Downtime (And a Projected Project Timeline)

I’m giving myself permission to rest. Well, not really REST rest, but rest from writing for a little bit. Don’t worry. Just a little bit. I’ve been feeling guilty about the two drafts I have that are 50% and 90% written and yet are still 50% and 10% UNWRITTEN. I need to stop with the guilt. I’m at a point with both projects where I need to stew for a week, or two, or three. And when a plot point comes into focus, I can make a note and then, when I am ready again, pursue it.

My family and I will be taking a vacation in the coming months, and when that happens, I’m going to really set aside everything and just enjoy the moments I have with my husband and son and just unplug, unwind, and relax. But, until then, I need a bit of time to reboot other areas of my life.

For instance, finally organizing those last couple cupboards in my kitchen that are lingering bastions of clutter. The ones I have been studiously ignoring in favor of napping.

Or, you know, I could also just keep napping. The sleep war continues in this household and the struggle is real, y’all. Nobody can fight sleep like a teething eight-month-old boy.

So, I’m going to focus on me, and my little family, for a couple of weeks. If writing or plotting happens, that will be wonderful, but I am not planning on it. Then, when the time is up and I can’t hold back the urge to write again (it never takes long!), I’ll dive right back in. I have a crazy goal to have both manuscripts ready for submission by this time next year. And, who knows, probably be at work on my next one once they are nearing completion.

Here’s how that projected timeline looks:

September: Tackle the pesky household and personal matters I’ve been ignoring since our son was born. Kind of like a back-to-school (but for grown-ups) thing, baby-proofing for our almost-crawler, and spring cleaning, all rolled into one. Or, maybe this is that infamous “nesting” instinct finally kicking in that I was supposed to get back when I was pregnant?

After that:

  • Autumn months – Plot and write.
  • Winter months – Finish drafts.
  • Spring months – Get feedback (beta reads, critiques, etc.) and revise.
  • Summer months – Final feedback and revisions, copy and line edits.

and then …. submit!

Am I crazy? Maybe. Could others do it more quickly? Definitely. But, for me, that’s an aggressive timeline. It’s worth trying, though!

Ready. Set. WRITE! {Week 12 Update}

 Good day! ThRSWCoffeeis is a post about my progress towards goals I am making in a summer writing initiative hosted by lovely writers AlisonErinJaime, and Katy. We’re posting our goals publicly, cheering each other on, and reporting back via link party to let everyone know how we’re doing. Why not join us?

 

1.  How I did on last week’s goals

Polish things up for WriteOnCon.

Be a good mom and give the little man the extra love and comfort he needs right now.

Take care of me whenever I can so I can keep on keeping on. 

I think I did these things. I hope I did. Lots of extra bouncing and tickling and holding for my little man. Down time for me when I got a chance.

And Dr. Who.

This morning I am working on polishing up the query and first five pages of my current WIP (The Echelon Project) for WriteOnCon. I’m terrified, to tell the truth. I’m scared it is rubbish and I’m a fraud and that I’ll be discouraged by feedback and quit on my literary baby. But doesn’t every writer feel that way, at some point?  I wish it was a completed project I could pitch and truly query right now. That was my goal last year, to have a finished manuscript ready to go this August. I’m bummed I didn’t meet that goal, but I am going to cut myself some slack for growing and birthing a human being during this past year, instead. 😉

 2.  My goal(s) for this week

Participate in WriteOnCon and be active on its forums as much as possible.

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

Bird of Paradise. Cryptic, much? Hah!

Really, I just revised the first 250 words for posting in the WriteOnCon forum, and my main character is caring for one of the plants in the greenhouse.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week

More sleep issues! Such is my life right now.

5.  Something I love about my WIP

I might be biased, but I think it is a fresh premise and I am enjoying exploring it.

Ready. Set. WRITE! {Week 11 Update}

 Hey, y’all! ThRSWCoffeeis is a post about my progress towards goals I am making in a summer writing initiative hosted by lovely writers AlisonErinJaime, and Katy. We’re posting our goals publicly, cheering each other on, and reporting back via link party to let everyone know how we’re doing. Why not join us?

 

1.  How I did on last week’s goals

Work on my plot, my pitch, and my first pages.

