Thursday, 3 May 2012

InCreWriMa CHECK IN: WEEK 1

Hello, hello, hello, Dear Readers! It is Thursday and so time for the very first InCreWriMa check-in.

Today, I hope we're all going to set ourselves a realistic but challenging goal for what we'd like to achieve in May. We'll share it, and basically make a pledge to try our best to meet it, and be there for everyone else who is trying to meet theirs, during this month.

So here's me. I'm working on Katana #2 right now and as of last night I've got 34,000 words. That's about 45% of the estimated total - based on the word count of the first draft of The Night Itself, which was 73,000 words (although subsequent drafts with my editor plumped it up to 80,000).

I have no ambition of trying to finish Katana #2 this month or anything like that. The moment I put that kind of pressure on myself things inevitably go wrong - see what happened during NaNo last year, when I first caught the bug that I not-so-affectionately called the NaNo-Virus, and then tripped and ended up with a prolapsed disc that had me flat on my back in agony for three weeks.

So, yeah. Not going there.

What I'd mainly like to do is get a bit of consistency back into my writing routine. At the moment I'm going a couple of days without getting any work done, and then squeezing out a couple of thousand words, and then going another couple of days... I can work like that if I have to, and eventually the book will get finished. But I know that if I write more regularly my productivity will go up, and the standard of the writing will improve, and I'll generally feel better about myself and the world.

When I was writing Shadows on the Moon I still had my office job, and that meant I really only had Wednesdays and the weekends as full days to write in. But during the office days I wrote pages and pages of notes in lunch and teabreaks, on the bus, even during slow periods when the phone wasn't ringing (although of course when the bosses noticed that, there was Hell to pay - we were supposed to spend that time re-reading departmental memos or tidying our desks. Pfft). Quite often I'd get to Wednesday or Sunday and find that I had fifty pages of notes to type up. And I really loved that feeling; even though I had to revise and redraft every handwritten page as it went onto the computer, I knew I'd already broken the spine of whatever I scene or chapter was working on, and the hard work was done.

Keeping the idea of 'achievable and realistic' in mind, then, my goal is going to be to write six notebook pages each day, six days out of the week in May. I know that most days I could probably write more than that - and maybe I will - but I want to know that even on my weariest, most tired out and depressed day, I can still approach that target and feel like it's doable. So, six pages it is.

As to the six days: I'm giving myself Saturday off because that's the day when I do all my shopping and chores and the rest, and also the day when I might get the chance to do a bit of baking or read a book, see friends , go to the cinema, etc. Much as I feel the urge to hole myself up in my Writing Cave in every spare moment that I have, I know it's not particularly healthy, and that making time for some Real Life (TM) is a good thing.

You'll note that I haven't given myself an actual word count here, just a number of handwritten notebook pages. That's because it's more important to me at this point to keep moving the story forward and to ease myself back into writing daily than it is to wrack up a concrete amount of digits.

But we'll see how I managed to do next Thursday when we do the Week Two check-in!

OK, now it's your turn guys. What are you working on? What is your target and why do you feel that it's useful and realistic for you? What is your ultimate goal - where do you want to be at the end of May? Do you have any worries or need any encouragement? Share it all in the comments!


P.S. Sharp eyed readers might have noticed that - at long last! - I got around to putting up the promised ALL ABOUT WRITING page, where I've put links to all the writing advice blog posts I've written, broken down by type. So if you're looking for help and inspiration you can also head there. Have I missed any posts you liked? Let me know - everything starts to blur together after a few hours in the archives :)

43 comments:

Vivienne said...

Good luck honey! I must get back into a routine myself. But I have my mum staying this week, so no chance.

Zoë Marriott said...

Viv: Thanks! And I hope you have a nice visit with your mum :)

Rachel Balcombe said...

My goal is going to be one page in my notebook and 100 words in my story every day - which makes 7 pages and 700 words per week. I know it doesn't sound like much, but I should also be doing revision, so hopefully this goal will keep me writing and provide a balance between working and writing. I'm feeling better already!

Good luck, everyone!

amy_celestia said...

All the best with your target! :D

I'm going to stick with this old story I'm revisiting and aim to write at least 5 A4 pages each week. I can easily do more, especailly once exams are over, but until then I think 5 is reasonable since I am having to write scary essays every day!

