Sunday, January 30, 2011

Writers' Challenge 2011 WEEK TWO

JAN: Confession -- All my discipline fell apart on Thursday.

The good news is that late Wednesday evening, I finished my draft - YAY! It's my second draft, which involved a lot of changes, so it's an accomplishment. But it still needs a go-through. Nothing structural, but some cutting, filling in, and making the voice consistent. So it's not like I actually REALLY finished for good.

Still - I was both high and bleary eyed when I finished. And Thursday morning, I just couldn't get up and write. Nothing could make me. Plus I had a lot of catching up to do on the stuff I wasn't doing while I was writing, bill paying, laundry, getting my schedule in order - and the most time consuming, the annual doctor's physical. So I gave myself the day off and wrote that evening instead. Until ten p.m., but it was tough sledding and I wasn't especially productive.

It's hard because most of what I have to do now are the tedious changes. Friday I didn't start until nearly two o'clock, and did not WRITE FIRST. But I did write. I promise to be back in the saddle -- writing first by Monday.

I hope to hear you were all far superior to me!


  1. I think that finishing your draft requires a day off. In fact, i'd recommend switching over to writing a short story for Dead Calm and then going back to your draft. That way you can write daily, but still let the draft settle.

    As for me, my bad day was Thursday. But, it was a scheduled bad day. I rose at 5AM, was out driving through snow on the Pike at 5:45AM, picked up someone in Waltham at 6:30 AM and didn't get to my customer appointment in Pittsfield until 10AM.

    That seemed like enough discipline for one day.

    That said, I passed the midpoint in my book (42000 words). The startling middle revelation has been revealed, and now we're into the second half of Act 2, grinding towards the final crushing revelation, the dark night time of the soul, the point where all is lost, and then the climax.

    Should take another 40,000 words.

  2. Jan - congrats on finishing.. I finished my first draft on Wednesday, now I'm a little adrift while I consider my options. I am taking Ray's advice and working on a short story this week, then I'll jump into a new story.

    But I'm still writing.

  3. Week two...seriously, the challenge works. My life outside of writing is currently a ride over the falls in a leaky barrel. For three months the things I claim matter most have fallen victim to OPS (other people's $#!+). Not because they had too, no, the fault is with the one who allowed the crazymakers into his sanctum santorum. The challenge helped me see that writing first is a choice open to me at any time. 100% on my commitment this step of 45 minutes first... more later. Jan, it sounds like you earned your day of rest. Congratulations!

  4. The challenge works!! I took a misstep last week too and I decided to call it a day off and got right back on the horse. It will be so much easier (for tennis lovers) now that the Aussie Open is over.

  5. Finishing a draft deserves a day off! Besides, you're allowed one so didn't break any rules. Am into my two weeks and loving it. Friday was my scheduled day of play, but got back in the saddle Saturday and finished today's already. Fun!

    Karen L

  6. I agree about the day off! Congrats on finishing that puppy, Jan. I wrote religiously on my new project until I got my edits/revisions back from Ms. Editor. I then shifted gears. It went back to her on Thursday. Thursday was a good finishing day, obviously. :D Friday, Saturday, and today, I had writing related projects that were all done before I checked email, though they weren't strictly "writing new words."

    I have managed to curtail my internet presence. In fact, I haven't been on twitter for over a week. Now I'm almost paranoid to open up Tweetdeck to see what I've missed! *cringe*

    Starting tomorrow, I'm back in the saddle again with the new project. No, really. I am. Promise. ;)

  7. Seems like Thursday was one of those days. I finished the third go-round on my book on Wednesday and didn't want to look at the new critiques, so I didn't. However, I DID do that on Friday, manage yet another change or and then go see a play. Like everyone else, I'm no fan of revising things. And I fear I may have to re-order the first chapter to create some extra tension. Crap. Oh well...the challenge is helping me focus. Thanks again!

  8. I've been terrible -- next week I promise to be better. But the WIP is definitely moving along. Creep creep creep. Like the icicle dripping outside my window that I'm not supposed to be watching.

    Seriously, Jan, you deserve at least a day off after finishing a draft. You need to breathe, and moreover so does it.

  9. The writing first is really working for me. I've been dutiful to the 45 minutes and they have been very productive. Most days it is 1,000 words. I only have another thousand words or so to go in this draft. I find writing the end just pours out because everything earlier is all in place. I hope to finish up tomorrow and then have a totally new project ready to start on Feb. 1 and that one is burning to get out. I also like that after the 45 minutes, I can call it good for a day if I want without guilt. The good news is I'm so pumped I'm getting right back to it.

  10. Jan, congrats. You earned the day off, if you finished your novel draft. You are entitled.

    It must have been something in the weather Thursday. I finally made it my day off because I just couldn’t get anywhere with my writing—and not for lack of trying—I gave in at 4 PM and checked the e-mail. Two other days, I got the writing done, but not until after I checked my e-mail. I felt so guilty but I couldn’t stop myself. I’ll conquer this addiction yet. I WILL do better next week. I WILL do better next week. I WILL do better next week.

    I do now have ten short stories and an article to send to my critique group and one member only wants me to send two of them. Two?? This really messed with my mind because another critique partner said, “You’ve critique so much of my stuff, send them all” and the third member said, “Send them all, but space them out a few every other day.” I sent three of the short stories and have had no response yet.

