Error: Out of headspace (or creative memory?)

October 27, 2014

We’ll return to your regularly unscheduled Nanowrimo spotlight tomorrow, but today I wanted to share a small epiphany about my writing process. As many of my friends and followers may know, I set myself creative goals for each month, and I often like to switch between different books, stories, or other projects I’m working on at the same time. My October Goals list was pretty ambitious, and I’ve been scrambling a little to get ready for Nanowrimo (both in the personal writing sense and as a Hamilton ML,) and also cross as many things off that list as I can.

But Saturday evening, as I was going over the list, and sitting in a Codex chat room, something odd happened. I picked one thing on the list which was a leftover from my September list, finishing the revision outline for “Won’t somebody Think of the Children”, decided that darnit I was going to make some progress on that before I went to bed. So I started to look for the folder where I’d put the outline in progress…

And something inside my brain complained! It wasn’t anything that I could put into words right away, but as I sat there at the laptop, trying to figure out what was wrong, I got a good guess of what the problem was. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working on developing plot bunnies for two different novel ideas I’m going to be tackling in November, as well as revising some of my short stories and going through a course on learning how to write good flash fiction. I think that at this point, trying to juggle three different novels, the two I’m going to be writing in about a week and the one that I was planning revisions for in September, is just too much for my brain to be holding and working with in the same timeframe.

I don’t want to force either “Never Found” or “Hypermappers” out of the creative side of my brain and then try to get back up to speed with them in a hurry, so the revision outline for “Children” is officially on hold until December at least. 😉

I’ve never really thought that much about how much story I can work with at a time, or run into the limit in quite this way before, but it makes some sense. In the Iron Druid books, the main character, Atticus, talks about building ‘headspaces’ that he can then use to perform Druidic bindings like taking many people across to another plane of existence at the same time. He builds up the headspaces by learning languages or memorizing great swathes of literature by productive people. His apprentice still has only one or two headspaces at this point in the series, so she’s more limited in what she can do.

So that’s about it. For now, I’m respecting my headspace limit and trying to minimize the creative stuff that I’m doing this week beyond prepping for Nano. Four days, four hours and counting!


Ready Set Write… just in time for the end?

August 25, 2014

Okay, it’s time for Ready Set Write again. RSWCoffee75I’ve only done this a few times, but apparently it’s time to wrap up for the summer already!

How I did on Last Week’s Goals

Exceeded them! I said I wanted to work through six critiques, and I finished off the entire stack, which I figure was at least eight. And I figured out a bunch of great stuff that will make my story better, once I actually figure out how much I’m ready to change with the next draft.

Summer Recap

Well, I think I’ve done pretty well. I went to two amazing writing workshops this summer, drafted four new short stories, finished two quick revision rounds for “TimeBubble Blues” and got started on some revision for ‘Gotta Have That Look.’

Favorite Line from my WIP

I’m going to pick another line that one of my critique partners from Young Gunns picked out as liking:

“I dunno, Jimmy,” Stephanie said. “I never thought you’d be one of those kids who chose to look like somebody we’ve all seen on the tabloid shows.”

The Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week

Trying to figure out how much I’m willing to change for this revision. I’ve got lots of great ideas, involving big changes to the plot and some of the characters. Not sure yet how they’ll all fit together, or if they all will.

Something I love about my WIP

The premise, with teenagers getting genetic therapy injections to look like anybody they want. 🙂

Okay, I guess that’s it for me. Click here if you want to join in, or check out other writers doing Ready Set Write!


Ready Set Write, my week 2.

August 18, 2014

Okay, it’s time for Ready Set Write again. Let’s go RSWCoffee75‘write’ to the headings…

How I did on Last Week’s Goals

I finished my draft! And – well, I broke ground on revising ‘Gotta Have That Look’ based on the feedback I got at the Young Gunns workshop earlier this summer. That’s not much, but it is ‘measurable progress.’ 🙂

My Goals for This Week

Work through six more ‘Gotta Have That Look’ completed critiques from Kansas.

Favorite Line from my WIP

From ‘Gotta Have That Look.’ This was a line Jean liked enough that he wants to make it the opening line of the story somehow:

“It’s always hard to recognize people after a long weekend,” Bryan said.

The Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week

Hmm, not sure what to say here. Making time to write? Getting myself excited about revision?

Something I love about my WIP

The secondary characters, who are Jimmy’s best friend and his new girlfriend Stephanie.

Okay, I guess that’s it for me. Click here if you want to join in, or check out other writers doing Ready Set Write!


I’ll give this a try – Ready Set Write!

