Posted by on Jun 15, 2018 in Pentamerone (Tale of Tales), The Fourth Orange, Word Count Updates and Writing Goals | 0 comments

Spring took its sweet time getting here but when it finally did battle its way past all the snow it was nice… for the few days it was here before giving way to the sweltering hot summer-like temperatures… before it went back to a little chilly and now it’s hot again? Go home, Mother Nature. You’re drunk.

But just like Spring is a season of new beginnings and growth and, most of all, change, this was an unusual quarter of writing for me.

Let’s just get down to it…


Total Words Written This Month

New Words Only


March Expectation: Finish the 4th Orange full length once and for all by the end of the month

March Reality: Realize that it was much more work than I thought it was, be frustrated

I went through all the Tales plays and all their versions (Most. Unnecessarily. Complicated. Play. Ever. Seriously, don’t ever let me do this to myself again!!), made what I hope is the last round of changes and cuts. Then, I realized that because I was writing so much new material (mostly for the interstitials between the tales) that I was going to have to give it one more edit pass through no matter what. So it was this mixed thing where I got a lot of work done which was good but it was annoying for the month to end and know I’m STILL not done with this freaking thing!!!


Editing continues to be incredibly hard with my scattered writing schedule and everything takes longer than I think it will.


  • revised drafts of all 6 of the Tales plays (which was so much work because there are three different versions of 4 of them, 2 of the rest)
  • hopefully second to last draft of the 4th Orange full length

Also worked on…

  • some organizational things for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo’s planned Prep-a-Paloosa

This month in writing summed up by a GIF…


Total Words Written This Month

New Words Only


When I thought I would be finishing 4th Orange in March, I planned to use the April session of Camp NaNoWriMo to do prep work on a bunch of other projects to help me decide what I wanted to work on next. I had a list of 5 big projects / revisions on my radar and I figured I would do all the prep work I could on them like researching, brainstorming, naming characters, outlining etc. Then I would be all ready to start one of them fresh in May!

I set a time based goal of an hour a night because that seemed like a reasonable amount of prep time for me to squeeze in each night. Alas, my life is far busier than I realized and I struggled to even come close to take. I finally switched the goal back to good old word count because it gave me more flexibility and made it easier to catch up. Also it came in handy when I suddenly found myself writing an unexpected first draft!

When the month began and I started working on, of all things, The Months, my would be NaNoWriMo 2017 project that completely stalled out at the start of the month. But what was going to be just research and prep turned into everything clicking and me tearing through the project until the whole draft was done. So I turned Camp NaNoWriMo into a Script Frenzy (aawww i miss it) and, while it’s a mess and parts of it I know I’m going to have to completely change in the next draft, the bones are there and I’m excited about it. Especially since the nature of this project is that it’s a group of connected monologues which means I can edit the short pieces here and there as I go and eventually have a whole thing when I put it together.

Yay, new play! A big thank you, as always, to the fine folks at Camp NaNoWriMo for running the event which always ends up being one of my highest word count months of the year and never fails to motivate. I passed my goal of 25,000 words for the month and finished something I’d been meaning to write and that makes me happy!


  • prep work and first draft of full length monologue play nicknamed The Months

Also worked on…

  • jotted down a few random new ideas but nothing else major

This month in writing summed up by a GIF…


Total Words Written This Month

New Words Only


The original plan for May was to dive in with whichever of the projects I’d prepped in April that most spoke to me.

The revised plan for May was to go back and do that final pass through of 4th Orange before starting the revision of this brand new draft of The Months.

Instead, I did neither. In fact, May ended up being one of my lowest word count months and a month where I hardly wrote at all most nights. And I was 100% fine with that because I was really freaking busy and exhausted but also because had a had an epiphany about my writing process that I will explain in a future post but that mostly meant sometimes I need to just Not Write to be able to write later, if that makes sense.

Amid this, I started a short play that I’m excited about and will be awesome that I was going to try to write it quickly to get it in for an anthology. The writing was going well but I realized that a) in order to make it fit the age range of the anthology call, I’d have to compromise what I wanted to do with the play and b) did I really want to stress myself trying to turn this thing out on a quick deadline, particularly if it meant turning it into something other than what I envisioned? No.

So I decided to pause the project for now. I know it was the right choice because immediately things I was stuck on because I was trying to make the idea fit into the call specs came unstuck when I realized I could make the play whatever I wanted. So now I will mull on that and come back to it in a few weeks with a fresh perspective and all the restrictions gone.

I did a lot of work in May, especially administrative stuff, but it really mostly felt like I was doing a whole lot of nothing and that was kind nice.

Also worked on…

  • short play inspired by The Picture of Dorian Grey
  • wrote a bunch of blog posts that I will share with you at some point

This month in writing summed up by a GIF…

Yearly Word Count Goal Progress

Overall Word Count for the Year
188,797 / 350,000 words (54%)

New Writing Only
119,168 (34% of total)

On Track and halfway done!

Last quarter, my goal for this quarter were to stop staying up past midnight (oops, moved bedtime even later this quarter, from midnight to one AM, bad Hillary) and to take better care of myself (also a fail, have been sick for most of this quarter with an annoying and painful issue that lingers because, you guessed it, I’m not taking care of myself). My other goals were to be more mindful about the kind of breaks I take (which I think I did pretty well on!) and to find a balance between writing and all the admin work I need to do to keep my career afloat. I believe I may have found a new method that helps with that issue of balance but it’s too new to say for sure so I won’t jinx it other than to say: I’m figuring it out.

It’s funny. I felt like I took so much time off this Spring to figure things out and plant things for the future to work the metaphor. There were a lot of days when I didn’t write anything at all and I assumed this was going to be one of my lowest word count quarters of the year But I ended up writing more this quarter than last. I don’t know what to make of that info except that it continues the theme that I am super bad at estimating how much I get done so thank goodness for the numbers.

This year is proving to be very weird. I expected to not have a lot of writing time but I’m getting even less than I thought I would. My schedule is so erratic and I feel like I have no brain by the end of the day which makes the hard writing (like editing, revision, etc) near impossible. And yet I’m still getting things done (and I need to keep saying this for my own benefit because it really, really feels like I’m just spinning my wheels over here) and, more importantly, going slow is letting me discover some big things about myself and my process that I think will be a big help in the future when my schedule is more predictable.

Slowly working the soil and planting seeds for the future? Sounds like Spring alright!

Up Next

Summer is usually my lowest word count season because there’s so much going on and the kids stay up even later so I’m trying to keep my expectations super low. I’m also trying to make this the Best Summer Ever for my older daughter since it’s the last hurrah of our time at home together before she starts school full-time so that means we’re going hard all day, every day so I have no energy or brain power left by bedtime. All this is to say, I don’t expect much from the next few months.

That said, I would really like to get 4th Orange out the door, the Tales plays published and The Months revised and finished by the end of the summer so they’ll all be an option for Fall productions. It’s a tricky goal because it looks doable in the sense that Past Me would have been able to do it for sure but Current Me is going to have to really struggle to make it happen. All I can say for sure is: we’ll just have to see what happens.