Tag Archives: word count

Books, Birthdays, and Word Counts

So Saturday was my birthday, and that means an outing of my choice with my family, cake, and way more food than our guests could eat. Most of my family came over, and while my beloved dog was beside himself with so many people over, we all seemed to have a good time. This also means… BOOKS! GLORIOUS BOOKS!

birthday booksI am pitifully excited about this, and the lit-related clothes and goodies I got too. Currently, I am reading Cold Fire, but I cannot wait to get through everything else. Of course, I cannot wait to color as well. I’m dying to color. Also, one of my friends, who is a fabulous artist (look her up on Deviant Art or Facebook at Fi-Di or Fiammetta De Innocentis) drew a picture of Hadley from The Earl of Brass and sent it to me on my birthday. I was beyond surprised and could not stop showing it off because I was thrilled to get more art of my characters.

Hadley by Fiammetta De Innocentis

Shockingly, through all of the festivities, I have been writing. This may not be shocking to others, but for me, I haven’t always been the most consistent author in terms of writing. One of the things I am trying to achieve this month is getting into a schedule and having some discipline. This week I also hit the 10,000 word mark for my writing goal, which means The Earl and the Artificer is now over 25,000 words, and it should be between 30,000 and 35,000 words by the end of the month.

nanowrimoSucceeding with Camp Nanowrimo has made me see that I am a goal-oriented person, and I really ought to use that to my advantage. I have decided to give myself a word count goal each month that I should be able to meet. Keep in mind that these are modest for a reason. When I don’t hit the goal, I tend to get discouraged and abandon the idea. If I set myself modest goals at first, I can build my confidence in the process and eventually stretch my goals out progressively. These are the goals I have decided to set for the rest of the year:

Jul 30,000 (15K) [484/day]
Aug 45,000 (15k) [484/day]
Sep 55,000 (10K) [334/day]
Oct 65,000 (10K) [323/day]
Nov 75,000 (10k) [334/day]
Dec 85,000 (10k) [323/day]

More than likely, I will probably exceed these goals each month (hopefully), but it gets hard during the semester when I have school work, textbooks to read, my graduate assistantship on top of my writing. Overall, these goals seem more than manageable. What I hope to do is finish The Earl and the Artificer by January 1st, and have it edited and ready to go by March. If I can get it out earlier than that, I will be thrilled, but I don’t want to push it too far yet. I’m hoping that with a steady-stream of inspiration with my reading material and encouragement from my fellow readers and writers, I will be able to push through and get it done.

I hope you are all having a good July, and I will check-in again soon. Until next time, Awkward Authoress out.

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Writing and Food Poisoning

I am one of those people who rarely ever gets the stomach virus. It’s been years since I’ve had to deal with it, and when I say years, I mean, at least ten because I think I was in middle school the last time I threw up. This past week I felt bloody awful.

In a few of my previous posts, I’ve mentioned that I’m participating in Camp Nanowrimo, which means for the month of July, I am trying to write 15,000 words, which would double what I have thus far of my manuscript. I was incredibly excited about the challenge of this, and within a few days, I made it a nightly ritual to write each night before bed, usually at least 500 words. I wanted to break away from being a feast or famine writer and write every day instead even if I didn’t really feel like it. It was going really well… until the 10th.

nanowrimoI made it through my day at work, and I didn’t feel that great. I felt dizzy, but sometimes my sinuses get clogged and I didn’t think much of it. Friday night, I felt horrible. Nauseous, dizzy, horrible headache, absolutely miserable. I sat staring at my computer with my outline beside me unable to do anything. Flipping tabs to my Camp Nanowrimo graph, I sighed. There goes the writing streak. I ended up shutting off my computer and going to bed at eleven.

