This summer, I’m running a challenge on WriYe that I’ve mentioned a few times here called Write Like a Pro, where we adopt a different professional author’s ideal writing routine for a week at a time. While discussing the way the challenge is progressing, K. A. Wyles spurred us to wonder what some of these authors did if they missed a day. Everyone has days where they wake up sick or sleep through their alarms or the world crashes down around them. Part of becoming a professional author (unfortunately) doesn’t make one immune to disaster and everyone has a bad day from time to time. So… what do the pros do to recover from that? Well, we don’t know (and probably never will) because people don’t talk about that — maybe because that would also mean talking about the negative / bad things — which led us to deciding that we needed to talk about how we recover from bad days.
This is a very appropriately timed post for me because not only did I realize my Day Job picked back up this week instead of next week like I thought, but I also got some bad / stressful news over the weekend, and then… I woke up sick on Sunday morning. Triple whammy all in one weekend! I decided not to let that hold me back or put a damper on my progress, however. These are the some of the ways I typically push myself through to get back on my feet again.
1. Take time off to just be upset: This isn’t to say you should throw yourself a pity party or write a vague post on Twitter / Facebook trying to get people to feel sorry for you or celebrate how badly you suck or anything like that. Simply take a step back and admit that things aren’t going your way. Just let yourself feel whatever the bad feeling is and experience it in whatever way it’s manifesting. If you’re sad, cry it out. If you’re sick, take a nap on the couch for a little while. If you’re angry, rant / yell about things to someone who won’t judge you (like your dog or your pillow). And then — if it’s a problem that can be fixed… Fix it. And you’ll be able to do so without your mind being clouded with the initial emotion.
2. Pamper Yourself: This one is pretty simple: just spend some time treating yourself well. Take a long walk or toss a bath bomb in the bath and take a steamy bubble bath. Put on a silly face mask and order some junk food. I know part of my personal routine for this is to completely disconnect also. I close my email and social media, turn off the chat services and put my cell phone on “Do Not Disturb” so I can really focus on me, rather than the buzz happening around me all the time. I also will take days like this to spend hours playing video games (or if you’re a movie / TV show watcher — binging a show on Netflix would also fit in well here).
3. Be Rational / Make Plans: I’m the kind of person that has had a bucket list since I was about 10-years-old; I’ve had a running 1,001 Things to do in 101 Days list since 2005 or so. Ask me at any point in time where I want to be in 3, 5, or 10 years and I’ll give you a full outline, down to a disgusting amount of detail (if you’ll let me). I constantly am revisiting these plans and revising them to best fit whatever changes happen in my life, of course, and I find a set back happening is usually the best time to do so. Obviously, if you’ve just caught a cold or whatever, don’t rethink your whole life, but if whatever’s setting you back is large / catastrophic, it’s a great time to sit down and figure out how to get back on track. For me, sitting down and just thinking about things in a logical manner helps me feel more in control and like things aren’t as bad as my brain was probably originally thinking it was. Sometimes this just means sitting down and going, “okay, I was supposed to do two hours of editing today and did none. There’s 4 days left in the week, so +30 minutes to each of those days.” Sometimes it means looking at the to-do lists for the weekend and going, “well, I guess I can binge watch that TV show next week instead.” Sometimes it means skipping gaming for the week or catching up on sports game highlight reels to better utilize your leisure time for work… Whatever it is that helps your brain click those pieces back in place logically is what helps maintain routines (which is, ideally, what this post is about).
4. Pick up and Keep Going: Be it in life or in writing, you have to keep moving forward. So yes, definitely take the time needed to rest and repair… But then just start working on your goals again. With writing especially, if you take too much time off, it’s so easy to just sit back and never touch it again. And then you have half-finished novels that no one will ever get to experience. So, take your day off and then the next morning, sit down and put pen to paper once again.