I still think this is an awesome idea, and good luck to everyone else writing! I'm sure we can all do some wonderful work :)

Anonymous said...

I just want to write! I haven't wrote even ONE word for like months... I want to ask what is realistic for geting back into a routine? I need a goal. P.S. Really good idea Zoe! -- Borko (borky_qk)

Jenni said...

I love your target, it's very well thought out.

I need a minimum of 30K for the project I'm going to do, so I'm aiming for 35K for a first draft that I can then be brutal with. I have my last uni assignment to write this weekend so I'm going to aim for getting it planned out and writing 5K in week one and then 10K a week for the remaining 3 weeks.

Good luck one and all, I think May's going to be great fun!

Zoë Marriott said...

Rachel and Amy: your targets sound realistic and achievable to me. I'm sure you can both do it! Thanks for pledging.

Borko: Well, I usually say between 200-500 words is a good place to start for people easing back into writing. That's one or two handwritten A4 pages. You could try that five days a week, maybe? Have a think about it and come back to us.

Jenni: It sounds like you're incredibly determined :) You go!

Bethany K. Dellinger, MFA said...

Hi Zoe and everyone,

I just found you through the interview you gave at The Enchanted Inkpot, which was wonderful by the way. I can't wait to read your books! Re-tellings are my absolute favorite kind of fiction to read.

I love this idea of setting an achieveable goal for the month, so I'll join in with mine. I'm currently doing a rewrite, so my aim is to do one chapter a week, or four chapters for the month. This will include all the research I need to do at this stage for each chapter too, in other words, incorporating the notes I'm furiously taking and generating the story itself.

I'm struggling with morning sickness right now, so my other goal will be to sleep more than usual (in between caring for the two little ones I have at home). Not sure which goal will win primary place, but I sure hope for a balance.

It will be fun to check in every Thursday!

Amanda said...

I've never written anything before, but I decided to try it this time :) It's just going to be a short story, since this is my first time, and I setting myself a goal of 31 pages - a page a day. I started writing the day before yesterday, when you announced this, and so far I have a little over 700 words. It's going to be a post-apocalyptical zombie story :D

Elaine said...

Hi Zoe,

I like the idea of setting a hopefully achievable goal for this month. Especially as I have my first short story assignment due for a creative writing course.

My goal is 300 words a day.

So good luck everyone.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the suggestion Zoe. I think i can manage with that. I will continue to read the comments and I will let you know if something changes. P.S. When is going to be the next check-in? P.S.S. Good luck to all! -- Borko (borky_qk)

emilydreams said...

Hello, long-time lurker here, delurking because I want to take part. The beginning of this year has been so hectic (am I still allowed to call it "the beginning of this year" when it's May ... ?) and my fictioneering productivity has dropped drastically. So! My goal for easing back into the swing of things is 500 words a day on a WIP.

Good luck, all.

Nara Heulyn said...

This is such a great idea. Thanks, Zoe.

Unfortunately, though, since I have exams I kind of need to focus on revising, so my targets'll be comparatively small. I aim to write at least 700 words every weekend.

Zoë Marriott said...

Bethany: Wow, that sounds great - and I commend you for struggling on through the morning sickness. Very best of luck!

Elaine: Excellent. I hope you'll come back and check-in with us next Thursday :)

Borky: The next check-in will be Thursday 10th of May, exactly one week from now.

Emily: Sounds very achieveable. Thanks for delurking, and good luck!

Nara: There's absolutely NOTHING wrong with going for a smaller goal which is right for you! Just think about all the people out there who will pass the whole month of may without writing a single word. You won't be one of them, so that's got to be an improvement no matter what, right? Ooh, and best wishes for your exams. Fight!

Helen said...

Well, it's not creative writing but I run a review blog and normally I write/put up four entries a week but, with summer right around the corner for me, I'd like to try and write five reviews a week. Probably won't post five a week so I can create a buffer for myself, and I might not get to five this week since my exams come first, but I'd like to try and see if I can get just a bit more out each week.

Alex Hayman said...

I've written... 300 words this week. All today. Yeah...

I haven't written a word in at least two weeks. I got my grades back for the quarter, and while they weren't terrible... they certainly didn't justify writing through all my classes.

