January 18

Writer’s Notes: January 18, 2015

This week was only slightly better for word count than last, but I’m getting there. One of the projects I’m working on is three separate serial stories for my monthly newsletters, and I did get a lot done on those, so that was good. My tally this week is as follows:

The Time Stone (TTS): 500 words

Meadowlark Pulse(MP): 1,033 words

Meadowlark After Dark(MAD): 1,152

Meadowlark Mayhem(MM): 679

Total words this week: 3,364

Still a far cry from the 10k per week that I’m working towards, but better than last week. Improvement is good!

The January installments for MP and MAD are done for the month, so I won’t be working on those again until February. So this week I’ll be finishing up the installment for MM this week, and then working on TTS, along with the other novel-length draft I have scheduled for this month and next, Donteneoux’s Dragon (DD). I might start the moth-themed horror short I have planned out too…we’ll see. Here’s hoping I can double this week’s word count. As you may have noticed, I much prefer working on more than one project at a time – even if I get stuck on one, I work on a different one, and generally get myself “unstuck” on the first just by bouncing back and forth. Don’t ask me why that works, it just does. I try not to argue with my brain about how it wants to work as long as we keep moving forward.

I have zero good excuses for the low count last week. The bad excuses include my birthday on Saturday (and thus a vacation day Friday for a new tattoo, which I was altogether too excited about to focus), and self-doubt with the TTS draft. However, I got some feedback on the start of that draft from my editor which was encouraging, and I also read a couple of blog posts that were just what I needed to hear, in general. If you’re a writer dealing with self-doubts/writerly angst at the moment, I’d highly recommend these two discussions by two very level-headed authors:

Being Nora Roberts by Russell Blake

Sky Gazing by Hugh Howey

No, I never thought about quitting – I’ve been there, done that, and always come back, so giving up writing is pointless for me. But I do still deal with the doldrums occasionally like everyone else (mostly about whether I’m good enough or not – or whether I ever will be). Normally it’s worse when sales are remarkably bad (funny how that works, eh?). Sales have turned around a bit though, which also helped my mood a bit.

As for bookkeeping, I got a late start this week and had a hard time staying focused on the spreadsheets vs. Quickbooks, so I didn’t get a whole lot done, but I did get some income entered, which is good. Every little bit helps, and next weekend will be more “normal”, so that should help. Due to my birthday Saturday, I decided to move my Marketing/Promo time to Monday this week (since it’s a holiday and I’m off from the day job). So I’ll work on that tomorrow. Mostly submissions for review, and blurb redos, I think. That’s the plan, anyways. I can do cover art in front of the TV, but I need more focus for blurb writing.


So…not a bad week, but not as good as I’d have liked either. Having all my blog posts done ahead of time was *awesome*. Right after this post goes up, I’ll be working on this week’s posts – writing & scheduling so they’re all done and out of the way for the week.

Here’s to…say, 6k words this week? That seems like a good leap toward my goal…
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January 11

Writer’s Notes: January 11, 2015

Given that daily updates here just aren’t really working for me (cuts into the writing time, and even more so now that I’m trying to get to bed earlier – yes, I know, laugh it up. I did say”trying”…), I’ve decided to change the direction and focus of this blog to something more manageable (and possibly more useful for other writers).

The plan at the moment is a weekly discussion of what I’ve been working on (vaguely) for the past week, not just as far as writing goes, but also in terms of the business end of things. Sort of a semi-transparent peek into what this writer does on a daily & weekly basis to write, publish and sell her work. It will serve as sort of a journal for me to keep track of everything, and perhaps it will provide encouragement or helpful information for others traveling similar paths.

All that said, let’s jump right in and look at last week’s progress, shall we? I’ve got two active projects at the moment, and made a little progress on each of them last week.

