Getting That First Draft Done…Like, Now

painting of author stuck

As I continue revising, editing, and polishing my novel, Passage of Promise, as it runs through my online critique group, in my spare time, I drop into my novella, Mourning Dove,  switching it from first to third person as I did with my novel because I prefer that. I’ve also revised sections and added scenes. Actually, I still have a few more scenes I need to add that were prompted through beta reader and hubby feedback.

But in the past couple of days, I’ve reached to the back burner where my WIP (work in progress), What She Didn’t Know, has been sitting the last two months, waiting to have me add scenes and chapters.

So, I wrote up a scene and chapter yesterday, and it felt good. I wasn’t sure I could get back into the story, but what always helps me is reading previous chapters to prime the creative pump and get myself back into the lives of the three sisters in the case of this story.

Yesterday, I shared with my husband the many plot points and my characters in my WIP. After explaining all the different relationship conflicts with each of the three sisters, my husband said, “What is this? A soap opera?” Haha!

I told him these types of storylines often go through my head. I asked his opinion on one of my ideas for one of the minor characters (one that could be fatal or not fatal). He chose the second and said, “I think there’s already enough drama.”

Oh, but we writers thrive on drama with our characters. It’s called conflict in the world of writers. 😀

I started What She Didn’t Know January 14, 2018. A freaking year ago! I can’t believe I haven’t finished it yet!

Three months. I’m giving myself three months to at least write as many of the chapters I’ve got notes on as I can, hoping the first draft will be done by the end of that time period. If not, at least it’ll be close.

writing's hard gif

First drafts can be very difficult. I’ve read plenty of articles of fellow writers struggling to finish their novels. I blame my half-done piece on working on my other done pieces.

It’s never taken me this long to write a story of any type. It’s time to hunker down.

All fellow writers struggling through their first drafts, let’s unite in getting them done before summer!

And DON’T GIVE UP! You know your story is good and worth the effort! Your characters are calling your name, telling you they’re waiting for their next encounters, next conflicts, next DRAMA. 😉

Happy writing!

 

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Breaking from Writing and the Consequences

writing exhaustion pic

What if I stop writing for a while?  What if taking this hiatus is not because I have no choice but precisely because I do?

About a month ago, I’d reached writing and creativity exhaustion, so much so that even when I’d forced myself to write at least a few sentences or a paragraph, nothing but stale, dry, lifeless words settled on the page.

You see, at this time, I’d finished my current revisions and my editor had done her thing in supplying me with superb proofreading, editing, and suggestions for my characters and plot for my novel, Passage of Promise.

But at the same time, I’d entered my subsequent university course in fascinating American Art.  It was one of the required general education exploration courses available for me to choose. My courses are eight weeks long.  By mid term, the college load was like swimming in an ever deepening pool, and the massive reading assignments and associated linked reading material were pulling me under.

drowning underwater pool

Overwhelmed by keeping up with my novel’s plot additions, blog posts, essays, and colossal pages to peruse and jot down notes, it was time for me to slide one of these on the shelf.

Permanently? you ask.  I sure hope not.

When you struggle with general anxiety and menopausal symptoms that trigger it (along with blood sugar issues), your brain can only take in so many mental activities at a time.  I’d reached my limit.

When this happened, I closed up my manuscript on Word, and dread hit me as I remembered the eighteen-year hiatus from writing that was broken in September 2014…not so long ago.  Was I going to end up disconnected from my writing another eighteen years?

This concern prompted me to look up information on authors/writers taking breaks.  I found a couple of articles that gave me a great sense of relief.

What I learned is breaks are not only acceptable, but necessary to regenerate your creative juices and thought processes.  And we writers make the choice on how long that break will be.  It could be a day, a week, a month, or months.

I know this is alarming and sounds close to anathema considering how often we hear and read in the writing world the mantra stressing writing at least something daily.

But please keep reading.

Via a Writer’s Edit article, it says, “If you are at the point where you are forcing a story, take this as a sign to take a break from it.”  This gave me a chance to exhale.

cartoon girl sitting in hammock

(credit:  GetDrawings.com)

The author of that article also stressed not losing the joy of writing.  Well, I’d forgotten the joy of writing.  It had become the equivalent of cramming for final exams since it was juxtaposed with my college course load.

However, another reassuring perspective came from The Writing Cooperative’s author, Ryan J. Pelton’s article on this subject, stating, “You are not weak, uncommitted, and not a true writer if you take breaks.  You will not forget how to write.”  I could sit back calmly with this tidbit.

These breaks can be used for relaxing and cleaning out your brain, for continued reading for pleasure, and an upcoming chance for new, fresh characters and storylines to surface that can be noted for later.

My plan at this time is to pick up on my novel and other writing projects after I graduate from my university at the end of October.  Then I will be free to pursue my writing without college assignment pressures.  This is my tentative schedule, and each of us makes our own.

