Writer Recharge: Update 3

WriterRecharge 2015

How in the world is Week 3 done already??? Not sure where it went. Which means my goals suffered this week. :/ (For details on how Writer Recharge works, click HERE.) Here’s the breakdown of what that I accomplished this week:

Write/Rewrite: Pretty much just one big fail this week. Still awaiting feedback from CPs on my revision and didn’t do any writing this week. Work and my reading goal below took over. But that’s okay. I will dive into this new MS soon. I will. Seriously.

Read: I finished reading Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer this week. Very cool and trippy book. I enjoyed it, but didn’t love it like I thought I might. And I started my ARC of Nightbird by Alice Hoffman. It should be a quick, fun read.

Self: I worked out three days this week. I would’ve gotten more in but then my fun goal happened and my arm hurt way to much to do any sort of physical activity. I will complete both workout challenges this week though, so there’s that.

Fun: I got my new tattoo!!! I got my new tattoo!!! I got my new tattoo!!! And here it is… (sorry for the weird angle.)

Tattoo

Okay, that’s it. Hope y’all have a great week!

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Writer Recharge: Update 2

WriterRecharge 2015

Two weeks in and I’m doing okay. Could be better, but making progress even if it’s not on what I thought my goals should be. (For details on how Writer Recharge works, click HERE.) Here’s the breakdown of what that I accomplished this week:

Write/Rewrite: Awaiting feedback from my CPs who are reading my revision of WISHES TO NOWHERE. And I sent the list of changes to my Pitch Wars mentor, who loved the ideas so I’m feeling good about what I’ve done to this story. As for writing, I did not make much word count progress on my WIP. I wanted to write 2,000 words this week, but I realized I still had some character development that will be key to the story (it’s centered on a scavenger hunt so the other teams in the hunt will be vital to the plot in places, so I need to know who these characters are). I managed to get those characters planned as well as maybe 500 words this week, so not a total fail.

Read: I started reading Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer this week. Not very far in yet, but I’m really enjoying it. I hope to finish it this week.

Self: I worked out five days this week. Even though the two 14-day challenges I’m doing aren’t long workouts, I feel better for doing them every day.

Fun: I go get my new tattoo on Thursday!!! (Oh, wait, was that too much enthusiasm? Will it make my other goals feel bad? *reins it in*) Everyone’s comments about how much they like the tattoo idea made me even more excited about getting it. So, thank you! ❤ Feeling empowered and unselfconscious as I go into the week. I will post a photo in next week’s update.

Okay, that’s it. Hope y’all have a great week!

Writer Recharge: Update 1

WriterRecharge 2015

So, the first week of Writer Recharge is behind me, and guess what? I actually did pretty damn well on my goals. (For details on how Writer Recharge works, click HERE.) Here’s the breakdown of what that I accomplished this week:

Write/Rewrite: I finished my read-through/edits of WISHES TO NOWHERE and sent to CPs and a friend who’s read it before! And the really exciting part is that I really, REALLY, love this story. *Fingers crossed CPs do too!*

I also decided to move forward with my new YA idea. This book will really be like putting a major chunk of my soul on paper and I’m excited for that. (It’s all about a soul-deep love of music, the loneliness that comes with being a teenager, and finding that one person who gets you without even trying.) Even if no one else reads it, I need to write this book for me. I worked on the outline some and thought about where the story starts, so I’m ready to hit my minimum of 2,000 words/week goal for the rest of the month!

Read: I read one ARC this week, COME AWAY WITH ME by Karma Brown. Amazing book. (Bonus points for making made me sob.) So, one more ARC and two more pubbed books to go this month!

Self: I started the 14-day workout challenges I’ve been staring at for a few months now. Only 12 more days to go.

Fun: I made good progress on my fun goal by finally going to the tattoo shop and talking with the artist about the tattoo I want. I put down a deposit, sent him the idea I want (basically this but with an open book instead of a paper boat), and scheduled an appointment. I’ve been holding off on this for years because I’ve been worried about what people (parents, boss, co-workers, etc.) will think if I have a pretty visible tattoo (my other one is on my hip so barely anyone ever sees it). And like the YA book mentioned in Goal 1, I decided I need to do this for me because it’s what I want and it’ll make me happy, so I just need to tell my self-conscious side to politely go to hell.