The Time Stone (children’s lit): 1628 words added

Meadowlark Pulse (romantic suspense): 542 words added (start)

Considering my goal is to write 2k words a (week)day this year, or 10k words per week however I need to arrange it to get it done, that was pretty pathetic. I’m trying to change up a lot of my routines right now though, and my mind has been rather chaotic, which isn’t good, but it is what it is. I’m getting a handle on that,  and have better plans and organization in place for this week, so that should help. I’d cross my fingers, but it’s hard to type that way…

One of the things that hung me up last week was blog posts. I’m used to writing them the night before they need to be posted, but as I mentioned above, I’m also trying to get to bed earlier (an hour and a half earlier, so quite a lot of “work time” cut out of my nights). So working on blog posts late at night just cuts out the writing time, and the writing is more important. Then, of course, I’d sit a the computer knowing I’d promised a post, but also knowing I was way behind on word count, and trying to figure out which to do/which to let go (yes, it seems like an easy decision, but…yeah. No.). As a result, I either did the blog post (Mon/Thurs), or I spent the time thinking I should be doing one or the other and not doing anything. You can see how well that worked…

So this week, new rule. All blog posts have to be written and scheduled before bed on Sunday night, or they just don’t get done. Period. No blog writing mid-week, because that time is already spoken for. That takes the decision out of it, and all I have to do each night is sit down and start writing. Problem solved, hopefully.

The other thing that hung me up, and I’m keeping this intentionally vague, is that I’m not terribly enamored with one of my projects. It’s not something I’ve done before, and I’m having a hard time with it, on several levels. Mostly just my own insecurities with regard to the focus of the work. I’m taking steps to deal with that, and I think things should go more smoothly this week. Here’s hoping.

As far as business-type stuff goes, I’ve set aside an hour and a half each weekend day for marketing/promotion and business stuff, respectively. Saturday mornings, I’m supposed to work on anything marketing/promotional related for 1.5 hours…and I spent this weekend’s time coming up with a new title for my next release, and making cover art for said title. That sort of thing I can do in the evenings in front of the TV though, so I think I need to refine my scope. Those Saturday hours should be spent submitting to review sites, scheduling memes and/or contests or checking out advertising opportunities. It’s only my second week though, so I expect to have my “to-do” list a bit more refined in the near future.

Sunday I spent my business time on bookkeeping. Specifically, catching up on last year’s sales and income reporting. Unlike a majority of the writers I know, I actually hate spreadsheets – I find them boring and tedious, so this is the sort of thing I put off all the time just because I don’t want to do it. Which means at the end of every year,   I’m inputting sales and payment data for the entire past year into Quickbooks so we can file our taxes. Highly inefficient.

This year, once I get the books caught up from last year, I plan on using those Sunday hours for…exactly that, among other things. One Sunday a month will be devoted just to bookkeeping, or more if needed. A really good, efficient change, to be sure (and I’ll be able to see if my promotional efforts on Saturdays are having any effect or not, so win-win).

And then Sunday afternoon (just before starting this post, actually), I started moving my active projects into Scrivener from the Writer’s Cafe program I’ve been using for writing. I’m still not absolutely sure I like Scrivener better, but it is more widely used, and has the ebook compile function that might save me some time on the back end, so I’m giving it a shot.

I also downloaded the writing I did last week from my Alphasmart Neo to the proper story files in Scrivener, and later this evening, I’ll type my scene notes for what I want to work on this coming week to files on the Neo so I’m all ready to write tomorrow evening after work.

Organization is the name of the game if I want to keep everything moving forward, and I do. I feel pretty good about the upcoming week, and I’m looking forward to seeing how things shake out with these new changes.

November 5

National Novel Writing Month Begins (uh, late)!

Yeah, I’m a little late starting NaNo this year. I got a tiny start on Sunday night, and then a little bit more Monday, but nothing to write home about (ahem).

Tuesday (today, actually – it’s just after midnight Weds, but since I haven’t gone to bed yet…) was a holiday for the day job, so I used the majority of my day to write. I’m starting the month with two serial drafts still in play as well, so I spent an hour or so getting this week’s scenes for those done so I can focus on getting caught up with the NaNo draft for the rest of the week.

