It’s so hard to believe that today marks the last day of June. It seems like just yesterday was the beginning of February, and I was making my mind up to start this blog. Later in the year, I hope to take a look back at my first year in blogging and discuss what I’ve learned (about blogging and myself as a blogger/writer). To tease it a bit for you, the most valuable nugget of wisdom I’ve taken away from it all is that I still have A LOT to learn.
To begin this week’s post, I have some updates for you all. I’m still editing the first draft of my first novel—a contemporary romance novel, for those of you who are new readers. Some days are an editing struggle. I thought for certain I’d love this part of the process, since I’m every bit the perfectionist. Not so the case, thus far.
The majority of my novel was written during the slapdash chaos that is 30-day November NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month); you can imagine there are many edits for me to make. There are some editing days that are not so bad. These are the days when I am making great progress, and I can actually see a coherent novel coming together. That progress further fuels my fire, and these are the editing days when I work the hardest. These are the days that make me look forward to finally holding a fabulous second draft in my hands (and inevitably marking that one up with edits too).
Some of my focus has been distracted from editing because my brain just will not put my newest book idea on hold. Book number three (book number two is still sitting at about 8,000 words in a file somewhere on my laptop) is my first attempt at historical romance. I did not plan it that way. I read a lot. I read a lot of romance. I like historical romance quit a lot, but I would not necessarily have chosen to tackle a historical romance novel this early in my writing game. For one, it’s going to require me to do a lot more world-building than just dropping my male and female main characters into a modern-day city. For another, it’s going to mean a lot of extra research, including development of a specific vernacular and linguistic cadence…I think? This is all new to me. Books one and two are both contemporary and based in the United States.
Still, the muse comes when the muse comes, and she brings with her what she brings. I am so excited to begin this third book, and I am planning this one out much more at the beginning than I did my first two novels. I already have 17 pages of a (mostly) complete outline.
The writing group I attend has been on hiatus for most of the month of June. It finally resumed yesterday for a pre-Camp NaNoWriMo planning session. I dropped in for a couple hours of planning and writing, and thank goodness this group is back in my life. You may have read my previous blog post about writing groups, or, if not, check it out here. Personally, I have found my writing group very helpful. Meeting up with my fellow writers—some of whom also write romance, some of whom write other genres—makes me more productive and is a welcome change from always writing on my couch at home. Our writing group is usually held at a local coffee shop, so I indulge in an excellent coffee (or, more likely, two coffees because you know me), and I usually am able to bang out at least 1,000 words—but often times more—in the couple of hours that I spend there. The plan is to meet each weekend during the month of July, and I hope to make it to most of these meet-ups.
I’ve been delving into a treasure trove of helpful, newly discovered Facebook writing groups, writing-centric podcasts, writing blogs, and author websites and newsletters. I’m learning a great deal about blogging, writing, marketing, and publishing (including why some authors have chosen to self-publish instead of publishing via the traditional route). There is so much great information out there for newbie writers, and, being that romance is one of the biggest writing genres out there, a healthy portion of it is romance-related.
With so much saturation of information, however, it can be very overwhelming to try to take it all in. Not only that, but it also requires some sifting through, since not all of the information is relevant to me in my current stage of writing. This information sifting is a huge time suck that I can’t afford to have eating into my writing schedule right now, so I’ve found that I really have to limit myself. As I have more time and headspace to accumulate the most helpful bits of knowledge, I hope to write a blog post including those resources. Stay tuned!
July Camp NaNoWriMo
Tomorrow begins another gloriously chaotic NaNoWriMo event—Camp NaNoWriMo in July. As with April’s Camp NaNoWriMo, participants set their own word count/page count/time spent goal for the 31-day event (this time there’s one extra day—WOOHOO!). Participants might spend this event starting a whole new novel, finishing a novel they’ve already started, or maybe editing a draft of a completed novel.
I was up to the last minute again trying to make a decision about what my project will be. My initial plans were to give myself some flexibility this month, in case I follow through with plans to participate in the big November event again. Then my “cabin” of fellow writers set their own writing goals at 50,000 words, so that pushed me to do the same. Go big or go home, folks!
So July seems like a good time to write the majority of book three (my traitor brain is celebrating!). I’m still going to force myself to find time to edit book one this month too. I have no idea how I’m going to do all of this, but I’m determined. Stay tuned for progress updates! Good luck to all of you writers participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this time around! Be sure to check back weekly for commiseration and words of encouragement from yours truly
Cold Hard Truth
It’s time to set some deadlines. No more lolly-gagging along, writing what I want, when I want. No way. Everything I’m hearing and reading about from successful veteran authors is that I need to set aside specific times each day for all things writing related.
I have a day job and I have a life outside of said day job and writing, so I really do need to set a specific schedule for my writing and, within that schedule, to set aside time for each specific writing project. That’s not to say I can never write outside of those time slots, and I’m sure each scheduled moment will not always go to plan (life happens!). The reality is that, if I’m truly going to succeed as a writer, I need to think of this as a second job.
Thanks for reading this week’s (lengthy) blog post! Check back next week for more insight into my struggles and accomplishments during Camp NaNoWriMo. Let me know in the comments, if there are any writing or NaNo-related topics you’re interested in hearing more about over the coming weeks!
Music inspiring my writing this week: “Never in My Wildest Dreams” by Dan Auerbach; “I Am the Moon” by The White Buffalo