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 48

Bloggos!

I maybe spent the bulk of my weekend playing Red Dead Redemption and completely forgot that I was not a rough and tumble outlaw trying to eke out a living in the late 1800s in the Wild West. As such, I did not post either of the blog posts I’d hoped to and for that, I’m sorry.

What in tarnation was I supposed to do, anyway?

Last Week

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

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Nope. There was just the one post, actually.
  • Read A.V. submissions
    • Yep! I’m really impressed with the submissions so far, and can’t wait to see what we finally publish.
  • Read Skyward
    • …no. I made some progress, but not nearly as much as I should have, thanks to my galavanting across the virtual plains.
  • WRITE!
    • Yep! This week was pretty much just icing on the cake so any writing was going to put this goal in the black.

Weekly Word Count: 1,434

Image result for red dead redemption gif

So aside from doing my best Billy the Kid impersonation what the heck did I do this week? Well, I wrote a bit, which was enough to tip my word count over my goal for the month, so that’s amazing. I read all of those Audient Void submissions, and have a handful more to read today. I read 80ish pages of Skyward, but it won’t be enough to finish the book before I have to return it on Wednesday. It’s a pretty big book, even if it reads super fast there’s only so much I can accomplish in two days.

I’m thinking if there’s anything else I accomplished this week, but I think this was really it. Madhu and I went for a Walk ‘n’ Talk, we got rained on and sought shelter at Starbucks.

I got a lovely rejection on That Which Illuminates Heaven, and have it out again already. I’m still waiting to hear back about Lifelike and The Cost of Rain. Just that constant, low-key buzz of stress. Forever and ever, amen.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish reading A.V. submissions
  • Read Lies Sleepinglies sleeping
  • Write 2k words

This should be fairly doable, if I can just keep my gaming time down to something like reasonable. Once I return Skyward I’ll be diving into Lies Sleeping, which I know will read very quickly. Writing goals can go back to something like normal. A chapter a week would be ideal, but December is a busy month so I’m giving myself some leeway on that. Besides I did well enough in November that I bought myself a bit of breathing room for this month. But I’ll get more into that in the next post.

Tomorrow is my birthday, which is nice. I already got my present from Trevor, and have been playing it for a week or so now. Spyro is just as much fun as I remembered, and it was a beautiful work of fan service to see my favorite childhood game fleshed out in today’s graphics.

I also commissioned a friend/artist on tumblr as a little gift to myself, and as soon as I get it, I’m sure I’ll post it everywhere I possibly can.

So yeah. You’ll see me around a bit this week, to make up for all the missing posts from last week. And if I’m dedicated, you might just get a book review at the end of the week.

Image result for fingers crossed gif

 

Until then, Blogland!

 

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

 

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

The Recap – October 2018

Bloggos!

It’s November! Whaaaaaaaat? How can that be? It’s NaNoWriMo season already?

whaaaat

What in tarnation did I even do with October?

October Goals

  • Tumblr prompt
  • Edit That Which Illuminates Heaven
  • Research/Outline for NaNo project
  • Keep reading!
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Finish chapter 7 of Sanctuary

How’d I Do?

  • Tumblr prompt
    • Yes. Although, it’s been so long now that I hardly remember doing it.
  • Edit That Which Illuminates Heaven
    • Yes! It took six drafts, but the final proofread is done and ready to be put into the computer. I plan to submit it tomorrow.
  • Research/Outline for NaNo project
    • Yep! Over 4,000 words of research and not a whole lot of outlining. Which is still more than I’d normally do.
  • Keep reading!
    • Yes! I read three books, all of which have been reviewed here.
  • Continue short story submissions
    • Yep. Both Lifelike and The Cost of Rain received rejections this month, although Lifelike did get a really wonderful personal rejection. They have both since been submitted to the next magazine on the list.
  • Finish chapter 7 of Sanctuary
    • YES! It took an age, but I finally made this happen.

Total Monthly Word Count: 2,628

This month was a strange one. It was extremely productive, as you can see from the above list of successes, but I didn’t really feel like I accomplished much in the day-to-day. Writing was minimal, which sucks, but was also the plan.

