Tag Archives: plan

What a Rich Life Means to Me

Earlier this year, I had a profound realization, as a writer I’m not only an artist, but also a businesswoman. I’d never put two and two together. If I want to make a living as a writer, then I need to continue making that connection.

So, one of the first steps I took is to build myself a writing tracker, and make writing goals. I wrote a novel in 84.75 hours over three months, which is pretty fast considering all my other obligations and responsibilities. If I were writing full-time, I probably would have been able to write that novel in 4-5 weeks instead of 12-15 weeks.

However, now, I am only writing part-time, and I am happy with my progress. The novel I’m working on now is being a bit annoying to me. But, in drips and drabs, I am writing it. That piece of the puzzle is the part I love the most.

Another piece of the puzzle is money.

I’m working on a loose plan of trying to get my trilogy finished and polished so that I can indie publish it mid-2014. I’m not sure that is entirely realistic. However, that is why the plan is loose and I’m trying to keep it flexible.

Considering my need for control, that is a feat in and of itself. However, the plan to publish in the next 12-18 months brings me to other questions, like money. The idea that my novels will need to slow build is one that I can mentally handle. It would also give me the ability to take things slowly.

But, what happens if for whatever reason, the novel took off? This led me down the path of financial self-education. The need to understand and to be able to come to the table prepared has led me down this path.

So far, I’ve read: The Top 10 Differences Between Employees and Employees by Keith Cameron Smith and Think, Act, and Invest Like Warren Buffett: The Winning Strategy to Help Achieve Your Financial Life Goals by Larry E. Swedroe. I need to reread Swedroe’s book because there is some information on risk diversification that I haven’t fully integrated into my mind. I still don’t 100% understand it. Luckily for me, it is a short book.

I have also just started to read Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny by Suze Orman. I’m not sure how useful the book is going to be overall, I’m only a couple of chapters into reading it. But, in those few chapters, Suze Orman has been making me think.

She tells the story of a woman who defined what rich meant to her. And so, now, here I am trying to think about what rich means to me. In some ways, this feels sort of cheesy to me, but in other ways it makes sense. If I can envision it, then I can make it happen.

What a rich life means to me:

The ability to write what I want, when I want to, and to publish it or not as I see fit. Writing is what makes life worth living for me. Telling people stories and hopefully entertaining them.

I love my friends and family. I want to enjoy them as much as possible. However, I am a happier and more fulfilled person when I am writing. This makes me a better partner, friend, sister, and daughter.

Everything else is incidental. If I can’t write, then who am I? For me, a rich life includes writing – and plenty of time in which to write.

Some things that I might want along with time to write include being able to pay all my bills. Having time and money to travel. I love seeing new places and experiencing history firsthand. I would go back to Europe every year if I could. My one good friend wants to go to Australia for 2 weeks in 2015. We’ll see if that happens. I would love to see Machu Pichu. Asia, Africa, where in the world wouldn’t I want to go?

It would be great to have some money to buy a camera. Mine died four years ago, and I just haven’t had the money to buy a new one. Rent and tuition bills kept getting in the way of that – silly responsibility. I would love to have time to invest in new creative outlets. I’m learning how to knit now. I’m almost done with my first scarf.

I have a ton of scrap-booking and jewelry making stuff in storage, but I also don’t have a lot of time to pursue those hobbies. So mostly, my free time now goes to writing and reading.

So how can I synthesize all of this together? What does a rich life mean to me?

For me, a rich life is having the time to write, play, and enjoy the company of those I love.

And for that life, I am learning how to manage theoretical money that may or may not happen.

© K. Klein 2013

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Self-Accountability

I am a bit of a scatter-brain sometimes. I live my life by a combination of writing events down on a calendar, to-do lists, and alarms. If I don’t write it down, I am not going to remember to do it. It isn’t so much that I have a bad memory, but I tend to get lost in my thoughts and my own little world.

So, I gave myself December to feel off – to let the depression and anxiety win. Now it is January and I am striving to hold myself accountable for my writing goals. I am super lucky, my boyfriend is an Excel wizard. I can use Excel reasonably well. But he can take my idea – a writing tracker – and make it cooler. Dating a business analyst has perks; I am definitely more artistic/ conceptual in my thinking. Business makes little if any sense to me.

He asked me to do some research. He said take ten authors in your genre and see when they started publishing, how many books they’ve published, and how many books a year they write on average. I took eleven, but in the SFF genre the average was 1.75 books a year. Not that I have to match that, but now I have an idea of how many books a year authors in my genre produce. Granted, these results are biased. I tend to prefer fantasy over sci-fi and there is a mix of adult/ young adult authors that I chose. But it is a figure I can work with. Especially when figuring out a daily word count goal for myself.

Boyfriend said, I think NaNoWriMo (1667 words/ day) goal for everyday is unhealthy. I agreed  – for now. I want to work my way up. I think that my goal will be around 500-1000 words per day.  My brain rested on somewhere in the 750 range. I’m not sure if that will stick yet or not. It may be higher or lower. But I am thinking about it. If I want to be a novelist and make a career, I need to get back into practice. And apparently, my New Year high, is over and now I am back to reality. Therefore, I am taking measures to hold myself accountable.

