Tati’s Weekly Checkup – 10.11.10

The Good:

  • Last week was very busy work-wise, but I had a good trip there and back and the meetings went very well and were quite productive. I even did a presentation in an auditorium in front of about 40 or so folks, and I managed to not freak out, be informative and make people laugh at the same time. Yay!
  • The weather last week was beauti-onderful. I wish it could be like last week all year long.

The Bad:

Somehow, all comments on my blog that were added last week on Thursday/Friday have disappeared! If you left a comment recently and it is missing, please note that I did not delete it – somehow they all got wiped. 🙁

The Funny:

We took a family outing this weekend to see the UniverSOUL Circus performance here in Chicago. It was quite entertaining – I think my husband and I even enjoyed it more than the kids did. But anyways, there was one act in particular that really impressed my 6-year-old. At one point, he saw some performers doing this routine:

… and he asked me if I could do that, too? (I told him I probably could, with enough practice … what do you think? Am I multi-talented? 😉 )

The Cool:

I signed up as a participant  for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year! I expect to start a new novel, title TBD, in November along with thousands of other writers. The goal is to get 50,000 words of a new novel written. I have an idea of what I’m going to write, but it is still pretty vague at the moment. I’ll share more information as I learn of it. In the meantime, my NaNoWriMo profile page can be found at http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/609413.

The Work In Progress:

I’m about a quarter of the way through revising/editing WAY OUT OF CONTROL. I hope to get through at least 50% of it by the end of this week, preferably 75%.  My progress has been a little on the slow side, but steady.

How was your week?

NaNoWriMo is Over!

December’s here (boy did it arrive fast) and thus November has ended and so has National Novel Writing Month. Here’s how it went for me:

Average writing speed: 600 words per hour
Average hours spent each day: 1 hour
Goal: 50,000 words written
Actual Words Written: 39,700 words and ~14,000 words edited
Result: 1 Novella rough draft completed and editing begun

** Some challenges I faced in NaNoWriMo **

  • Not revising what I write. I can see that resisting the urge to self-edit will be like kicking a nail-biting habit.
  • Writing the same amount of words everyday. My time spent writing was very inconsistent. There were days that went by where I wrote 0 words towards the target story, and days where I wrote 6,000 words. I noticed though that I was a lot more productive on weekdays that I took off work and weekends where I didn’t work before than I was trying to write in the evenings after work. I already suspected it, but my job is taking a lot of my juice it seems.
  • Getting in the mood. Trying to write romance while in a bad mood is like trying to paint a wall while blindfolded. You can slap something down to cover the blank slate but don’t expect it to be anywhere near your best work in creating romantic contract. In fact it may actually suck.

** Some benefits I obtained through NaNoWriMo **

  • Faster Drafts. Mastered the art of drafting out a full page in 30 minutes or less! By the second half of the month, I was sometimes able to spit out a full page in 15 minutes, which had before now been non-fiction speed only for me – never for fiction writing. I feel like I’ve grown some wings!
  • Finding my voice. Turning down my logic and allowing my muse to freely speak, my writing turned out more raw and natural on the first try than usual. This was a great exercise on finding and developing my writing voice.
  • I Got a Prize! I now have a new manuscript ready to be edited, polished and submitted, and a head-start on another one! Okay, so that’s not really a prize but just the product of my efforts, but it feels like one.

So although I didn’t actually reach my target number of words written, I still feel like I’ve won. I also feel that I would have achieved my goal and then some had this not been SUCH a super-busy. I’m proud of what I managed to accomplish with the time and energy I had. And just because National Novel Writing Month is over doesn’t mean that I have to stop setting my writing goals high. Who knows – just maybe I’ll reach 50k words this month.

Last Week of NaNoWriMo

This is it, the last week of NaNoWriMo! By no means has it been easy, but it has been fun and enlightening. We’re supposed to have around 40,000 words written by now, with just 10k more to go to hit our target of 50k.

Although I am only at around 30,000 words written, I’m feeling pretty good because out of those 30k I now have a full rough (and I mean ROUGH) draft of a new novella. I plan to put the other 20,000 or so words I have left to meet my goal towards another story. That’s bending the rules a bit I know, but hey in my mind, 50k written is 50k written, and I consider it a bonus if I get more than one story out of it!

Gotta go – errands to run, children to attend to and more writing to do!

How Tatiana Got Her Groove Back on NaNoWriMo Day 11

There’s this piece of advice that is constantly given to aspiring writers, that goes something like “Make yourself write every day”. Or “Just keep writing” they say, and that there’s no such thing as a writer’s block or needing to be in a creative mood to write.

Well, I beg to differ.

For a while there, I seriously lost my mojo. I’ve been dragging, cranky and sleepy. Basically just burned out, and needed a mental break from everything. My daily word count has been seriously slacking. I took some time off from my side gigs and relaxed with my family, had a date night with the husband, caught up on some much needed housework and personal tasks that needed attending. Basically, I allowed myself to rejuvinate for a bit.

But after DAYS of 0 words written or too few words written to bother to track, I finally got my groove back yesterday. And with yesterday being a work holiday, I managed to get almost 5,000 words written yesterday. Not just 5,000 crappy words either like the few sad ones that I did force myself to squeeze out earlier this week while I was in my slump, but good stuff! Well as good as an initial rough draft can get, anyways. The point is, I made a note to myself to stop crying in front of a blank screen. I’m more productive if I actually give myself a chance to relax every once in a while and then get back to work.

So it’s 3:40 am, and I’m finally going to call it a night. A long, tiring night, but a good one.

Finally Friday and Day 5

At last it’s Friday, and I’m so happy I could cry. It has been a long, daunting week of non-stop work and missing my family.

What is interesting to me though is the fact that some people look forward to the opposite: getting away from their family. I’m not talking about your typical I-need-a-break-to-spend-some-me-time kind of getting away, though. That I can relate to. But the people I’ve been meeting with this week all have to travel to do their jobs, easily around 75% of the time. When I casually asked some of them how do they handle family life when they’re always on the go, some of them said that being away from home actually makes it easier for them to deal with family life, because if they had to be at home with their spouse and children every day they’d go crazy. One even went so far as to say that if it wasn’t for the fact that he was mostly only home on the weekends, he and his wife would probably be divorced by now, since spending more than 2 or 3 days together straight is painful for both of them.

I think that is so sad.

But my spouse is also my best friend, I adore my children and I love my house. To me there is no place like home and I am so glad that tonight I get to return to it. I also look forward to not having to get up and get dressed, put on makeup, make sure my hair looks luxurious and drive to an office every morning before starting work like I did this week – since that’s usually when I get most of my productive writing time done. These past 5 days of doing NaNoWriMo during a week when I ONLY had free time to write at night after long, 12 and 13 hour work days were really painful, but I did manage to get a total of 3,246 words written. That’s about half of what I’d hoped to have written by now, but I still have the rest of this weekend to try to pick up the pace.

NaNoWriMo Day 3

Day 3 was a painful one. I returned to my hotel room mentally and physically drained at 9:30 last night. I did manage to write one page of 302 words before I lost consciousness.

I hope Day 4 will be much more productive. We shall see, eh?

END GOAL: 50,000 words
GRAND TOTAL SO FAR: 1,603 words
TIME LEFT: 28 days