Tag Archives: word count

In Defense of Small Word Counts

Let me let you in on a little secret. I don’t write a lot of words per day.

My daily word counts vary from 350 to 700 on a good day, but I almost never break 1,000 words unless I’m at the very end the book because the resolution is often easy for me to write since all the major strings have been tied.

On social media, it’s common for people to post their word counts after a writing sprint or just as a daily thing they do to hold themselves accountable. When I see people post that they wrote 4,000 words in a few hours, I feel sick. That’s more than I write in a week sometimes, most times. Seeing giant word counts is something that bothers me on and off. When my writing is flowing well, I don’t really care. When I’m struggling, all I see are other people’s numbers and I begin to feel inadequate.

When I’m writing consistently, it’s easy say to myself, “Why do you care? You’ve published 5 books. It isn’t like your words don’t add up to a full book.” And my books aren’t exactly tiny. Most are over 90,000 words. So what if it takes me 6-9 months to write it? I’d like to blame capitalism for that. Everything we do is measured in productivity and inevitably we tie our self-worth to the outcomes of our labor. How many words per day is merely a metric by which I measure my self-worth when things aren’t going well.

Someone might say, “Ditch the word count. Just write.” I tried that last year when my mental health was rather shitty, and it did the opposite of help because without something to push me, I wrote nothing for a few months. When writing is a form of self-care, you understand how this can cause a downward spiral. My small daily word count goal of 350 words is like saying I’m going to meditate for 15 minutes every day. It’s something I have to push myself to do because my brain, when it’s feeling low, resists doing it even though it’s good for me. A small, doable goal gives me the push I need to get it done.

Once I hit my 350, I can stop and go to bed. Most of the time I keep going. Days I don’t write because I just don’t have mental or physical spoons to do so, I make up for it the next day. I have a word count tracker that I use to chart my progress and hold myself accountable. Days I don’t write, I don’t put a zero in. Some may think it’s cheating, but zeroes made it harder to write when I was down. Now I just fill in 350 and make up for it the next day by writing 700 words or as I tell myself 2 350s.

We do what we must to trick ourselves into taking our medicine.

For years, I’ve dreaded things like NaNoWriMo where you write 50,000 words in a month or 1,667 words a day. Before I made friends with other writers, I thought you had to be a pro to accomplish such a massive daily word count or be on speed. It never seemed possible. Then I made friends with writers who seemed to do it without a lot of trouble and my confidence cracked. I couldn’t do it. I tried to do NaNo and gave up within the first week. Despite all the hype and support of other writers, I stared at that word count like it was Mt. Everest. Only the strongest and best could do it, and I couldn’t.

What I failed to notice is how many writers do NaNo and don’t publish or shop the book after. Plenty of books grow out of NaNo, but most don’t or they need to be heavily revised. That’s far from my usual process. Until last year, I had never had to totally rewrite a book. My books need editing, but most of it is fact-checking, copy edits, and cleaning up/beefing up descriptions. What I start, I finish, even if it takes the better part of a year.

I guess the point of all this is that you have to do what works for you. If writing a lot and then editing a lot is what comes naturally, then do it. If you write a little at a time, that’s fine too. There’s no one way to write even if there are plenty of books that try to teach you how to boost your productivity. At some point, you have to come to terms with what your process is and embrace it as best you can.

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May 2016 in Review

Last year, I decided that I would post my accomplishments for the month and what goals I hope to achieve in the following month.

Somehow I didn’t expect to be so productive in May, yet I feel like I’ve walked away with a lot of writing and ideas to use in June.