©K. Klein 2013

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Almost New Year’s Eve

December 2012 has been particularly rough on me. December is usually rough enough; this time of the year make me miss my mom more than the rest. I have also been dealing with the loss of my grandmother, Mama, and it was weird not having her around for the usual holiday cheer. The holidays seemed to sort of pass away on a grey palette rather than their normal riot of color. My birthday is also in December and this year it depressed me to not have reached some of my goals before another year ticked off on my life.

But, December is passing away, we only have a day and a half left of it here. I am starting to feel hopeful again. (Despair may have won for a while there…) I can tell I am more hopeful, because I am writing again. I am working on those last little shining bits of novel-1 and am hoping to get it to beta readers in early 2013. It is my hope to get their feedback before I take another pass on the novel and shine it up into its Sunday clothes and bring it out into the world. (By which I mean, submitting to agents…which is admittedly a little scary for me to think about.)

I’m not too big on New Year’s resolutions since everyone seems to make them and break them. However, I really like goals. So here are some goals for 2013 (in no particular order):

  • Get novel-1 to beta readers
  • Write a complete first draft of novel-1’s sequel. NaNo novel 2011 is an incomplete draft of this book.
  • Research agents
  • Write log-line for novel-1
  • Write query letter for novel-1
  • Send query letter to agents in batches
  • Try not to gain 30 pounds whilst querying agents.
  • Finish NaNoWriMo 2012 novel
  • Figure out novel-1’s genre –   It takes place in a mix of the real world that has magic and a pseudo-high fantasy realm. Urban fantasy? High fantasy? I’m not 100% certain.  I’m pretty sure it isn’t paranormal.
  • Outline the second sequel to novel-1. Yay for trilogies. 🙂
  •  Keep up Yoga practice
  • Write daily!

©K. Klein 2012

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Come have a cup of tea with me

Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company.  ~Author Unknown

I have all sorts of odds and ends on my mind at the moment. So join me for a virtual tea time if you please. If you don’t drink tea – feel free to have a cup of coffee, hot chocolate, or whatever warm beverage you fancy. Not to brag, but I do make a mean cup of hot chocolate.

The dominant thought on my mind is that I finished my rewrite last night. Part of me can’t believe it. I don’t quite want to let go. I do still need to read about half of the book to my brother for final polishing. But for the most part, aside from the tinkering, this draft is done. This is the first novel that I have rewritten completely. I have finished several first drafts, but this is the first one that I felt compelled to bring to the next stage of the writing process.

I found it interesting to learn about my rewrite and revision process. I found it different from my first draft process. During the first draft I tend to write by the seat of my pants – letting the characters and story take me where they will. I also try to shut the editor off so that I can just sit down and write.

I reverse-engineered my novel throughout the planning stage of the rewrite. I reread the first draft and figured out what plot points made sense; added in scenes and chapters where I found plot holes. Then I sat down to rewrite and revise the novel. Much of the beginning included writing chapters from scratch because I lost the thread of a character arc in the first half of the first draft.

It is interesting to see how it turned out. My first draft was 65000 words, which is a bit anemic for a novel. I am a rare underwriter. I get the bones out and then fill in the rest later. My second draft is 20k longer at 86000 words. In the second draft, I filled in physical descriptions and fleshed out character arcs and characterizations. Slowly, but surely I am sharing the baby novel with my beta readers.

I am proud of myself for reaching this new milestone in my writing journey and process. I hope that the next time I do a revision that I won’t have to write more than half of it by hand before typing it up. Who knows? We shall see.

The other thing on my mind at the moment is NaNoWriMo. The New Idea is knocking at my brain and it wants me to write it. I have two and a half days where I cannot write in the new novel. Gah. Anticipation is a good thing. I sort of lack the patience though. I want to write now and not wait.

On the bright side, this does give me a chance to catch up on some reading. My dad recently bought a tablet, and I borrowed a copy of Pride & Prejudice from the library to read it on his tablet. I own a paper copy, but it is buried in my boxes in storage. So I am rereading it for the third or fourth time. I love Jane Austen. Reading is a great way to refill my creative well. And it is soothing; my anxiety has been a bit high today.

What is your favorite part of the writing process? Do you prefer tea, coffee, or hot chocolate? Any new books you’re curling up with that you’d recommend? I always love to check out new and interesting books. Not that my to be read pile isn’t a couple miles high. But I always love to hear about new authors and great books.

©K. Klein 2012

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Brainstorming

NaNoWriMo is approaching and I have been busy trying to help friends with their ideas and stories. In the past couple of weeks, I have batted around ideas with one friend on Facebook chat. We chatted about her idea. I asked her questions and gave suggestions.

Some questions I asked her included: Where is it set? (On earth? In space? In another dimension?) What is your character’s name? (Or are there multiple point of view characters?) Is there magic involved? That last question is usually a yes for me; I can’t seem to write a story without a magical element.