What did this look like for me personally? Taking a few days off of social media / the internet and enjoying a few hours of being lazy… And then setting some pretty intense goals for this week — 8 hours of Day Job, 5k fiction, 2 hours editing, and 2-3 hours in my publishing course daily. It’s going to be a busy week, but that’s what I’ve signed up for, since I enjoy my quality of life, my job, and being an independent adult! Plus, there’s something to be said for getting back to a routine after having one of these fail days. It feels fresh and new, but also strangely comfortable and like going home.
We’re going to ignore the dates on that image and pretend that I am completely on time with this challenge that Elizabeth Szubert issued. Right? Right.
It’s been a while, but I did talk about my editing space back in March, and it’s very much the same most days as it was in that post. I’m still working by hand in my printed out manuscript with my pink pen and a furry little companion by my side. It’s going as well as one might imagine ripping apart your words might go. Things that I have learned now that I am officially 11 chapters in:
As you see, I’ve been having quite a specific struggle with my editing. And ended up spending an extra hour “working” yesterday than I planned because I found some chapters were in my print-version twice, one entire scene was missing completely, and things just weren’t in any sort of logical order. But, once I managed to figure out what went where and why… I feel like I was able to establish a much stronger sense of plot and really strengthen the dichotomy between the two potential love interests in doing so. I have notes and arrows and scribbles all over the pages for little links and transitions that I’ll need to write / add once I finish the paper-edits and move into putting them on the computer to finalize everything, but it actually feels like things are coming together nicely.
Which, is interesting to me because it makes the story feel like it is very full and robust, but, I ended up completely trashing (as in papers crumbled and thrown across the room towards a trashcan as if I were pretending to be some sort of athlete) 11 pages yesterday. Now, admittedly, 3 of them were because I for some reason printed two drafts of the same chapter. But the other 8? We just scenes that didn’t need to be there. I might bring one of the scenes back at some point — where Jimi shows off his “hobby room” and makes everyone hate him even more for bragging yet again about how nauseatingly rich he is — but where it was placed? It made the hate come on too hard, too fast. So, that’s been cut. Another scene got chopped because it seemed to be a bunch of fluff / filler that didn’t really add anything to the novel other than pages. And then a really random scene with a character that never reappears was removed. Because, really… If that’s their only purpose? They aren’t important.
Maybe I should be sad, grieving the lost of my words and hard work… But honestly? I’m glad to see them go. They served their purpose at one point of helping me to explore characters (and meet my NaNo word count for the day) and feel out the plot, but now? Now they were just bloating my novel for no reason. They’ll be much better off now that they’re gone.
#50in5 Words Written: 0
Chapters Edited: 11
Hours Spent Editing: 4.5
Scenes Rewritten Completely: 0 (yet — 2 are slated / marked for a rewrite)
Scenes Cut Out: 3
Beta Requests Sent: 0
Beta Requests Received: 0
I am being a crazy ambitious person this month. It’s the last month I have to throw myself into writing full time before going back to the day job in August, so I want to make sure to get as much done as possible. So, because of that, I kind of have three projects happening simultaneously.
The first is that Sunshowers in Bluebell Fields has officially been submitted to the Absolute Write Beta Project 2019, so soon it’s going to be getting three basic crits of the first 750 words and (hopefully) at least 2-3 beta requests to launch it into the editing process officially. I’m both nervous and excited about this whole process because that will be one more novel that’s officially almost “done” within my series.
Which, actually, is why the second (and, in turn, the third) project exist as well. My second project for July is what I’m completing for CampNaNo — which is 45 hours of line and content edits on Sky of Light, which will officially be the LAST full edit I do on this novel (it will get one more read through from some friends / betas for proofreading) and then, it will be done-done. This is mostly a line edit, but there are a few chapters in the middle that I need to do one more pass for content on, so I’m just going to do these two steps simultaneously. I decided to work on this novel’s edits because well, it’s the most done of all my LTA books and it would be great to finally have a novel that I would consider 100% complete. So, that’s my real Camp NaNo goal that I’ll be checking in about every Monday throughout July: 45 Hours of Editing on Sky of Light.