August 11, 2014

Well, I spotted this blogging thing and decided to join in. Apparently calling it a ‘writing intensive’ is enough for everybody else doing it, though that phrase makes me ask ‘an intensive what?’ 😉 But they’ve got good headings of what to share, so here goes.

How I did on Last Week’s Goals

Well, I didn’t post any RSW goals last week, because I didn’t do it, and the goals I sent to Team Ambitious were for that two-week round, all about revision, and I didn’t really get anything done on them yet. But–I started a new story! And I did some work on the ‘How to Think Sideways’ course and worked on two story critiques, so that’s not nothing.

My Goals for This Week

Finish the draft of the xylophone story. Make some kind of measurable revision progress.

Favorite Line from my WIP

This is half a paragraph, but I can’t resist sharing it all:

“Petra was at the near end of the near bench, and at the far end of the other was Angelo, looking like he thought he was in charge–as always. He waved for Nicholas to come and join them, but Nicholas had a better authority to follow. Yes, even a cat was better at being in charge than Angelo.”

The Biggest Challenge I Faced This Week

Getting over the post-workshop crash from TNEO week in New Hampshire, especially since it was such a busy and stressful workshop–in good ways, but still I was tired when I got back home.

Something I love about my WIP

The idea I came up with during the A-Z challenge. This is the Xeroxxing Xylophone idea. I got some great help from Jeanne and others during the TNEO brainstorming session fleshing it out.

Okay, I guess that’s it for me. Click here if you want to join in, or check out other writers doing Ready Set Write!


NaNoEdMo Eve (again?)

February 28, 2014

Well, it’s the last day of February, so tomorrow will be March 1st, and NaNoEdMo is starting all over again. My approach to revision and editing has changed a lot in the last year, (mostly on account of Odyssey,) but I’m still looking forward to getting 50 hours worth of editing in over the month.

So far, my revision possibilities list is fairly brief:

  • The Angel’s Charlie. I started working on the Holly Lisle HTRYN program with this manuscript last March, and then never really got back to it. It’ll be nice to get back to that.
  • “Gotta have that look.” Hopefully I can get the revision of this to a place where I’m happy enough with it to submit it to Team Ambitious by mid-month. (It’ll need to be good, since they all saw a draft back in the summer.) Then maybe I can submit it in the spring, get it working for my Race Score.
  • Expand “Orpheus and the Cameraman” for the Abyss anthology. Since the anthology call is for novellas of at least 10k, and my current draft is just over four thousand words, (from a first draft of 2k,) that’ll be a lot of expansion and new words, but I think the premise has enough to support that, and it’ll be nice to get to write some new scenes while still technically editing for March.

I just finished the last of my modest goals for Feburary, dreaming up some story ideas that I’ll be tossing out when the A to Z challenge starts in April! Of course, I still have to figure out some of the trickiest letters in the alphabet, but there’s time for that.


IWSG: Writing without a long-term plan

January 8, 2014

Hi there! Since New Year’s Day fell on a Wednesday, the January meeting of the Insecure Writers Support Group got pushed back a week. Welcome everybody!

I’m actually feeling pretty secure about a lot of writing stuff right now. I got a story draft finished during the Christmas holidays, and I’ve been making some good progress on revising short stories. I’m even up to three Race Points!

However, after reviewing my progress on my 2013 creative goals, I’ve been procrastinating on picking my writing resolutions for the new year. I’ve just come from a great writing year, but some of the most amazing parts were things that I hadn’t planned or anticipated. Maybe the thing that’s tripping me up is that setting concrete goals seems to trivialize or minimize the value of that kind of serendipitous side-journey.

I’ll probably put some kind of 2014 goals down before long; as well as the crowd over at Stringing Words, a few of my Odyssey Team Ambitious friends have been sharing their lists. But right now I’ve set some targets for January and that’s as much looking forward as I’m ready to indulge in.

 


IWSG: Getting back to drafting

October 2, 2013

IWSGHey there! It’s time for the September 2013 edition of the Insecure Writers Support Group! First of all, I’m excited to report that I crossed almost everything off my September to-do list before I went to bed on Monday evening, including submitting a story! A revised version of “Tough Love’ has been entered for Writers of the Future!

But I’m still feeling like I haven’t been accomplishing as much as I’d like to in terms of writing and revising. I only got a little over 1000 new words written in September, finishing off one story and starting another.

I’m taking a break from the Team Ambitious critiquing this week and next. (I’m not the only one. Somebody decided that submitting to WOTF was an acceptable substitute for submitting a new story to be critiqued.) And I’ve resolved to get the first draft of ‘Steampunk Roswell 51’ finished by the morning of Canadian Thanskgiving. I want to do some serious revision on ‘Love is a Masterpiece’ or ‘Gotta Have that Look’ too.

