Monday, May 31, 2010

Three Day Weekend ... Bust

Whenever I think about a long weekend, all I can think is all the writing I'll get done. I envision writing from the time the sun comes up, until I force myself to finally go to bed in the wee hours of the night, producing large amounts of brilliant works that will set the world on fire and garner me fame and fortune.

BUT, I have a family. The kids are grown, but still very much involved in our lives (or is it vice-versa?? LOL!). The hubby actually wants to spend time together, go figure. So in reality, my weekends often revolve around family, as it should be. I have been able to carve out an hour each weekend day, even though I'd given myself permission to have one day off.

This past weekend, though, I completely fell off my 'write at least 675 words or an hour a day' bandwagon and didn't write anything but emails on Saturday. I do have an excuse, if you're interested ... pain. My body has decided that my female parts are not welcome anymore and they are desperate to get rid of them. Finally I resorted to Vicodin, which made me feel like I was in a boat, even when I was walking. Evil stuff, that.

So, Sunday rolls around. I get up at the butt-crack of dawn, because the body says so and will not let me sleep anymore. I stumble out to the kitchen to coffee up and zombie walk to my office and turn on the computer. Nobody is awake and wants to play, even in cyber-land. I've often told myself that I can't write at home, too distracting. (There's that "can't" word again! D*amn it!) With nothing else to do, literally, I decide to put in my earphones and see if I can dash off a couple of words on my WIP or at least figure out what my characters next move will be.

Probably took longer than an hour, I really wasn't paying attention, but exceeded my goal for Sunday, writing 902 words. Today I wrote 762, so at the beginning of the week, I'm ahead by 314 words, if you're counting. Whoohoo!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Painful Journey to Discovery - Part Deux

(continued from previous blog) For someone who has always had the next book just begging to be written, I was all but hyperventilating with panic. Then a good friend of mine (thanks APD!) said to just describe the bar. Not really write a scene or anything, just write it down in detail. That did it. As soon as I imagined what the bar looked like, the first scene popped fully-formed into my head.

Since that day a month ago, April 28th to be exact, I’ve written at least one hour every day. My original goal was 625 words (2.5 pages) a day 6 days a week, and felt that was pretty ambiguous considering I thought I wrote about 1 page per hour. That would give me approximately a chapter a week, so 90,000k book in about 4 months. The first few days, sitting at my favorite writing spot, I wrote blind, not knowing much about my characters. And wrote. And wrote. Exceeding my original goal almost every day that first week. Any research needed is done at night, when I type the pages into the laptop. The story grew organically and it became clear that I don’t need to know where I’m going.

To challenge myself, the original goal was bumped up to 675wds/day, 6 days/week for a weekly goal of 4,050 wds. I’ve keep my head down, writing that 1 hour a day, for a month today. If I need to catch up, I have that 7th day to write. I didn’t recalculate the 90k/4mo projection, giving myself a little wiggle room, in case something happens to knock me off my path. Life happens. I don’t berate myself for not making my daily goal, because it’s not the end of the world.

So far, I’ve exceeded the weekly goal, by several thousand words – remember that OCD – because I’ve written *something* every day, even on my “day off”. I feel like a writer. I act like a writer – see my website at – AND I’m writing.

So my advice to writers: Know Your Process. If you don’t know it, try different ways of writing until you feel comfortable and can WRITE. Don’t put yourself in a box by saying ‘I can’t ____’. Susan Lute kept telling me that she’s a contemporary romance writer (she’s published in it, that must be what she is!) and she can’t write paranormal, even though she loves reading them. Until she sat down one day and did a writing exercise by putting two of her favorite characters into a different setting. A paranormal setting, it turned out. And an Apocalyptic paranormal romance was born.

I'm at 18,000+ words and counting. Are you writing … every day? What’s your goal?

A Painful Journey to Discovery - Part One

As a newbie writer years ago, I took every workshop and attended every writer’s meeting with a fervor reserved for the newly converted.

I wrote more books as time went by, and attended more conferences and workshops, and I became convinced that my process of flying by the seat of my pants to write a book was making me a slow writer. So, with an obsession that borders on … well, OCD, I poured over Carolyn Green’s Plot Doctor notebook, learned everything I could glean out of it, attended Debra Dixons’ Goal, Motivation and Conflict (actually attended this workshop twice - years apart - because sometimes my brain is really that dense), filled out worksheets and tried to pound the information into my brain. Then I found First Draft in 30 Days. Perfect way to write my books quickly, I thought. More worksheets to fill out, with more plot to figure out in front of the story. I was in OCD heaven.

And don’t get me started on the 3-Act Structure or 6-Act Structure, etc., I will explode. Really. It won't be pretty.

Only to write slower and slower, have many moments of self-doubt and many, many times of calling or emailing friends for support and just plain whining.

It took several years and I’ve made a lot of mistakes. One of those was the thought that I needed to plot to be a successful writer. NOT TRUE. Several well-known and prolific writers (Allison Brennen comes to mind immediately) do not plot. The secret to their success – IMHO – is that they write, every day or nearly every day. They sit down and put their time in, consistently.

Earlier this year, after finally deciding that I was done effing around with a book I’ve written and re-written and polished for a couple of years now, it was time to pick a new project. Usually when I’m done with one book, another has already been knocking at my brain, trying to get in. Not this time. I had nothing. It was a scary – petrifying, really – few weeks.

There are files in my drawer full of ideas, and not-fully-formed book possibilities, so I pulled them out. Only one excited me to any degree, an idea about a woman who owned a bar, a safe place where the paranormal community would gather called The Gathering Place ... a supernatural Cheers, if you will. I knew she was special, and that she did something else on the side, like a bounty hunter or private investigator. That’s it. Nothing else.

Not even her name. Plot – what plot?

To be continued .....

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Writer's Log - The Beginning

Welcome to The Writer's Log Blog. So, this is my first foray into blogging, and as usual, I'm jumping in with both feet.

Anybody who knows me will say that I'm rarely at a loss for words, and my writing bears that out, but having a subject to blog about completely escaped me until today. What can I say that is unique and pertinent and relevant? Well, how about MY journey? That would be unique!

So, here it is, my Writer's Log Blog. Follow me as I journey toward publication ... and beyond!

Darla Luke