What I accomplished in May:

  1. Wrote 17,000 words on Dead Magic (hit 39,000 total)
  2. Wrote 8 blog posts
  3. Read 2 books
    1. Write. Publish. Repeat. by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant
    2. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
  4. Heavily researched for an Ingenious Mechanical Devices companion novella
  5. Began cover construction for Dead Magic
  6. Finished the audiobook for The Winter Garden to Audible’s specifications (should be out within the next week)

What I hope to achieve in June:

  1. Write at least 18,000 words of Dead Magic (for 57,000 total words)
  2. Write at least 6 blog posts
  3. Read at least 3 books
  4. Begin outlining and writing one of the IMD companion novellas
  5. Write the back blurb for Dead Magic
  6. Do a preliminary edit of chapters 1-10 of Dead Magic

I can’t believe I wrote 17k words this month. March and April were so slow in terms of my word count, but it seems that once the story hits the 1/3 mark, it just starts to roll. Laying the foundation is the slowest part, followed by the end when I need to make sure that I’ve tied everything up. I’m hoping that June will continue the trend of the productivity.

I’m so excited to be able to share some random excerpts of Dead Magic. Writing it has been a blast so far with lots of dark things, some gore, a bit of magic, and having to do a lot of research on trauma and PTSD (sorry, Immanuel). My artist boyfriend/cover designer/Photoshop guru will soon be working on the cover for Dead Magic as soon as I finish the back blurb and convince him to do it instead of working on his new design shop, Regal Rook designs. I’m sure I’ll be posting more on that in the future as well.

The one major thing that was sacrificed this month was my reading. I meant to finish Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater in May, but I was busy researching and writing and it ended up sitting on the sidelines. It’s a really good series despite how long it’s taking me to get through it.

On Tuesday in my post Plot Bunnies and Projects, I wrote about the companion novellas I’m planning to write over the summer. I haven’t really begun planning them out yet, but I hope to have at least one of them written (probably Judith Elliott’s first). I’m super stoked to work on them because I really love the ideas I have rolling around, so hopefully, they’ll come out as good on paper as they are in my head. I will be updating you as I write.

At the top of the page is a little newsletter sign-up thing. If you want to get exclusive excerpts, ARCs, and messages about new sales/deals, sign-up. I don’t send them out often, so you won’t need to worry about me blowing up your inbox.

So what are you working on this month?

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April 2016 in Review

spring

Last year, I decided that I would post my accomplishments for the month and what goals I hope to achieve in the following month.

Spring has arrived, and while April didn’t look like it would turn out to be a productive month at first due to health issues, it seems to have turned around nicely.

What I accomplished in April:

  1. Read 3 books and 1 short story:
    1. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
    2. Brothers and Keepers by John Edgar Wideman
    3. “The 13th Hex” by Jordan L. Hawk
    4. Writing Short Stories to Promote Your Novels by Rayne Hall
  2. Wrote 12,000 words in Dead Magic (IMD #4)
  3. Finished proofing the audiobook for The Winter Garden
  4. Found a narrator for The Earl and the Artificer audiobook
  5. Finished all of my classwork for grad school

What I hope to achieve in May:

  1. Read 3 books
  2. Write 8 blog posts
  3. Write 15,000 words
  4. Finish the syllabus for the class I’m teaching in the fall
  5. Make covers for the translations of The Earl of Brass
  6. Participate in the #writewemay challenge
  7. Brainstorm a few short stories to write that are set in the Ingenious Mechanical Devices universe

I really thought April was going to be an absolute disaster. Beginning a month with a sinus infection that renders you barely functional isn’t a sign of good things to come, but I pulled it together after a few days where I wrote nothing at all.

That last sentence was hard to admit. In my bullet journal (my slightly artsy to-do list/organizer), I write down how much I’ve written every day. Seeing all those zeroes in a row during my sinus infection made me want to vomit. Originally, I had hoped to write 15,000 words in April, but 12,000 is respectable and what matters is that Dead Magic is cruising along nicely. I promise that later in the month I’ll post another excerpt from the novel. It’s one of my favorites to write thus far, and I think that’s because I love the characters.