Here’s the Tuesday word count:

TBA (serial novel): 623
UHW (serial novel): 649
TTS (NaNo novel): 2240

For a grand total of: 3512 words.

Not too shabby, considering I struggled to build up any kind of momentum at all on the NaNo draft – a side effect of all the planning I’ve been doing with that book. There are certain parts of it that really need to stay true to the series arc, not just the single book arc, so I kind of got bogged down when I started writing and right away on the very first page it wanted to go in a different direction. Because it would have affected not only this book, but the four others I have planned in the series, I had to fix it right then, or it would have meant major revisions later. And I hate revisions.

So, I fixed it, got back on track, started getting to know my characters, and finally the story started telling itself, which is always the best zone to be in.

Now if I can just keep up this pace all week, I might have a chance at catching up yet. We’ll see! Stay tuned…

September 2

Fall 2014 Writing Plans/Schedule

As you can see, time’s gotten away from me again, and I haven’t updated here like I should. Part of that is because I’ve just been grabbing writing time as I can, and I often forget to document the details when that happens – I just write and quit when I run out of time. When I’m writing late at night, I’m often just too tired by the time I’m done to do one more thing (like documenting).  But it really doesn’t take much time to jot down a few notes and word counts, so I would like to pick that back up again.

I am still writing though, of course (every weekday, and this weekend too), and this fall is going to be a busy one as far as finishing drafts go. I have four drafts currently in the works, and another couple planned. To that end, here’s the writing/publishing plan for this fall (subject to change, of course):

MacKenzie Saves the World (contemporary romance)  ** Done! **
Finish Draft: September 1
Tentative Release Date: Oct. 3rd

When She Cries (horror/suspense)
Finish Draft: Oct. 3
Tentative Release Date: Oct. 31st
The Bedrock Arrangement (erotic romance)
Finish Draft: Oct. 31
Tentative Release Date: Dec. 12th

Under His Wing (paranormal romance)
Finish Draft: Oct. 31st
Tentative Release Date: Dec. 19th

If I can meet that Oct. 3rd deadline for finishing up WSC, I’ll do another quick Death by Veggies story for Alex in October as well. Cooking with Kale sounds innocuous enough, but you know it won’t be, right? 😉

And then comes November, which is really what this whole accelerated schedule is all about. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and I have a special project planned for then. I’ll be writing the first draft of a new story for older children to be released by Black Wolf Print sometime next year. That entire draft will need to be completed by Nov. 30th, and then I’ll probably just work on something smaller in December.

So, assuming I can barrel through and get all these drafts finished in a timely manner (ie, one day before NaNo starts), the entire month of November will be blocked out for writing The Time Stone, the first in my new Stone Scavengers series. And that’s all I’ll be doing that month…no serials, no other drafts, just single-minded focus on that one draft.

That’s the plan for the next few months. By Christmas I should have five, maybe six drafts finished and four or five more books published. It’ll be fun, and a little freaky, and a lot chaotic. Let the games begin…

August 21

Writing Notes, August 20, 2014

Writing Session 1: MacKenzie Saves the World
Author/Genre: JD/sweet romance
Words written:  198
Total words:  42,026
Time Spent: 15 minutes

Notes: Aaand…scene cut. To cliffhanger. Sorry, my pretties. It had to be done… 😉

Writing Session 2: Under His Wing
Author/Genre: JD/contemp. paranormal romance
Words written:  198
Total words:  22,647
Time Spent: 15 minutes

Notes: This…is not going to end well…

Writing Session 3: Under His Wing
Author/Genre: JD/contemp. paranormal romance
Words written:  355
Total words:  23,002
Time Spent: 30 minutes

Notes: My readers are not going to be happy with me this week, I’m afraid. I think I smell something burning…