Unfortunately, the only work I did on my book was to think about the work I needed to do on my book.

 2.  My goal(s) for this week

To rest. I still need to polish things up for WriteOnCon, and I will. I will! I can do it! (I need a little self-affirmation, here, after this week!)

But that isn’t my goal.

My goal is to be a good mom and give the little man the extra love and comfort he needs right now. And then to take care of me whenever I can so I can keep on keeping on. I’ll explain in a few …

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

I didn’t write anything that would go in my novel, but I did participate in one  of Kidlit Summer School’s thirty minute dares (#30mdare). I had to make my main character be mean to her best friend. That uncovered a bit of a dynamic that really made their friendship interesting to me, so I will use it to develop both of their characters more.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week

Sleep issues. Our son is going through some developmental changes that have affected his sleeping. One, two, even three hour chunks at a time he’s been awake in the middle of the night. Sometimes happy, but wide, wide awake. Other times screaming and unable to calm himself down. So we’ve been burning the midnight (or the 2am) oil to help him settle and learn to self-soothe a bit. As a result, during the day after, I don’t have much brain power.

I’m dissapointed I didn’t meet my goal for this week, especially with WriteOnCon coming up, but I don’t regret taking care of myself and trying to sleep when he took his naps instead of writing. It was the best choice for my sanity.

5.  Something I love about my WIP

There are some pretty awesome friendships  between the characters.

Ready. Set. WRITE! {Week 10 Update}

 Hiya! ThRSWCoffeeis is a post about my progress towards goals I am making in a summer writing initiative hosted by lovely writers AlisonErinJaime, and Katy. We’re posting our goals publicly, cheering each other on, and reporting back via link party to let everyone know how we’re doing. Why not join us?

 

1.  How I did on last week’s goals

Once again, set aside some time to write on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Even if it is just a paragraph or two.

Yup! 🙂

But this week I’ll also add: do some plot brainstorming again.

Nope. 🙁 Well, not officially. The plot of my story is pretty much always in the back of my mind, but I didn’t write anything down, as I had intended.

 2.  My goal(s) for this week

I’m switching things up this week. This summer has been a fantastic time to work on writing and connect with other writers. From Ready. Set. WRITE! for companionship and accountability, to the Nerdy Chicks Write summer school for education in character development, and next up will be the return of WriteOnCon for a huge boost of inspiration and lots of peer feedback, which I am soooo excited about! Once September comes, I’m going to be in serious writer group withdrawal. (By the way, HOW GENEROUS is the writing community at large?! Wow.)

But, in order to be ready for WriteOnCon, I need to work on my plot, my pitch, and my first pages. So that is my focus this time around.

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

I don’t know if I’ll end up keeping this exchange, or even this character, but I was playing around with a scene where my teenage main character is in a research lab and is getting hit on by an older lab assistant. Here is how that went down:

“You smell good,” Eyebrows said.

“I smell like formaldehyde,” she countered. “And lawsuits.”

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week

Mom life. I wouldn’t change it for the world, but this week just drained me. I need a nap.

5.  Something I love about my WIP

I really believe in it.

Ready. Set. WRITE! {Week 9 Update}

Hey, there! ThRSWCoffeeis is a post about my progress towards goals I am making in a summer writing initiative hosted by lovely writers AlisonErinJaime, and Katy. We’re posting our goals publicly, cheering each other on, and reporting back via link party to let everyone know how we’re doing. Why not join us?

 

1.  How I did on last week’s goals

Let’s do this again: Mon-Thurs … write, write, WRITE!

Done and DONE! I even broke 500 words one night, which, while not huge in and of itself, was huge for me. Also … BONUS … I wrote on Friday, too.

 2.  My goal(s) for this week

Why change a good thing? Once again, set aside some time to write on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Even if it is just a paragraph or two.

But this week I’ll also add: do some plot brainstorming again.

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

First draft standard disclaimer, here. But I did like this exchange between my main character and the boy who keeps crashing her solitude.

For a moment—just a moment—his eyes held hers, and she caught a glimpse of warmth, a flash of vulnerability, or, perhaps, just a trick to pull her in.

She wasn’t sure which. But it worked.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week

It’s been a busy week, so whenever I do get a chance to sit down, I have to be pretty intentional about putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. You know, as opposed mindlessly binge watching Face Off reruns. Which I also did.

