Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Keeping Score...

NOTE: These numbers are running totals, not daily word counts.

I started NaNoWriMo November 1st, so I had 3,020 words already by the time I took the Fast Draft workshop on the 5th. Sunday I prepped, Monday I wrote, Tuesday was a total loss with voting, etc. On Wednesday, Nov. 7, I worked on 20 pages to submit for my critique  group in Fredericksburg, so I'm going to call Thursday, Nov. 8, my official start date.

Need a little NaNo inspiration or a good laugh to keep you going? http://bestofnanowrimo.tumblr.com/
November 5 — 3,020 — Saturday in Midlothian all day, Sunday cleaned all day.
November 6 — 3,750 — Election Day! Couldn't tear myself away from coverage.
November 7 — 3,750 — None, Dr. Appt. in C-Ville, worked on 20 pages for critique group
Official Start of Fast Draft Attempt
November 8 — 4,115 — Not exactly 20 pages, but hey, I'll take it
November 9 — 4,819 — Candace says, "No excuses!"
November 10 — 5,650 — I've yet to do 20 pages, still waiting to get into the "Zone"
November 11 — 6,154 — Tomorrow is Monday. A new week. Focus, focus, focus.
November 12 — 6,154 — Jack squat. Spent day going over critique partners' work for tomorrow.
November 13 — 6,743 — Critique group until 3:00, wrote in evening. Aargh! I'm way behind.
November 14 — 7,850 — Decent day, not stellar. Will do better tomorrow! (Yeah, right...)
November 15 — 9,114 — Didn't hit 10,000 :( :( :( Dragging butt this morning. I. Need. Coffee.
November 16 — 10,028 — Yay! Numerical milestone reached, but I'm still way behind.
November 17 — 10,028 — Spent all day in hospital. My mother-in-law is weak, but improving.
November 18 — 12,300 — Wrote all day. Started new story. This is a bad habit.
November 19 — 12,876 — Trouble concentrating. House is a mess.
November 20 — 14,250 - Decent day, but not stellar.
November 21 — Kids are all home, didn't do much writing.
November 22 — Thanksgiving, spent morning cooking, rest of day with family.
November 23 — 15,435
November 24 — 16,247
November 25 — 16,890
November 26 — 18,001
November 27 — Will probably have to spend most of day cleaning for company

The Promise 
reviews: 28
ratings: 50 (avg rating 4.34)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Can Fast Draft Get Me Over NaNoWriMo's Finish Line?

Look at the images in this collage, an incomplete pastel painting, a half-finished seashell frame, and three brand-spanking-new novels. What do they have in common? Here’s a hint... it has something to do with a lamentable personality trait that far too many of us share.

Give up? I started the pastel painting about a year ago, the shell frame two years ago, and I bought the books to support my VRW and WRW sisters, but have not finished one. To the list I could add my husband’s shirts that need buttons and a crocheted fragment of blanket for my newborn niece who is now two years old.

And most distressing of all, a dozen manuscripts in various stages of completion from 5,000 to 75,000 words.

I begin projects with great enthusiasm, but too often move on to some shiny new thing before I’ve finished. They say the first step is to admit you have a problem. I freely admit it... I am a procrastinator.

On Saturday, I was given a set of tools to help me vanquish the procrastinator within.  At least I devoutly hope so. Virginia Romance Writers (VRW) held its annual meeting, the highlight of which was Candace Havens' Fast Draft workshop. Although Midlothian is a hike, two hours south of my home in Culpeper, I really wanted to attend.

I’m ecstatic that I did! Now the onus is on me to apply "The Rules" to my writing.

Candace's program featured insightful “tough love” for writers delivered with dry wit and physical comedy. At times she was hysterically funny, like when she described some potentially career-damaging misbehavior on the part of an unnamed colleague that involved way too many cocktails and a close encounter with a publishing executive. When telling a story, her face becomes as rubbery as Jim Carrey’s and her physicality rivals Steve Martin's. Truly, the woman could be a professional comedienne. She kept the audience laughing while she imparted excellent advice on writing, revising, and marketing, peppered with cautionary tales plucked from her own career. 

It is too late for me to heed one particular bit of Candace's advice... to present myself as a professional at all times because, "You never know who's listening." I have already blown this one in a rather major way, so I'm not going to worry about it too much at this point. My entire blog revolves around the countless mistakes I've made along my writing journey, punctuated by the occasional success. I have primarily addressed my musings to other newbie writers and my fans, not agents or publishers. I haven't the slightest notion what they would make of it if they did read it.

I do plan to heed the rest of Candace's pointers, however. She gave great tips for staying positive, ignoring your internal editor, making a commitment to the process, and creating accountability. She's a big advocate of journaling and recommends keeping one close at all times. You never know when inspiration will strike. There was much, much more, including a detailed list of rules that would take too long to go over here. If you would like to take the class, visit Candace Havens' website. The link is at the end of this post.

The workshop was well timed, from my point of view. I signed up for NaNoWriMo because I have been treading water in my latest WIP for weeks, editing the same words, over and over. I didn’t want to abandon it and move on to another project and end up in the same place a month or two down the line. Instead, I spent too much time on Facebook, napping like a bear, and aimlessly rooting around in the fridge… anything to avoid facing my manuscript. I've spoken about Cameron's story on my fan page and readers keep asking me when it will be done. I'm feeling a great deal of self-imposed pressure to wrap it up. I don't know if I'll try to get an agent with this one, or self publish again. The pros and cons of that question might be adding to my procrastination. If I finish it, I have to decide whether to enter the grueling, frustrating, gut-wrenching query process.

No more procrastination! Fast Draft made sense to me and I’m going to give it an honest shot. I’ve already begun to implement Candace’s rules… beginning with clearing my workspace of clutter to help me focus. My office doubles as my art studio and writing cave, so cleaning and organizing took most of Sunday. But I'm done and she's right... I really do feel less scattered in an uncluttered space.

I'm setting aside the next two weeks to produce an entire rough draft using Fast Draft’s “rules” to write 20 pages a day for 14 days. Candace says commitment and accountability are important, so I’m going to post my word count every day on the VRW critique partners loop, Facebook, and my blog before I go to bed each night.

I can’t do the Fast Draft workshop justice in this short blog post, but believe me, Candace Havens gave great advice, not only on cranking out a rough draft, but surviving the revision phase, and marketing through social media. If you need strategies to power through your first draft, sign up on her website @ http://www.candacehavens.com/index.php/workshops/. The cost is $20, a bargain in my estimation.

I found a testimonial about Fast Draft from writer Angela Quarles, a converted skeptic, @ http://angelaquarles.com/2012/05/28/my-fast-draft-experience/.

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Visit Kate's website for the latest information on her books: http://www.kateworth.com/
You can find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/KateWorth.Romance
Send her a tweet @KateWorth2 or email her at KateWorthRomance@yahoo.com

The Promise is available at Amazon at the following links:

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Update on my bad review blog post. I am pleased to report that this business of getting your first bad review is a lot like losing your virginity. It only hurts the first time. Well... it hurts the worst your first time. After that you become philosophical. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, etc, etc, etc.

Here are some samples of my art. The top one is a hand built clay sculpture and the bottom is a pastel painting of Sharp Rock Road in Rapphannock County near Sperryville, one of the prettiest country lanes anywhere. And it leads to Sharp Rock Winery! Worth a visit, y'all.