Writing Year: Week 1, January 1-7

It’s time to recap the first week of the 365k365day challenge! I don’t plan to do this every single week, but I will probably update periodically just so I can have some record of my progress (other than the word tracker).

The Word Count

The first few days I did very well. I wrote just above the goal of 1,000 words. Then, day six came around, and I was so focused on work stuff that I didn’t have any time to write. day seven, I was intending to catch up, but unfortunately I was short of the daily goal, let alone the catch-up goal. Luckily, I even get to count THIS post toward the word count, even if it’s not very eloquent. I still have plenty of time today to write, but the past two days my motivation dropped a lot. I hope I can get it back.

The Projects

So far I’ve mostly been working on the Sleeping Beauty novel I started a few years ago. I haven’t touched it in quite a while, but I have been thinking about it for a few months, so I used my new writing goal as a reason to get back to it … not that I should need one, but you know, you do what you have to. One day when I was at a somewhat boring part of the story, I wrote an outline for the rest of the novel; the next day, most of my word count came from a journaling session that I titled “I don’t feel like writing” or something along those lines. Journaling counts, but I usually like to with a pen and paper, and then I’d have to count the words manually.

For now I plan to continue with Sleeping Beauty. There are a few short stories that I have first drafts of so far, that I’m planning to work on and either publish on this blog or submit somewhere. I’m also thinking I will write a little more of my Helen of Troy novel, but I might still want to do a bit of research first–which is the original reason I set that novel aside after writing the first two chapters. If you want to see what I have so far, you could click on the “Helen” tab above.

I have many other story ideas noted, some of which I am very eager to start, and I have a few blog posts planned as well. Hopefully, as I get back in the habit of writing, I will be writing even more than my daily goal on a regular basis. I might even feel like a real writer again.

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Brief Update

Hello gentle readers. I have some almost-news that is not ready to be shared yet, and one or two thoughts for posts that I don’t feel like writing right now. Instead, just a short post…

 

Not too long ago I was looking through some of the comments left on older posts (yes, I read all your comments! I usually even try to respond to them!). The response to the two chapters of the Helen of Troy novel I was working on, although small, was quite positive. A few people expressed that they would like to read more. If anyone is wondering if I’m going to continue with that story, the answer is yes… eventually. It’s been put on hold for now. I will let you know when I start working on it again, but it will be quite a while before that happens.

 

A week or so ago, I did finally write a little in the novel that is my current project, a very altered version of Sleeping Beauty. The intention was to write every day, starting then, but of course I didn’t. I only wrote about a page, but I have got a better idea of how the story should move from here.

And last, I’m trying to put more effort toward getting my life to be closer to what I want. If that makes sense…

Forgive the disjointed post, I am a bit tired at the end of every Monday.

Remember That You’re A Writer

To recap: I have started a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, which, I have no doubt, is very different from every version you’ve ever heard, seen, or read. I wanted to finish writing my first draft by Tax Day and have it published as an ebook later this year.

I realized a few days ago: I’m doing it wrong.

I don’t mean that I don’t want to publish it as an ebook or have it done by this year. Here is what I mean –

I’ve been obsessing over my plans for the end product (i.e. something that does not yet exist) instead of focusing on the process of writing. Yes, while I’m actually putting words to the page I’m thinking about writing it, but the rest of the time I’m just thinking about publishing. And it’s great to have goals and plans for your work, because otherwise, what’s the point of writing at all? Right?

Wrong. The writing itself is the point for all born writers. We want to have our work published because we want others to read our work, but let’s be honest – we write without the promise of ever being published, even if we expect that one day we will.

I’m going back to the core and just writing the project. I’m not setting deadlines for finishing the whole book or publishing it. I am going to write, a page at a time, and make this story something I can be very proud to publish. I want there to be no question of my talent and effort when I send this thing out into the world. It’s not ready yet, and I may have been putting too much pressure on it by giving it a coming-out date too early. It will be better if I coax it out slowly. I’ll let the story unfold, see what emerges in the first draft, work hard on the first round of revisions, and THEN we’ll talk about publishing the damn thing.

In the meantime, I plan to start doing some research about self-publishing and ebooks, so that when I do start figuring out what to do with Sleeping Beauty, I’m not just launching myself blind into a vast and judgmental world.

