Monday, 15 July 2013

InCreWriJul WEEK THREE: Check In

Hello, my lovely lovelies! Once more, Tuesday is upon us - and it's time for the third check in of International Creative Writing July.

My progress this week isn't much to write home about, sadly. I stuck to my one and a half hour writing sprints and my more leisurely typing up and revising sessions, and managed to produce 8,000 words during the week, which I was really pleased about. I had my normal Saturday off (and, incidentally, watched HANSEL AND GRETEL, which may be the worst film I've seen for years, blergh) but by Saturday evening I was starting to feel a bit... off. On Sunday I dragged myself out of bed feeling like death warmed over, did my usual chores, and took the dog for a walk, all shadowed by this weird fatigue and sort-of-queasiness that wasn't quite strong enough to make me run for the bathroom, but almost. It was really hot and humid here that day, but that didn't seem quite enough to explain it. Just laziness, I told myself. Get over it.

I fully intended to head up to my writing cave but instead - get this! - I ended up falling asleep in my chair downstairs like an old lady before eleven o'clock in the morning. When I woke up I forced myself to drink a mug of coffee, and then had a cool shower, hoping that would wake me up. It didn't. After staring at my notebook for twenty minutes I came up with a complete blank; the scene I needed to start on was already really complex and causing me trouble, and I just couldn't seem to get a grasp on it. How could I make this work? What on earth was wrong with me today?

I decided to try and loosen up some creative muscles by listening to soothing music while lying on my bed and doing deep breathing exercises. No one will be surprised to hear that I fell asleep again, this time for nearly two hours.

When I finally stumbled downstairs, feeling worse than ever, it dawned on me (since I'm so quick on the uptake and all) that I might actually be ill. At that point the realisation was a relief, since it meant I could at least give up on trying to work. Basically I just flopped around in my chair for the rest of the day groaning and feeling sorry for myself, since my brain was too squadgy to even let me enjoy reading or watching TV.

That means I started this week 2k short of my 10k per week goal - 30,000 words into the first draft of The Name of the Blade Book #3.

However! After going to bed early and sleeping like a rock all night I woke up this morning feeling 100% better, and decided to kick that difficult scene right in the pants. 'So what if I mess it up?' I asked myself. 'That's what drafting is for! I'll make the biggest mess of it I can! It can all be fixed later!'

And that's what I did. I actually managed to finish the darn thing, too. In revising, re-writing and typing my longhand notes up, I think I improved them a lot, but I also know this scene will need a bit more work when I finish the manuscript and come to edit it. That's fine - again, that is what drafting is about. Now that the tough part's done, I can move on to scenes that will hopefully be more fun for me to work on.

My check in this week, then, finds me at a smidge more than 32k in total on my manuscript, which is 2k less than I'd hoped for, but I'm still feeling pretty good about it. I've decided that as long as I can get to about 50k by the end of July I'll feel extremely good about InCreWriJul - it really is motivating!

What about everyone else? Who hit their target? Who missed it, or kicked it into next week? Is anyone changing their goals this week, and if so, why? Share it all in the comments, folks!

In the comments here, of course! Tell us all!


Q said...

As per my goal, I wrote every day (except Sunday) this week! Having to come back and check in is really motivating––I think having to admit failure is a very good stick, and the encouragement here is a good carrot.

Some days I didn't add much to length, but I wrote important conversations and learned some cool things about my characters and the way my story is going to go. I'm excited. Also, I figured out that a decision I made in a split second months ago is actually the perfect thing to have happen! You still get to take the credit if it's an accident, though, which means I must be brilliant. ;)

Essjay said...

I reached my goal of another 7k this week so my wip is a little over 24k now. Over the moon with this. Also, have started a little of my hand written project. I think it's this weather - it brings out the best in me! I agree with Q - knowing you're going to check in is a good motivator.

Glad you're feeling better.

Kate said...

My targets have changed kind of dramatically. The editing on my dissertation is going fine: at this stage it's less about adding content and more about moving everything around so information is revealed at the key moment and basically I think I need to sit down and make lots of charts about how the content relates to the framing device and now I understand why it took Mark Z Danielewski ten years to finish House of Leaves. Metafiction is *hard*.

I also said I'd write/rewrite the first third of my novel but as soon as I went back to it it turned out that the reason I skipped writing big chunks of it is that it fundamentally doesn't work in the shape it's in at the moment and now I have to go back and change things around so they lead more logically to stronger more defined second and third act.

I also have to prepare a presentation for a job interview, which has overtaken my novel in terms of urgency. Which is brilliant because I wasn't expecting to hear back from anyone for months.

So basically I've made some progress, not all of it is what I intended but I have to get through it to make my original goals possible.

Glad you're feeling better.

Zoë Marriott said...

Everyone: Ooops, I'm a bit behind with comments - this is yet another day when I'm scrambling around with my legs going in every direction at once, like a panicked cat. Thanks to all for your good wishes, and WELL DONE on so much great progress and evolution in your goals. V. proud of you guys :)

April C Rose said...

I really thought at first that I wasn't going to make any progress. First, I went camping for 4 of the days--which, with a 2yo isn't exactly all about rest and enjoying the scenery. Those days I barely had time to sit down, never mind do line edits. And once she was snug in the tent, it was too dark for me to work.

Then I got hit with a large boom of deflation, and I couldn't stop obsessing. In the past month, I was told some form of how I wrote the wrong book three times. The intention was all very uplifting and meant to be positive, but because I'm April, I obsess. Wait, what if I did write the wrong book? Finally, I use line edit time to blog about it yesterday and now I feel much better.

