2019 Writing Year in Review

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A lot of writing happened this past year, and a lot of good work toward my writing goals both generally and on specific projects.

I made a Get Your Words Out habit tracking pledge of 240 days for 2019, and missed it by 17.  Considering I’ve gone months without writing in previous years, I think that’s pretty fantastic.  I’ve made the same pledge for 2020, and have confidence I can push through and make it this time.

I spent a good deal of time working on the second book in my series as well.  I spent almost as much time on revisions for that as I did on my November novel draft, which is pretty impressive since I spend most of my free time working on the novel in November.  I also spent almost as much time on book three.  That leaves book 2 very close to ready for final copy-edits and book three ready for a major revision similar to what book 2 has been through.  I’d like to release them fairly close together and if I’m able to really focus on the project during the first few months of the year, I’m confident I can get things much closer to publish ready sometime this year.

I experimented with planning before drafting this year, both with the major revision (basically full rewrite) of book 2 and my attempt during NaNo to have a plan and outline before writing my first draft.  These had varying levels of success.  Book 2 is so much better for it (and all the wonderful feedback I got from beta readers).  The NaNo project is a bit meh at the moment, but it’s also not finished, and I didn’t manage to stay with the outline the entire month.  But the two attempts left me feeling confident enough that planning can work for me that I’m trying to develop an outline for book 3 so it will come out better than book 2 did pre-outline-driven-rewrite.

I worked on 19 different projects over the course of the year (with smaller things like the blog’s image prompt responses counting collectively as a single project).  Most of these were novel drafts of some form or another.  Many were in the same world as Strong Fort Spathí.  I spent over 200 hours on my writing over the course of the year (at least as far as rough tracking goes).  I’m willing to bet that’s more time than I’ve spent on writing in a single year since before I got a full-time job.  I’ll be curious to see if my total will be significantly different for this coming year, especially if I make the 240 days of writing goal.

Overall, I’m proud of the work I’ve done in 2019.  But that doesn’t mean I’m ready to rest on my laurels and not keep working.  My priority goal for 2020 is book 3, so that I can polish up books 2 and 3 and get them published sooner than later.  I’d also like to continue trying out planning and outlining before I write or shortly after I start to see if that improves the quality of my first drafts.  I’m sure you’ll be hearing bits and pieces about both of those goals as the year unfolds.

Do you have any writing goals for 2020 you’d like to share?

Camp NaNoWriMo: July 2019 Edition

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July is a Camp NaNoWriMo month, so I went in with the goal of writing at least 30 minutes a day.  I rounded up a little for a goal of 1,000 minutes of work across 31 days, which averages out to about 33 minutes per day.

My final count was 1,050 minutes, which is also the target average of 33 minutes per day.

All of those minutes were spent on the third book in the Swords and Shields series.  I’m pretty happy with book two, but have one more round of beta readers looking at it before I start contemplating the copy editing and cover design phase.  Book three needs a lot more TLC and a lot of redrafting before it will get to that point, but I made a lot of progress this month.  I have a better idea of the overarching plot, what’s important, and what’s not.

During the April Camp NaNo session, I did some extra write-ins and extra things and really wanted to engage with the community over camp, and I turned into a bit of an overwhelmed mess.  I did much better this month.  I did extra write-ins, but they were all on Saturdays, so less stressful than trying to do an additional weeknight away from the house.

This worked for the most part.  I still got some of my household chores done and made some progress on my sorting goals, and I managed to write over a thousand minutes.  I kept up my consistency.  This is the furthest into the year I’ve ever gotten without a long dry spell in my writing.

Part of this success is due, I think, in part to my switching projects when needed.  I spent a good deal of time working on book two this year, but I also took a break during April camp to write something completely new and frivolous.  My brain needed that.  I’ve also been doing some of my other creative pursuits, like sewing, which helps renew my creative energy for things like writing.

I feel proud of my accomplishments this month, especially since June was my slowest writing month so far this year.  It’s nice to see words accumulating on the page and a plot slowly coming into view.  With luck, I can keep the momentum going, even if the first full week of August is likely to see very little writing time since I’m traveling for a work conference and then a mini vacation.

I hope everyone else who participated in Camp NaNoWriMo had a successful July.

Write all the words!

Swords and Shields Book 2: Take 3

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So I’ve been working on the second book in the Swords and Shields series for a while now.  Most recently, I’m been doing a major rewrite (literally in most cases) of the entire book to tighten up the cast and plot.  I’m about two-thirds of the way through, and I’m much happier with the draft so far.  The last third is both the most exciting and the most work.  I’ve completely removed three characters from the book, and they played prominent roles in the last third, so I need to adjust a lot of scenes to work just as well, hopefully better, than the original versions. Continue reading

New Year, Same Goals

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In January, there’s always a lot of talk about New Year’s Resolutions.  The perennial weight loss goal being one that gets a lot of play in commercials and the media.  I’ve never been big on New Year’s Resolutions, and don’t think I’ve made more than one or two in the past thirty years.

At the beginning of the year, I focus more on what I’m going to continue doing.  What goal that I’m already working on, am I going to focus on this month?  And it’s much more of a monthly check in than it is a New Year’s habit. Continue reading

NaNoWriMo Day Seventeen

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It’s been a good week.  I crossed the 50k mark on November 13, which ties my record for fastest finish from 2012.  Though my record high word count was from 2010 and the site doesn’t have my graph, so I can’t be sure it’s a real record.  My jury duty got postponed and then canceled, so I didn’t lose valuable writing time to that.  And I’m staying at or above my goal of 3,766 words per day on average.

Stats so far:

Highest word count day was yesterday, November 16 with 7,538.

Average words per day is 3,889.

Total word count at the end of November 16 was 62,229.

And I’m looking forward to an amazing weekend full of writing.  We do a big all day writing event in my region on one of the middle Saturdays (usually the same weekend as the Night of Writing Dangerously HQ fundraising event).  It’s tomorrow this year and it’s going to be a blast.  We have write-ins planned all day, a spreadsheet to track competition over sprints and total word count, and great prizes for winners.  It’s going to be a long day full of fun, writing, and lots of great food.  I’ll be exhausted by the end, but it will have been totally worth it.

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year, how’s your project going?  Are you keeping up with par and/or your personal goals?

NaNoWriMo Day Ten

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So we’re more than a week into this and I’m actually doing pretty well.  I haven’t quite been staying on track with my personal NaNoWriMo word count goal of 3,766 a day, but I always write more on weekends, so I expect to have caught up to that before the end of the day Sunday. I’ve been attending and hosting plenty of write-ins and my region’s on-line chat is almost always active, which is awesome.

In NaNoRDU, we have a tradition of posting tweets of the interesting things overheard at write-ins, either said by us or by random strangers.  I just wanted to share a couple fun ones we’ve had so far this year.  They can be pretty hilarious.

2017-11-10 NaNoRDU tweets

We get up to some fun shenanigans at write-ins, and I’ve been enjoying them so far this year.  Looking forward to tonight’s.

So here’s the rundown of my writing stats so far this year.

Most productive day was November 11 with 5,036 words.

Average words per day at the end of November 9 was 3,615.

Total words at end of day on November 9 was 32,543.

Looking good so far this year.

Keep those words coming, all your WriMos out there.