New Blogger Feature

To go along with my new blog look, I've added a new feature. You can "react" to any of my posts by clicking the box next to "funny," "interesting," or "inspired" at the bottom of the post. It's a little mini-poll. Fun stuff.

New Blog Look; New Attitude

As you can see from my post title, I'm dumping the #s. It was fun. It was real. But it wasn't real fun. :o)

I've decided to get serious about my writing. Professional, even. As one by one my AI friends are moving over to the published side - un-incognito-ing themselves, so to speak, I've been feeling very dissatisfied with myself. I could be among them. I have the vision. I have the talent. And those of you who know me well know that I'm not a conceited person. I'm not trying to talk myself up here. I'm just recognizing the gifts that I've been given. I know I could be published if I was more dedicated.

Right now, I'm only about halfway done with my July writing goal.

Looking at the glass half-full, though, I have written over 20,000 words in the last two months. Give me some props for that, at least. :o) I'm very proud of myself for stepping up to the plate and hitting a few base hits. But if I want to be as successful as I know I can be, I'm going to have to set my sights higher and go for some home runs.

I only have 2 days left, but that's no reason to say there's no use in trying. Sure, I probably won't hit 27,000. Though, I could. More words have been written in less time by people I know and love. But even if I don't, I want to do my best. And so far, I haven't been doing that.

Over the course of the last week, I've written a few pages on a different project other than Stolen Dreams. I'm calling it Free Agents, and it's a YA dystopian. I feel so fancy even knowing what that is! I'm having a LOT of fun writing it. But I'm also not going to let myself get sidetracked. First things first, and the first thing I'm dedicated to doing is writing Stolen Dreams. While it sits in a folder for a little while and my brain rests from that project, I'll work on Free Agents some more.

What I need to do NOW, though, is get off the internet and start writing. 13,813 words is a lot to shoot for in 2 days. :-P

#88 - First Drafts Suck

This first draft sucks like our sea monkeys suck algae off the bottom of their pool.

So far today, I've written 2 words.

No, that's not a type-o.

But I did design some really nifty T-shirts . . . .

I just need to close my eyes and start typing.

#87 - To Expose or Not to Expose

That is the question.

And, no, I'm not talking about how graphic I should make my make-out scenes. (Although I do wonder about that sometimes.) ;o) No, I'm talking about exposition.

Part of why I hate my first draft so badly is because it feels so incredibly flat. The books I most love reading are very rich in description, but I feel like my writing has little to none.

Part of the problem, I think is that I've had it pounded into my head at so many conferences and workshops and, yes, even critique group meetings -- it being, "get right into the scene, don't stop to describe anything, keep it fast-paced or they'll put your book down and never pick it up again."

But part of it, I fear, is that I just can't really do it very well. It's easier to just stick to the action, the dialogue, the quick sentence that gives a rough description of someone or something before zipping back into the scene and taking off again. Not that I'm really very good at any of that, either, mind you.

Le sigh.

I just remembered an idea I got from one of my writing friends recently. I'm going to take some of the books I've really liked and use different colored highlighters to visually see how much dialogue vs. exposition there is throughout the books. One color could be "setting," another one "character description," etc. Then when I go through my own book, I can see how the flow of my writing matches up with those.

These are all just thoughts for future reference, though. Because right now, I have a first draft to write. Speaking of which, I'm doing AWESOME. Ever since a whole one day ago when I renewed my dedication and changed my goal to match what I need to do from here through the rest of the month, I've been on fire. I refused to put my computer away last night and go to bed until I'd passed my new 1612 word goal for the day, even though it was late. Like, to the point that some people would consider it early. For the next day. To get up.

So, here I am, 1/3 of the way to meeting my goal for Saturday's wordcount, taking time off of writing to whine about how crappy this dumb first draft is. But, I'm taking a breath and going back in now because, really, the point is just to write the dumb thing. I'll come back and expose to my heart's content later.

#86 - Plugging Along

Well, I'm not hitting my daily goals, but I'm still going along one day at a time, trying to get some writing in. Sometime, I need to start carving out a piece of time every day that I dedicate to writing. Not that kids won't interrupt or anything, but I need to have some time where I don't let myself get distracted with other stuff.

I've written about half the number of words that my goal dictates I should have written at this point of the month. So, should I look at the glass as half-empty or half-full? I'll try the half-full approach. After all, I'm writing. The creative juices are flowing. I actually have some scenes down on paper that I didn't have before.

As you can see by my sidebar, I'm a little bit obsessed with tracking my wordcount. :-D I've always tracked it in an Excel spreadsheet, but now I've moved on to putting it right up on my blog. I don't know if anyone actually comes and looks at it, (other than Ali, of course, because I tell her to) ;o) but I do feel more accountable knowing it's there.

I've realized something about myself in the past few days. I've thought of it before, but it really hit home recently. Unlike many other authors, I HATE the first draft and I LOVE the revisions. That's why I've revised my picture books, etc. 50 times each. And it's also why I get fed up with writing new stuff, and instead keep going back and revising the first half of the book that I've already written. I'm a perfectionist. It's true. You wouldn't know it from looking at the state of my house, though. ;o)

So, it's even more critical for me than it is for most people to just put my blinders on, tell my internal editor to shut up, and write like crazy to get to the end of the first draft. I can always revise it later. I can even re-write it completely using the same process, and then revise THAT. But what I can't do is revise if I don't have something already written.

I have almost half of the month left. I'm going to really pour it on from this point on. To make up for the fact that I didn't meet my goal for the first half of the month, I'm going to up the ante for the second half in order to meet my original goal to write 27,000 words in July. So now, I have to write 1612 words every day. That's my new goal, and I'm sticking to it. For reals.

I'll report back soon. :o)

#85 - July Book-in-a-Month

I'm BIAM-ing again. My good friend Tristi Pinkston is doing another Book-in-a-Month Challenge, and I was crazy enough to sign up. Really, though, between you and me, I'd be crazy not to sign up for something that could help me finish this awful first draft so I can move on to revisions!

So, I challenged myself to write 1,000 words a day, every Monday-Saturday for the month of July. That works out to be 27,000 words for the month. Yes, that's 20,000 words more than I wrote in June. But it's 23,000 words less than I wrote one year for NanoWriMo. So I know I'm capable of meeting it.

Yesterday was my first day and I kicked it off with a major bang, exceeding my daily goal by 134 words. I'm going to hold myself to 1,000 words a day, though, so I'll still be trying to hit 1,000 more words today, rather than letting myself off the hook and saying I only have to write 866 to get 2,000 total for the 2 days. If that makes sense. It does to me, but you never know. . . . :o)

Wish me luck! And come check back often. You'll see the tickers on my blog ticking their way up to 27,000 over the next 30 days, even if I'm not posting every day. :-D