Tag Archives: writing practice

Drafting & whatnot

 “This is how you do it: You sit down at the keyboard, and you put one word after another, until it’s done. It’s that easy and that hard.” – Neil Gaiman

The news I was waiting for came today and is as great as I hoped it would be. Yay. I haven’t been this happy in a long time.

The other thing on my mind at the moment is the first draft of novel-2. I have been writing every day. Woo, I am back on the bandwagon. And since I started this draft on Monday I’ve written 7, 281 words.  This is about 1.5k/ day. That isn’t terrible for about an hour or two a day.

Hopefully, I will be able to get every further back into the groove and start writing more hours per day as well as more words per day. And the wonderful boyfriend helped me format my draft of novel-1. It is off into the hands of my beta readers.  Overall, it has been a great end to the week.

©K. Klein 2013

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Impatience

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood.  I’d type a little faster.  ~Isaac Asimov

No news on the personal front. Sigh. It makes me more impatient the longer I have to wait. Oh well. I just have to take a deep breath and know that the news will come when I least expect it.

The lack of news and my impatience over it makes me wonder, how in the name of heck did I ever decide to become a writer? In an odd sort of way, writing does require a decent level of patience. I have to sit down and type out the words. Then I have to put them out there. And then I have to write some more.

I’ve been reading a lot of Dean Wesley Smith’s blog and his series on Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing. It is really interesting. I don’t know if I agree with it all, but I definitely find it informative. I like that he makes me think.

One of the things that he talks about is Heinlein’s rules for writing:

1. You must write.
2. You must finish what you write.
3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
4. You must put the work on the market.
5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

Now I’m not sure that I entirely agree with this set of rules. However, it seems solid enough and a good place to start. For me, in my process, “editorial order” is my brother. He is my first reader and helps me to see my writing through a reader’s eyes. I don’t take that one literally.  At the same time, I think it is good advice not to polish for so long that nothing is ever done.

Further, I can see my own pitfalls in this list. Right now I am getting back on the writing bandwagon. And I know I can finish. However, I am stuck on numbers four and five. I’m not going to lie, I’m scared. There is a pit in my stomach when I think about moving forward.

I know that I can’t stay in stasis forever, but there seems to be a precipice in my mind when it comes to making the jump to get published. Part of it is my personal impatience. No matter what route I take – indie or traditional – I will have to wait for a response. There is that tinge of impatience again…instant gratification would be wonderful. Or possibly horrible.

And oddly enough, I am terrified of failure, but success frightens me even more. Tonight is making me think about the enigma of writing. Why should anybody care about what I have to say? Who says anybody does?

So far as I know, no one does. And yet, I cannot stop writing. The stories come and I write them down. I finish one and write another. Perhaps I could be an Emily Dickinson, but what fun would that be? I will get there eventually. I just need to give myself permission to jump off that metaphorical cliff. Who knows? It might be fun.

©K. Klein 2013

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Hiding

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.  ~Charles W. Eliot

Whenever I feel sad or depressed or too anxious to function I have a tendency to hide. And looking at my blog and how I haven’t posted for most of January I think it is safe to say that I have been hiding.

When I was in high school, my way to hide included a dark blue sweater with a Mickey Mouse embroidered on the front. I felt a lot like Mia Thermopolis from the Princess Diaries – minus the whole royalty spiel.

For the most part, I have tried to use other more positive coping mechanisms in my life. However, I didn’t realize it until now, but I have fallen back on the hiding technique. It is just easier to pretend nothing is wrong when I pretend I am not there.

There are several reasons I think I went into this mode during January – a lot of overwhelming things have happened.

Firstly, I read a writing blog called Miss Snark’s First Victim run by the lovely Authoress. She ran a Critique Partner Dating Service. I actually put myself out there, which is a challenge for me. I met some lovely people. However, it seems that none of them have clicked. Perhaps there is still some sting from rejection. And sting from an honest critique. (I probably started the novel in the wrong place and my first line wasn’t a hook. Sigh. I suck at writing hooks.)