Okay, that’s it. Hope y’all have a great week!

Writer Recharge 2015

WriterRecharge 2015It’s Writer Recharge time again! That’s right, a full month of  goal-setting and holding myself accountable for  writerly things. I participated last year and it really kept me motivated all month. Here’s hoping for another great month.

Hosted by Katy UppermanAlison MillerLiz ParkerElodie Nowodazkij, and Sara Biren, Writer Recharge is your chance for a four-week jump start in the middle of a cold, dreary winter. Set goals for yourself, check in once a week, and connect with other recharging writers.

This year, the hosts have come up with a few categories to help you set your goals. You can choose a goal (or goals) as you see fit:

  • WRITE/REVISE – Choose writing goals for the month.
  • READ/REREAD – Read a book that’s been on your TBR forever or reread something that had a great impact on you.
  • STRETCH – Do something outside your comfort zone, from reading a genre you typically avoid to trying a new food or rock climbing when you’re afraid of heights – that kind of thing.
  • SELF – Do something good for your mind or your body.
  • CONNECT – Find a way to make a difference in someone’s life. Make a connection, via social media or in person. Initiate twitter writing parties, have a real-life write-in with writers in your town, or offer to critique or beta read someone’s work.
  • FUN – Make a goal to do something super fun and exciting that you can look forward to

How Writer Recharge works:

  • First week of February: Post your goals for the month on your blog, website, or Twitter. Use the hashtag #WriterRecharge. Link your blog post on Sara’s post.
  • Every Monday in February: Update your progress via your blog or twitter. Link your blog posts on our Monday posts.
  • Throughout the month: Use the hashtag to connect with other writers, have writing parties, and cheer one another on!
  • Friday, February 27: Post your final update via your blog or twitter.
  • Anyone who uses the hashtag or links their blog posts will be entered to win a fabulous prize package at the end of the month.

My Goals for Writer Recharge:

  • Write/Rewrite: I’ve got two options here, so my first goal is to decide if I want to dive back into my abandoned adult magical realism romance or start the shiny new YA that has me all kinds of excited. Either way, I need to write a minimum of 2,000 words a week. Also, I need to finish my read-through/edits of WISHES TO NOWHERE and send to betareaders so I can get this R&R back to an agent by the end of the month.
  • Read: Read a minimum of four books this month, with two those of those being ARCS that are sitting in my NetGalley account.
  • Self: Start/complete the 14-day workout challenges I’ve been staring at for a few months now.
  • Fun: Find an artist for the new tattoo I want and seriously look into getting it.

Writer Recharge: The Art of Not Finishing

Writer Recharge

First things first, I did not reach my goals. Not a single one. And you know what? I’m perfectly okay with that.

Instead of finishing my WIP, I read a couple (okay, more like half a dozen) books. What? My brain needed a break.

Instead of finishing my WIP, I hung out with some amazing writers in California (and online through #WriterRecharge!) and made some life-long writing friends.

Instead of finishing my WIP, I rewrote chapter one and have something so much better now that I re-read it at least once a week just to remind myself that sometimes feeling defeated is the best thing for me because I’m stubborn, dammit, and don’t give up easily.

Instead of finishing my WIP, I went on walks with my husband and went to our college homecoming game and pretended to be social.

Instead of finishing my WIP, I found a renewed excitement for my story and my characters.

And to me, that’s really what this whole month was about. Wanting to write, to get my story out of my head and onto the page, instead of feeling like I had write because it’s what’s expected when I’m a writer. I added about 13,000 words this month (in addition to rewriting most of chapter 1). And I feel like the end is almost in sight.

So, thank you to the amazing brains behind Writer Recharge. I so needed this.