After reading Rayne Hall’s book on writing short stories to promote your novels, I really want to write a few short stories revolving around the side-characters in the Ingenious Mechanical Devices series. There will probably be one with James and Eliza and maybe one of Eilian’s adventures in the Far East before he met Hadley.

Besides my author stuff, I will also be teaching two freshman English classes at the university next semester, so I need to create the syllabus for those classes. I’m excited and terrified to be teaching as an adjunct professor. Worst case scenario, I could totally ruin them and make them even worse writers than when they came in, but I’m hoping to teach them the fundamentals of writing and at least instill in them that writing is necessary for life and can be a very cathartic tool.

Well, onward to May, and I hope it’s a good one for you!

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October in Review

Starting in January, I decided it would be a good idea to look back at each month and see what I have accomplished in my writing and marketing as well as reflect upon what needs to be improved in the future.

This month has been kind of crazy for me. Steph, my best friend who lives in the UK, came to stay with us (and is still here for a few more days), so a lot of October was spent getting her room ready, stressing, and finally enjoying her company. I’ve been having a great time and venturing to places even I haven’t gone. The downside is, this is all at the expense of my writing, but for two weeks with my best friend, I think I can make that sacrifice.

What I accomplished:

  1. Wrote 10,000 words of The Earl and the Artificer (87,000 words total)
  2. Edited the first two “acts” of The Earl and the Artificer, which is about 155 pages out of 221
  3. Read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
  4. Finished or nearly finished a lot of my grad assistant work (department newsletter and such)
  5. Have enjoyed my time with Steph thus far and have thrown social anxiety to the wind and just had fun
  6. Made a Goodreads page for The Earl and the Artificer

Goals for November:

  1. Actually finish The Earl and the Artificer
  2. Finish editing The Earl and the Artificer and send it off to the betas
  3. Get ahead of my schoolwork to avoid end of semester stress/meltdown
  4. Read 2-3 books
  5. Finish book cover
  6. Maybe begin thinking about book 4

Yes, this is slightly late, but I’ve been having fun with my best friend and would rather be doing that than blogging. October has been a weird month for me. With Steph here, I’m much more social and am out and about, but even before that, October felt like an in-between month. I felt like I was in a holding pattern. I wanted to do things, but I didn’t know if I had the time or energy to really get involved. Writing fell to the wayside for prepping and doing schoolwork, and I’m okay with that. Usually I would be beating myself up over it, and I was at first, but I see that I needed to step away a bit.

With my writing, I’m nearly done with The Earl and the Artificer. I only have about three or so more chapters to write, and I am so ready to be done and move on to serious editing. More than anything, I want to start my prep for book four. At first, I had delusions of NaNoWriMo for November, but it’s not happening. There’s no way I can manage that right now. Plus, I need to finish book three before I throw any more projects on my plate. December may turn out to be my replacement pseudo-NaNoWriMo. I don’t need hoards of writers peer pressuring me with their daily stats to make me write; I just need time and energy. Both of which are in short supply at the moment.

So let’s discuss November. November will be my catch-up month. I plan on finishing everything this month. I need to finish writing The Earl and the Artificer, get the cover together, start doing my major editing, and hopefully send it out to my beta readers. Get shit done is basically the plan. Originally, I had hoped to publish book three in December, but it’s looking more and more like it will be January. That’s okay, but December would have been better. Thus far, I have been doing edits to tighten it up, but a few more rounds will be needed before I think about publishing it, and that takes time.

For my readers, please stay tuned for more info. I hope to have a pre-order link up in the not-so-distant future.

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September in Review

Starting in January, I decided it would be a good idea to look back at each month and see what I have accomplished in my writing and marketing as well as reflect upon what needs to be improved in the future.

September means… GRAD SCHOOL IS BACK IN SESSION, which really means added stress, learning how to juggle again, and feeling anxious on the days when I have class. Ultimately, I was less productive than I hoped, but I still got quite a bit of writing done. I really shouldn’t complain now that I look back at the stats.

