The Plan (or at least the post about the plan).

Yesterday I decided to sit down and make my writing plan. Not the outline of my story (I’ve tried that multiple time but it has only worked once – I’m a pantser who generally likes to know the end of the story first), but the ultimate goal with my writing. The answer to that is obvious: Get Published. Of course there is also the matching goal: Self-Publish.

I’ll start by saying, like most writers of my generation, getting published traditionally would feel like validation. I try to tell myself that self-publishing is just as good (which it is), and gives the freedom of control over my story which I would like, but that niggling thought is still there. There is also one very good reason why I would like to go through tradition publishing – I don’t want to do all that marketing crap. I don’t know what I’m doing and just reading about it makes my palms sweat. However, it is a goal.

So the Goal/Plan is this: Get a book contract or Self-Publish by October 31, next year.

That is the simplified version of it. I also wrote out all the moving parts of that goal, working with the assumption that I will be self-publishing. Parts like marketing, editing, social media, cover art, isbn, &c. The list goes on.

I then broke those goals down into achievable parts, with dates attached. For example, to reach my goal I need to write one thousand words a day and edit at least three pages a day, six days a week. That I can do even if I get a job (I just might need to watch less Masterchef).

It’s doable. The scariest part of it (other than the rejections from publishers), is giving it to my mother to read. Why? Because I’ve been talking about writing my whole life and what if I’m just not any good? (Of course I will still write, I love to write).

The aim this week then is two fold: write 6,000 words of ‘Oleander Creek’ (a thriller) and edit 18 pages of ‘Bitter Winds’ (a fantasy).

I should reward myself if I reach my goals. For example, if I do then I should go to the movies (yeah, right, like I could afford that).

So, dear non-existent reader (though hopefully one day someone will read this), expect to be reading a couple of my books in a year and a bit! I will document the journey (thank you reality television for ruining that word) here. This blog now has a purpose!

 

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The Writing Process

This morning on a walk I was listening to an interview with author Rachael Johns on the Better Reading podcast and they began talking about the writing process. Johns seemed to go into the process with a negative mindset and the host mentioned that most of the authors she spoke to didn’t enjoy the process, but that it was like an addiction (Johns called it a disease), and this got me thinking.

Look, I’m not a professional author, it isn’t my job. I’m not published. But I love the process. I get the addiction to it, but why write if you don’t like it? I enjoy sitting at the computer and unraveling the story in my head, finding a way to turn an idea into a story. It doesn’t always work and some days it is harder to get it out, but I love it.

The hardest part of writing to me is editing, yet I still love it. I’m new to editing since I decided to get over my OCD and fear and rejection and try and get publish. The hardest part is having to look at my own writing and doubt myself. The process is enjoyable.

I don’t always meet my writing goal (six days of one thousand words). This week I am one day off meeting it and I’m not sure I will. It isn’t because I don’t want to write but because I wasn’t feeling great last night and I slept weird so all the muscles and joints in my chest hurts when I move. I can barely turn my head. I woke half a dozen times last night. I’m tired. I also want to sit down and read the book that I started yesterday (Lee Child; I’ve never read him before but after listening to another podcast I decided to give him a try. I get why people enjoy his writing).

This week’s writing has been slow. I have a story, I have an end in mind, but I keep questioning myself. When I get back from class I’m exhausted. The editing has been going well, however. I try to get at least one page edited but I find myself rolling and on and not realising. I’ll edit during the ad breaks during my evening reality television fix and find that I’ve missed half of My Kitchen Rules because I’ve been so deep into the editing.

The point is, I enjoy writing. I enjoy the process. Writing is fun.

A Week Without Writing

This week I have written very little. I have reached my thousand word limit perhaps three times this week, which is shameful. The struggle is, I suppose, writer’s block. I have ideas, plenty of them, but an idea isn’t a story. I can knock out an opening scene, but I am struggling to engage in any of the ideas. I switch between them, which isn’t something I like to do. I like to finish what I start. It is a challenge.

