have yourself a merry little writing session

Tis the season for hot chocolate, Christmas music, and writing sessions. The past two months have been quite intense as I juggled my day job and a hefty list of writing goals.

However, I am happy to report that I am right on track to finish my second draft this coming Friday! I don’t know about you, but I think the Christmas season kept the pep in my step! That, and a ton of coffee.

After that, my draft will be sent to a few trusted writing partners for critique! All in all, I’m feeling quite positive about the journey ahead. 2019 will be filled with writing pitches, query letters, and hopefully some MAGIC will happen.

I wish you and yours a very Happy Holiday Season! I’ll be back in the New Year with some awesome new blog posts (on a regular blog schedule because ya know…that’s one of my goals for the new year!) See you in 2019!

is an outline right for your novel?

There are so many different ways to be a writer. Each one of us is unique in our processes. Sometimes the things that you’ve been doing forever work well, and other times everything falls flat. Today I found myself pressured by my upcoming deadline. I have a self-made goal of finishing the first draft of my novel by July 15th. With that, comes a word count goal of 60,000 words. Normally, I attempt to not get bogged down by word count goals, but they exist and are necessary.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been making very little progress on my novel. While I love to say the phrase “progress is progress,” and move on with my life, it’s not going to work with my current goal. As of today, I have 42 days left to achieve my goal if I take weekends off. (I’m a firm believer in having days off to recharge.) That leaves me with a daily word count goal of approx. 670 words. Manageable? Yes. However, I need a plan of attack.

That brings me to my topic today: to outline or to not outline? I will admit that a rough outline of the first half of my novel already exists, but what lies ahead is mostly a mystery to me. For a lot of people, it’s nice to sit down to the page and just go with it.

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That wonderful feeling of unveiling points in your novel right along with the characters can be thrilling. However, sometimes we hit walls. I think with a lot of fantasy novels, it is important to do a certain amount of planning. Now I am faced with the question of whether or not an outline is right for me. For some writers it works really well and other writers despise them. I land somewhere in the middle of it all. I am not a fan of super detailed outlines.

I like general points, organized. If you keep it simple, it will work. If you don’t, it turns into an additional project. Something like this:

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method to my madness:

-The setting of my novel changes a lot. It’s good to keep track.

-Having 2-3 plot points helps me to keep the flow going when my mind wanders.

-I don’t always use the note section, but if I introduce a new character to the story or something happens that I absolutely must remember to go back to, I put it there.

So, there you have it. Starting tomorrow I will be working on the outline for the rest of my novel. Hopefully it will help!

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How do you feel about outlines? To outline? To not outline?

Thanks for joining me here today. Tweet me your thoughts @AWritersWay. Remember, you can join me here every Thursday for new posts!

Until next time,

Christine

dear February, I’m going to meet my writing goals

Yes. That’s how confident I am.

Why?

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Well, it’s been one year since I started my novel. After several years of working solely on poetry, this time last year brought a novel idea, one that has been so exciting for me. However, here’s the thing about my one year anniversary with my novel: I want to make MORE progress. As of today, my word count stands at 25,757 words. Granted, I did make some major cuts and revisions to the story over the summer.

I don’t like to get too caught up in word count, but it does exist. As writers I think we should always be aware of it, but not let it determine our happiness.

Last weekend I got a powerful burst of inspiration, which was followed by an amazing writing discussion last Thursday. The combination of the two has restored my levels of motivation that weren’t as high over these past few months. Since then, my characters have been swirling around my head, poking me at work, and greeting me every day with new ideas.

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Of course, I needed a plan. As a major fan of to-do lists and all related motivational factors, I knew that it would be essential to put one in motion for myself. It just so happens that one of my favorite weekly activities to do is Alexandra VanHorn’s #WritersPatch on Twitter. Before this Sunday’s edition, she shared a picture of her current motivational tool. I decided to follow suit. (Thanks again, Al!) It looks like this…

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As you can see, I have some major changes that I’d like to make to my novel. They are more additions than anything. When I first started writing my story, I was discovering the world with the other characters. To make the story better, it’s time to go back and strengthen those beginning chapters. I feel so positive about it. In my eyes, it’s always a good thing to follow your intuition.

I’ll be back next week to give you an update on how things are going. Until then, pour yourself a cup of coffee and make some February goals for yourself. We’re all in this together.

Cheers!

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Quotes & Poems

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“I do believe in an everyday sort of magic — the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we’re alone.” ― Charles de Lint

I stumbled upon this quote the other day, and truly felt connected to it. Despite all of the hectic madness going on in my life right now, I’ve been blessed with moments and people that remind me how great life is. It’s important to stay positive no matter what. There is a bit of magic in every day, and I’d much rather focus on that.

My inspiration has been mostly steady since my last post. I find myself scribbling down ideas for poems quite often. As far as completing poems, I have a couple drafts that I’m making progress on. The point is, I’m so happy to be writing again. Perhaps I will share something on here in the near future.

Until then, I’d like to share one of my favorite Robert Frost poems with you. It’s quite fitting for the picture I posted above. It’s called, “Birches.”

You can read the full poem here: Birches by Robert Frost

While I enjoy the whole poem, I’ll share my favorite part below.

 It’s when I’m weary of considerations, / And life is too much like a pathless wood / Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs / Broken across it, and one eye is weeping / From a twig’s having lashed across it open. / I’d like to get away from earth awhile / And then come back to it and begin over. / May no fate willfully misunderstand me / And half grant what I wish and snatch me away Not to return. / Earth’s the right place for love: / I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.

There’s so much truth within those lines. I think we’d all like to escape for some time when life’s beaten us down, but the truth is, there is beauty in the breakdown. There’s growth and many new adventures.

Until next time,

Christine