Posted by on Oct 4, 2016 in On Writing: Craft and Commiseration, The Fourth Orange, WoC, Word Count Updates and Writing Goals | 0 comments

Where did the last month of my life go? Did one of you take it? If you did, I won’t even be mad, just give it back because I am seriously not ready for it to be October already.

Well, jeez, I guess this is happening so we might as well get down to it…

September 2016

(If any of you were wondering what level of dork I am, I made all these graphics in one day last year so I’d have them ready to use each month.)

Here’s what September 2016 looked like in writing…

Yearly Goal
614,495/600,000 words (102%) <-haha what?

Monthly Goal
Because I so totally failed at taking August off, I did not set a goal for this month either.

Total Words Written
55,742 words
It’s interesting to me that 50k, which used to be so hard for me to hit once a year, is now a word count I casually pass in a month where I accomplished a whole lot of nothing.

Average Words Per Day
1,858 words

Things completed:

Other Works Actively in Progress this Month:

  • The MG novel nicknamed WOC1
  • Operation Teach Hillary How to Write continues doing craft work and reading

Overall

Normally, I would put the volunteer NaNo ML stuff under words in progress but I did SO MUCH of it this month and it was a ton of writing (because of emails but also I write a lot of content for my area, like pep talks and forum posts, ahead of time) that I feel justified listing it as a completed project because, while there is still much to do, I got a lot of the big stuff done and out-of-the-way which is a big YAY!

As we discussed back in this mid month post, I dove in head first on trying to rewrite my MG novel at the top of the month and I really thought I had it this time… until I realized I didn’t. There was freaking out and gnashing of teeth.

Not because I have to rewrite the book again. I don’t care about that at all. To me rewrites are like practicing your free throw shots before the big game. Annoying, repetitive, but essential if you want to play the best you can.

No, the problem is timing.

It comes down to this: I MUST finish this project by the end of the year or face the reality that I may never be able to write it at all. This isn’t dramatics. It’s a cold hard fact. In the new year, my writing time is going to drastically lessen to outright disappear for at least a year or more and there’s no guarantee I’ll reemerge from that hiatus able to write this book. At the start of September, when I thought I was looking at a simple rewrite of a few scenes, it was going to be tight but I was hopeful that I could finish the rewrite by the end of October. That would have let me give the book to beta readers in November while I worked on something else for NaNoWriMo and still given me December and some of January to incorporate those changes and move forward.

But now? I’m trying to take deep calming breaths and take it a day at a time. I don’t know how to fix the book and can’t really move forward until I can. So I’ll keep working on it, keep doing craft work, but until I finally get the structure right, I’m not making forward progress. Does that kill me when the clock is literally ticking away and I’m running out of time ? Yes. But I’m only human and that’s what I’ve got to do so I’m trying not to be massively bummed about it.

I’ve been beating myself up for not being able to get this book right after I “took such a long break to sit on it” but then I realized… I never really did take a break. I’ve been working non-stop on half a dozen projects during that so called break so it’s not like my mind had a chance to be idle and work on the novel. And letting my brain play with the book in the background is what I really need to do to fix it and that’s sort of hard when you’re juggling so many fiction projects and freelance gigs and are completely burned out. Of course, I still won’t have time for that break anytime in the future but it helps me not get quite as mad at myself for not having this figured out already.

Meanwhile, NaNoWriMo is also looming so I’m also facing a different deadline. Namely,  should I at least outline something else so I’ve got something to sprint through to fulfill my ML duties? This is the one downside to being an ML, and something I’ve spoken about before, is that I can’t choose to do an edit or other slow writing project in November because I don’t have the luxury of opting out of sprints. This means I must have something to first draft in November for sprints, even if I’m working on other projects outside of my ML duties, and I’d rather it be something I need to write vs just something random to pass the time. I also don’t want to “pants” another novel since that will just give me another mess of a draft I’ll have to rewrite a zillion times like this one. So while I’ll probably work on the MG novel in the background of whatever else I’m doing, I’m going to need to come up with something else as well.

While I’m still weighing my fiction options, I outlined three non-fiction books I could write in November just in case. I rewrote the outline of that self-publishing a stage play book I’m working on that started as a blog series and then outlined two completely new books both about NaNoWriMo. While non-fiction is slower writing than fiction, at least this leaves my options open if the calendar flips to November and I truly  have no clue what I’m writing by then. Non-fiction is also more of a switch of gears than writing fiction so hopefully that will serve as that break I so desperately need to figure out the novel…without my actually having to give up any of my rapidly dwindling writing time.

When I wrote the above back on September 27th, I was feeling really down and like I’d accomplished bupkis all month. Then I got notice that the play, The Complete Novels of Jane Austen: Now New and Improved! (which I had largely forgotten about) had been accepted for publication. While I’ll have more details to share with you about that in the near future, there was something hilarious in how I was wallowing about how I’m not getting anything done in my writing life and then literally one day later scrambling to do edits on  yet another publication deal. (The sixth one this year!)

As I apparently need to relearn every single month, my brain is constantly lying to me about how much I get done and I need to trust the numbers over it every single time.

Up Next

My plan for October is to figure out what I can do for NaNoWriMo. I’ve been toying with several things including rewriting some past novels with a new restructured plot (though I am not eager to jump into another story world before I get this one fixed), adapting a fairy tale play of mine into a chapter book, or trying to sprint my way through a draft of my big Tale of Tales Mash-up play. And I’ve still got those non-fiction books to fall back on so I may start working on one of those.

Obviously, if I get some kind of epiphany on how to fix the MG novel, that takes top priority (Oh, I hope I hope!). The Fourth Orange is very close to done but I just haven’t had the brainpower for it because of everything else. If it suddenly clicks and I’m ready to work on it, great, but it’s so close to done, I’m not worried if I don’t get a chance to finish it right away.

That’s the biggest problem. I’m already losing writing time and, most importantly, brain power left and right to a variety of things on top of everything else. That means using time I used to have for writing to sleep off sickness and a lot of staring vacantly into space instead of proper work because I just feel too awful for life. So far, October has been a disaster for writing time (I wrote less in four days than my average for just one day in September) but there’s plenty of time left so anything could happen. Hopefully it will be something good!