writing recap 2019: w12

Finished a short story this week. Finished revisions on a couple more pieces of flash. I’m starting to get antsy about the fact that next up is putting stuff out into the world for other people to read. A necessary step, obviously, but one that is making me have feelings.

Also, there are a few things coming up in the next few weeks that I’m excited/nervous about. Next weekend, I’m doing Mary Robinette Kowal’s Short Story Intensive, and I’m pumped for that. Then, April is Camp NaNoWriMo, and my plan is to do another flash fiction month. Mid-April, there is a flash fiction submission deadline that I need to hit.

So. Things.

writing recap 2019: w11

This is a little short and not as self-reflective because I have to get ready to drive Adam to the airport for GDC, but I wanted to get this post up before that.

The allergy shots are causing horrific looking bruises at the injection site, which I haven’t experienced before. So that’s interesting… It has nothing to do with writing, but still.

Started a new short story this past week which I’m feeling pretty good about. It needs a round of editing and then I’ll ask for some second opinions. Finished revising a couple of flash pieces. Caught up on Writing Excuses.

All in all, a pretty good week.

writing recap 2019: w10

I didn’t do as much work this past week as I should have. Feeling like I’m in a weird kind of slump (though did end up working on some poetry). Although, by week’s end, I’m starting to feel better. That might just be the Twitter hiatus talking.

I’ve been getting allergy shots for a little over a month now, and they just upped the dose this last round. Since then, I’ve had this vague malaise kind of feeling and I can’t tell if it’s related to that or if I’m coming down with something.

Will probably take some ibuprofen, make some kimchi jjigae, and try to ignore it.

writing recap 2019: w9

More of the same this week. I think I’m hitting that threshold where I have to step away for a little bit and come back with fresh eyes. So I might just take this next week to work on something new and shiny, and then finish up revisions after that. I still want to get some other eyes on the pieces before I start submitting and whatnot.

I haven’t yet figured out how to task switch in an effective way, but I’m thinking that I might generally work better if I have more than one thing going on i.e. something with production and something with revision.

writing recap 2019: w8

Ugh. This has been the week of errands and interruptions. I did not get as much done this week as I would have liked. Revisions and rewriting still going slowly — it’s all starting to feel very lateral and like stalling. But, like we’ve talked about before, I have no perspective.

Because that front isn’t feeling very satisfying, some of my structures have slipped, and I find myself spending time in the afternoon and evening scrolling mindlessly through Twitter (I am very much a lurker). Which not only is wasting my time, but is putting me in a negative mental space. But like all dopamine drips, once I started doing it, it was hard to put the phone away. So I think this upcoming week is going to see my phone in another room and strict observation of no social media. Gotta break those habit loops.

Speaking of Twitter, did y’all see the whole #CopyPasteCris debacle? Courtney Milan kicked it off when she discovered that someone had plagiarized parts from her book The Duchess War. She named names and posted side-by-sides in a blog post. Then Romancelandia Twitter started compiling receipts and discovered that over twenty authors (and inexplicably, a couple of recipes and a couple of articles) had also been plagiarized (What in the actual fuck?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?). The list includes many well-known romance authors including Tessa Dare, Lisa Kleypas, Kresley Cole, Loretta Chase, and Sarah MacLean. And. Nora Roberts. Who does. not. suffer. fools. It’s a saga, and you should check it out.

writing recap 2019: w7

Revisions are just a wholly different beast than writing new stories. It’s hard to feel like I’m making progress because I’m losing perspective. I made several lateral revisions today — I didn’t feel like they made the piece better or worse necessarily, just different. It’s a whole different skill set to work on, it feels like.

That’s left me feeling kind of listless this week because I’m having trouble figuring out how to mark progress. Anyone have any tips?

writing recap 2019: w6

Bit of a slow week. I did some revisions on a short horror piece about sirens, but it’s still not sitting right. I can’t tell if it wants to be longer or not. I also added (and then subtracted) many words to a short story about memories. I’m not entirely sure where it wants to go, so I’ve been playing around with different structures, but this is one that might need to go back to scratch and be rebuilt from the ground up. I really, really like the idea though, so I’m reluctant to let it go.