What I did accomplish:

  1. Wrote 17,000 words of The Earl and the Artificer (77,000 words total)
  2. Read Pantomime by Laura Lam, Afflicted by Brandon Shire, Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker, and The Cogsmith’s Daughter by Kate M. Colby
  3. Wrote every day and kept my creative reservoirs filled for the most part
  4. Survived my first month of the new semester without freaking out too much
  5. Gave away The Earl of Brass for free in record numbers

Goals for October:

  1. Finish writing The Earl and the Artificer (about 13,000-15,000 words)
  2. Begin editing The Earl and the Artificer
  3. Read 2-3 books
  4. Keep on top of my school work without too much stress
  5. Have fun while my best friend from England is staying with us (really looking forward to this one)
  6. Get the ball rolling on the cover for The Earl and the Artificer
  7. Begin outlining book 4

So I didn’t write 20,000 words, but I did write 17,000 and that’s pretty damn good for a month where I have class. At first, I was kicking myself for lower productivity level, beating myself up for not cranking out 3,000 more words this month to meet my far goal. This kind of thinking is rather self-destructive and completely counter-productive. I should be really happy that I wrote 17k in a month because usually during the school year I’m lucky if I write 5,000 words.

I still can’t believe I’m this far into The Earl and the Artificer. It’ll be out soon. SOON. I still can’t really fathom that; it doesn’t seem real. I began writing it (half-heartedly) in February and really got into it in June. So from July to September, I’ve written 62,000 words. For some writers that wouldn’t be much, but I have never written this much this fast before, and I’m pretty proud of what I’ve been able to do this year. This month I’ll be moving into the production aspects of The Earl and the Artificer with editing and cover design. It’s insane how fast it’s coming.

What shocked me this month was how much I read. I really didn’t expect to get through four books. I fluctuate between reading voraciously and not picking up a book for a week, but I enjoyed the mix of books. A dash of romance, some info on writing, and a bit of fantasy.

So the most exciting thing happening next month is that my best friend is coming from the UK to stay with us! We speak all the time on messenger, but we’ve never met. I’m hoping we’ll have time to hang out, see the sights, and enjoy our time together while she’s here. I’m super stoked. I don’t socialize very much outside of the university, so I’m hoping we can have a lot of fun. Also, I’ll finally have someone to go to the amusement park with as long as the weather holds.

Well, that’s it for now. Let’s see what October brings.

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Fear, Self-Doubt, and an Update

This post would have been written earlier, but I woke up with the worst headache I have had in a while. The kind of migraine that makes your face hot, your eyes sore, and your neck stiff. Oh well.

Anyway, this post isn’t about migraines, it’s about The Earl and the Artificer and writing. I’m hitting that “I’m nearly done, so now I’m getting really self-conscious about my story because I don’t know if it’s good or not.” Part of the problem I think comes from the fact that I really liked The Winter Garden, and this book is nothing like it. There isn’t that darkness or intimacy that I enjoyed writing in that book, and because I know that will be in book four, I feel myself being pulled toward that book while forcing myself to finish this one.

The odd thing is, I like this book. I like the softer tone, the different focus on intimacy, the role Hadley plays in this book, and the new character, Nadir Talbot. I keep reminding myself that I feel this way every time I hit the 2/3 mark of my manuscript. Typically, I’m a fairly confident person, so feeling down about my work is a bit soul-sucking. This book has done this to me more than either of the others, and I have to think I’m doing something right. I’m trying some new things, expanding the cast of characters and delving into history. Probably when I begin editing it, I will feel better about it, especially after I tighten things up and smooth over some early draft hiccups.

Thus far, I am at 68,000 words (not including what I’ll write tonight). Something else that’s bothering me is that I wrote so much in August that September feels meager. I know, grad school started, so I need to consider that I have new sources of stress and that I’m adjusting to the new schedule and balancing act. I’m set to hit my minimum monthly goal of 10,000 words in a few days, and I should finish in October. That scares me. I’m nearly done. Oh my god, I will be DONE soon. I’ll finish it and it will be out in the world before I know it.