5.  Something I love about my WIP

That annoying boy who keeps showing up every time my main character finally gets a little peace and quiet on her own? He’s a parkour enthusiast. So, you know, watching American Ninja Warrior with my husband actually counts as research. And so does this:

Ready. Set. WRITE! {Week 7 Update}

Howdy! ThRSWCoffeeis is a post about my progress towards goals I am making in a summer writing initiative hosted by lovely writers Alison, Erin, Jaime, and Katy. We’re posting our goals publicly, cheering each other on, and reporting back via link party to let everyone know how we’re doing. Why not join us?

 

1.  How I did on last week’s goals

In a word? Abysmally.

In a GIF?

 2.  My goal(s) for this week

Write Monday through Thursday night, without fail. Without excuse.

And that is all.

3.  A favorite line (well … two paragraphs … ahem) from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

 She slid down to the ground and fingered the dirt. Funny, how it was only deep enough to hold the roots of the small trees and vegetation surrounding the school. All the appearances of normal life, without any of the reality.

She was starting to feel like her whole world was like that.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week

A messy house. Other weeks I let it slide and wrote during naptime. This week, I just couldn’t let it slide any more.

5.  Something I love about my WiP

I’m finally getting a feel for the plot! I did not do a lot of writing, but I did a lot of thinking this week (and that counts, in my book!) and with the last two scenes I’ve written, it is falling into place at last.

 

 

Ready. Set. WRITE! {Week 6 Update}

Hello! ThRSWCoffeeis is a post about my progress towards goals I am making in a summer writing initiative hosted by lovely writers Alison, Erin, Jaime, and Katy. We’re posting our goals publicly, cheering each other on, and reporting back via link party to let everyone know how we’re doing. Why not join us?

 

1.  How I did on last week’s goals

  • Write for at least 3 days this week. Nailed it. Didn’t write a ton, but I did meet this goal.
  • Develop the major plot points through the middle section. Kinda-sorta did? Not enough to let myself cross it off, though.
  • Focus on the antagonist Things are getting clearer. But I’m not there, yet.
  • Cut and paste Rip Current It is started. I’m enjoying the tactile element, but let me tell you: I’ve learned my lesson. New scenes get new pages from now on for The Echelon Project (which I’m also writing out of order.) That way I can print and just re-organize. Phew.
2.  My goal(s) for this week

I’m keepin’ it simple this week, folks.

  • Write for 3 days
  • Tackle those plot points!
  • Keep cutting and pasting Rip Current
  • Make a new Mindscapes 8tracks mix for writing/editing inspiration

(My new CD stash, ready to be loaded onto my computer and 8tracks!)

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

Hidden fears.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week

Distractions.

5.  Something I love about my WiP

The fun I can have with inventing technologies!

 

Ready. Set. WRITE! {Week 5 Update}

Hello! ThRSWCoffeeis is a post about my progress towards goals I am making in a summer writing initiative hosted by lovely writers Alison, Erin, Jaime, and Katy. We’re posting our goals publicly, cheering each other on, and reporting back via link party to let everyone know how we’re doing. Why not join us?

 

*** UPDATE: I made a last-minute decision to do Camp NaNoWriMo as part of my goal-reaching. Anyone want to join me in a private cabin? ***

1.  How I did on last week’s goals

Word Count –  Back to 2,500 words again. AT LAST! I DID IT!

Excuse me while I celebrate a bit.

While it took me until noon today to finish, I made it. (And hey, since I wrote it before publishing this blog post, I’m counting it!)

Start an outline – It will be REALLY rough, but I need to start somewhere. YEP! 

And yes, it is VERY rough.

Raise the stakes DONE!

I wrote a couple more version of my practice query to get there, but I am excited about the ideas that it generated.

Print out my Rip Current draft – I think I’m ready to begin edits now.

Printed and ready to go for my new goal for it this week.

2.  My goal(s) for this week
  • Write for at least 3 days this week.
  • Develop the major plot points through the middle section.
  • Focus on the antagonist
  • Cut and paste Rip Current

(No really. I’m cutting actual paper with scissors. I wrote the first draft of this story out of order. Now I need to get it in chronological order so I can edit it.)

