Wednesday, January 30, 2013

More Good News Than Bad

The good news:

I've been writing more than my recent blog silence would suggest. I've worked on TOB almost every day in January, and I'm still happy with how it's all coming together. It's been a pretty kick-ass month in all areas, actually, and I'm feeling positive about what 2013 holds for me.

The bad news:

I haven't been making my word count. Like, at all. I'm working every day, but some days I'm only making 100 words of progress. Why I am so freaking slow right now? Rigorous analysis has revealed several causes.

Exhibit A: I inadvertently screwed myself on a whole chapter's worth of word count. I knew 500 a day would be pushing it for me, so I decided to give myself word count credit for my scene outlines. The problem with this brilliant idea is that as I wrote the scene, I had to erase words from the outline. Some super-productive days, I wrote 800 words but didn't make my 500 words of progress. Super demotivating. Lesson learned: the outline will no longer count toward the word count goal. It means I'll lose a day of word count progress every time I need to make an outline, but at least all the scene words I write will be actual progress.

Exhibit B: 500 words may be more than I can do every day right now. I hate to say that, since it makes meeting my June 26 deadline basically impossible-- but on the other hand, if I push myself too hard, I'll get book fatigue and start avoiding the work. I think my plan for Feb. is going to be 500 words on my light days, and 250 on my heavy days. That sounds like I'm discussing my menstrual cycle, but you know what I mean.

That's the update folks. Onward!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wednesday Word Count

JanNo Words: 6,711

Word bank: negative one million

I'm behind. *sigh* I've been working on it every day, but I've been busy with tutoring, article writing, and book club reading, and I haven't been making my 500 a day.

I have more to say about this but I am wiped for today. After tortuous but uneventful drives on the snowy backroads out to and back from the boarding school, I heaved a sigh of relief to reach the better-plowed highway... and then lost it on a slippery exit ramp, shot across a busy cross-street, and nearly got my car stuck in a big-ass ditch. Ever since my wintertime car-totalling we-are-lucky-to-be-alive accident, I really freak the fuck out about losing control of the car on an icy/snowy road. I'm still a little jittery.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


The second draft is 20% done!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wednesday Word Count

JanNo words: 5,073

Word bank: 43

The past few days have starkly illustrated how spoiled I've become of late. The new season of test prep tutoring has begun, and I have an article deadline coming up. A piddling amount of work compared to the average fast-paced American life, yet it's enough to make me feel put-upon and lazy. Thank dog for the word bank... but now I've blown through it. Tomorrow I'm going to have to crack out the discipline glue and apply my fingertips to the keyboard.

Monday, January 7, 2013

My 2013 Shelf-Sitter Reading Challenge

I own more than two dozen books I haven't read.

There, I said it.

Some were given to me. Some I purchased in library book sale or "used bookstore credit" sprees. A few I inherited/selected from my uncle's massive book collection when he passed away.

Some I've begun and stalled out after 20/50/70 pages; some I've never cracked the spine.

Some I've owned for years; some I just got for Christmas.

Some I'm very eager to read; some I'm dreading.

In any case, I'm sick of feeling guilty whenever I see these things on my bookshelf. And thus I've declared 2013 the Year of the Shelf-Sitter. This year I will read (or formally reject) all 25 books on the list I put here today.

Rules & Caveats:

1) I am forbidden from purchasing another book until I have read the Shelf-Sitters.*

2) Exceptions to this rule: books for The Son, and books for book club.

3) I can read off-list if I take it out from the library.

4) 20% rule. If I'm not interested in what happens next after reading 20% of the book, I will formally reject the book, and sell it to the used bookstore (for more credit to resist using).

5) The list doesn't include every single book I've never read cover to cover. I own some reference and art books that I use as needed. And a few unread books are sequels to books on the list; I didn't want to commit to reading a second book before I've read the first.

6) I'll report on each book here as I finish it.

The books:

The Snow Queen by Joan Vigne
Brothers in Arms by Lois McMaster Bujold
Ilium by Dan Simmons
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Sheepfarmer's Daughter by Elizabeth Moon
Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie
Unearthing Atlantis by Charles Pellegrino
I, Claudius by Robert Graves
Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Alanna by Tamora Pierce
The Uplift War by David Brin
The Compass Rose by Gail Dayton
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card
Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Voices by Ursula K. LeGuin
Lost at Sea by Jon Ronson

First up will be Voices, which I got for Christmas and have already read 1/3 of. However, before I can get back to it, I need to read The Help for book club (library book, so not on the list!).

*I must confess that all day, knowing I was going to post this tonight, and knowing that I have a few household items in my shopping cart at amazon, I was so tempted to buy some books before the hammer fell.

Friday, January 4, 2013


The second draft of The Owl Bearer is 15% done.

I know I just posted the 10% a few days ago, but I failed to include the already-written closing scene in the word count. I was further along than I thought.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wednesday Word Count

JanNo Words: 1,734 / 16,000

Word bank: 234

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

January Goals

Happy New Year!

Working on the completely unscientific theory that the activities you engage in on New Year's day are the ones that dominate your year, I've elected to spend the day writing, spending quality time with The Husband and Son, eating healthy foods, reading, cleaning the house, and going out to a tutoring gig. And, okay-- I played on the internet a little. I have this baby name addiction...

Anyway. Goals! JanNo kicks off today, and my goal is 16,000 for the month, which works out to 500 words a day plus 500 extra for today's kick-off challenge. Unlike last month, when I had to do 250 words every single day or make up the day's deficit, for January I'm going to have a "word bank" instead. All the day's words over 500 go into the bank. That way, if I have a crazy day and can't write, I can stay on goal without having to write 1,000 words the next day.

I'm still kind of babying myself. I'm sure I could edit more than 16,000 words in a month if I got all gung-ho Discipline Girl about it. But I'm wary of coming out of the 2013 gates too fast. 250 a day was working great-- the only thing wrong with it is that it's too slow. So this month I double it and see how that goes.

My other goal is to post here three times a week. I've always sucked at weekly anything, but maybe for the month I can do a Wednesday Word Count post.