So, I've gotten back on track, and I'm 20k into my current WIP, with a goal WC of 65k. I'm probably not going to make leaps and bounds this month, but I'm hoping to write at least 10k. I'd rather pass my goal by miles than not come close.

Elyndra said...

I’m going to try and finish various projects which were badly neglected and have been giving me sad puppy-dog looks to get some attention.
I decided not to choose a specific amount of words or pages, but instead go for hours. I know I can reach a set word count if I need to. However I’m very bad at staying concentrated. My Wiki Walks can be impressive. I hope that by giving myself a set amount of hours to work, I might learn to work faster and stay focussed. So I’m aiming for 4 hours, with breaks, on weekdays. Now I just have to hope my health cooperates.

Aimen said...

Okay, I'm still excited for this ^^ Although I'm feeling a little bit intimidated now. I haven't written properly and consistently for over a year now so yes, let's keep it real.

What I've been aiming to do for a couple of weeks now is to decipher the motivations of one particular character. If I can just figure out this ONE character, I'm absolutely positive that the whole thing will start clicking into place.

So, basically my goal for this week is a page every weekday and two pages on Friday and Saturday. Pages of anything; doodles, snippets, monologues, descriptions, history, memories. Anything that comes to mind.
I'm not entirely sure how this will work out because I've never tried to figure out a character this way before. But this is the only way I can think of since she won't have that much of a starring role in the story but she is the one who sets things into motion and her motivations are crucial.

In your personal opinion though, Zoe, do you feel like this approach might actually work out?

Zoë Marriott said...

Helen: Good luck to you, then :)

Alex: Sounds reasonable - your writing can be something you do to relax after class, not an added pressure.

Elyndra: That's a really unique way to work. Great for developing discipline, I'd think. All the best, and I hope your health stays good.

Aimen: Frankly? I think that is a GENIUS approach. By the time you've finished you'll know that character inside and out. What fabulous creative thinking! Well done you!

whispering words said...

Such a great idea Zoe! Goodluck with your story!

Having *finally* finished my Disertation two days ago I'm hoping to get back on to my WIP. I'm aiming small though, 300-500 words a day. This will also be a month for catching up on my reading :) Good luck to the rest of you participating!

Liz said...

Thanks for the reply yesterday, I think I'm going to aim for 10 notebook pages a week of planning and/or drafting my new idea. That way I can do 2 per day on weekdays, 5 a day a weekends or anything in-between, depending on the little person in my life :)

Cheers Zoë.

Zoë Marriott said...

Amanda: I seem to have missed you the 1st time around! I'm so sorry. I think your story sounds really exciting - good luck with it :)

Whispering: Oooh, well done on the dissertation! And make the best of your bookish time.

Zoë Marriott said...

Liz: You've obviously put a lot of good thought into this, and as a result I reckon it will go like clockwork. Best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Zoë! I already wrote over two handwritten pages with fairly small letter size. I have to ask everyone who want to give advice: if i'm still getting into routine should I continue? -- Borko (borky_qk)

Zoë Marriott said...

Borky: Of course you should go on, if you feel like it! Just make sure you remember that you still need to try and hit those two pages tomorrow - anything extra you write tonight is a bonus. And don't feel pressured to write more than two pages again. Just stick to your target if that's all you have the time/inclination for.

Alex @ The Blethering Bookworm said...

This is going to be so much fun. I have been trying to finish my NaNoWriMo story since December 1st but it isn't quite as much fun (yeah, maybe not the right word ;)) when you aren't doing it with a bunch of other people who are all heading for the same goal as you. So doing this in a group is going to be great.

I am going to try and aim for half an A4 sheet of paper a day covered in my lovely scribbles. :)
Happy writing everyone :)

Isabel said...

Good luck to everyone on their goals! I've been thinking about what would be a realistic goal for me, and I realized that if I tried to write every day, even if it's just a tiny amount, it would be incredibly helpful to me. Even though I'm very busy, and there will be exceptions on days I can't write, maybe I could give that a shot. It's just about the last month of school, so this is a great time to start writing more regularly than i have been. Thanks for the opportunity to set a goal that doesn't have to be a certain number of words - after a few attempts I've decided that just doesn't work for me yet.