Taking Stock

Just for good measure, I want to repost the links to writings published on the web. If you have not seen them yet, I recommend you go have a look. I’m not saying that it’s my best writing ever, but good enough that I’m proud of these pieces and want to share them with as many people as possible.

 

1. Heart Strings – A flash piece about what gets us through very hard times. Published on MicroHorror, link at

http://www.microhorror.com/microhorror/author/deva-jasheway/heart-strings/

 

2. September 2042 – Short story, somewhat environmentally themed, NOT intended to have a moral, but some might read it that way. It’s about the life of a person who is not directly affected by the terrible things happening around them, and how they deal with things. I’ve been told that I should continue the story, but I don’t think you’d need to try that hard to imagine what might happen next. Link at

http://www.fictionpress.com/s/2880644/1/September_2042

 

3. Essays originally completed for lit classes at Bennington, I submitted these to this website in December of 2009 and at long last, page views on How Now, Hecate? have earned me $2! The other, sadly, has not, because, while everyone knows the name of Shakespeare, nobody knows who Marguerite Yourcenar is. They should. She’s fantastic. I would suggest that everyone read her novel Memoirs of Hadrian. Link to essays at

http://www.studentpulse.com/authors/70/deva–jasheway

 

Thanks for reading! And as a quick update for those who are wondering: I am still way behind schedule on Sleeping Beauty and haven’t worked on anything else for months. I hope to fix that in the near future.

Sleeping Beauty is waking up!

I am very very happy to report that I’ve made some headway in my retelling of Sleeping Beauty and the story is really starting to take shape! I am still regretting all the writing I didn’t do in February, considering how much farther I would be now, but I guess it was just one of those things that had to happen in its own time. I have a much clearer picture of everything now. I’m aching to go back and add all the things a reader needs from exposition. I have not decided whether I will do that before my first full revision, or as part of the “first draft” writing.

 

I can share one idea with you now: I was going to have the entire book be told from Ric’s point of view, but I had what I deemed a brilliant thought that I would do the first part from Ric’s point of view, the second from Elli’s (whose name might change), and then the final part from several different POVs, depending on whose story is resolving. (To remind yourself who these characters are, see this post.)

I’d love to hear what you think, but of course ultimately I will write it the way I think it feels right.

 

On a side note, spring is fighting its way forward and I’m very excited to put away my winter clothing! Crossing my fingers for an extended stretch of mild weather before it starts to get hot and summerly.

Another Life #7

She is the Lady of the Deep, the precious sunken treasure of the Court of the Ocean. Her eyes are green eyes and fold you into their depths, set in a face with the luminescent, pale sheen of a pearl. Her hair flows to her waist, light kelp-hued brown, adorned with strings of tiny, colorful shells. She wears a beautifully draped robe of deep blues and purples, with green accents that match her eyes. Her voice floats from the waves, carrying the ocean’s song to appreciative ears.

 

Progress Update

Or, as I think describes it more accurately, lack-of-progress update.

My first week of Morning Pages did not really go that well. The very first morning after I had decided to do it, I forgot about it until sometime in the afternoon. The next day I did them, but the day after I had to go to work early and didn’t want to wake up 15 minutes earlier to have a chance to do Morning Pages. I’ve done them more than 50% of the time, but I’m still not doing them every day. It will take more getting used to, and perhaps a more regular work schedule, to do that. If I remember later in the day, it’s too late to do them. There is a reason you’re supposed to do this when you first wake up, before you do other things.

So far, when I have done the Morning Pages, they haven’t made me more productive that day. It probably takes a while to kick in.

In addition, I have not kept up with my February Challenge so far. I’m on page 5, while I should be on page 20 or so by now. I didn’t expect to stick to it the entire month, but I did think I’d be excited enough about the project to get a good start on the goals I had set. I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t…

I was thinking about imagery, and how I sometimes get feedback about needing more detail. I have to ask: if you know that a character is walking a path through the woods, is it so hard to envision someone walking through the woods without being told exactly what every inch of his environment looks like? Maybe this is a product of my upbringing, but if I’m reading about people in the woods, I don’t have any trouble picturing them. Perhaps my picture is not exactly the same as the author’s but the basics are there. Any important details should certainly be specifically related, but why should I spend time describing generic forest when the character’s thoughts as he walks seem more important to me? Besides, don’t you ever get tired of having everything described in great detail? I think it creates a dense and difficult tome, at times cumbersome to read.