I’m finding that many of my stories right now are about memory and narrative, and they have a tendency to take a dark and twisty bent.

Lots of reading and thinking this week and not as many new words as I’d like. But then again, maybe that’s what revisions feel like? I don’t know yet.

writing recap 2019: w5

Short update this week.

Not as much added to the novel word count this week — up to about 16.5k words. Mostly worked on revisions this week and doing some reading.

I’m working on getting up the courage to apply to a writing workshop this year. I mean, the worst (and most expected) thing would be that they just say no, right? And on the flip side, maybe I would get into a writing workshop! But to get the application together, I need to get some of my shorter pieces written/revised/polished, so that’ll be my main focus for this month.

writing recap 2019: w4

Had a pretty decent week. There were definitely a couple of days where I could have done more, but I was feeling meh and didn’t. Also lost almost the entirety of one day to some of my other obligations coupled with a doctor’s appointment.

I’m running into that old adage “kill your darlings” for the first meaningful time. If you aren’t familiar, “kill your darlings” means you shouldn’t keep something in your writing just because you like it or think it’s pretty. It should serve a purpose. (Then again, sometimes it’s okay to leave something in because you like it or you think readers will like it or it’s pretty. Like all writing “rules,” it’s open to variable interpretation and application. Really, I think it just means that you should be critical of your own work and not be too precious about it.)

There are bits that I wrote in the previous iteration of the fairytale novel that I think are clever or well done (if I do say so myself), and I don’t want to let them go. I keep trying to wedge them into the new version, but sometimes they just don’t fit. There is a (jerkbrain) part of me that thinks I just won’t be able to write anything as good/clever as the bit I already have, which is just not a productive mindset to have. Every week, a new jerkbrain tactic. I’m not trashing the bits though. I’m just putting them in the Graveyard to reference later and sigh wistfully over.

Even still, I’m up to 15k in that project. So, that’s good.

I did not do any work on my short stories this week, besides noodling on a couple new ideas that I’m excited about. I need to work on the tendency to chase after the shiny new things instead of working on what I have in front of me. Part of it is because it almost feels easier to write something new than fix something that already exists? I suppose a lot of that is because I have more experience writing new things than I do with revision, which is another set of skills. And as we’ve discussed, the only way to get better at something… So that’ll be on the top of my list for things to focus on next week.

writing recap 2019: w3

Had a much better week this week. I chalk it up to getting those processes back in place. Setting a flexible schedule each morning is very helpful for me — it clarifies what I should be doing at each point in my day so that there isn’t any effort/willpower wasted trying to make those decisions.

I’ve also added a bit of meditation to my mornings. I’m not entirely sure if it’s helpful yet, but I’m giving it a shot. Right now, I’m using Headspace.

I realized that part of my listlessness and task avoidance was related to feeling overwhelmed by all the moving bits of all the stories I have kicking about. And then I though, why the fuck am I trying to hold all of it in a nebulous mass in my head? Dumb. I’ve always been a proponent of writing things out, but for some reason I hadn’t applied that to my projects yet. So I wrote it all out on Post-its and tacked them to the wall next to my desk. Immediately, I felt lighter and more collected, just having everything laid out explicitly.

I had a good plotting breakthrough with my fairytale novel project. As I suspected, it strips everything back all the way near to the beginning. I have a tendency to let the scope of my project get a little out of control, which is what happened here. It resulted in extra large events carrying my characters from reaction to reaction, which then led me to lose sight of what their agency and motivations. So I ruthlessly narrowed it down, and it feels much better.

I actually, surprisingly (yay, growth!), don’t feel particularly discouraged about that; I’m more optimistic and excited about heading in the right direction now. Plus, as Sanderson says, every word is valuable. Added about 5000 words to the rewrite.

I also made some progress with one of my short story revisions.

All in all, quite a good week.