I failed miserably with most of my goals for the first three months of the year. I wrote consistently, at least five times a week which is a win and most of those weeks I put out 1500 words or more. All of that is a win, and I believe that no writing time is wasted. Even if every word you write is cut, that time was well spent because you stretched those muscles and hopefully learned how to write and create better for the next story.
Still, I'm feeling a little dejected. I spent four years at college, two of which were spent in a creative writing program, and I enjoyed every minute of it. It was great practice for learning how to give and take critique to and from others. But I've realized over the past few months that pantsing a story is hard to do well. In all my time at school, I was told story = plot. Plot is the external events of a story. That much I understood. And I also understand that a character needs to change. But after reading Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker and now while I'm currently reading through Story Genius by Lisa Cron it occurs to me that none of my classes ever taught me how to plan out a story very well.
Hey guys! I'm going to Hogwarts!
I have examined my life and taken into account how long it takes me to accomplish things now that I am a mom to two young boys. While I wish I could be more productive like other authors I follow through social media, I have come to accept that at this time in my life, it will be an amazing thing if I can self-publish one book this year.
My main goal is to edit the millionth draft of The Stripper and the Saint (the current working title) and get it ready for publication, hopefully by July of this year. This is not a hard deadline, as I know things will need to change but since I'm not having a baby this year I think this is a goal I can accomplish.
I would also love to get a draft written on another book I'm working on called Homelessly in Love (yet another working title). But as I am currently focusing on editing the novel I hope to publish this year, this project has taken a back seat.
Blogging has never been one of my strong suits so I'm not focused on updating this blog regularly. The direction of this blog will also be changing since for now, I am focusing on my own writing and not on helping others with theirs. There are plenty of other blogs on writing out there that are wonderful resources and I do not need to waste my time trying to come up with new content on the craft of writing.
However, I am hoping to update this blog at least once a month with my progress on current projects so readers may follow along or come back after having read one of my works someday and enjoy seeing my creative process. I enjoy reading about the process of authors I admire and hope you do too.
This week I have learned that editing is not something to dread. I have enjoyed reading over what I have written for The Stripper and the Saint. I originally wrote this story back in 2011 when I was a naive, young, single, college student with too much time on my hands and not enough ambition to do much with my writing.
The version I am working on now involves the same characters I loved from the first draft but I completely re-wrote the storyline last year. I am halfway through my first read through of this new draft and as I said I am enjoying what I've read. As I get closer to the end I find that the story is less tight, less focused which makes sense since I didn't have an outline though I am trying to implement outlining into my process this year. Hopefully, I can find a way to whip the ending into shape in the next few weeks. My goal is to edit and send to alpha readers by the end of January.
Wish me luck,
K. A. Jairl
October is here and that means NaNoWriMo is right around the corner. The last several months ran by so fast they were a blur. My baby is now a toddler, summer is over, and the days are getting much shorter. It's dark by 7:45 now and the days are even getting chilly. We are actually getting a fall here in Utah. Half the time it's ninety degrees one day and forty degrees the next.
I love fall. It means school is back in session and we all stocked up on school supplies while they were on sale, right? Fall also means it's time to start thinking about NaNoWriMo. I used to say I was a pantser, and I have tried that a couple of times. But it's time to get serious. I started the year out serious and then got derailed during the summer. There is no time for regret or shame, however. There is only the future and that means we need to keep moving forward.
This year for NaNo I am pulling out an old Camp NaNovel. I wrote a superhero story. I'm not a big fan of superheroes, especially with all the hype about them these days. But I really enjoyed writing this story. The characters were fun enough that I visited a couple of them again in a short story I wrote for one of my creative writing classes in college. So I'm pulling them back up to the plate for another chance at bat because what's more American than baseball and superheroes? This time I'm hoping to avoid the most cliche of cliche storylines, while still staying within the expectations of the genre.
My story is a little more X-men than Superman, but I still think it's a fun original idea (in my limited knowledge of superheroes) and whether it ever gets published or not, I'm hoping it will help pull me out of my funk and get me writing again on a regular basis.
Plus I'm hoping my office will finally be finished by the end of October or beginning of November, so I'll be able to shut the door and lock my husband and toddler out while I'm writing. We'll see if that actually happens. Sheetrocking and mudding and taping has been taking a while since my husband is tired after he gets off work and doesn't want to work on finishing my room. Keep your fingers crossed. I'm crossing everything down to my toes.
What are you doing to prepare for NaNoWriMo? Are you a plantser too? Or you do you swing more to one side than the other?
Keep on creating and I'll see you in November!
K. A. Jairl
This past week sucked for my writing. I was on a writing high last week partially because I was rewriting what I had already written and knew how things were going to go. Then this week, I hit the two week slump. I haven't written a word on my story this whole past week.
Last week I wrote every night before I went to bed, or while I was supposed to be making dinner (thank you hubby!). This week I have not had the energy. Somehow I am going to bed later this week than I was last week and I'm not even sure what I'm doing that's keeping me up so late.
