Tag: progress

Full Steam Ahead

After taking a week and a half off writing to fight the worst cold I’ve had in ages, I jumped back in the game last night with a vengeance. I spent a couple hours at the window table of my favourite cafe and banged out over 3,000 words. Nearly an entire chapter!

(It JUST occurred to me that I spent Valentine’s Day alone in a coffee shop, writing, instead of doing something with my husband. The thought never even crossed my mind last night, but then, we don’t normally recognize V-Day. I wonder what the other people there thought about the poor girl sitting alone on Valentine’s Day, typing away and eating all the salted toffee squares!)

As I’ve mentioned before I’m using an outline for this novel, unlike the last one, but I’m enjoying how much freedom I still have and how many little scenes just pop up out of nowhere on a whim. The reason I’d resisted outlining for so long was because I thought it would be too rigid and there would be no room for spontaneity, but that doesn’t seem to be the case at all. Part of this often stems from dialogue, but from time to time it’s an entire scene that seems to just flow naturally from something in the outline.

I stayed at the cafe almost to the last minute before closing so I could hit this milestone:

I started writing just under a month ago and I’m a fifth of the way there. For me, that’s excellent progress.

The kids and I leave for a spring break vacation tomorrow, and I’m not sure how much writing or blogging I’m going to be able to do. Hopefully a decent amount of the former, because there are a couple scenes coming up that I’ve been really looking forward to writing!


That came about because I wrote more than 3,700 words today, which is absolutely insane for me. Looking back at last year’s NaNoWriMo stats, my best day was 100 words less than that, and I remember that as being an all-day effort. It’s not a pace I can keep up with, for sure, but if I could do it every Saturday, and the same amount again through the rest of the week, I could write a chapter a week and hopefully have my first draft done in a little under two months. And that’s a great feeling. I never actually completed my NaNo novel – I did the 50,000 words (53,000 as a matter of fact) but the conclusion remains to be written. By 50,000 words I was heartily sick of it, and still don’t feel that it’s worth the time to complete, but 50,000 words into this story and I’m falling more and more in love with it every time I sit down in front of my laptop. So that’s gotta be a good sign, right?

Overcoming apathy

I went away on vacation for a week and despite my best intentions and dreams of sitting on the beach and by the pool all day, writing endless reams of inspired prose, I never typed a single word. Never opened my document, as a matter of fact. Not even on those six-hour flights on planes without seatback televisions.

It’s easy to fall out of a habit. My routine is to write in the evenings, usually from 11pm until midnight or thereinabouts. Taking a bit of advice from Stephen King’s On Writing, I go down to the basement, close the door of the family room, get comfy (but not too comfy) and go to work without distractions. And I find I really rely on my closed-door routine. In a smallish Hawaiian condo basically confined to a single room after 9pm (so the kids can sleep undisturbed) I couldn’t make my closed-door process work. And I don’t seem to have the right frame of mind to write during the daytime. So when we came back home, I felt apathetic about writing again, compounded by the fact that I didn’t really like how the scene I was in the middle of was going. Even after a three-hour Higher Ground cafe writing marathon with my partner in novelling, I still wasn’t accomplishing much. Last night I struggled through 250 measly words, and that in an hour and a half.

Tonight I broke through. I like how things are shaping up again, I found myself composing a scene I hadn’t even imagined until I started writing (which are usually my favourite ones) and I’m feeling good about where I’ll pick up tomorrow.

One of my supporting characters, Dex, is reminding me more and more of my brother Dan every scene I put him in. Tonight I laughed out loud at something he said, and I didn’t even know he was going to say it until the dialogue started flowing.

I also hit page 30 in my document, which is kind of a milestone. At 12-pt, single spaced, that’s around 18,000 words, and I added another 1,300 or so tonight. For me that’s a good night. I’m a slow, methodical, everything-right-the-first-time kind of writer. I need to think it all through first. A lot of people say the only way to write is to just spew it all out and revise later, but that’s not me – and explaining that is a post for another day. Tonight I’m happy with my progress and looking forward to what the future brings – even if I have no idea what’s going to happen in the next 20 pages!