Rest of January Writer’s Challenge

 Literature Blogs

Writer friend Sue told me her critique group was doing a Write-10,000-Words-During-January challenge… but that no one has mentioned anything about it since last year. And here we are a full third of the way through the month already. Tisk-tisk. I told Sue I’d take her up on it. Writers need accountability, after all, even if it’s “only” with each other (v.s. deadline with agent or editor).

Since we are both in revision-mode, we’ve found that our WIP word count is shrinking instead of growing, as is to be expected.

So… here’s our revised challenge:

1) 10,000 RAW words (i.e., newly written) by the end of January; and

2) At least one hour per day of writing in our busy schedules, be that RR or R — raw , revising or rewriting.

Anyone else want to take up the Rest of January Writer’s Challenge? Please feel free to join us.  You may place your word count or hours in the comment area of this blog during the remaining three Mondays in January. Good luck, and keep on writing.

Post NaNoWriMo, 2009

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This past Monday, my on-line critique group went back to submitting & critiquing 5K for the week. We’d taken the month of November off for NaNoWriMo. I was up to sub first. It was difficult for me to switch from historical fiction to fantasy, but I don’t need to be doing revision from their comments any time very soon. I used to be able to easily work on more than one project at a time, but lately I’ve felt the need to focus on just one project at a time. No multi-tasking for Sandy any more.

Writer Friend Sue — from about 45 minutes away from me, and not in my critique group — gave a challenge for us to continue working on our stories and report simply the word count to each other each Friday. Although I’d made several entries in my journal this week, and dealt with more moving-father issues, and started the many Christmas season activities, I reported to her my meager 300 count for the week (for words on story, not journaling). I felt embarrassingly miserable about that, even though I’d done better than Sue!

Tonight I typed in another 1150 words on my NaNo story. Still, it’s a pitiful count compared to what I was putting out in November. This morning I went through my NaNo writings and transferred only those scenes/chapters I was going to keep for sure over into a new file.  I did more reorganizing and rearranging and filling out a few things. I have more story to work on before I even start in on the revisions or rewrites. Yet, I have about 27,000 words. My goal for this historical fiction MG novel is 32,000 words. I’m sure I’ll easily surpass that, if needed. But now (Post NaNoWriMo) I’m no longer as worried about word count as I am story. It felt refreshingly wonderful for me to type words today and then go back and self-edit before proceeding. Very satisfactory.

I’m hoping this month, even with all the extra Christmas activities going on and family concerns, that I’ll be able to work on this historical fiction to somewhat completion. Then, in the new year, I’ll get back to my fantasy series and let this story sit and ripen for a while.

I challenge anyone reading this to try for 2K words each week, even in the very busiest of  times.

Day 30 of NaNoWriMo — Last Day Reflections

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Although there are still a few hours left till the end of NaNoWriMo, I’ve turned in my count. I’m not a winner for writing 50,000 words this month, but I did write 37,000 words, all on the same story so… yeah! 37 K!

Looking back, here are some of the things I learned this month:

* Since I like to keep my promises, signing up for National Novel Writers Month was a scary thing.

* About every day I worried that I wouldn’t make the 50 K.

* I wrote just about every day, anyway.

* Even today, when I knew I wouldn’t make the extra 13 K, I still wrote.

* What I wrote was drivel. I knew it at the time, but counted the words, anyway. It was really bad whenever I went back to see what I’d written and then deleted most of it! The rest of what I wrote this month will have to be either deleted, revised, or seriously rewritten sometime later.

* It was great to work on just one piece of writing at a time v.s. many (story) sticks in the fire.

* I’m a procrastinater.

* I work best in the morning. By mid-afternoon, you could find me staring mindlessly unproductive at a blinking curser on my computer screen.

* Family comes before writing. I’ve always believed that, but this month several major things happened: my father was/is dying; our son and DIL came for a wonderful 5-day visit; DH got to see his first-ever Packers game, live; me, too; my brother got laid off of work; I accepted the position of co-chair of another writers’ conference next October when the one co-chair up and quit. (I know that last one isn’t really family, but it was a major time-commitment.)

* I cheat. (So do lots of other NaNoWriMo folk, but that’s no justification for it.)  I counted each day’s date and each time I wrote in caps about research questions. It was still NaNo story related. (Defensive, aren’t I?) At first, I was really good about just sticking to the story. Then I spent a day working just on plot. That felt great. Another couple days I spent writing autobiographies on some of the major characters; this not only rounded them out, but I also discovered each of their voices.

* I spend way too much time reading and answering emails.

* I must always remember to save periodically, so when I press a combination of magic key strokes, I don’t erase an hour’s worth of work!

* I will probably do NaNoWriMo next year.