The Writer's Desk

Writing, publishing & marketing notes from Jamie DeBree & her alter egos

Writer’s Log: July 24 – 28, 2017

Weekly accountability. It’s a good thing for people like yours truly who are prone to severe procrastination and work best on tight deadlines. So, I’m going to try to update this blog once weekly again starting…today, and hopefully next week I’ll have word counts to share as well. I’m sort of transitioning between writing programs at the moment, and I was too lazy to add up the meager count for this week.

For the last few weeks I’ve been getting up half an hour earlier than I used to, just to give myself enough time to wake up and have half an hour to write in the mornings before work. And while it’s kind of been a bumpy start, it is working for the most part. As it turns out, I write better and faster even half asleep in the morning than I do late at night. A sad truth, since I much prefer being up late at night than getting up early in the morning.

In any case, half-hour in the morning and another half-to-hour at night means I’m getting more writing done overall…on the days that all goes well. Which is generally three out of five days, because I’m either lazy, distracted, or unorganized (some days, all three). But the important thing is, I’m getting my serial chapters done early every week, and most weeks my prompt stories for the BSB site are getting done ahead of time as well. Which is far less stressful than doing any of those things the night they need to be posted. I just need to get with the program on the other two days (Tuesday I can’t write in the mornings due to an adjusted work schedule, so really, just Mondays). Baby steps.

I’ve been thinking a *lot* about craft lately, and how to specifically give my stories that “thing” they’re missing that makes a story really stick with the reader after it’s done. All about character depth and descriptive settings and backstory and keeping track of those peskily illusive timelines…it’s a lot to keep track of.

But I’m learning, and trying, and playing with descriptive techniques, and resigning myself to the fact that until I get these things so ingrained in my head and writing habits that I just “do” them, I’m going to have to revise and rework drafts. The part of writing I hate the most, but it must be done.

So, while I haven’t published anything in a couple of years, I think I’ve been studying the craft of writing enough to hopefully make my next published work quite a bit better. And while I’d like to sell a bunch of books and make some extra spending money, that’s not actually the main catalyst for me. I want to be a good storyteller. I want people who read my books to get lost in them, and want more.

I want to create stories that are addictive, that keep readers turning pages, and that incite them to either leave reviews or just recommend my books to other people, without being prodded or asked to. Call it ego – that’s really what it is, but that’s what I want.

And I guess what I needed to decide over these last few years was, how much work am I willing to put in to get to that point? The answer is, more than I thought. Thank goodness, because writing is just something I do, and if I decided working at it wasn’t worth the effort, I’d just be writing the same books over and over again for the rest of my life. Which sounds boring.

So…that’s where I’m at. I’m finishing a non-layered, needs a lot of work draft because I stupidly decided to serialize again (it gives me good, solid deadlines to do that, but seriously? Yeah. Last one.). But after I’m done with the serial draft, I’ll set that aside for “layering”, and get started on a book I’ve actually been loosely plotting out with the requisite layers already worked in, and I’m quite excited to see how it’s going to go. I’m sure that someday, I’ll be able to do all of this layering and description, etc without being so thoughtful about it, but until it becomes second nature, more deliberate writing is what I need to focus on.

I’m impatient. I want to be good *yesterday*. I don’t want to have to put in so much time just “learning”. Alas, such is life. I have the choice to either work at improving, or stay the same (or quit writing, which really isn’t a choice – I always fail at that one). I don’t want to stay the same so…uncomfortable and time-consuming improvement it is.

I think I’m going to need a lot more tea. A few bottles of wine too.


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