I’ve recently come face to face with one of the major challenges writers face: overwhelming stress killing the desire to write. I’ve been going through something in my life which has ratcheted up my stress levels quite a bit. It’s messed with my sleep a little even, these last few days. It’s also messed with my writing.
I’m in the middle of the second draft of my first novel. Despite some bumps and big revisions, I was making excellent progress. I’d just about reached the midpoint, a chapter I need to do some real revisions in. I had to set it aside for a few days, of necessity, and…I just haven’t picked it back up. I wanted to, but with all this stress lately, I just haven’t mustered enough motivation to do so. I’ve only managed to squeeze out some short poetry in the past three weeks plus.
Monday is a major end point, I hope, in my current stressful life-altering situation. I should be able to pick up and continue with the second draft shortly thereafter. That shouldn’t be an issue. The real issue is that I can’t let stress stop me from working on my major writing problems. I need to find a way to push through, to sit down behind the keyboard and bang out words on my current yarn. Hopefully I won’t have to face any situations this stressful for a long time, but when I do, I will do better trying to push through it.
Hopefully my ramblings on stress and writing help others who are facing similar challenges.
The reason I have been lacking in providing updated posts here on my website, good readers, is because I have been working diligently on the second draft of my first novel, “Murky Rivers”. As those of you who have assisted with this story in my writers group will know, bringing this book to fruition has been a long process, made all the more so because I began it well before I should have been trying to write a novel. As such, I’ve gone through a lot of growing pains as a writer in working on this book. I felt my first draft was weak and lacking the oomph it truly needs and deserves.
Well, let me tell you, the second draft is really providing that oomph. I’m so very pleased with this draft thus far. I’m a third of the way through it. Yes, it’s proven to be one heck of a slog at points, because of the necessary rewrites and additional writing. Still, I don’t mind in the least. I’m going to wrap this draft up before too long, get it out to beta readers, and finish this book. And it’ll be a damn fine one, too.
So, this is why I haven’t been giving as many updates as I should. I hope to do better in this arena. Bear with me. Hopefully, before the year is out, this book is not only finished, but on the road to being published.
Swords and Sorcery Magazine has published my short story “The Fourth River”. I’m pleased to note it is Story 1 in this particular issue.
My flash fiction piece, “An Act of Consequence”, has been published at Every Day Fiction. This is a story born of a writing exercise at a class at ConCarolinas 2014. I am pleased to see it placed on such a fine site.
Yesterday marked a welcome return to intensive writing after a fantastic yet frustrating period of writing (or not writing) over the holidays. After a fantastic NaNoWriMo project, the holidays ate my muse. I was often away from home, and writing conditions were constantly less than optimal. A trip to California for several weeks to have Christmas with that side of the family for the first time since I was four years old was wonderful, but it meant I got little quality writing time. I think I’ve managed maybe 4,000 words since Thanksgiving, a shocking figure. Now that I’ve put the holiday season to bed, however, I am back and ready to bang out some words and write some yarns, as Robert E. Howard would say. Let’s get at it!
After a massive push yesterday, where I went insane banging out many words, I have today claimed victory with my NaNoWriMo project, “Three’s a Crown”. Granted, I exceeded the 50,000 word mark yesterday, but didn’t finish until just a short time ago. My goal from the get-go was a 55,000 word first draft by the end of the month. The official word count comes out to 53,984, a mere 1,116 words shy of my mark, in only three weeks. I’d like to think it’s a fabulously fun yarn too.
Fair play to Jennifer Brozek, who finished before I did. It doesn’t bother me, because she’s one heck of an established professional in the field. Plus, NaNoWriMo isn’t a race or a competition. It does feel good to be in the same company as a Jennifer Brozek, though.
I’m so pleased I decided to take on this project. It was the perfect story at the perfect moment for me. I’d like to thank Eric Jackson for urging me to give NaNoWriMo a try. Good luck to the rest of my NaNoWriMo brethren in their quest to finish!
An outline is a must in my writing process. I’ll make a detailed outline before I write a short story. With a novel, I’ll dive into world building and structure the majority of what I need for my world ahead of time. I outline for novels too, but in a different way than for short stories. I find it impossible to complete an entire, chapter-by-chapter outline for a novel ahead of time, although I do work with a skeleton outline, a rough guide of where I’m going. Instead I’ll script the first handful of chapters very thoroughly, as far ahead as I feel comfortable. Once I’m finished with those chapters, or a good ways through them, I’ll outline a little more. I kind of leapfrog my outline forward like that as I go.
So I’ve been slowed in my word count by constantly having to update my outline as I progressed through my NaNoWriMo project. The good news I have to report now, however, is that I have finished…my outline! I know exactly what I’m going to write to finish Three’s a Crown, if not the exact words. NaNoWriMo, I have your number!
So I have returned from a fantastic weekend of geeking out over board games. I started a bit slow today, but am now right back in my writing groove. Three’s a Crown, my romping fantasy adventure tale, is growing in word count once more. NaNoWriMo, I own you (so far).
While I approached my NaNoWriMo journey with much trepidation–I’m a slow and steady kind of writer–the words are flowing and the energy’s buzzing in my finger tips. I’m already over 30,000 words, ahead of my weekly goals, and champing at the bit to bang out more. Sadly, a super-fun weekend at a gaming con here in the ‘Burgh will keep me away from Three’s a Crown from now through the weekend. That’s okay, though–I’ll be that much more raring to go come Monday.
Writers, keep on writing!
Oh, very well, the first week of NaNoWriMo isn’t finished yet, but I wanted to share how much I’ve accomplished already. I’ve topped the fourteen thousand word mark, and will surpass fifteen thousand words for the week. This will put me beyond my goals for the week, and hopefully help me pad my word count against future weeks. I’ve just finished chapter fourteen. As anticipated, chapters are short and sweet in this novel of mine. It’s witty with fun characters, an interesting plot, and thus far, excellent character development. All of this is in my humble opinion as a writer working on a first draft, of course, but right now my voice counts the most 🙂
More updates to follow.