It isn’t that I don’t want honesty, but the critique killed my creative voice. And the critical voice has been in the forefront since then. I’ve been feeling apathetic and averse to writing since then. I suppose it just means that this person was not my destined critique partner. And that is ok. I wasn’t super nice to them either. Their technical skills were solid, but for me, their character fell flat.

It is interesting, because this ties into something else that I discovered this January. I stumbled into the blogs of Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. And they have some offbeat advice. In fact, they made me start thinking about writing as a business. And in thinking about it as a business, I started to question my original plan.

Initially, I wanted to get a query together and find an agent. Now that I have read their blogs and thoughts I am definitely considering indie publishing. I am considering a small publishing house or self-publishing e-books. A year ago, this would have been an unimaginable decision for me. Now I am really weighing the cost and benefit of each model of publishing. And the thing that seems clear to me is that indie publishing is perhaps a good launch pad, even if traditional publishing is the goal.

I’m still trying to process all of the information from their blogs. I would strongly suggest that if you are unpublished and don’t know what direction you want to go in to read these blogs because they are definitely thought-provoking.

Furthermore, I have also spent January being a bit anxious about some personal situations. Hopefully this week will bring some highly anticipated news and be a positive start.

©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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Mental & physical flexibility

Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape. ~Author Unknown

Last night was my first time doing yoga in a month because of being sick. And man did I feel the gap between my last yoga session and this one. I was super tight and stiff while warming up. Thankfully the instructor took us through a good warm up and I loosened up, but it reminded me why it is important to practice. Obviously, being sick is a good reason to take it easy, but hopefully I will be healthy the rest of this winter and then I shall need to stick with my practice.

Yoga, like my writing, is something that I love to do, but it doesn’t always come easily to me. It takes a long time to form a life changing habit – getting to form those grooves in the neural pathways of the brain. I still haven’t recovered my writing everyday or even near everyday habit that I broke at the end of grad school. Obviously school was important to me, but I am still upset that I haven’t gotten back on the horse, so to speak. I am writing, but not every day.

I would be astounded if I could get to doing yoga every day. Right now my goal is to practice 1-2 times weekly and once I establish that routine maybe put in another session. I don’t want to jump the gun now because I am trying to re-establish the every week yoga that I’d work on in the late summer and early autumn.

It is interesting to me to see how difficult it is to form new and good habits and so damn easy for me to fall back on already established habits. It is annoying because sometimes I know these established patterns of behavior are unproductive. (I’m looking at your anxiety freak outs). But as with all things, if I want to change myself, I have to try. And so here I am going at it one week at a time with yoga and one day at a time with writing.

©K. Klein 2012

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What should I write next?

During NaNoWriMo I got sick, twice. The only reason I finished at all this year is because I hit 50k before I got sick the second time and had averaged 2k a day. A couple of days in the beginning I had 5k days. That is awesome. I am proud of myself for finishing and doing it early. However, I had hoped to keep writing during that last week. I am also a bit bummed because I didn’t get a chance to have a 10k  day and I hoped I would have one during NaNo.

Sadly a sinus infection took me down and I am just getting better this week; antibiotics and modern medicine rock. However, this leaves me in a conundrum. What do I write now? Hitting 50k in my 2012 NaNo novel didn’t get to all the plot points. I am somewhere in the middle. I think I have another 50k of story left to write.

However, I am working on finishing the edits of novel-1. I finished my personal edits, but am still in the process of reading it to my brother. Which is another layer of edits, before I feel comfortable sharing it with more beta readers. So I am about 2/3-3/4 of the way done reading it to my brother.

That won’t take up most of my writing time. But it will take a small chunk of it. My brother has made some valid critiques that I want to address before letting other betas see it. So that leaves me with some options. I can work on finishing my 2012 NaNo novel or I can take my half-finished first draft of novel-1’s sequel and try to map it out and plan to write an entire first draft. Or I could work on a ghostly short-story for a Welsh magazine my friend mentioned to me is taking submissions.

Unfortunately for me, all of these projects sound interesting and compelling. I don’t know which to finish first. I think likely, the last pass of the novel-1 edits will happen. But that is more editing than writing and I am feeling the need to write after being sick for so long. Too many options; I suppose it is better than having no ideas. But I am definitely feeling a little indecisive.

©K. Klein 2012

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