I know part of it is laundry. We use cloth diapers so I usually throw diapers in the wash every three to five days depending on how lazy I feel or how busy I think I am. That doesn't take a whole lot of time except when I have to stuff them with the absorbent inserts (they are pocket diapers. If anyone wants to know what those are, feel free to google it. They aren't your grandma's diapers). Stuffing them takes about a half hour or 45 minutes.
So twice a week that takes up time. I should be working on my story while the laundry is going, but that's family time usually.
During the day I babysit my cousins baby girl who is four months older than my little boy and they NEVER take naps at the same time. So I don't get any writing done during the day. As I sit here writing this quick blog post the babies are tearing apart the kitchen which I'll have to put back together before my cousin's in-laws arrive because they are judgy.
So does anyone have any magical suggestions on when I can get some writing done for this next week? I have to say I'm not a morning person so any writing I would do then would not be productive. I think I'm just going to have to stay up late.
I hope y'all get more done on your masterpieces than I do. Keep on creating,
This year at LTUE I connected with more people than I ever had before. I even had cute little business cards to hand out. And now I feel like I know what it takes to make a living in self-publishing.
While I still plan to self-publish this year, it may be a couple of short stories to help build my following instead of a full-length novel. The reason being that if I self-publish one novel and then don't publish another one for a year, my book will likely drop down into obscurity and it will be harder to gain momentum for my next book.
Authors who self-publish are able to put out more books per year than traditionally published authors. So in order to make a living, you almost have to self-publish a book every couple of months. If I am going to be able to keep up with that demand, I am going to need a head start.
So I'm giving myself a head start by completing several novels (not just finished drafts but ready to publish) before I publish the first one. So my goal right now is to finish the novel I'm working on and send it out to Alpha readers, and then work on some short stories and start a new novel, or finish one of my old manuscripts.
The novel I'm currently working on is a YA dystopian where creativity and imagination are illegal. I will be sending my manuscript out to alpha readers by the end of March so if you'd like to be considered as an alpha reader, shoot me an email at email@example.com.
Keep on creating,
K. A. Jairl
Time for another writing check-in. How are we doing on our writing goals? I'm behind. I got into one of my lazy funks and now I'm struggling through the pit of lazy quicksand trying to pull myself out before I sink any further. Luckily I have just the thing to help motivate me to get back on track. Last week I attended LTUE (Life, the Universe, and Everything). This is a writing conference focused on writing scif-fi and fantasy however the principles discussed at the conference can be adapted to any genre. I took lots of notes and met lots of awesome people. Every year I go, I take notes, and then I promptly forget about them. But this year I'm going to try not to let that happen. This year I'm going to write down one thing I learned from each class or panel. I will write one sentence on each class down on the same page and that way I can hang that paper up or carry it around with me wherever I got to help me remember and look back on what I learned.
One thing that stuck out the most to me from LTUE was if you self-publish, you are effectively a small business. Small businesses have start up costs and so does self-publishing. We need a cover, an editor, a marketing budget. The other thing that really hit me is that in order to make money as a self-published author, you will want to publish more frequently. This will keep in you the minds of your readers more often and will help you continue to sell. The great thing about self-publishing is that you have control over when and how often you publish. In traditional publishing, once your book is under contract you have no control over when it comes out. These two facts have helped me become a little more confident about my choice to self-publish.
Here is an excerpt from my WIP. Keep in mind this is a rough draft.
In the car Brad turned on the radio and flicked through the stations until he found one that was playing music. He started singing along to the harsh sound but Lani struggled to understand even a few words.
If you need more help or inspiration feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below. I love to talk with other writers and I'm great at brainstorming. Keep working on those masterpieces I can't wait to read them.
Disclaimer: I am not being compensated in any way for sharing my opinions on these products with you.
Have you ever found yourself with a great story idea in the middle of your shower? Soap suds are running down your neck and you keep repeating that perfect line of dialogue or the solution to your plot hole over and over in your head so you don't forget it until you have the time to write it down?
I used to brainstorm whole series in the shower and I can't remember how most of that story went because you can't take a notebook and pencil in the shower with you. Expect you totally can! A few years ago my wonderful and supportive husband bought me my Auqanotes Waterproof Notepad. I'm not being compensated in any way to say that this thing works. It really is waterproof. I have used almost the whole notebook in the water and not lost a single note.
Another fun tool I discovered this past year is a writing prompt book from Barnes & Noble called "Complete the Story." I like it because if I'm at a loss as what to write there are writing prompts that are already started and I can fill the page and stop or I can keep writing the story if I find that words flowing. Plus if I ever need a new story I can look back at what I've written and find inspiration. My mom has the same book and it's fun to compare how different our stories are even though we start out with the same prompt.
I realize I talk a lot about products that are useful for writers but it's just because I want to share the tools that have been useful to me with all of you. Has anyone tried either of the tools above? Did you like them? Do you have any products you just love to write with?
Keep working on those masterpieces in progress. You've got this.
K. A. Jairl
My name is Kim and I'm glad you stopped by. This is where I post my triumphs and my downfalls as I fight the good fight of being a writer mom everyday.