If only I can avoid spending all my time for the next two weeks playing with my new Nexus 7 tablet. 😉


A change in the Calendar of Goal Tracking letter lineup.

September 21, 2013

Okay, I guess it’s nearly 21 months that I’ve been working on my ‘calendar of goal tracking’ productivity trick. 🙂 Over that time, I’ve added a few new letters, and one multiple-letter code, to record new activities that I’ve been time-slicing, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever completely redefined a letter, until now.

Ever since the ‘Team Ambitious’ critique program started up, I’ve been spending a lot of time working on critiques for my Odyssey friends, and learning a lot from them. However, I think I’ve noticed that I’ve been spending less time and effort on drafting and revising my own pieces because of this, and that really does need to change. One of the places to get that change started, I think, is on the calendar. Somewhere along the way, I told myself that working on somebody’s critique was enough to get me an ‘E’ for the day. That stops as of yesterday. E is only for editing my own stuff, just like W is only for doing my own writing, and so on.

But I wanted to keep tracking the Team Ambitious critiquing stuff, and I fussed over what letter to use. T is already in use for the Thinking Sideways course, and A is for my Art exercises, so I couldn’t use either of them, and trying to use them both together could be really confusing. C is for Cleaning, and so on.

But I’ve made a decision. O was originally for Outlining new story ideas, but I’ve never really used that much, (even though I have some outlining to do soon on the Steampunk Roswell/Area 51 idea!) As of yesterday, O stands for Odyssey stuff instead.

And hopefully that’ll mean a few more Ws on the calendar, and some E’s that actually mean my stories are closer to getting submitted!


IWSG: There’s always more goals to reach for

September 4, 2013

Hey there, welcome to the August 2013 meeting of the Insecure Writers Support Group! I’m still struggling with my insecurities about knowing when my stories are ready to submit, but rather than ramble on about that, I thought I’d share another source of insecurity; monthly to-do lists.

I’ve been coming up with to-do lists of creative goals for several years now, a habit I picked up over at Stringing Words. Almost always, because I’ve got an optimistic and competitive bent, I come up with a long list of around a dozen projects, and most of the time I leave several of them unfinished to roll over to the next month.

I’ve talked with Elizabeth about this, and she always tells me that’s a great spot to be in. “Aim high, shoot for the middle” is her usual catchphrase, and I try to take that advice to heart. But sometimes it’s hard for me not to look at my end of month progress reports and feel like a failure, or get this insane determination to push harder next time, even when I don’t have the energy to keep up that pace.

For August, I had ten goals listed. Five of them, I definitely accomplished, including one where I definitely went above and beyond the target. One more I feel very confident in marking as a win, even though there might be a technicality that a nay-sayer could argue. (That goal was to stay caught up on the Ad Astra slushpile, and two new stories came in just before midnight on August 31st.)

For one more item on the list, I pulled a late substitution, and instead of revising “Gotta Have that Look” to submit to critters, I did some superficial edits to “Love is a Masterpiece” and sent that in instead, because I wasn’t feeling confident on where I wanted to go with GHTL. Two more goals I made progress on, but definitely didn’t finish; fanvidding and my “How to Think Sideways” lessons. And the last one, submitting a manuscript to a paying market, I can’t even give myself a partial.

So I was looking at that list and giving myself something like a seven out of ten. Elizabeth and Rinelle both cheered me on when they did their own end-of-month updates, pointing out that I’d accomplished a lot, and I know I have. But it’s hard to feel that way somehow.


Odyssey prep catch-up

June 1, 2013

Well, I’ve been getting some things crossed off on my Odyssey to-do list, anyway. 🙂 I sent my estimated window of arrival at the College to Jeanne and RA Brad, and sent Jeanne a question about the story I want to get critiqued in the first week of the workshop. I got my hair cut this morning so I won’t be making a very shaggy first impression, I got the car checked out at a local dealer this week, and I postponed my dentist appointment this afternoon. I got my ‘favorite short story’ scanned earlier this week, though getting it printed legibly is proving a little difficult, as even when I turn the ‘picture contrast’ up the text is still very faint, like a pale gray on white. Hmmph.

Oh, and I’ve started installing the important security updates and virus definition updates for the laptops I’ll be taking with me. Even installed clamAV on the Xubuntu side of the Toshiba, so if they need me to show them the antivirus, I can show them the antivirus.

I’m still behind on my essays from the textbook, though, and I need to get started on summarizing the first few scenes of ‘The Storm Mirror’ into a synopsis so that the whole story is under 6000 words for reading. So I’ll stop rambling here and get back to work!


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