missed my little freak out moment the week before, I got a note from one of the magazines that my story “That Which Illuminates Heaven” is being held for consideration by the Co-Editors. That is very exciting news, for a couple of reasons:

  1. The Assistant Editor liked my story enough to recommend it for consideration. They even used the word “enjoyed”. In reference to my story. A human being that reads and evaluates fiction professionally enjoyed my story. As the Assistant Editor for The Audient Void, I know what that means. I’m pretty critical, and a story needs to impress me if I’m going to send it to Obadiah. And that’s at our super niche, if high quality, market. This is a giant, award nominated professional market… *screaming*
  2. This ups my odds of acceptance at least a fraction. While I’m fully aware that receiving a rejection is still MUCH more likely, the story is competitive at this level and could be accepted. *more screaming*
  3. But, the most exciting part is that my odds of getting a personal rejection is MUCH jd faints gifMUCH higher now. And personal rejections are the gold mines of bad news. I LOVE personal rejections. They are so valuable and life-affirming and often lead to tweaks and edits you couldn’t see on your own. Did I mention I love personal rejections? *faints from all the screaming*

I’m trying not to hang all my hopes on this, which is hard because I do believe that this story is something special. There’s a gap between it and other stories I’ve written so far, like I took a giant leap skills-wise when I wrote it. And it’s very dear to me. It’s very much a part of me, I’m there, in the lines in a way I haven’t been in my other works. I took risks and I’m really hoping they will pay off.

So, yeah, I’m a little bit excited anytime I see love for “That Which Illuminates Heaven”.

Reading last month was slow, mainly because I spent most of my reading time with short stories. I managed to read four titles, which I’ll tell you all about in my Reading Round Up later this week.

April marks the true start of spring here in the Pacific Northwest, which means it’s officially hiking season! Expect to see lots of pictures and hear me complaining a ridiculous amount as my friend Laurel drags me across the state in search of wild beauty in remote locations.

Now, then. What comes next?

April Goals

  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Read 1 short story/week
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Keep reading!

Another straightforward month. I need to focus on this novel and give it the time and attention it deserves, especially in the later stages. Like I said, I’m hopeful going forward and am excited to see where this thing takes me over the course of April.

I’m adding in short story reading because I liked it way too much to stop now. But a short story a day really did cut into my long form reading, so a story a week going forward ought to be a good compromise.

As ever, submissions continue. And as ever, I could hear back about any of them any time now. Although, it’d be really nice if something could sell so my stress level could drop at least a little. Please?

That’s April. I’ll be around with the Reading Round Up later this week, and hopefully have a book review for next week!

Until then, Bloggarts.

 

BZ

 

The Payoff of Hard Work

My drive home is short, as far as commutes are concerned. 20 minutes across town. My work is on the north side of town, and I live out south. Last night was mild, and humid as clouds rolled in, which let me drive home with the windows down.

I don’t consider myself an outdoors-y person. Hikes are nice, but I’d rather sit under a tree and read. I’ve always dreamt of kayaking, but it also scares me a little, because I find large bodies of water discomforting. Also, in nature I have to deal with that whole bug pandemic. I’ll pass.

But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t love the outdoors.

I crave the sensation of wind swirling around me, ripping at my hair. Of the sun shining down warmth that my skin will harbor for days. And of that salty fragrance coupled with seaweed that is the ocean.

It’s the details of nature that captivate me. And when I do find myself camping or doing uncharacteristic outdoors activities, I tend to turn into an extreme introvert.

Perhaps I should start by explaining that I am naturally an Introvert. Not uncommon for writers, I would imagine, since we spend a bulk of our time alone. What does that really mean? Introverts gain energy from time alone, spent thinking introspectively, whereas Extroverts gain energy from other people. The more people around, the more energetic the Extrovert becomes.

Yeah, just thinking about more than four people in a room talking to me is exhausting.

But, the quiet of nature, and the totally different perspective of animals, untouched by man, sets my brain buzzing with deep philosophical ideas and questions, and usually, with new fiction.

I’m not the most fun person to have around the camp fire.

Anyway, bringing this thing back around, I drove home with the windows down, inviting the night in to envelop me, and I did some pretty good thinking.

Yesterday I wrote about 2,800 words. I finished chapter 16, started chapter 17, and outlined the end of the book. I reached 49,500 words.

I started seriously working on ‘Cards’ in January. It’s May. I’ll give you a moment to count on your fingers, like I did.

So, that’s not quite five months.

‘Vessels’ ended at 47,704 words, and it took just over 6 months.

So, I felt pretty damn good last night when I realized that all this work is really paying off. I’ve written more words in less time. I am getting better at this novel writing thing, and at sticking to a routine.

I write about four or five days a week. I sit at the computer anywhere from 4-5 hours a day, but I probably only  seriously write 2-3 of those hours. Sometimes less. That has me writing about 8-12 hours a week. If I’m being good.

There were two weeks where I didn’t write a word. Boy was that a mistake.

This is one of those days where I really wished I were writing full time. I could get so much more done! Gah!

But, I had another thought last night that made me feel better in this regard. Brandon Sanderson wrote 13 novels before his 6th one was published. That book was Elantris, the book he’d written for his Masters Thesis. So, if he followed the schooling timeline perfectly, he was probably about my age when he wrote Elantris.

He wrote another SEVEN books before one was published.

I’m on my second book. All this work I’m putting in is for my learning. This is work to get accustomed to pumping out thousands of words a day, and not consider it work. These novels are the early ones, the ones that I’ll look back on fondly, and probably with a little embarrassment.

Maybe.

Or maybe ‘Cards’ is better than even I think. Who knows?

Anyway, what’s left?

Finishing chapter 17 is my goal today. It’s the last chapter before all hell breaks loose in the book. I have until 6pm to write, and I’ll probably finish 17 and get a good chunk of 18 done, if the past few days are any indication.

There are 20 chapters and an epilogue outlined. I’m getting so close to the end!

But, my brain isn’t quite ready to dig in just yet. I ate breakfast, but haven’t had any caffeine. Maybe I should. I’ve emailed caterers, and am scheduling a tasting with one for next week.

There’s so much other stuff competing with my writing time. I’m excited for when this wedding is done, and I can write with less distraction. Plus, I just want to be married already!

I’m still reading at a good rate, which I believe is directly connected to my writing success. If I stop reading I stop writing. And I definitely haven’t stopped reading. The Dark Tower is a fascinating series, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

Anyway, I have work to do.

 

BZ