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

Transitions.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week

Plot. Always plot.

Also, fireworks disturbing my dog and my baby over the weekend.

5.  Something I love about my WiP

One of my favorite scenes right now feels like a high school version of a Leverage episode!

 

Ready. Set. WRITE! {Week 4 Update}

Hello! ThRSWCoffeeis is a post about my progress towards goals I am making in a summer writing initiative hosted by lovely writers Alison, Erin, Jaime, and Katy. We’re posting our goals publicly, cheering each other on, and reporting back via link party to let everyone know how we’re doing. Why not join us?

 

1.  How I did on last week’s goals

Word Count – 6, 090 to bring me up to speed. EPIC FAIL.

2,171. Despite my best efforts, 5,300 (or more!) words in a week is just more than I realistically can handle right now.

Draft a Query for my WiP CHECK!

Read a few chapters in The Girls of Atomic CityCHECK!

Survive P90X3 CHECK! 

Before anyone gets too impressed, I have to admit I’m taking it easy because I’m being gentle on my post-c-section abs and sometimes choosing to write over working out. But I did at least the majority of 3 out of 5 workouts with my husband. I’m happy with that! (And the whole he does the cooking thing is a sweet deal. Check out this breakfast he made for me … yum!)

2.  My goal(s) for this week

Word Count –  Back to 2,500 words again. Same as two weeks ago. It seems more doable.

Start an outline – It will be REALLY rough, but I need to start somewhere.

Raise the stakes – Per this tweet, my helpful husband suggests New York strip. Ahem.

Print out my Rip Current draft – I had set aside the first draft of this contemporary YA project when life got crazy (pregnancy and newborn); I think I’m ready to begin edits now. Fun fact: both of my current projects involve the ocean. I think I miss it.

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

Possibilities.

Most of which will probably be cut in revisions later, but I’m just hashing things out for now.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week

Still plot. *sigh*

5.  Something I love about my WiP

The exotic setting. My “Future” Pinterest inspiration board hints at it.

*** UPDATE: I made a last-minute decision to do Camp NaNoWriMo as part of my goal-reaching. Anyone want to join me in a private cabin? ***

Ready. Set. WRITE! {Week 3 Update}

Ok, so just to recap, this is a post about my progress towards goals I am making in a summer writing initiative hosted by lovely writers Alison, Erin, Jaime, and Katy. We’re posting our goals publicly, cheering each other on, and reporting back via link party to let everyone know how we’re doing. Why not join us?

1.  How I did on last week’s goals

Write 2,500 words – Close, but not quite. After celebrating a great couple of days with this tweet, I did not add the remaining words needed. But still. SO much better than last week! (Side note: Oh, hi, critique partner Jenni! I see your smiling face here. 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement.)

Brainstorm three versions of the ending – CHECK! Whoohoo! The brainstorm session happened last night and went in directions I didn’t expect. I came up with one plot idea in particular that surprised me because it was a different approach than I’ve been taking so far … but I like it. I’ll make a decision soon.

2.  My goal(s) for this week

Word Count – I determined I’d need around 5,300 words per week to finish the first draft by the end of August, so since I missed last week’s goal by 790 words, I’m going to increase my goal this week to 6, 090 to bring me up to speed. Eep!

Draft a Query for my WiP – I find it helps me determine plot and overarching themes to write queries for projects still in the works.

Read a few chapters in The Girls of Atomic City – (fascinating historical research for this futuristic project!)

(From my Instagram feed.)

Survive P90X3 – My husband talked me into working out with him for 90 days. I’m scared. But this does come with a super bonus: he’s doing all the cooking (to loosely follow the eating plan) for three months.

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

“It wasn’t a business card, Mina realized. It was an access card. Eleanor had just given her a key to the most heavily secured building on the island.”

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week

Exhaustion after a busy weekend. I had hoped to pump out those last 790 words over either Saturday or Sunday, but responsibilities took precedence. By the end of each day, I was too wiped out to do much other than collapse in bed.

5.  Something I love about my WiP

The research! It is So. Much. Fun. I get to daydream about future technologies and possibilities, while simultaneously looking to the past for inspiration and education. After all, according to George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” That’s kind of an unofficial theme to my research and plotting right now.