The entire weekend I felt off. Just inexplicably sick without having any outward symptoms. I thought I was crazy. As I sat there pecking out as many words as I could before I burned out, I tried to figure out if the nausea was in my head or if I really felt sick. This continued for several days and probably reached its worst on Monday. Tuesday, the symptoms finally seemed to ease. I no longer felt like my head was going to blow off and every movement didn’t make me seal my lips against the threat of vomit. In the past I have had sinus infections that led to dizziness and nausea, so I figured that’s what it was and it would go away in a week or two. The same day, my mom calls and tells me that Shoprite called everyone who bought the frozen, prepared chicken we ate on Thursday because it had been contaminated with Salmonella.

Can I just say that food poisoning is miserable no matter how mild. I know some people become violently ill and can barely leave the bathroom, but this was like nothing I have felt in a long time. If you feel lousy, you probably do. I don’t know if other people sit there wondering if they really feel sick or if it’s all in their heads, but trust your instincts, you’re probably sick and it’s okay to take a step back and recuperate for a day or two instead of stressing over what you haven’t done. More than likely it isn’t getting done well when you’re sick as a dog anyway.

The entire time I wasn’t feeling well, I was so afraid I would stop writing and ditch my Camp Nanowrimo challenge. I ended up skipping a day (the 10th), but the next day, despite feeling crappy, I kept writing and recovered. Thus far, I am way ahead of my challenge goal for the day, and by the end of the month, I’ll have written closer to 20,000 words than the 15,000 I set out to write at the beginning of the month. Now, to get back to writing!

PS- Stay away from frozen prepared chicken. It doesn’t taste that good, and the food poisoning is not worth it.

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The Absent Awkward Authoress

The Awkward Authoress has not been posting nearly as often as she really should, and for that, she must apologize. I have unconsciously decided to take a little hiatus from blogging this month to throw myself wholly into my writing. For nearly all of May and most of June, I struggled through The Earl and the Artificer, adding only a hundred words or so here or there, taking several weeks to muddle through a chapter. In one of my recent posts, I mentioned that I was participating in Camp Nanowrimo and that my goal is 15,000 words by the end of July, which would bring my manuscript’s word count up to 30,000 words if I met my goal.

Well, it’s going swimmingly, and I am trying very hard to keep up the pace with my novel. The downside is that to keep productivity up, I have had to take a step back from blogging for a little while. In August, I hope to figure out how to balance writing and blogging better, but for now, I will be only posting once or twice a week until the end of the month. Most will probably be progress updates and info posts about my current WIP. I do feel guilty about neglecting my blog and its readers, yet I hope you will understand that my novel is more pressing. It will be my thesis project for my MFA, and I need to get as much of it done over the summer as possible because once the school year starts, I know my productivity will drop dramatically.

When you get the chance, I hope you will check the Progress and Projects page at the top of the website to see how The Earl and the Artificer is coming along. I should be updating it every few days.

Once again, I apologize for disappearing this month, but it’s for a good cause.

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Camp Nanowrimo

This year I have decided to participate in Camp Nanowrimo. If you have never heard of it, Nanowrimo is short for national novel writing month. Normally, Nanorwrimo takes place in the fall, and the goal is to finish 50,000 words in a month. Camp Nanowrimo differs in that you only set a goal of however many pages you want to write. In my case, it’s 15,000 words, which means to meets to meet that goal, I have to write about 500 words a day.

Typically, I don’t do Nanowrimo. When I first heard the premise of it a few years ago, I scoffed at it. My friend, who was taking a full load of university classes at the time, was on the brink of tears daily because she couldn’t juggle all of her coursework and writing about 1,667 words a day. It didn’t seem like it was worth the stress. In the spring, I was invited by my fellow writer friend Kate M. Colby to participate in the first session of Camp Nanowrimo. Still dubious about the idea, I joined and gave myself a goal of 15,000 words. Unfortunately, it was April, which is the big crunch before final papers and projects were due. I updated exactly once the entire month. It was demoralizing to say the least to watch the number you needed per day to meet your goal grow while you can only type out a hundred words or so a day while writing a twenty page essay. Too bad the paper didn’t count toward my Nanowrimo goal.