August 21

Writing Notes: August 19, 2014

Writing Session 1: MacKenzie Saves the World
Author/Genre: JD/sweet romance
Words written:  294
Total words:  41,502
Time Spent: 15 minutes

Notes: Good start to this scene, methinks. And I know where the rest of it is headed, if I can just get it all typed out. Dang slow fingers…

Writing Session 2: MacKenzie Saves the World
Author/Genre: JD/sweet romance
Words written:  326
Total words:  41,828
Time Spent: 30 minutes

Notes: Still not quite done, but that’s only because I need to find a good spot to end the scene. Just one more “black moment”, and then we’ll be in the home stretch. Finally! These guys have put me through the wringer…I’m ready to shove them into their happy ending and move on to something else! 😉

August 15

Writer’s Notes: August 14, 2014

Writing Session 1: Under His Wing
Author/Genre: JD/contemp. paranormal romance
Words written:  222
Total words:  22,449
Time Spent: 15 minutes

Notes: Uh-oh. I just hate it when nothing works like it was supposed to, leaving our heroine in mortal danger and her hero in a panic. This should be interesting…

Writing Session 2: When She Cries
Author/Genre: AW/suspense
Words written:  570
Total words:  26,798
Time Spent: 30 minutes

Notes: Now that’s a serious mind game right there. Will it be the start of Nicole’s ultimate undoing? Or did Patrick just cut his own throat, figuratively speaking? Either way, this is gettin’ kinda heavy…

Writing Session 3: The Bedrock Arrangement
Author/Genre: TM/erotic romance
Words written:  583
Total words: 14,805
Time Spent: 60 minutes

Notes: I can’t end this scene where it is, because…conversation. So I’ll have to finish it tomorrow. But it’s off to a really good start. I wish I could say the same about how it’s going to end… *sigh*

August 14

Writer’s Notes: August 13, 2014

Writing Session 1: MacKenzie Saves the World
Author/Genre: JD/sweet romance
Words written:  541
Total words:  41,206
Time Spent: 20 minutes

Notes: I wrote half of this yesterday, but didn’t have time to record it, so I’m lumping it all together for today. I’m getting along towards the end of this book (finally), and working hard not to rush the ending (though I totally still am). Can’t wait to see these two finally get together.

Writing Session 2: Under His Wing
Author/Genre: JD/contemp. paranormal romance
Words written:  341
Total words:  22,227
Time Spent: 30 minutes

Notes: A good start to the scene, anyways. I’m never sure if a scheme like this is actually going to work, so I’m interested to find out myself. Hmm…

I’ve been slacking on this again! Oops. A lot of it has been just being distracted and grabbing bits of time to write when I don’t necessarily have time to record those sessions here. But my schedule is evening out again (and of course I just jinxed myself by typing that), so hopefully I’ll be more regular. And I have some fun things to talk about here in the near future, including a new series I’ll be starting work on soon (complete with brand new writing methods). So…more to come…
August 4

Writing Notes: August 4, 2014

Writing Session 1: MacKenzie Saves the World
Author/Genre: JD/sweet romance
Words written:  776
Total words:  40,665
Time Spent: 30 minutes

Notes: Oh yeah. We’re moving again now, and things are starting to look up. There’s light at the end of this very angsty tunnel, finally! Woohoo! (it’s about time, dammit…)

August 2

Writer’s Notes: August 1, 2014

Writing Session 1: When She Cries
Author/Genre: AW/suspense
Words written:  394
Total words:  25,682
Time Spent: 15 minutes

Notes: Just when I think there’s no where else to go…the characters show me differently. This is really sick and twisted. And it’s gonna get even worse…

Writing Session 2: The Bedrock Arrangement
Author/Genre: TM/erotic romance
Words written:  567
Total words: 13,509
Time Spent: 30 minutes

Notes: I hate arguments. But there’s almost always an underlying reason that isn’t the thing that’s being argued about, which is doubly sad, if it never comes out. Communication is hard, and writing miscommunication just makes my own heart hurt. Damn it.