But now I'm back (and going camping again tomorrow) and making progress once more. I have about 80 pages left to edit and about 220 pages of edits left to input into my document. All-in-all, I'm pleased.

I'm not sure I'll reach my original goal of surpassing my goal of finishing my line edits, but even if I don't, I'll get my line edits done. :)

Zoë Marriott said...

April: Wow, sounds like a challenging week. You know, if three people told me that I'd written the wrong book, I would be obsessing too. Anyone would. That's just human. But stay strong! You can get there.

Phoenixgirl said...

After a promising start to the month, I got no writing done this week except one minor change of wording. For starters, I ended last week at a place where I was stuck on what one of the characters should say next, and then I went away for four days. I think I'm past the stuckness now, though, so I have hopes of making some actual progress in the coming week!

Zoë Marriott said...

Phoenix: Sometimes you just need a break to unstick yourself, and literally nothing else will work. It's all part of that process. Good luck with this week!

Rhia said...

Last week I set myself three targets:

a) Listen to progamme on iplayer which seems to have exactly the information I need to take the Big Hard Chapter further forward;

b) At least another 5k on the Big Hard Chapter;

c) Further research on the article; complete second draft of 5K.

Much to my amazement I've achieved all these: in fact I managed 7K on the Big Hard Chapter, taking mu total word count on this to 8K. It needs polishing and pruning, which is next week's target - and by the end of the month I intend that it should be complete and I'll be ready to move on to the final chapters.

I'm waiting for a response for an information request for the article, but most of my "And??" boxes are ticked, so that's nicely on target too.

THI arrived today: I've forced myself to not even open it yet. Tonight and tomorrow are going to be reading for sheer pleasure days.

Zoë Marriott said...

Rhia: Yay! I love it when a plan come together - well done on exceeding your own expectations. And I hope you enjoy TNI when you start it, too :)

Rebecca Lindsay said...

I didn't manage to write ANYTHING this week :(
I have been working so much overtime this week and as soon as I got home each day I just crashed on my sofa. Every time I picked up my notepad, my headache refused to let me do anything.
It has not been a good week :/

Zoë Marriott said...

Rebecca: Argh, sounds horrible. Poor Rebecca. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is just have a break and rest - that headache is hanging around for a reason, and it's probably to do with working so hard. Give yourself permission to relax for a day or two, then start again, all afresh. Don't let this get you down, OK?

Barker and Jones Staff said...

Everyone's doing so well! Zoe, I hope you feel better soon.

I'm on 21.5K of my hoped for 35. I'll admit, one of those days I was working on a side project, but it's all words.

Keep going, everyone!

Zoë Marriott said...

B&JStaff: I'm already much better, thanks. Congratulations on doing so well yourself! Keep it up :)

Rachel Balcombe said...

I just about hit my 1400 word target this week. I'm still not writing everyday, but most days I'm doing some form of research or worldbuilding instead. I've completed chapter 2 of the new version of my wip, I'm up to 5500 in total, so I'm pleased with my progress.

Today I intended to bump it up to 6000, but then I went into my mum's school to help the kids make paper and crisp packet bracelets, and when I got home at lunchtime I accidentally fell asleep for three hours! So no work there. :)

Zoë Marriott said...

Rachel: Well, I'm in no position to judge when it comes to dropping off unexpectedly! And it sounds like you had a really productive week, anyway. Well done!

Elyndra said...

My week wasn't so great. I managed to reach my goal the first two days, but then I caught some kind of stomach bug which kept me up several nights in a row and I just can't write when I don't get enough sleep. Very annoying. *grumbles at health*

I feel a bit better, so if all goes well, I'm going to try that 1k a day goal again this week.

Zoë Marriott said...

Elyndra: This does seem to have been a week for random bugs and feeling inexplicably awful/tired. Well done for the work you DID do, and remember, this week is a brand new opportunity. Go grab it!

Cherie Rosemin said...

This week has definitely been the best so far.

I've written every day this week, which is a massive success for me, and my attempts at humour were apparently amusing. Since I have a somewhat off-kilter sense of humour, I was a little worried, but everything is going swimmingly :)

girlinthelens said...

Oooops! Well I already fail because I totally forgot to check in last week. Sorry!!

I'm on track - a bit faster than planned, actually. Am at around 28,000 words, so should get to 30,000 by the end of the month in just a few days! Yay! Fingers crossed. Then hopefully I can surpass my 40,000 goal by the end of August.

Well done on your progress Zoe! Make sure you give yourself time to relax too and recuperate x

Zoë Marriott said...

Cherie: Yay! Well done!

Natasha: Congratulations on your progress too. I'm loads better now, honestly, but thanks :)

Isabel said...

I'm changing my goal for my essay, as I definitely didn't make as much progress as I'd hoped I would by now! I'll try to get 500 words by the end of the month. As for my plotting, I worked on it this week but things seemed to have started to make less sense than they did before so I'm going to have to take a few steps back and do some more brainstorming and thinking. So progress on that is slow but I guess that's just how it is sometimes!

Btw, I found The Night Itself on my doorstep yesterday! I'll be reading it next, loving the hot pink! :D

Zoë Marriott said...

Isabel: I think this is your brain's way of slamming the breaks on and telling you that there's something you've missed (which you've already worked out for yourself). The subconscious of a writer is a contrary thing! Hang in there: it all counts as work, even if your word count isn't shooting up.

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