Writer Recharge: When Starting Over is the Right Thing

Writer Recharge

So last week, I wrote about my freak out over a crit that wasn’t really that bad. (I’m just neurotic and it felt much bigger than it probably really was.) This week, I embraced the challenge of making my opening stronger. In my one-on-one with Nova she said, “I know you have a better first line in you.” And I am grateful to her (and all the other #YADjerassi writers) for making me rework this.

I now have a new first paragraph that really speaks to the heart of the story (not to mention a revamped whole first chapter!). And it gave me the final two lines of my book as well, even though I haven’t written that scene yet (again, thanks to Nova’s workshop where she read from Imaginary Girls to show how the end should reflect the beginning). Here’s how it starts now…

Eliot James believed in fate. She believed in it as if it was a physical thing she could make a wish on and then tuck into her pocket for safe keeping. While everyone else in the classroom took turns predicting what their evaluations would say, she lazily sketched their faces on her folder, capturing their anxiety and excitement and forced confidence in precise detail.

Music pumped from the earbuds of someone a row or two behind her. Someone else shuffled papers as if going over the transcripts and birth certificates they were all required to bring for testing would somehow help them get the placement they wanted. But the incantations and charms they’d been taught at Fuller Academy—which masqueraded as a normal private school to the rest of the town—weren’t really a factor. Each student was born with a gift, and before the end of the day, Eliot would know for certain if she would spend the rest of her life killing people or saving them.

Rolling back the cuff on her creamy leather jacket, she checked her watch. Two hours had passed as the room slowly emptied around her. She thought she’d have been called by now.

She swiveled in her chair when a knitting needle poked her shoulder. Her best friend, Amelia, leaned back, still pointing the needle in Eliot’s direction. Amelia’s eyes were so dark it was hard to distinguish her pupils from her irises.

“Do you think anyone’s ever cheated on the evaluation?” Amelia asked. She focused on the yarn pooling in her lap despite the interest in her voice.

I haven’t added as much to my overall word count this week as I’d hoped, but the new words I have written have been fundamental to the story.

Also, my entry for my adult magical realism novel (retitled by Edith while at Djerassi to WISHES TO NOWHERE) in the Cupid’s Literary Connection Blind Speed Dating Contest (#CLCBSD) got the max of two partial requests (100 pages) on day two. So, I’m calling this a good week.

Writer Recharge: A Meltdown and Refusing to Give Up

Writer Recharge

So, last week I felt in really good shape to meet my Writer Recharge goals. I’d had a number of trusted beta readers read through the first couple chapters of my WIP in preparation for my YA workshop at Djerassi. They all loved it and only had minor things I needed to fix.

Then came my workshop. The group liked my story—loved the idea of it actually—and really liked how I handled chapter 2. But once one writer made a suggestion to change an important part of chapter 1, everyone seemed to jump on board with rewriting the story. I know I should’ve been flattered that they cared enough about the story to want it to be as good as they thought it could be, but I walked away from the critique feeling like shit. Like the whole opening of the book was wrong and needed to change, which would change the arc of the characters and the story and the almost 60,000 words that came after. And I couldn’t understand why no one else who’d read it hadn’t told me how bad it was.

Then I went to my room and cried. And cried. And cried some more.

It was by no means a bad critique. The other writers were so encouraging and professional and downright lovely, not just about my pages, but about everyone’s pages all week. I couldn’t have been with a more supportive, wonderful group. I just didn’t know how to take their suggestions and make them fit with my vision of the story. I was overwhelmed. And the self doubt took advantage of me for a bit.

But what got me out of my funk and back to the keyboard was thinking about the Writer Recharge goal I made to finish the first draft this month. I didn’t want to let something that was mostly in my head keep me from reaching that goal. Or from finishing a story I love.

So, I went on a hike with Rebekah, who talked through some of the group’s ideas and then switched to fangirling and swooning over The Raven Boys when I wasn’t ready to face revisions yet, and I talked with some of the other girls over a couple glasses of wine and started to feel better about what I needed to do. And then I had my one-on-one with Nova. She was so patient and wonderful and laid out my first chapter on a table and helped me figure out what suggestions would work with my story and how I could change a few small things in the opening and rework one scene to add in some more tension. And I left that meeting with a new plan that fit so well with the story I wished I had thought of it sooner.

