Though I’ve been writing for the last year, my blogging has fallen off. I’m going to be using it over the next month as a way to stave off my urge to use social media throughout the day. I’ll be saving up the the things I want to say to put into one long post, rather than doing fifteen short ones scattered throughout the day. I’ll just make notes of them as they come to me, rather than getting on Twitter or Facebook which turns a five second post into a forty five minute scan of cat videos and cute baby pics and TV show spoilers.
I spent a couple of days last week setting up a table so I can work away from online distraction, and so far, it’s proved to be very productive. NaNoWriMo will really put my plan to the test. Wish me luck!
My office has become a really comfortable space, and I truly love my ever-growing library. When I moved back from Saint Louis last spring, I had twenty eight big paper boxes full of books (the equivalent of about 5000 volumes), and at last I have all of the books put in order. There is even room for my collection to grow, which I haven’t had in…well…ever. I’ve always had bookshelves that were overflowing. This is a new era in my life. Eventually, I plan to repurpose my garage into a giant office (This room is the smallest of the guestrooms in the house.), but that change is at least a year away, so in the meantime, I’m making this space as functional and useful as possible.
There’s a little spaceheater that looks like a fireplace, and I’m looking forward to keeping this room cozy throughout the long winter days and nights.
In order to keep myself on task, I’ve set up a whiteboard near the door, and I’m going to keep track of my word counts throughout NaNoWriMo. My hope is to finish the last of the additions to Book One by the end of October, then spend November completing Book Two and setting to work on Book Three. In a perfect world, with no distractions or problems, all three novels in the series would be completed by the end of December.
In addition, I’ve begun using Toggl.com as a way to keep track of my time on various tasks and to help me with time management. For instance, so far, I’ve spent forty minutes writing this blog entry. Somehow, if I can see the timer spinning off the minutes and seconds, I stay focused better, and it forces me to be more efficient in my use of time.
I’ll also be using my Scrivener to keep word counts, then recording my progress on NaNoWriMo’s website.
To keep myself from scanning relevant and interesting articles all day long, I’m using Klout.com as an aggregator and to schedule my posts, spacing them out throughout the day, rather than being online all day long or, conversely, dumping them all in a short span of time and overwhelming people with a bunch of links at once. I’ve used Klout in the past, and I find it really helpful. I scan the articles under my chosen topics when I have free time, then let the site take care of the rest. That’s a much better use of my time, and I really like it for that purpose. If I can ever afford to hire an assistant, they can take over some of that sort of work for me, but in the meantime, Klout is the next best thing.
Things I found and posted in the last twenty four hours, include:
- How Many Stars are in the Universe?
- What Ghost Stories and Haunted Houses Tell Us About American History
My friend Kari Kilgore’s new novel is out, and I highly recommend it!
Also, my friend Jeff Chacon also has a new book coming out. The second installment in his Zombie series is due out next month, but the first novel, American Badass, is out now and being made into a film. If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, it’s a great read!
In the early summer, I made some revisions to Book One based on suggestions from beta readers, and I’m very pleased with that work.
I’ve made some major changes to my overall outline for Books Two and Three (and maybe even Four), based on where the characters have lead me, and those changes are going to be truly fun to write.
To prepare for the scenes I need to write, I’ve been doing a lot of research, and books are arriving daily to give me inspiration. I’ve also surrounded myself with items that will help me when I get fidgety, including more action figures. I now have a Casanova action figure with Carnival mask action to stand next to my beheadable Marie Antoinette. It seemed appropriate since part of the action in Book Two takes place in Venice.
I’ve got a lot to read, but I’m not going to let that bog down my draft. I can always come back and add more details in the revision process. What’s important is to let the story unfold and give life to the characters. I’m letting myself become immersed in their world, and I can’t wait for what happens next.
It’s all right there in my head.
In addition to my vampire series, I have ideas for a few other novels as well. One that’s a collaboration with another writer, and I’m looking forward to seeing that happen.
Exciting things are coming!
Tell me in the comments:
- What are your upcoming projects? Do you plan to do NaNoWriMo?
- Do you have books/stories that you recommend or that you’ve recently published?
- What do you do to balance writing and social media time?
- How do you keep track of your word counts?
I finished this blog post in an hour and fifteen minutes. Thanks Toggl.com!
Fall is always a busy time of year for me. It’s the beginning of a new semester at my regular job, but this year has been a hectic one in it’s own right. I’m writing a couple of short stories as well as trying to make progress on my second novel.
I’m also in the process of moving my office to a new, much bigger, space in my house. For the last few years while I ran a bed and breakfast, my office has been relegated to the smallest room in the house, other than the laundry room, while the larger bedrooms upstairs were used for guests.
However, now that I’ve had to close up the business for the foreseeable future, that arrangement seems silly. It’s a better use of the space to put the office in the much larger room at the front of the house. There are more windows and better light, and much more space for all of my books.
Therefore, I’ve spent my free time (when not working or writing) moving my books an armful at a time (see photo on the right for a view of my shelves). The books are organized for easy use, and I only have one more shelf to add, and then all of the books will be in place.
