1/15/14

What's Up Wednesday


What’s Up Wednesday is a meme created by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk, and designed to help writers stay in touch with each other. I'm grateful to them for creating this structure, which I am finding helpful as I document my path toward becoming a writer.

What I’m reading

Many thanks to Juliana Haygert for suggesting the $0.99 eBook “2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love, by Rachel Aaron, in last week’s comments. I downloaded a copy and devoured it, taking copious notes. I found it inspiring and practical. I highly recommend it.

2k to 10k was the perfect counterpart to the other craft book I’m reading: John Truby’s The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller. I have been slowly working through the opening chapters. It’s rich and intelligent and I think it is going to be a treasure trove of inspiration and instruction, as I move through the planning of my story.

And just for fun, I picked up Keeper of the Lost Cities: Exile, by Shannon Messenger. Sophie’s story just keeps getting more interesting. I loved getting to see more of Keefe in this book (Book 2 of the series). Completely captivating and delightful.







What I’m writing

I continue to work on the plan for my novel about Sam. I am in the “what if” stage, exploring many possible directions for my plot and characters. 

My drafting plan this week is:
  • to make more notes on possible “what if” directions
  • develop a more detailed list of characters and the role they play in the story
  • further flesh out my antagonists and what they want

What’s inspiring me

Work gets done one day at a time, and this post by my friend Cristina was such a moving reminder. She has been translating letters written by her Italian great grandfather during his trip to America in the 1890s. She did it a few sentences a day over about two years. She kept at it, sometimes faster and sometimes slower, but always there with the project. And gradually, word by word, despite all the distractions of managing a busy family, she created something special. I hope to do the same with my own story and in my own way. She's a wonderful writer in her own right, and her post about the conclusion of her translation journey is worth a read.

Also inspiring, in a different way, was a talk I had with another writer friend this week. She is working on learning the craft of fiction, and crafting her first novel, as I am. She shared her process and organizational system with me and I was totally inspired. I thought her process might solve some of the problems that have been tripping me up, so I’m going to make two changes, inspired by her system:
Production Plan: Instead of making up the process as I go, I’m going to write up a “production plan” outlining what I see as the upcoming steps to getting my novel planned and drafted. I’m going to organize it by week, looking at least 2-3 weeks ahead (with a rough timeline for the whole process, to help convince myself I can get this done in 2014!) I will update it every Monday. The production plan will cover what I want to get done each week with my writing, research, craft reading, market reading, community building, and related creative projects. I love having a roadmap. I don't know why it didn't occur to me to write one, until I saw hers.
Moleskine Daily Planner
Notebooks: I tend to have several notebooks going at once, and each one contains a jumbled mess of story notes, to do lists, ideas, shopping lists, and whatnot. It is haphazard and totally disorganized. Instead, I’m going to invest in a Moleskine daily planner and put my daily notes in there. When thoughts come up about things I need to do, buy, or read, I’m going to try to contain them all together in this little notebook, and keep it with me at all times. When I want to jot down notes about my story, I’m going to keep those in a dedicated story notebook. I’m going to buy one of these, just like my friend's, to make it feel more official and permanent. The title (which you can customize from a list of choices) will be "Production Notebook." It is a good reminder that this year I am focused on production. Getting it done. Yes.

What else is going on: 

I’ve been working on my Winter schedule, to see if I can optimize it for longer working sessions. From the data I have gathered so far on my writing habits, I tend to be more productive when I can work in longer stretches (vs having my day broken up into smaller chunks.) 

Guiding principles: 
  1. Prioritize exercise at least 4x per week
  2. Prioritize at least 4 solid writing sessions per week (3+ hour stretches)
  3. Prioritize the kids after 2pm
  4. Try to combine social time with exercise

Mondays: Early morning walk (ideally with a friend); Write: 10-2

Tuesdays: Go to Tabata (exercise class) with Gina; Write 10-2

WednesdaysGo for an early morning run with my running buddy; Write 10-2

Thursdays: Yoga, Errands, Volunteer, Early pickup day (No writing today, most likely)

Fridays: Write 8:30-12; Body and Soul (meditation class)

Saturdays: Family day (Opportunistic writing, if any)


Sundays: Morning run with my running buddy; Family day (Opportunistic writing, if any)

Thanks for visiting, and Happy Wednesday!

11 comments:

  1. You've set yourself some great daily goals here. I should probably be doing something similar since I'm struggling to get into any kind of routine with writing, reading, and exercising. Sometimes you really do need to boil it down to "Do this between this time and this time." Like you, I do better with longing writing stretches. Short stints here and there are never enough time for me to actually get in the zone. You've reminded me that I really should pick up a craft book sometime and do a little more learning about writing. Maybe that will be my next read. :-)

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  2. "From the data I've gathered so far on my writing habits..." That line totally made me smile! I love how organized and goal oriented you are about your writing. Hopefully it will all pay off and you'll achieve your goals. Have a wonderful week!

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  3. You're welcome!
    I love notebooks and pens - I always have one on my purse and several over my desk. Nothing beats developing an idea on paper ;)
    Have a great week!

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  4. Handwriting has become highly underrated. I still have papers and notebooks with family trees, lists, birthdates, outlines, historical events to include, etc. Good luck with all of your goals and brainstorming.

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  5. Great set of goals. I'm going to check out those writing craft books, too. I'm due for some new ones. I commend you for taking a closer look at your writing habits to understand how you work (longer shifts vs. shorter). Looking at writing from a more business-like standpoint means taking it more seriously. I meet a lot of writers who say they wish they wrote more, or they don't write at all and have lots of ideas. Organizing your time and knowing what you're capable of really helps.

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  6. Good luck with all the planning and goals. You're definitely keeping yourself busy :D

    I love handwriting. It's just so handy when I'm at work and don't have access to my laptop. Plus the feeling of it is just delightful ^_^

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  7. Those two books look great! I'll have to check them out.

    Good luck with all the goals! I find that I get more done if I organize everything better, and goals can help you keep track of your progress. :)

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  8. Good luck with everything! It sounds very well organized and having goals is always great. I may have to check out those two books on writing. I should do more reading on craft but I'm really picky.

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  9. I like the sound of "prioritize X times a week." I wish you success! You certainly look like you're headed for it! :)

    Also, my notebooks get really jumbled too, so I might have to try that.

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  10. 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love sounds like a good book. I've heard a lot of good things. Love the journal and planner. I keep meaning to use mine, but I haven't yet.

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  11. That notebook looks great. I'm in need of a new one for a new idea. Good luck with your writing this week. Have a great weekend!

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