Let the Chain Be Unbroken: A Tuesday Post of Accountability

Ali: Today’s our first joint accountability post.  I’ve been doing well with my calendar chain strategy.  One week of X after X on my calendar and no gaps.  When I started, I was nervous.  I’ve been on a long slacker stint and I was going to have to get back into a groove that I’d been out of for a while.  Luckily, the beauty of the chain is that it’s not a question of quantity, but consistency. 

Each day, if I write (or revise, or transcribe) I give myself an X.  Some days, I think about skipping.  One skipped day isn’t the end of the world, after all.  Then, I remind myself that I just need to do a little.  I tell myself, “Don’t worry about it, just do a paragraph and you’re good.”   One paragraph?  That’s easy enough.  So, I sit down to write one paragraph.  It never ends up being a paragraph, though.  I write my paragraph, then I figure that wasn’t so bad, I’ll write another one. 

Yesterday, I sat down to write one paragraph and ended up with almost three pages instead.  Okay, so they’re three pages in a small notebook, but three pages is better than a paragraph, and a whole lot better than nothing.  I’m liking this chain approach.   It’s deceptively simple.  Even better, it’s helped me finish a first draft of Chapter 2 and start Chapter 3.  I think that’s pretty cool.

Jenny: I’m with Ali. Totally digging the calendar chain. However, having been at this for only one week – gasp! – there is already a gap in my chain:



Behold! The Gap of Doom!

I know, I know. I’m so ashamed. But let’s not focus on the single negative, gigantic circle that resembles a zero.

Let’s look instead at the stuff that was accomplished. For example, I now get to say that I’ve written an opera. You can read it here if you wanna.  (A mini-one, but it’s still a libberetto!)  The low-down on this particular project is simple: Neil Gaiman, Will Self, and A.L. Kennedy are the judges for the script portion of the English National Opera Mini-Opera competition – they get the links to the blogs that have posted scripts, they read them, judge them, and pick the top ten to move onto the soundtrack portion of the party. (Announcements will be made by June 4 for the book portion.)

When the top ten soundtracks are picked, the finalists then move onto the film portion and winners are picked from there.

I saw this via Neil Gaiman’s twitter feed and thought, “I never thought to write an opera. Wouldn’t it be cool to write an opera?” So I did. And let me tell you…it was tough. I feel like a better person for it, sure, but it was still pretty wracking, even before blogger refused to accept any of my formatting. Grrr. That gap there on the 18th is actually where I was banging my head against the wall for trying this.

Okay, so it wasn’t that bad. I also managed to get through Chapter Four on rewrites for La Llorona.

AND GREAT NEWS! The littlest kidlet just got into preschool! So I just have one more summer to make it through and then there will be MORE WRITING TIME. Fear me!

So all, in all, I guess that circle looks less like a head-banging zero and more like a hug surrounded by kisses:

Behold! A hug on a bad day.

Gotta love it.

(P.S. Ali – see? Pictures.)

Twitter and the Part I Smackdown: Tuesday Post of Accountability

It’s Tuesday! And every Tuesday you will be subjected to regaled by the writing progress I have made over the last week. But! I insist that I not be the only one exposing myself sounding off. Let your comments reflect what kind of suffering butt-kicking you have done too!

Ah, it was a glorious week of progress!

1. Finished Part I of The Line on Saturday! Yes! I actually got to write “End Part I.” So that’s about 50,000 words finished all together. (Yes, I realize Part I is long, almost a novel in and of itself. However, you can’t write big, sprawling epics and have short little lead-ups. How boring.)

2. That isn’t enough for you?

3. Joined Twitter. (And one day I think I’ll even understand what the heck’s going on.) If you wanna follow me and my mini-steals then just clickity-click the link or the button to your right below my picture. 

4. Last, but certainly not least, I heard that my flash fiction piece “Judas Slouches Through Jerusalem” will be published by The Medulla Review. I’ll post the direct link to the story next Tuesday (because that’s publication day!).

Tuesday Post of Accountability!: Making Plans

It’s that accountableness time again! And every Tuesday you will be subjected to regaled by the writing progress I have made over the last week. But! I insist that I not be the only one exposing myself sounding off. Let your comments reflect what kind of suffering butt-kicking you have done too!

What I have done this week (8/23/2011-8/30/2011):

1. Finished a chapter just in time to hand in a submission to UGWP. May the force be with it, because I don’t think there was much force behind it. I was trying to finish up two chapters…but it just wasn’t to be. Ah well, I’ll get ’em next week.

2. Speaking of getting stuff next week – I did manage to figure out that  I can finish the thing up in six months at my current pace…which I’ll admit I was disappointed by. But writing and immediately editing is a tough thing and it takes more time than just banging it out. Then those snarky writer’s group members find even more stuff that I have to fix. All of which I’ve already put in my Track Changes file. (That’s pretty impressive actually – I just got the critiques yesterday. Can I get a GO JENNY!)

3. I formulated a plan to finish in six months too. Along with looking at what I was comfortably accomplishing plus an extra push, I have it broken down month by month – time to bang out words and then time to revise said words each month until I’m done. (This may or may not mean something because I’ve formulated many, many, many plans in the past…the plan that I just came up with is, in fact, a revision of my previous plan.)

4. Switched novel notebooks. I know this seems so silly. However, I write faster in the cheapy little spiral notebooks when I’m working on something large like a novel – so I quit fighting it and am ignoring the pretty notebooks…which shall be saved for notes or random jottings or fits and starts. The things we sacrifice for progress.

All right guys, your turn. Whatja do?

Tuesday Post of Accountability!

Okay, so I’ve decided to add in this as a new blog feature.

I’ve been doing Random Posts of Accountability…but I realized that I only posted those when I had done something. (Was I gonna post about doing nothing? Don’t think so.)

Now, every Tuesday you will be subjected to regaled by the writing progress I have made over the last week. But! I insist that I not be the only one exposing myself sounding off. Let your comments reflect what kind of suffering butt-kicking you have done too!

What I have done this week (6/21-6/28):

1. I am handwriting and then typing in the first draft of my current WIP, called The Line, which we will now codename TL. This week I finished five chapters, injured my right index finger because I have not done so much handwriting in forever, iced said finger, and plunged onward. Basically, I’m psyched that I’m pounding out so much material.

2a. On Thursday I hit a road bump when I got to a chapter (Chapter Nine, for anyone-who-may-be-curious’s sake) that refused, I’m saying REFUSED, to work like it was supposed to. I glared at the page for a while then decided that I would reread the handwritten stuff from where I’d left off and lo! There was the problem staring me right in the face in Chapter Four.

2b. I’ve just recently decided to rework as I go, and it goes in cycles like this: Write it to about 50-60 handwritten pages, type in those pages (editing what goes into the computer), have Shane read it and make notes (he’s already so tired of the damn story!), write more pages while Shane reads, and at some point enter in the changes that Shane recommends. I’ve discovered that reworking as I go works well for me…and when I hit a snag in the write 50-60 page handwriting part where I’m creating new stuff, it’s probably because I haven’t looked at the earlier parts enough. I’ve lost the thread.

3. Completed the critiques for my writing group–though they sadly went without handwritten line critiques like I normally do because I chose to use my damaged finger skills for writing my own stuff. (Sorry dudes.) They’ll have to suffer with quick circles, underlines, and question marks for line critique.

Your turn. What’d you do?