There is one idea that I really like, but for some reason the motivation isn’t there. It could be that I have been busy this week and those hours in which I would normally be writing have been taken up by something else. It could also be that I have a bit of a cold (I also think I am iron deficient, so I should get that checked out). It could just be writer’s block.

What I have done this week is read a lot. One book which is hugely popular at the moment and I enjoyed but will probably forget soon. The second book I love and want to buy (Codename Villanella by Jennings). One which was interesting and infuriating in equal measures. Another which was predictable, but whose predictability I was glad for because sometimes a twist just isn’t needed. And there was one book I gave up on, despite it having the highest rating I have ever seen on Goodreads.

So I read this week, but I didn’t write. But, as a lot of authors say, reading is part of writing. If you want to write well, read. Also, you know, I love reading and over half a dozen books I’ve had on order forever turned up to the library this week. That is always the way.

Enjoy!

Some Days the Words Struggle…

…other days they demand to be written.

Most days I try to write one thousand words. I don’t stop exactly at one thousand words but at the end of the thought. The way I figure it, like that author said, it leaves you something to write the next day. Or, if it is a day that I am struggling, then it forces me to be creative and come up with something.

By ending at a word limit it gives me time to edit. At this point in time I believe that is the most important thing if I want to get published. I can’t keep cobbling together first drafts, which for me are pretty much fat outlines. If I want to get published I have to polish those roughs into a high shine.

Then there are days like today. I am writing a fantasy-ish story (it’s a mutt is what it is, not clear on any one genre) but I got this idea into my head, a voice (not a real one) and I started writing. I got to the thousand words in a flash. I set the computer aside, I turned on a movie (I like to separate my thousand words and my editing by watching a movie and having lunch… I haven’t had lunch today, that might be why I am shaking), then picked up the computer half way through the movie and kept writing because that voice demanded to be heard.

Okay, that sounds nuts, but what I really mean is that I wanted to keep writing. Screw habit. Screw the thousand words. There are some stories that just won’t listen.

Now I think I might get something to eat.

What This Blog Is

I think one of the problems with this blog is (apart from the lack of visitors) is that I’ve had no idea what it really is. So I sat down and I thought (really, I was doing the dishes and it was a second’s thought). This should be a blog about my writing ‘journey’ (reality television has ruined that word).

I’ve no idea how it will work. I’ve no doubt that personal stuff will filter in. Hopefully, at first, it will be a blog following my journey from writing a story to getting it published, either traditionally or self-published.

This is the perfect time to start afresh because this morning I finished writing the first draft of a story and tomorrow I will rifle through my idea draw and come up with something new to write. There have been a few ideas set aside to brew while I finished this story (I like to work on one thing at a time).

At the same time I am editing other stuff with the intention of following through with getting them published. So, I guess we will see what happens. If anything. This might devolve again.

What to expect:

  • Me talking about what writing I have done that week, how it has made me felt.
  • Things that affect my writing (like looking for work, joint problems).
  • How many publishers and agents I have sent out too (and what response I get).
  • Articles, online and not, that have interested me, in relation to writing.
  • Blabbling about books that I’ve read and loved.
  • One short story a month (probably unedited).
  • Other stuff I haven’t thought of yet as related to my writing.

 

Perhaps none of that. Perhaps I will forget to do it. Who knows?

Reading Challenge

One of the most common bits of advice authors give out when asked how to become a good writer is that you should be reading. You should read a lot. Now, I’ve never understood people who like to write but hate to read, but they exist. I love to read. I read at least one book a week. The more I write the less I read, but that’s because the time is being swapped about.

This year I’ve challenged myself to take a world tour of books. I want to read 52 books from 52 different countries. I would like to spread the love evenly between the continents, except for Australia of course. Australia, England, and the US are not included. NZ I’ve kept on the list because I haven’t read many books from there.

The love is starting with Scandinavia, which feels like a bit of a cheat. Unfortunately¬† my library only has three of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s books, all of which I’ve read, so I won’t be using him to fill the Swedish slot.

I’ll keep updating where I’ve traveled to on this blog.

What, if any, are your reading challenges?