Once again, Kate invited me to be part of her cabin for July Nanowrimo. At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it again. I had been having writers block on and off with The Earl and the Artificer and wasn’t really getting anyway. My anxiety was rising because I need to turn it in to my professor/advisor at some point since it’s my thesis project. Did I really want to add stress by tacking on a daily word count? Hesitantly, I agreed. The worst I could do was not write and drag the cabin’s word count down (sorry, cabin mates).

I am so happy I did. In my last post (June in Review), I mentioned that one of my goals for July is to stop focusing on perfection and focus on writing. My perfectionist tendencies were holding me back and paralyzing my writing. With my Camp Nanowrimo writing, I know I need to write about 500 words per day to meet my goal. In the big scheme of things, 500 words isn’t that much and comes out to maybe half a page to a page, depending on whether the scene is dialogue-heavy. Thus far, I have written 2,035 words in the past 3 days, and while that isn’t much for some writers, it’s probably more than I have written for that book in two weeks.

Why does it work? I’m not a hundred percent sure. Part of it, I think, is that there are other writers in your cabin doing the same thing. You aren’t all going for the same goal, but you’re all writing. There’s a message board where you can post or ask for help or congratulate someone else on doing well with their goals. It’s a bit of synergy even if you aren’t close by. Everyone sets a goal that is specific to them, so there isn’t any peer pressure to write 60,000 words in a month. It’s relaxing, and because I don’t have any classes or pressing work, I can leisurely write and update my progress without worrying when I’m going to squeeze it in. One of the things I have noticed while working toward my Camp Nanowrimo goal is that I do my most productive writing from 11 PM to 1:30 AM. I think it’s easier to focus once everyone else (including the dogs) has gone to bed, and at that point, I’m a little tired and am not as uptight about my work. The next day, I do a little tinkering before I work again on my next session.

Are you participating in Camp Nanowrimo or any writing retreats this summer?


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A Sloppy Update

Become-a-writerFor hours I wracked my brain to figure out what I was going to write today and still came up with very little, so please excuse this meandering and somewhat aimless progress update.

Well, for the first time in a while, I have actually been writing pretty consistently. I wish I could tell you what has suddenly caused this change in productivity. Part of it I think it is shaking off the transition period from the end of the semester, but I think a lot of it is taking the pressure off myself. For a while, I was telling myself, “You will write 1,000 words or you are a terrible writer!” Well, that doesn’t accomplish anything and only makes you feel bad about yourself when you don’t reach that goal. Then, I tried not editing anything while writing. I ended up getting frustrated because there were scenes I was itching to fix and it made it very hard to go forward.

Now, I have been sticking to what I like to call the croissant dough method. It can also be called two steps forward and one step back. When making dough for croissants, you need to continually fold it and layer it with butter. By building up the dough and breaking it down, you make a richer product. What I do is reread what I wrote during my last writing session and tinker with it. I tend to build-up scenes when I do this sort of editing because I have a tendency to write before bed, which leads to missing words and skimmed scenes that need to be beefed up later. By doing this, I also become reacquainted with my work, which makes it much easier to move forward.

In terms of word count, I’ve told myself that I need to write daily, which I’ve done all week thus far. My goal is to write between 500 and 1,000 words each day, and for the majority of the week with the exception of two days, I have been able to do that. This actually surprised me because in the past I have not kept up with it when I set word count goals for myself. I will admit that it felt like it took forever to get to 10,000 words, but now that I have passed that milestone, the words seem to flow easier.

Right now, my biggest issue is trying to weave in the many threads that will make up the plot for the rest of the book, and because I’m not that far into the book, I feel like I am sitting in the middle of a yarn basket. Well, hopefully as I reach the middle of the book, these threads will weave and knot and eventually form a story. For now, I keep telling myself that I’m not even a quarter of the way into the narrative and can’t rush things.

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