Writing makes you vulnerable, and at the moment, that terrifies me. After two times, you would think I would be over it, but you’re laying yourself out for judgment each time you publish, letting the reader get an intimate glimpse of your inner world. Sometimes it’s just harder than others.

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August in Review

Starting in January, I decided it would be a good idea to look back at each month and see what I have accomplished in my writing and marketing as well as reflect upon what needs to be improved in the future.

Much like July, August has been a rather productive month. It seems so long ago that it just started, and I am absolutely amazed that it’s already over. This month I have tried to get as much done as possible before graduate school started again for me in September. Usually when school starts, my productivity tanks for a while as I adjust, but I’m hopeful that September won’t be too bad.

What I did accomplish:

  1. Published my series companion short story “An Oxford Holiday” on Amazon
  2. Wrote 25,000 words of The Earl and the Artificer (60,000 words total)
  3. Met my “far” word count goal for the month
  4. Read For Love or Money by Susan Kaye Quinn and 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love
  5. Released the audiobook for The Earl of Brass
  6. Proofed the first 15 minute clip for the audiobook of The Winter Garden
  7. Put The Earl of Brass ebook on sale for 99 cents for a limited time.

Goals for September:

  1. Write at least 10,000 words of The Earl and the Artificer (but optimally more like 15k to 20k)
  2. Read 2-3 books
  3. Manage my grad school stress
  4. Continue to write every day
  5. Balance life, writing, and fun
  6. Refill my creative reservoirs
  7. Possibly work on another bonus short story (if an idea takes shape)

So I think I have finally found something that works when it comes to keeping my productivity up and at a good pace. Seriously, the word count tracking spreadsheet has done wonders. I’m now about 60,000 words into The Earl and the Artificer, which blows my mind because I’m over 2/3 through it! A few months ago, that was unimaginable. Now, the end is in sight in a few months (probably October). During this time, I also finished and released the audiobook of The Earl of Brass and the ebook of “An Oxford Holiday” on Amazon. Now that I know I can work on a short story and a novel without sacrificing either, I hope to release more companion short stories in the future. The best case scenario is that I might be able to release a Halloween themed one in October, but I can make no promises there, especially with the semester starting. I also got a glimpse of the audiobook for The Winter Garden, and it is perfect! I am so looking forward to hearing more, and while I would like to say that I hope my narrator will send me some this month, I won’t push it. He has a life outside of narrating.

This has been an odd month. I’m feeling very productive in terms of what I have produced, but as of the last few days, I’m feeling incredibly drained. Last week, I had a workshop to go to, which is mandatory for my degree. I enjoyed it and it was incredibly interesting (about teaching writing), but it kind of drained me. It’s hard for me to be social and outgoing while surrounded by new people. It’s done now, just in time for the semester to start. Yay… Prepare to see me crawl back into my shell for about a month while I continually scream internally until I’ve adjusted to dealing with people again. Current status: exhausted and in denial that school is starting again in a few days. Today, I will be reading and chilling with my dogs in hopes of recovering some of that creative mojo since it’s edging toward burn-out level.

Kate

This month also brought a new addition to our family: Miss Kate (named by my dad). Kate is a border weenie, meaning she is dachshund and border collie. If you think she looks oddly familiar, it’s because we have 2 other border collie mixes (Edgar and Finny) who are also black and white and look a lot like her. The boys are still ignoring her, but they seem to be getting along. Don’t let her cute face and squeaky toy voice fool you, she has plenty of attitude. She already hip-checked Edgar and took a bone from his mouth.

For September, my hope is that I can keep writing every day, even if it’s only a few hundred words. 500 a day for 30 days still equates to 15,000 words. I only have two more semesters of grad school left until I have my MFA in creative writing, so I just need to power through and get it done. Who knows, maybe I’ll even be able to start outlining book four of the Ingenious Mechanical Devices. I’d love to begin writing that while editing The Earl and the Artificer.

