March & April Writing Reflections

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So it’s May now, which means April is over.  Anyone who has been following along the past couple months knows that for me, April means two things: Camp NaNoWriMo and the A to Z Blogging Challenge.

This post is reflecting on how those two things have gone this year.

So, they both technically happen in April, but with two things going on, I prep for A to Z in advance and schedule out all the posts, so that’s usually more of a March project than an April one.

Not so much this year.

I remembered about the challenge on March 17, got a plan together the same day, wrote my theme reveal post, and then started in on my April posts.  I then proceeded to work through 26 one-word writing prompts (listed below with links to the individual posts) and craft one cohesive (mostly) story about an angel named Uriel.

Angel     Bullet     Contract     Dance     Eagle     Fish     Gadget     Hide     Immortality     Jewelry     Keys     Lesson     Mistake     Nimble     Overlook     Paranoia     Queen     Reveal     Stalk     Tower     Unfinished     Visit     Wind     Xenolith     Yarn     Zap

And I somehow managed to do all that before the end of March.  I even got all but three of them copy-edited for posting before March 31.  I’m kind of impressed with myself over that.  The draft ended up being 22,640 words in total, which is an average of about 870 words per post.  And I even managed a beginning, middle, and end that aren’t too disjointed.  If I ever decide I want to publish it in book form, it will need a lot of work, but it was fun to write and a great challenge and I feel awesome about it.

So by April 1, I had all my posts done and most of them edited and scheduled.  So I was off to Camp NaNoWriMo to get some work done on my second book.

And that too, didn’t go quite according to plan.

My original goal was to spend 60 hours editing in April.  But this turned out to be a little too ambitious, so by mid-month I’d dropped it down to a goal of 40 hours.

Normally, during a NaNoWriMo event I’m drafting and I have no trouble reaching my goal (or twice that even), but editing is hard.  For the first time, I found myself procrastinating.  I didn’t want to work on it because it was hard and it wasn’t as fun as drafting, but I still made myself do it.

It wasn’t all procrastination though.  I was gone for four days in April for a trip down to Florida for a family reunion of sorts to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday.  I didn’t get any writing done the entire four days.  I couldn’t focus enough on the plane, and I wasn’t comfortable enough to settle in the motel room (there was supposed to be a rental house, which is a whole other story).  That and the whole point of the trip was to spend time with the 20 plus aunts, uncles, and cousins I hadn’t seen in 3-15 years (if every).

So it was a busy second weekend of April.  It was also a horrible time for me to be out of work (which was why I did the 4-day trip instead of a 10-day trip).  By the time I got back, I was behind at work, which was stressing me out, and then as soon as I’d caught up it hit into my busiest time of the entire semester.  On top of all that, I was just starting physical therapy (and that’s yet another story) which kept me out of the office 2-4 hours a week and I just couldn’t keep my head above water with the stress levels.

Now this might sound like a lot of excuses, and it probably is, but I did keep working on edits through all this.  I got in a few hours of editing at my weekly write-in on Sundays, and I tried to go to a second one on Saturdays as well.  I doubled the hours I’d spend editing, and pushed on through and managed to top 30 hours for the month.  It wasn’t 40 hours though, and it meant for the first time ever I didn’t win a NaNoWriMo event I participated in, but it’s 30 more hours than I’d have spent otherwise, so I call that a success.

I guess the take away from all this is that editing is hard.  I managed to crank out a 22k word draft in 14 days, but I couldn’t spend 40 hours in a single month editing my novel.  If I’m lucky, editing will get easier the more I do it.  This is only the second major revision I’ve ever done on a novel.  I still need to develop the right strategies and tools for the job.  I’ll keep doing it, that I can say for sure, but it’s going to be hard.

Since I seem to be in need of them, does anyone have tips for how they motivate themselves to edit, or tricks they use while editing?  What’s your favorite part of the editing process?

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