And then, of course, there is my #50in5 project. Originally, I thought I was going to use those words to knock out the last two thirds / half of Static Lightning Skies (which I’ve been working on the rest of my summer) in order to finally get the first draft of that one finished. But, once I realized what other two books I would have in my brainspace this month, I thought it might be more beneficial to work on the sequel to my Beta Project and the true companion / same timeline novel as Sky of Light: Rainstorms in Bluebell Fields. So, that’s what I’m working on for my #50in5 words, as outlined in Friday’s post.
And now… It is officially Camp NaNo, which means it is time to start in on my editing hours! I plan on checking in here with a “State of the Author” type post every Monday throughout July, so you have that to look forward to! In the comments, let me know if you’re doing Camp NaNo this month and what your project is for the month, regardless of if you’re participating or not.
#50in5 Words Written: 0
Chapters Edited: 0
Hours Spent Editing: 0
Scenes Rewritten Completely: 0
Scene Cut Out: 0
Beta Requests Sent: 0
Beta Requests Received: 0
If there is anything you should know about me as a writer, it’s that I don’t like how solitary an activity it is. Sure, I do my actual writing on my own, but I like to write much like I prefer to live: alongside other people inhabiting the same space / doing the exact same thing on their own, but close enough to suffer simultaneously with me and be close by when I need someone to bounce ideas off of or commiserate with. That’s why I love challenges so much and it is also the thing that brings me back to events like Camp NaNoWrImo / NaNoWriMo / WriYe, but even beyond that — it keeps me participating in crazy events with my Writing Chat Friends (TM).
July will be no different. Camp NaNoWriMo’s second session begins Monday, and several of us are doing two starkly different Camp projects — complete with two unique accounts to contain them. One project is more traditional to the idea of Camp (I’ll be talking about mine here on Monday), but the second is one that we’re writing slightly uniquely, as well as where the hashtag in my title comes from.
#50in5 asks you to take the classic NaNo challenge of writing 50,000 words and makes it even more difficult — by doing it in 5 days, and 5 days only. We’ve all realized that as we get older, time becomes more and more valuable, and often we only have one day a week that we can squeeze in for writing. So one day each week, we will write (at least) 10k and by the end of July, we’ll have (at least) 50k written in our novels. Great plan, right? We think so.
Personally, I prefer this kind of binge writing, so I’m really looking forward to the challenge a lot. I’m planning on joining my friends K. A. Wyles and Elizabeth Szubert to write 10k all four of the Fridays in July (while our friend Tatra holds down the weekend to complete her 10k days) and then my fifth 10k day will take place on 21 July during the 10k Writing Challenge hosted by Mandi Lynn. Because, as stated at the beginning: I don’t like doing these crazy things alone.
So, as fun as #50in5 will be with the handful of us who are already planning on completing it, it will be even more fun, if other people join in with us! There are goodies if you do! Of course, there will be a virtual goodie for you to post / use online, as there always is when we do a challenge like this. However, with this particular challenge, there will also be two different physical goodies for participating as well. The first will be a custom postcard designed and mailed by K. A. Wyles! The postcard is beautiful AND functional… But that’s all you’ll hear about it from me. Trust me when I say you will want one of these in your possession, however. The second goodie will be a set of custom #50in5 stickers designed by yours truly. These can be used to mark your progress in your planners / calendars and remind you of the days that you should be writing 10k. They will also have a little somethin’-somethin’ to coincide with your postcard, as if you weren’t already enticed enough to want to grab these things for your very own. If you are absolutely jumping out of your skin excited about these little gifts from us, all you have to do is comment on this post to tell us exactly how stoked you are, and then make sure you fill out this form to share your mailing address to get your fun goodies (your information will not be shared / sold and will only be used to send stickers / a postcard for #50in5).
So far, I’ve been having a pretty fruitful summer of writing and I think this is going to be a good finale to the season before heading back to having a day job for the 2019-2020 school year. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone successfully write #50in5 with us this July!