One last thing of note: The Earl of Brass is on sale for 99 cents for a limited time on Kindle. You can pick it up here.

eob 99c promo

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Audiobooks and Updates

I thought I would just check-in this week. Unfortunately, I have not thought out a coherent post for the end of this week, but I’m thinking that early next week there will be a post about being inspired by authors and how what inspires you as a reader inspires you as a writer.audiobook eob 2

So, the major highlight of my week is that The Earl of Brass is now available in audiobook! My narrator was fabulous to work with, and he will be narrating The Winter Garden and hopefully every Ingenious Mechanical Devices book after this. If you’d like to check it out, click here.

Half the reason I’m not writing much on my blog is that I am in the thick of writing book 3, The Earl and the Artificer, and hope to get as much done as possible before the semester begins. Currently, I am about 39,600 words into it, and I hope to complete it by the end of the year but hopefully sooner. According to my word count tracking spreadsheet, I’m 31% done with my word count goal of the month (15k), which is shocking to me considering it’s only August 7th (and I haven’t written yet today). The last scene I worked on hit a little too close to home and gave me a literal headache after working on. It still amazes me how much emotion is tied to creation, especially when a scene is so personal and fraught with emotional tension. I just hope I did it justice and that it will come through on the page. Luckily, the next scene involves a lot of action, so that should raise my moral a little.

I’m also nearly done with my companion short story “An Oxford Holiday”. All I need is the final scene and my cover for the ebook. Next week I should be able to post the blurb for it. It has been the magically expanding short story, going from 5k words to 6k to 7k as the target word count. It’s been a lot of fun to write, and it gives you a taste of what Adam and Immanuel will be getting into in the yet untitled book four.

As a final bit of news that isn’t very informative, I picked up these beauties on Amazon as a way to reward myself for going above and beyond my word count goal for July.laura lamI have been trying to get my hands on fantasy books that involve diversity not only in race but sexuality and gender. These two came highly recommended but were rather hard to get my hands on since the author is currently in the process of switching publishers. I cannot wait to read them.

If you would like daily updates about the progress of my third book, I will be live-tweeting my word counts and progress daily on Twitter with the hashtag #Augwritingchallenge and you can find me at @AuthorKaraJ.

So what writing or reading plans do you have for August?

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July in Review

Starting in January, I decided it would be a good idea to look back at each month and see what I have accomplished in my writing and marketing as well as reflect upon what needs to be improved in the future.

July was an oddly productive month. I’m still trying to wrap my head around how this happened, but I think a good part of it is that I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, which forced me to be disciplined about my writing routine, and that I made sure to replenish my writing mojo by feeding my creativity with outings and good books.

What I did accomplish:

  1. Wrote 20,000 words of The Earl and the Artificer (The Ingenious Mechanical Devices #3), which equates to about 5 chapters
  2. Met my Camp NaNoWriMo word count goal + 5,000 words
  3. Read Cold Magic (The Spiritwalker Trilogy, #1) by Kate Elliott and Indie Author Survival Guide by Susan Kaye Quinn
  4. Finished proofing the audiobook for The Earl of Brass (IMD #1)
  5. Got the ball rolling on the audiobook for The Winter Garden (IMD #2)
  6. Fixed/”finalized” blurb for The Earl and the Artificer
  7. Balanced writing, fun, and life better

Goals for August:

  1. Write 15,000 words of The Earl and the Artificer
  2. Finish and send “An Oxford Holiday” to my beta readers
  3. Read 2-3 books
  4. Build up my daily word count and work on a plan for when grad school classes start again
  5. Continue to strive to write instead of striving for perfection