Another way to get the muse in gear is to spend some time alone brainstorming. Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way calls these Artist Dates and discusses it as a way to refill the creative well. For example, it is a lovely time of year to take a walk. Heading to a new place can spur ideas. A day at the museum can fuel ideas. My favorite museum in my area, currently, is the art museum.

Finally, if you have a writer friend in person or just by yourself a great way to brainstorm is to just get ideas on the page. Sunday night another friend and I did this. We took out a notebook while hanging out in her apartment. She wrote down one word and I wrote down one. We sometimes built off of each other. I tried to write ideas that sprung off of her idea. We were trying to think of ideas because she wasn’t sure if she wanted to do NaNoWriMo. I’m still not sure if she is going to or not. I hope so, her idea seemed like fun.

The great part about helping my friends to brainstorm is that it helps me too. It gets me thinking about the possibilities of my work. It is sort of like turning the compost. If you aerate it and are patient, eventually your compost makes dirt.

To be honest, I haven’t taken myself on an artist date recently. Perhaps it is a time to take a walk or something. What do you do to get your creative juices flowing? Do you brainstorm alone? Or do you bounce ideas off of friends?

©K. Klein 2012

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Planning for NaNoWriMo 2012

If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is check out their website here. The basic premise is to write a 50,000 words novel in the thirty days of November. I have participated in this challenge since 2010 and really enjoy pushing myself to write.

What 2010 taught me about my first draft process is this: write-through the fear. Often times, when writing I get to a point where I don’t know what I am going to do or where the story is going. This might seem odd since I don’t tend to outline, but I usually have a vague idea of where the story is taking me; usually two to five steps ahead of where I am chapter wise.

When I reach the end of that I often hit a block. My first NaNoWriMo taught me to write-through the fear and the unknown. It goes back to Anne Lamott’s idea of the shitty first draft. The whole point of a first draft is to get the story on the page in all of its messy glory. It doesn’t matter if it is pretty or not. I also tend to think of this stage of drafting as the “don’t kill the baby stage.” I learned that it is important to not jump into judging it too fast because you don’t know how it is going to turn out in the rewrite and revision stage.

The great thing about NaNoWriMo is that I learned something completely different in 2011. Last year I finished the first complete draft of novel-1. It isn’t technically the first novel I’ve completed, but it is the first one to make it to the rewrite and revision stage of the process. Well, I finished novel-1 on October 31, 2011 and then proceeded to start writing its sequel on November 1. And I had to drag every last word out during last year’s NaNoWriMo; yay for burnout. I am sure this had nothing to do with being in grad school at the time. I swear.

I am out of grad school now. Yay. And so I plan to learn a new lesson in 2012; novel-1’s revision deadline is set for October 31, 2012. However, I am going to write something not related to novel-1 or its sequel. I have several shiny new ideas dancing around in my head. I think I am going to pick one; hopefully before November 1 (although who knows) and go with it. I need a break from Novel-1’s world much as I love it and the characters I’ve created.

If you’re a writer, do you plan on taking part in NaNoWriMo?

©K. Klein 2012

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Relentless Rewrite

I am in the middle of my first major novel-level rewrite. I am learning a new part of my writing process and it is a challenge for me. I suppose this should not surprise me, but it does; I guess it just goes back to the fact that writing is hard.

My current WIP rewrite is not of my first novel ever, but it seems to be the first novel to go through the entirety of the writing process. I have been with these characters for seven years and it is only as of October, 31 2011 that I finished a complete first draft. I went through three drafts where I had fits and starts and moments of writing myself into hair-tearing corners. And through that all, none of these characters would shut up and leave me alone. I had to tell this story.

So here I am, rewriting. It is still hard and still scary, but I am trying to move forward. When I began this venture into the next part of my writing process I discovered several things.

First, unlike with a first draft, I need a plan. So I wrote my plan out – twice. The first time I planned on an 18’x20’ pad of drawing paper. That was onerous to carry around with me. So I ended up writing the plan on 3’x5’ note cards as well; although not all the notes in the pad were transferred onto the cards.

Second, I learned that I don’t like it when it looks like my plan is going to fall apart. I don’t like it in the first draft either; but in the first draft the plan is still in my head and not on paper. That tends to make me freeze up and not want to write; unless I have a solution to the perceived problem.

Third, for whatever reason my brain decided that the second draft needed to be written long-hand first and transcribed. I hate transcribing my own work. And I wrote the dang first draft on the computer, so why in the name of heck am I scrawling an entire novel in my notebook only to transcribe it back into my computer? I don’t know the answer. All I can say is that it is the only way I’ve been able to make progress thus far. Goodness help me, I hope this doesn’t happen for every rewrite that I ever have to do.

I am only about half way through the rewrite right now and my goal is to finish my October 31, 2012 so that I can participate in NaNoWriMo. Who knows what I will learn as I finish this process? We shall see.

©K. Klein 2012

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