Editing was in full swing this month, with That Which Illuminates Heaven seeing multiple revisions, a full proofread of The Charlatan and the Coinshot, and reading submissions for The Audient Void (still ongoing).

Reading was slow but consistent. Three novels in a month is nothing to sneeze at and is probably better than the reading that will happen in November.

Submissions are still rolling along. I was just telling my husband how now I’m less anxious about them and increasingly becoming more and more impatient. I’m getting so close, getting wonderful feedback and reaching high levels of consideration. I’m ready for someone to finally say “yes”. Sadly, I know this feeling to be premature. I’ve only submitted 22 times this year, both stories combined, and many stories have to go out to more magazines than that before they’re published. I have a long road ahead of me yet.

Sanctuary is still hanging in there. I’m feeling pretty far away from the project right now, which is logical since I won’t be working on it at all this month. Maybe after two months of posting The Charlatan and the Coinshot I’ll feel a little more energized about this longfic.

November Goals

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

I don’t think there’s really much more to put here. National Novel Writing Month pretty much monopolizes all my time in November. If I can read a couple books and keep up with my short story submissions this month, I’ll be happy.

And, yeah, that’s what’s up. That’s where I’m at on this first day of November. Feeling pretty great about October, even if I didn’t at the time, and looking to ride that momentum and success into and through NaNoWriMo.

Unless I read an entire novel in the next two days, you won’t hear from me again until Monday. You know, weekly goals and whatnot.

Until then, Blogland!

 

BZ

NaNoWriMo 2018 – Prep

Bloggos,

I “won” National Novel Writing Month for the very first time last year thanks to The Charlatan and the Coinshot, my forthcoming fanart collaboration project. I went in with no plan, no outlines or ambitions other than to write as much as I could.

But this year, I’m taking steps to prepare myself for a hectic month of working full time (sometimes more) and writing a whole new, original novel. What does that preparation look like?

  • Research. Lots and lots of research. My Scrivener project for this novel is the most informed and resource heavy of any I’ve made so far.

    Screen Shot 2018-10-30 at 12.07.50 PM.png
    My research files in Scrivener…
  • Outlining. Now, I’m not usually one to outline with any sort of detail, I’ll be the first to tell you that. And it’s still true. My outlines are purposefully vague, because I don’t really know what’s going to happen in any given scene, chapter, or story until it’s written. But, I made an effort to at least have a general idea of the first few chapters so that I’m not going in completely blind come November 1st.
  • Music. Each story I write has its own playlist in Spotify, and that’s what I listen to while I write. I made sure to spend some quality time building a diverse but thematically close playlist for this novel.
  • Pre-Writing. This goes along with research, but I sat down and sketched characters and settings. I gathered resources and images to refer to while writing so that I won’t have to leave the Scrivener project if I get stuck on something. And, I let myself write if the urge hit. I wrote about 1100 words of the prologue/opening scene, and I refuse to feel bad about it. And yes, I will count it toward my nano total word count, so there 😛

Typically, the goal for Nanowrimo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Last year I wrote just over 52k, which was no easy feat and I was working part time! Now I’m working full time, and sometimes more. I need to be realistic about my goals and my time this year. Otherwise I’ll only set myself up for failure.

NaNo 2018 Goal:

  • 800 words/day – 24k words for the month

I actually think I’ll be able to hit 25,000 words, maybe even more, but thought 800 words a day sounded doable. 1,000 seemed a little daunting, but 500 is basically nothing, so 800 it is. I also intend to go to a majority of my Nano Chapter’s events and write-ins, and I’m always game for a good Facebook sprint. With all the activity, 24k shouldn’t be a problem.

But, I really don’t believe I have the time to write 50,000 words this year. With two jobs, the Thanksgiving holiday and the various social obligations it comes with it, I just don’t see 50k happening. And I don’t want to set an unrealistic goal only to guilt trip myself into freezing up.

So that’s it. I still have a bit of research to do, and my outlines can always be more detailed, so I’ll be prepping right through to the start of National Novel Writing Month. If you want to be my Buddy on the Nanowrimo site, my username is HIMluv and I’ll be happy to add you!

I’ll talk to you all soon when I come back to talk about the month of October in the Monthly Recap.

Until then, Blogland!

 

BZ