Speaking of writing, I submitted a couple short stories that I wrote to the Lower School Lamp, my school's creative writing magazine, and they've both been picked to be included! I don't normally write short stories, so I think that's progress.

Phoenixgirl said...

Can I play too? I don't have quite the same kind of goal as most of you - I've been working on a story that has me thoroughly inspired, so I don't feel in need of motivation, but this sounds like fun anyway. My goal is to finish writing the story (which is presently about 3/4 done), do some revision, and type it into the computer from my notebook by the end of May.

Zoë Marriott said...

Alex: Ooh, good - I'm really glad that you're excited like me! Your target sounds very realistic: Go Go Go!

Isabel: I could never quite get on with word targets either - not for a long time. It was only when I ended up as a full-time writer that I had the motivation to make that work (and it went wrong in the end!). I'm very happy that you're joining us, Isabel. *Fistbump*

Phoenix: Of course you can! You know you're always welcome in my neck of the woods. I'm wishing you the very best of luck with your goal, too :)

Connie B. Dowell said...

A little late, I know, but I just learned of this challenge today, and I'd love to play too, even though I won't have made all the check ins. I'm aiming for 20,000 words in May, but in more lopsided way than a daily wordcount. (Early this month I have tons of time, but later I'll be lucky to get in 20 minutes of writing time a day.) Thanks for hosting this fun challenge!

Zoë Marriott said...

Connie: So long as people check in here before next Thursday I'm still going to count it - I expected it to take a little while for the word to spread. Good luck with your 20,000 words and you're very welcome :)

Jean said...

Once a week check-in leaves enough time to actually get something written in between. I'm about 1/3 of the way through a first draft. My goal is to write 2 pages / day. Keeping it doable and easy to achieve should help get the job done.

Zoë Marriott said...

Jean: Brilliant. Thanks for joining us, and welcome!

Rebecca Lindsay said...

I am working on my first draft of book 1 in my trilogy. I think I am going to try and write about four pages a night, four days a week. I am in the middle of my exams right now so I feel that this target is suitable for me. I'm not going to try and finish my book by the end of May, but I hope to move it along quite a bit.
Out of curiosity, how many words was "Daughter of the Flames?"

Zoë Marriott said...

Rebecca: Sounds great! Thanks for joining. And DotF was 86,000 words long. I hope that's helpful :)

territrimble said...

I've been stuck in the middle of my novel for ages. It's like trudging through a swamp, getting a bit dizzy from all the noxious swamp gases. I want to get the story moving again so I can pick up momentum as I get near the end, so I'm setting myself a hopefully realistic and not overly ambitious goal of 5000 words this month, which means 1250 words each week.

Zoë Marriott said...

Territrimble: What a great image! Good for you, and good luck.

Megha said...

OH, why creativity? Because I've been freewriting a lot these days - already 2000 words - as part of another freewriting challenge, but that's unfortunately not creative! But I am about 300 words into some sort of short rubbish story. (Am I eligible for the contest because I read this post yesterday?) Anyway good luck Zoe!

Actually talking about writing, on top of the 2000 words that I have already written I just finished a project for school - unfortunately non-fiction - that must've been another 2000 or more words. So even tho I haven't worked on one particular thing, I think I've done quite a lot of writing so far this month :)

Zoë Marriott said...

Megha: Gosh, you have been busy! Look, don't feel pressured - but if you DO want to join in, I'll be accepting comments on this post as eligible until the next check-in next Thursday. So if you want to give yourself a goal and take part, you can. If not, then just have a rest instead :)

A.J. Mullarky said...

Hi Zoe! I've written all of about ten lines since last week. This week will be better since it's revision period and writing will actually be an escape!

Zoë Marriott said...

Alex: InCreWriMa's only been on for what - three full days? Give yourself a break!

Ruby97 said...

I have a new idea for a novel - i continuosly come up with random ideas :) and i have outlined two chapters at the moment. I want to finish outlining the novel by the end of may, which is why this is great :)

Amanda said...

(Copied from my goodreads comment to eligible for prizes :) )

I'm actually working on something for this, but I forgot to post about it... it's the first time I've ever written anything other than for school, so I decided to just do a short story. My goal is 30 pages. I have about 1,500 words so far (2 1/2 pages). It's a post-apocalyptical zombie story :)

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