Why didn’t I do this before?

Written By: Jess - Mar• 24•14

Ick. I hate schedules. I, like a lot of other people, suck at sticking to them. I’m also ADD and any sort of organization or plan that I approach becomes an uphill battle. I’m not good at keeping things straight or sticking to something. Developing a routine is a pain in the butt.

But in January I decided to try something new. I’m not a new years resolution person, but something similar happened around that time. I was getting really frustrated that my MS was STILL in the first act. I’d been working on it for at least a year (or more) and I thought sitting down and writing 500 words was pretty dang good – and it would have been if I’d actually written at least 500 words everyday. Sadly, I probably wrote less than 1,500 in a week. At the rate I was going I’d finish my book in about … oh…. five freakin’ years. For the past six months my plate had been so full that 500 words a week was amazing. For some people this would be ok, but for me it wasn’t.

After the frustration of seeing my story getting essentially shelved I realized my priorities needed another look. My writing needed to come first instead of last. I dropped some commitments and stopped reading as soon as I got home. Instead, I packed up my laptop and went to Harmons. Yes. It’s a grocery store, but it’s a totally awesome one! The Harmon’s near our home has a cafe Ibis down stairs and a lounge area upstairs. They also have free WiFi and cheap gelato/herbal tea. I was sold. My only other options were McDonald’s (where chicken nuggets and a large french fry called my name)  and the library (which is about 10 minutes away while Harmons is more like 3).

Once I found a place where I wouldn’t get distracted (writing at home is a terrible, terrible place for me. My ADD wants me to pace and books stare at me from their resting places around the apartment) I realized that I could hit my 500 word count goal fairly easy. Soon I bumped my word goal to 1,200. Some writers will write based on time, I’m one of the ones who chases a number. Often times I overshoot it with the average word count being 1,400.

But do you know what shocks me the most? It’s been three months and I’ve stuck to it!

Maybe not perfectly, but I’ve got a schedule down that lets me get out a minimum of 4k a week. I’m happy. I’ve even put up a dry erase board to help keep track of what I’ve been doing:

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“The Progress Board”

I write what I work on daily, weekly, and monthly. What’s funny is I get competitive against myself and I try to beat the previous week/month.

Do you have a schedule or system down? What works for you? I’m always looking for other ideas. 🙂

 

Freaking Out Starts in 3…2…1…

Written By: Jess - Mar• 23•14

New post on the new(ish) blog*! So, my first ever manuscript is almost complete. I get to go to a writing retreat this upcoming week put on by iwritenetowork which I’m pretty stoked for!

But today I got to attend Writing for Charity and received amazing feedback from author J. Scott Savage (if you haven’t read his books you should check them out!) and Joe Monti, the executive editor for Simon and Schuster’s newest fantasy imprint, Saga Press. I took with me my query and the first chapter of my novel. Scott Savage read the first six pages and Joe Monti looked at my query and the first page. I was pleasantly surprised at some of the comments and learned of some things I need to fix. Overall, it was a very positive experience. I’ve had different people look at it before, but it was great to have an editor and a very talented writer give me some input on it.

There’s only one little problem. For whatever strange, completely irrational reason I am absolutely freaking out and not in a good way. I couldn’t figure out why, and my poor, sweet husband got to listen and watch me get all mopey and sad for no apparent reason. After a couple of hours of going around in circles Jack pointed out what was probably making me all crazy: my book is almost done and it’s scaring the daylights out of me.

Since I realized that I’m going to finish it this month, I’ve been like this:

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Basically, I’m getting all worried that my story is going to suck major and it will never see the light of day. I’ve entered the final stretch of it and I keep thinking about what’s happened in the plot. I’m second guessing myself and I haven’t even finished the thing yet! (Warped of me, I know.) I know other author writers have felt this way (or so I keep hearing) but my completely irrational mind keeps sending me into a panic. I have to keep telling myself that I’ve gotten great comments about what I’ve shown and that even if my novel can’t be published then it’s not the end of the world.

Still, I know it’s just a phase but I’m still all nervous and moody about my MS. *sigh* I never anticipated the crazy emotions.  Anyone else felt like this?

 

* Note: New blog. Again. This time it wasn’t on purpose. Because of a failed transaction (we forgot to update our credit card info – go us) I got to recreate this whole thing again. Yippie. It’s roughly the same. Sort of.