I think this might be the first time I’ve written my writing recap after the month has already ended. 

August 2016

Here’s what August 2016 looked like in writing…

Yearly Goal
556,549/600,000 words (93%)

Monthly Goal
My goal was to take August off. This meant, I could write if I felt like it but didn’t have to.

Total Words Written
47,400 words
I know, so close to 50,000. I could have done it too, easy. But, looking at how far ahead I am for the year, it seemed like madness to do more particularly on a month I was trying to take off!

Average Words Per Day
1,529 words

Things completed:

Other Works Actively in Progress this Month:

  • The Tale of Tales full length play nicknamed 4th Orange
  • Outlined a really weird play about turning into a platypus because I couldn’t stop thinking about it
  • Operation Teach Hillary How to Write aka I went through several writing craft textbooks exercise by exercise to try to help me figure out exactly how to fix my MG novel nicknamed WOC1


I have probably written a dozen blog posts about how bad I am at taking breaks but the issue persists. It’s an established character flaw, people. But writing it all out like this really makes me realize that, dang, did I completely fail at taking this month off.

So after July was banana pants insane, I was like, “No, seriously, for real this time, I’m going to take a break” because I was completely burnt out. The Olympics started right at the beginning of the month so I started taking my evenings downstairs by the TV instead of up on my computer as usual. While watching, I worked my way (longhand) through the exercises in Alexandra Sokoloff’s Stealing Hollywood aka Screenwriting Tricks for Authors (and Screenwriters!) which is a guide to planning a novel more like how you would plan a script. The author is a former playwright and screenwriter and since I seem to have such an easier time with scripts versus prose, I was hoping Sokoloff would help me figure out a better way to approach novels because my method now clearly isn’t quite working. The book was good, if repetitive, and I’m eager to try her index card method before I start my next book. I’m in the midst of doing the same process for Larry Brooks’ Story Fix: Transform Your Novel from Broken to Brilliant. The purpose of all of this is to help me figure out exactly how to fix my novel before I dive into the next round of revisions.

Yes, inventing homework for myself is my idea of a break. At least, I was watching TV at the same time! And I also read a fiction book! OK, it was market research for the MG novel but… still! This all fell into the realm of things I planned to do on my month off.

But then I had to do final edits on three projects very quickly leading up to publication (Masks and both versions of The Green Bird)  and then had five articles to write for different assignments. I was a big fat whiner about all of these deadlines in a row and had ZERO motivation to do them, but I had to do them and do them fast, so they got done. It’s this weird thing where I almost want to say something like, “For all my whining, if I hadn’t had those deadlines, I wouldn’t have gotten anything done this month!” but when my whole goal for this month was to not have to do anything, I’m not sure that’s the bright side.

Anyway, doing all this unplanned work weirdly guilt tripped me into thinking I should be doing more work in general so I ended up spending a bunch of time on Tale of Tales. I really wanted to get the full length play done before September started so schools could have it for fall productions but I ran into some issues. But I was working on that project like mad right up to the last few days of the month and getting mad at myself for not getting more done the weeks earlier… when the whole point in the first place was to take this month mostly off.

I’ll spare you the three paragraph breakdown I originally wrote here but the gist of it is this: because work came up that I *had* to do on my month off, instead of being annoyed at losing the free time, I got mad at myself for not getting more done which worries me tremendously for my mental state. I’ve written just over 556,000 words this year already. My goal FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR is 600,000 words. I could nap until November, bang out an easy 50k NaNoWriMo and still hit that goal easy. This was why I pointedly did not go for the 50k this month. Sometimes I get a little nuts about the numbers and I’m trying to cure myself that. I’m getting things out the door at a steady clip and I’m writing regularly. That’s all that really matters.

You know, you’d think that fact that I’m aware of this character flaw would help me to deal with it but apparently not!

Up Next

I still really want to finish the standalone version of The Fourth Orange soon but I’m stuck on something with it and, since there’s really no rush, I’m going to just let it sit until I figure the last bit out. Once I make that final connection, that play’s under a week away from being done and then the full length could be done probably only a week or two after that. While I’m waiting for that epiphany, I’m going back to my MG novel, nicknamed WOC1.

Why? It comes down to, of all the things I really want to get done before the end of the year (which includes a full length and one-act adaptation of Pintosmalto for the Tale of Tales project, a non-fiction book about self-publishing a stage play, the one act version of The Fourth Orange and the full length with the version similar name, and an outline of my Tale of Tales mash-up play while all that research is still fresh in my head) the one that is the MOST important to me is this book. It’s the one I’d be kicking myself the most over if I never got a chance to write it so, even if it doesn’t make the most sense from a career standpoint, it’s the one I have to focus on.

Beyond that, I’m not even willing to speculate. All those projects I just mentioned are on the table as well as my other planned NaNoWriMo books and new versions of my other novels but, as we move into Fall, the amount of work I have to do for NaNoWriMo increases dramatically and cuts into my writing time so we’ll see how it goes. Not to mention that I have NO IDEA how long this next round of novel revisions will take. I’ve been trying to go to bed earlier (because I am non-stop exhausted) which means I’m losing part of my biggest chunk of time to work and write so everything depends on the toddler napping… which she often doesn’t do. Someday I will be able to craft a perfect writing schedule but, for now, I just gotta take the time I can here and there and make the best of it.

So, I bid adieu to Summer, which is an excellent season filled with swimming and fun with the toddler that I will miss, but also look forward to Autumn which is another excellent season filled with fun holidays and colors and different fun with the toddler so it’s not all bad. At least once it gets cold, it will make more sense when I drink hot tea as I write which always seems a little silly during the summer months but is apparently essential to my process.