So, if you’re feeling burnt out, or you have nothing left, take a much needed break that is as long as you choose, and look forward to sparkling, vivid tales in the very near future.

 

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Works Cited
Writer’s Edit.  “Why Taking Writing Breaks Is Important.” writersedit.com.  https://writersedit.com/fiction-writing/taking-writing-breaks-important/
Pelton, Ryan J.  “Put Down the Pen and Step Away (rest for writers).”  The Writing Cooperative.  https://writingcooperative.com/put-down-the-pen-and-step-away-rest-for-writers-44a98971db4b

 

The Importance of Your Creative Work Space

desk and windows

I’m sharing a post by fellow blogger, Nicholas Rossis, who shared a guest post about your work space and how it can help and improve your creative writing.  Until today, I’d been sitting on my bed writing, and well, that wasn’t really the best place to be a creative writer.  So, these tips helped me to change that, and I’m now sitting in my living room/library at my desk, and I already feel better having the space to type and write and  the fortunate treat of being able to look out the picture window that I believe will help to inspire me to create many imaginative characters, settings, and stories (God willing!).

I hope this shared post is beneficial to your writing.

This is a guest post by Jade Anderson is an experienced In-house Editor at Upskilled. With a background in online marketing, Jade runs some successful websites of her own. Her passion for the education industry and content is displayed through the quality of work she offers.

6 Tips for Making a Workspace Conducive to Writing

No matter what type of content you’re writing, whether it’s fiction, investigative journalism, feature pieces or academic articles, the environment that you write in has a big impact on how well you put that piece together. Writing takes skill, for sure, but where you write can affect how you write because if there are distractions in your workplace, your writing is likely to reflect that. As a writer, your workspace should be inspiring and comfortable in equal measure. It should be somewhere you can focus and reflect. Here are five tips for creating the perfect writing workspace.

2. Make Sure You Have Privacy

One criterion for success when it comes to writing is consistency. Often, this means writing something every day. But it also means trying to work in the space every time you write. In order to find a space where you are going to be able to be productive most days, you need to consider the level of privacy you will have. Choose a space where you’re able to be alone with your projects and your thoughts without being distracted by background noise or other people. This can simply mean working in a room in your house that has a door or finding an area where there is little to no foot traffic. Having a private, dedicated area that is yours allows you to have a distraction-free workspace.

3. Consider Your Desk And Chair

How comfortable your desk and chair are, are important factors that affect how productive you are. If you feel cramped or uncomfortable, you’re far more likely to get distracted and want to stop working. Chances are, you’ll be sitting and typing for long stretches of time, so you need a space that is ergonomic. Make sure that your desk and chair are at the right height so you don’t have to strain or hunch to work on your computer. You need a chair that will support your back and encourage good posture. As for your desk, it must provide enough space for everything you need.

4. Declutter

It is hard to work amongst clutter. Physical clutter can cause mental clutter, leaving us feeling distracted and unfocused. Getting rid of unnecessary mess and creating a clutter-free space is one of the key steps in creating an environment conducive to writing. While decluttering can take some time and hard work, it pays off. Set aside a day to declutter the space you wish to work in and decide what items you will throw out, what you’ll donate, and what you’ll keep. If you have furniture, files or belongings that you want to keep but don’t necessarily need right now, consider putting these things into storage. Using community storage is an affordable and convenient option should you find yourself in this situation.

5. Make It Yours

Your workspace is a space for you. You want it to reflect your personality and to be a place where you feel comfortable and at home. While you shouldn’t fill it with personal belongings that may be distracting or cause clutter, you should put some effort into personalizing the area. This can be with artwork, photos or other decorative features that you feel express your personality. As a writer, you may wish to personalize your space by filling it with your favorite books or quotes from your favorite authors!

6. Go For Natural Light

Regardless of your industry, natural light has been proven to impact productivity. The sun boosts your mood, gives you energy, and can stimulate creativity. For these reasons, natural light is particularly important for writers. If you’re working from home, it might be difficult to find a room with natural light to work in. However, even if you can work in front of a window or in a room with a skylight, this is better than nothing. Adequate light is important no matter what time of the day. If you’re working into the evenings, ensure that you have artificial lighting so you can read and write without straining your eyes.

7. Have What You Need On Hand

In order to work productively in your workspace, you should have everything you need to work on hand and ready to go. In the digital age, this might mean having all your tech accessories, chargers, and screens neatly arranged by your desk so they are easily accessible at all times. For writers, having two screens can be particularly useful. This allows you to have multiple windows open if you are researching and writing at the same time. If you still like the traditional pen-to-paper method when you’re figuring out your ideas, ensure you have plenty of supplies at hand in your desk drawers or on your desk.

 

 

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