Now that it’s nearly complete, I am thrilled, and I can’t believe I didn’t make the move before now. What a wonderful office it’s going to be!
I’m adding an antique library table and chairs, some comfortable leather armchairs for reading, my desk and computer, some wall hangings, and changing the rugs to match the decor. I cannot wait for the finished product! I’m looking forward to many long hours working busily in the new space.
As for the guest room, it’s moving back to the little room. It’ll be smaller, but cozy and much more sensible.
In addition to all of that, I am preparing to spend a week at the end of this month at The Stanley Hotel Writers Retreat, October 23-27, hosted by Dark Regions Press. It’s been in the works for several months now, and I could not be more excited. I’ve never gone to anything like it before, and I’m looking forward to learning a lot and getting to know some great people. I’m also very glad to hear it’s going to be an annual event.
RJ Cavender did a fantastic job setting up the whole thing, and I’m looking forward to thanking him in person. We’ll be spending time at the Estes Valley Library, doing readings, signing books, and helping to rebuild their collection after the recent flooding. We’ll also be there at the same time the hotel is hosting the annual Shining Ball and a Mystery Night. There are ghost tours and movie nights. And oh yes, writing.
Did I mention I’m excited?
I’ve been to Estes Park before as a kid, but it’s been a very long time. I’ll be driving myself there, so I’ll have a good solid week of vacation. I’m packing some audiobooks and Twizzlers for the car and trying to prep for possible snowy roads. I’ll be using my Livescribe SmartPen while I’m there, and I can’t wait to be inspired by the surroundings.
When I return from Colorado, I’ll have a few days before November to prep for NaNoWriMo, and I intend to use the time wisely. I’ll be writing up a schedule and outlining my pages so that when November 1st arrives, I can hit the ground running.
What are you doing this fall? Tell me in the comments!
Someone asked me “Why do you have to do this JuNoWriMo thing?” Have to was the phrase that stuck with me. I have to because I want to. Because I need to. Because I have a story that I want to tell that’s bursting out of me. And because if I don’t set deadlines for myself, it never gets done. Without deadlines, it joins an endless stream of “somedays” and “shoulds” and “ought tos” that never reach fruition. I don’t want to look back on my life and feel like I’m disappointed that I didn’t put in the effort to reach for my goals. I might not achieve what I hope for, but working at it is going to get me a whole lot closer than if I waited for a more convenient someday that may never arrive.
Therefore, I’m telling myself this:
That was written at the beginning of June. Obviously, this summer has been too busy for me to blog since that time, so I never finished that post. I accomplished what I set out to do, and by the end of June I was at 40,000 words. I’ve sent that section off (about 150 pages printed out) to my editor in preparation for The Stanley Hotel Writer’s Retreat in October where he and I will sit down to talk about it.
I’m continuing on with the next section of the book, but July and August have been so busy, I haven’t had time to bury myself in it once more. However, today I start back with my night schedule at my regular job, and that will give me more time to make forward motion again. My goal is to reach 60,000 words by August 31 (two weeks from now), and by the end of September I want to be finished with the manuscript.
Some other things that are upcoming include a trip to Scotland in December (exciting!) and traveling to the Tucson Festival of Books in March for a Writer’s Retreat and attendance at the festival with one of my closest Facebook friends. That’s a lot of travel in a short amount of time, and I’m thrilled about all of it.
Book One was sent to an agent at the end of June, and she was intrigued enough to ask to see the first fifty pages. I hope to have some news from her soon. Fingers crossed!
Book Two is going extremely well, I think. I have a working title, Blood Alone Remains, and a working cover. I can promise more action, more suspense, more chills, and more romance. It’s strange how I start with a brief outline, but as I work, the characters often have their own ideas of how to get to those plot points I had in mind. What I thought would be one chapter might turn into three or even five before they’re happy with themselves. They really are fully formed in my imagination and full of their own opinions and stubborn plans. Every time they lead me down another road, it’s better and more complex than my original idea.
I also have an idea for a story (not sure if it’s a book yet or something shorter) that I plan to begin work on during the October retreat. This story is still in the beginning stages. I’ll be working on it in November for NaNoWriMo and plan to hand fifty pages of it off to my editor for the March workshop in Tuscon. It’s something completely different from my series, and though I want to finish what I’ve started before I begin work on it, I am champing at the bit to get it going. I’ve done the research to prepare. In October, I’ll do some outlining and prewriting, and then the real work can begin in November.
Personal Notes from the summer:
- My best friend moved, and I’ve visited him there twice.
- My niece got married, and I gained a wonderful nephew in the process.
- My nephew moved to Los Angeles to start a new career. I’m very proud of and happy for him.
- We had concrete work done at my house, resulting in new sidewalks and steps that are safer and easier to clear in winter.
- I had a vacation in Eureka Springs and got to see some family while we were there.
- Work has been very busy, and we’ve started training the new student workers for the fall.
- Classes start tomorrow.
- Today my seven-year-old iMac is in it’s death throes, and I’m in the process of backing up my files and replacing it as I type this.
It’s been busy, but I’m ready to get back to my regular routine at last.