I still have about 10,000-12,000 more words to finish the draft and an opening chapter to revise/gut/rewrite, but I’m not willing to let this story go. Not now. Hopefully not ever.

Writer Recharge: That Time I Finally Figured Out How To Finish My WIP

Writer RechargeI’m am a goal-oriented person. And I am also seriously lazy when I want to be. An odd combo to be sure. But it means that I don’t have much willpower when it comes to putting down someone else’s book to work on my own. Especially when it’s a book I’ve been waiting a year for and is the end of a series that I’ve enjoyed the hell out of.

That’s what I was up against this past week, the first week of Writer Recharge. Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi released on Tuesday. And you know what? Tuesday morning, instead of opening my Kindle to start the book I per-ordered months ago, I sat down with my WIP’s outline and scribbled down changes and new ideas and finally concepted how to end the book. Not just an overall idea of where it ends, but a description of the last scene and the few scenes leading up to it. Then the next morning when I had only 25% left of Ignite Me (because my willpower is not that strong and I read all of Tuesday evening), I wrote part of a new scene (!!!).

I still have a long way to go. Roughly 20,000 words (give or take, well more give than take, 5,000 words). But I’m committed to my Writer Recharge goals this month. I’m committed to this book. And I’m excited as hell to get back to work on it.

Writer Recharge (AKA: Getting My Sh*t Together)

Writer Recharge

So, I saw this on my friend/CP Rebekah’s blog and decided this was exactly what I needed. This time last year I had a full first draft of The Art of Breaking. And not just a draft, but a draft that I LOVED. And a draft I finished in only 2.5 months. This year my NaNo project is still in progress. Very SLOW progress. And I needed something to get my ass in gear. Which brings me to…

From the kickass organizers:

January is in the books and you’ve had to deal with:
a) polar vortices
b) ice storms
c) mountains of snow
d) gray skies and general malaise
e) all of the above

We thought our writer friends might be in need of a little boost. A jump start, if you will. A recharge.

We’d like to invite you to join us for Writer Recharge 2014, a month-long motivational challenge similar to last summer’s Ready. Set. Write! So many of us benefited from setting goals, connecting with other writers, and social media-based accountability. So, hey, let’s do it again! Whether you’re delighting next to the crackling fireplace of a Shiny New Idea with a warm cup of tea and a sleepy puppy at your feet or spinning out on the ice-covered roads of revisions in an attempt to avoid the snow-packed ditch, we want to write with you! What do you want to accomplish this month? Hit a daily word count? Revise a certain number of pages or chapters each week? Complete a draft by the end of the month? Let’s get this party started!

Writer Recharge 2014

Your hosts and cheerleaders: Katy Upperman, Alison Miller, Liz Parker, Elodie Nowodazkij, and Sara Biren

The timeline:

  • First week of February: Post your goals for the month on your blog, website, or Twitter. Use the hashtag #WriterRecharge. Link your blog post on Sara’s blog.
  • Every Monday in February: Update your progress via your blog or Twitter. Link your blog posts on Sara’s Monday posts.
  • Throughout the month: Use the hashtag to connect with other writers, have writing parties, and cheer one another on!
  • February 28: Post your final update via your blog or twitter.
  • Anyone who uses the hashtag or links their blog posts will be entered to win one of five query or 3-chapter critiques.

My goals for February:

  • Finish the first draft of How to Take a Life (hey, it’s only another 20,000-ish words; totally doable, right?)
  • Seriously flesh out the plot for Cupcakes 2 (’cause Harper and Mason need to have their own happy ending)
  • Stop stressing over agents who have my manuscripts (repeat: stressing doesn’t help a damn thing!)
  • Soak up all the awesome of the Djerassi YA Writer’s Retreat with Nova Ren Suma (and Rebekah!)