    Tomorrow is Hubby’s 70th birthday (so glad I’m younger than he is) and the kids are due to arrive shortly. I knew this that’s why I hated using Thursday as my day off. Not sure how much writing I’ll get finished today, but with move snow coming on Tuesday (Haven’t we had enough?), I’ll be writing more next week. I need to come up with more short story ideas. I am almost thru my file thanks to this wonderful challenge. However, I do want to get my free copy of my NaNoWriMo project so I have that to work on for rewrites and editing.

  11. Hi guys,
    Just getting online because just FINISHED my 45 minutes today. Writing an article on revision -- that sure speaks to the theme of my life right now.

    Thanks for letting me off the hook everyone, and I hope that next Thursday is better for EVERYONE!!


  12. I don't know what it was about last Thursday, but I didn't feel like getting out of bed, or much of anything else. My first draft seemed to have died overnight - this, when I'm gearing up for the big finish.

    However, my requisite 45 minutes was enough to get the story off life support, which in turn put me back in the story long enough to finish the scene.

    While I didn't crank out any impressive totals, I did end the week with a perfect "7" in the Challenge.

  13. Week two and I'm still struggling. Is there an email patch or gum? Have to admit I'm getting a lot more written, and faster, but can't seem to kick at least the urge to open the email. But I'm trying!

  14. congrats Sueellen on your perfect 7.

    Cttiger -- Yes, An email patch. That's exactly what I need.

    Ray congrats on making past the mid-point -- and I admire your discipline.

    Although I started with short story writing years ago, I have never written a successful one (and by successful I mean merely that it works as a whole)

    So I've stayed away from them ever since.

    But I could go write an essay. I like essays.


  15. First, YAY, JAN!! Getting that first draft done is such a huge accomplishment, no matter if you've done it once, five times, or thirty.

    And congratulations to all of us for taking this step, whether we're nibbling our way through a draft in very tiny word-count increments (um, that would be me...) or chewing through it in big gulps. Writing's writing.

    I have to confess I had to turn my email notification back on in case one of my special snowflake clients has some job emergency I need to deal with. I missed one last week, and oh, the wailing and lamentation and rending of garments...!

    But...the last two days have been really good. I start thinking, "Okay, 9:30 will be an hour..." and a minute later when I look up, it's 9:45. And I've got a couple of pages done without even realizing it.

    Here's to a great week 3 for all of us!

    Jena (puzzlehouse on Twitter)

  16. Coming in late tonight because I had two small nephews stay with me today, luckily I got my 45 in just before the got her, but just barely- I was still typing when they came in the door!

    Monday was also a "skinny" day- I had to take my teen daughter to the Mall to buy pants-we live in a rural area, so the closest Mall is an hour away and she doesn't have her license yet. We combined the pants shopping with several other errands and were gone all day.

    The other days were really good. I'm almost finished with my second draft.

  17. Go Jan!
    Great week for me. Running on all eight cylinders, more than four hours of writing each of seven days -- before e-mailing. Write first works, especially at 4 in the morning
    I think I wrote 10 hours today and i think I'm done with a draft, too. I got to the end anyway.

  18. Terrible week for me, but it's not e-mail or the internet to blame. Must be a seasonal affective disorder funk. Doesn't sound like there's any problem with your discipline, Jan. Congratulations on finishing the draft.

  19. Okay, I was a very good girl. After the kids left, I did revision on two more short stories. My critique group is going to flip out.

  20. I had a good week and even though I went to be really late Friday and Saturday night, I still got up early to write first.

    When I write first thing in the morning, I feel a sense of accomplishment and it makes the rest of the day so much better.

  21. Oops, that should read 'bed' not 'be'. Looks like I need to go to bed.

  22. Well, I did do better than last week (which says a lot), but still nowhere as near or much as I was hoping to achieve. Oh well, there is another week. I did mostly revision this week, but I did do some writing. Maybe there is hope for me after all.

  23. First, congrats, Jan!!!!!!!! You deserve at least one day off!

    I'm checking in late and was intending to grovel abjectly, but now I find I'm in good company. The planets must have been misalingned this week (or whatever theory we ascribe to when things just don't go the way we think they should.) I didn't fall off the wagon as far as staying off the internet--I just got steamrollered by domestic, personal, and admin issues. I promise to be better this coming week. I'd better be, with a copy edit arriving on my doorstep mid-week and a big trip the following.

    Last but not least, double conrats to Steve for making so much progress and whipping those planets into shape :-)

  24. This challenge was what I needed to get me productive. The first week I didn't even start because of my bad habits--I looked at my email by rote, while half asleep. But this week I wrote solid for two or more hours every morning before writing and thought I accomplished a lot.

    So, I submitted my work to my critique group and thought they would be pleased. Now, after reading their critiques, I wonder if I should write advertising jingles or greeting cards. I'm also wondering if first drafts are meant to be critiqued.

    Now that I'm good and depressed, I have no motivation to write.

  25. E.B. - Hopefully you feel better today. It's always the hardest when you first get the critiques. I'm sending you good wishes for an aha moment that either makes their comments make sense -- or tells you to ignore them.

    Melissa, I feel that way, too. The day is so much better if I just get my minutes/hours done. I can clean the kitchen or whatever with a clear conscience.

    Congrats to Kelley, Jack and Jane on you progress.

    And Jena -- so YOU are Puzzlehouse!!

    Deb, I agree, the world must have conspired to make us all unproductive last week.