Jumping back in: editing

This July, I’ve decided to do Camp NaNoWriMo. I set an hourly editing goal rather than a word count goal. Editing is my major focus, and I’m feeling a bit at sea.

I participated in April and wrote over 30,000 words on my WIP. Hooray! When I walked away from the story in April, I felt like I had made a significant dent. Toward the end of the month, I actually said, “I think I’ve written all I need to write.” Famous last words, right?

Turns out, drafting is a lot easier than editing.

When I draft, I’m able to fully immerse myself in the writing. I tell my inner editor to go away for a while, so I can concentrate. But when you lock out your inner editor and give yourself the freedom to write shitty first drafts, you, uh, write shitty first drafts.

I have a lot of good material to work with. Some scenes where I pleasantly surprised myself. But there are other places where I skimmed over major plot points because they were difficult to write, or I needed to think about them more.

Now I get to tease out those difficult places.

I’m excited to go back and really dig into a longer piece of writing. I’ve never attempted a work this large. And I’ve never attempted to edit a work that I care about this much.

The work is showing up, but it’s also the details.

This Week’s Thought

I wrote this on my sister site, SkirtsUpWriters.com, as part of a blog prompt about reflections on the week. Enjoy!

Skirts Up Writers

It occurred to me, in the middle of one of my more high-anxiety moments this week, that the days are going to keep coming. The future is always right there, waiting to be had. While this can seem a bright and beautiful thing for some, to me it can be terrifying. How will I deal with all of those pressures? How will I handle everything that everyone expects of me? How can I be better? 

View original post 173 more words

Resolutions: Not just for January anymore

It’s almost February, so how are you doing with your resolution? Have you lost all 50 pounds, gone to the gym every day, and read those 30 books on your list? Ok. I’m being a jerk for a reason: I really don’t like resolutions. 

Goals are great! I actually bought a new paper-based daily/weekly planner for that reason (more on the Passion Planner later). I love setting and achieving goals, but more importantly, they give me something to work toward. Without them, I feel like I am drifting. 

How do you know where you’re going without some sort of roadmap? It doesn’t matter if you ever really get to the destination, but you’ve got to start somewhere. 

So it’s almost February. Why not take stock of how you’ve come in the last month? Instead of totally scrapping the resolution/goal/roadmap, why not try to take a different turn at it? Instead of going to the gym every day, maybe you can make it to the gym twice a week? Instead of writing 1000 words a day, try writing for 15 minutes. Perhaps you can eat vegetarian dinners instead of trying to go all day without meat? And as always, celebrate your successes. Going to the gym 3 times in January is a great start! It’s three times more than I made it to a gym, certainly!

What resolutions or goals have you made, and are you planning on revising them?

NaNoWriMo 2015

It’s that time of year again, and I’ve once again made a slow start. If you don’t know, it’s National Novel Writing Month, and so for the next 30 days writers of all levels from all over the world will be racing to meet that 50,000 word goal. 

I have, as usual, started out with no plan, and I even missed the first day of writing, but I am determined to beat my 13,000 word story from last year. 

Who knows? Maybe it’ll even happen. The important thing is to write something for me every day. And ya know what? It’s November. Magical things can happen!

Routine and Security

Every house must have a foundation. If you’re going to build a house of happiness, one of the first steps is the lay down that foundation. We don’t have cement or bricks or rebar to set up in the morning, all we have is the ability to structure our time.

I denied the necessity of a morning routine for a long time, believing that I could wake up late, roll out of bed, and rush to work without giving myself time for me. Let’s be honest, there were a few years when my morning started before dawn most days, and the idea of getting up any earlier than 6:15 was insane. But now that I don’t have to be in at the buttcrack of dawn, I have a little more time to stretch my hypothetical and literal limbs.

So, about a year ago, I took a community ed writing course, and our teacher challenged us to sit down at the page every day and perform the ritual of morning pages: purge our brains for 3 pages without really thinking, first thing in the morning.

I was reluctant, as I am with all change. I didn’t think it would work or be worth my time. But, as I began showing up to the page more and more often, I found that I changed. My day was better, I felt lighter.

Around this same time, I began practicing meditation regularly. This was to combat my kaleidoscope of anxieties. It just seemed right to pair my morning pages and mindfulness meditation.

This pairing plus a little bit of yoga has helped me survive the past year. Of course, there are days when I don’t meditate or I don’t write because of time. But most mornings, I take a half-hour to write, then spend 5-15 minutes stretching or performing yoga asanas, and 10-20 minutes meditating. This foundation has helped me weather a wedding, the last winter (when I always get depressed) and several personal and professional changes.

I don’t expect my morning pages to have any deep insights. I don’t think my yoga will make me skinny. I’m not prepared to visit Nirvana in my meditations. I do have a quieter mind, though. My brain doesn’t spiral out of my grasp as often. And I feel happier.

What do you do to make yourself happier? What are your routines? Anything I can steal or add to my day?