For once, I went above and beyond with my goals this month. Usually I find myself groaning when I reread my goals from the previous month because I’ve missed the mark on around half of them. In July, I exceeded my word count goal by 5,000 words, finished my audiobook (which should be available in a week or two), and was still able to read on the side. The Earl and the Artificer is finally cruising along and coming into its own (FINALLY). Seriously, this book was dragging so badly for a while, and it was all me. I needed to get my ducks in a row and really figure out where the story was going. By digging in and plowing through to meet my word count, there was no time to “get stuck” or make excuses as to why I wasn’t writing. Instead of taking a day or two to figure things I out, I consulted the color-coded outline I made and kept on going. One of the things that I think helped a lot was downloading one of these word count tracking spreadsheets. All you do is add the amount of words you wrote that day, and it takes it out of the your monthly or yearly goals. It’s a hundred times better than anything I could have made.

The downside to being so productive with book 3 is that I totally put “An Oxford Holiday” to the side. I’m still about 80% through it, but I need to take a day or two and wrap it before I give it a quick edit and send it off to the beta readers. It will be done by the end of August, but obviously the larger project takes precedence. I also need to convince my cover artist to make me a simplified cover for “An Oxford Holiday”.

This month I turned twenty-four, and I’m incredibly amazed by what I’ve done in the past year. Last year around this time, I had just published my first book and had no idea what I was doing. Now, I feel much more confident in my abilities, and I have two books out and four poems published in different literary magazines. Hopefully by the time I’m twenty-five, I’ll have at least three books out and a few short stories. It still amazes me how far I’ve come in a short space of time and how much I’ve learned. During the month, I hope to read Susan Kaye Quinn’s For Love or Money to add to my knowledge of author entrepreneurship.

While I’m looking forward to August and what I will hopefully accomplish, I know I have lost certain things to my goals. The main thing is cutting back on blog posts, but I’m pretty okay with that. People seem to be responding to my update posts as well as they did my other ones.

To wrap up, I have two posts to make note of:

I’m running a Goodreads giveaway of 2 paperbacks of The Earl of Brass and I did a guest post for the lovely Kate M. Colby about creating realistic characters.


If you would like to know when I’m running promos or have new releases coming up, please consider signing up for my newsletter. I promise, no spam.

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Word Counts, “Winning”, and Giveaways

nanowrimo

According to the Camp Nanowrimo website, I “won” last night, which means I completed my goal of writing 15,000 words in a month. At 11:30 last night when I reached my goal, I was beyond thrilled. I literally doubled the length of my manuscript in less than a month. I know for some writers 15,000 words is a small word count total for a month, but for me, it had taken nearly four months to reach 15,000 words the first time (my classwork and lack of mojo are what I blame for this weird writing slump). The writing slump and lack of creative productivity drove me crazy, and when I started Camp Nanowrimo, I was expecting to once again ditch my goals like I did in April.

What surprised me about this experience was how seeing the bar grow and my daily word count goal be met day after day made it that much easier to write. Before this month, I tended to be a feast or famine writer. I would sit down at the keyboard and either write half a chapter or write nothing at all. During July, I found myself writing each night without fail at about the same time. I think this consistency is what led to my “success” with this experiment. They say it takes about two weeks to a month to form a habit, and I can say that by about the third week, my brain seemed to automatically engage around 10 PM to tell me, “Okay, let’s get this writing show on the road.” It happened whether I was tired or wide-awake, and from 10 PM to midnight (sometimes later if the words were flowing), I would type away. To start, I would edit what I wrote the previous night, but after one or two passes, I would get cracking. This seemed to work because by doing some minor editing/adding, I became reacquainted with my work and satisfied my need to edit at the same time. Next month, I hope to hit 45,000 words (aka write 15,000 words).

earl of brassWhy is there a random picture of a cover of The Earl of Brass you may ask? Because I am doing a giveaway of two paperbacks on Goodreads. You can find it here.

May the odds be in your favor. If you’re willing, I hope you will share my Goodreads giveaway with any friends you think may be interested.

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