If you read my first post of 2015, you know I promised monthly writing status reports. And if you’re very astute (and I know our blog readers are!), you might have noticed I didn’t give my April status report this past Monday, when it was ‘due’, as I continue my series on series. So today, I thought I’d drop in and
hijack the post share the pain and progress that made up my writing life in April.
As I wrote in my March recap, March was a writing bust for me. I wrote at a snail’s pace, and many of the words I did get on the page didn’t work for my stories. Blame the long, frigid, snowmageddon winter, or story burnout from unrealistic expectations, or poor attention span, or all of the above – regardless of the cause, the result was so bad that I had to dub April the month of the Phoenix in the hopes I’d rise from the ashes of crap writing I’d done in March.
So, about that Phoenix…Turns out, it was kind of small and mangy (do birds get mange?). It needed another month to gestate. Despite joining Camp NaNoWriMo in an effort to just get my butt in the chair to write, I probably wrote fewer words in April than I did in March. I couldn’t even bring myself to share my final word count with my camp ‘cabin mates’. But as it turns out, that poor word count wasn’t such a bad thing, because the words I did get on the page suddenly started working for my story.
Progress! Minor, gut-wrenching, hand-wringing, blood-sweat-and-tears-to-get-there progress, but at least I’m moving forward! And while word quantity is fine and great and gives us a gee-whizbangy feeling for a few hours, it’s not the goal of writing, at least not for me and, I’m sure, the other Ladies here on the blog. The goal is to tell our stories in the best, most compelling, highest-quality way we can. And for that? April was awesome.
I identified the Great Big Problem in book 1 of my historical series. It was the heroine’s goal. (Of course it was. If ever you are banging your head on the desk, trying to figure out where oh where your story went wrong, go back to the GMC.) I told myself I had a goal. A perfectly nice goal. She wanted to make a peaceful life for herself in the country. I even made it more specific. She wanted to move to her widowed aunt’s estate where she could live a peaceful life in the country. Yeah, nice try. It’s really just the flip side of wanting to get the hell out of London/away from the ton, and that, my friends, is a negative goal. And as Jenny Crusie would tell you (paraphrasing here), a negative goal is a no-no!
So my heroine needed a positive goal. I went back to my series bible to check the goals of the other heroines and found, as I’d suspected I might, that she wasn’t alone. Two of the remaining four heroines of the series had positive, honest-to-god goals. The other two (including the one in book 2, of which I have half of the first draft completed!), not so much. But now? Goals! We have goals, people! Solid, positive, feminist and forward-thinking-for-their-time goals! Can you tell by all the exclamation points how excited I am about positive goals!?!
That’s not the only progress I made in April. On the business side of things, I did a lot of research on agents, small presses, and indie publishing. I’ve laid out a path for different books I’ve written and plan to write. And I’ve gotten back into the manuscript submission game, choosing the first five agents to target with My Girls. Now, like my heroines, I have solid, positive goals!
In the end, April turned out to be a pretty hard slog. But toughing through it got me to May, and already my efforts are paying off. In the first week of this month, I’ve written more than I did in the entire month of March. And while I reserve the right to change my mind during editing, for now, these words sound damn good! I’ve also worked on discovery, plotting, and playlists for two future, non-series related books.
I’m feeling more creative now than at any other time in 2015. And to top it all off, most days this month the weather has been perfect for writing outside on the new patio!
How is your creativity doing these days? Has the change in weather (for those who suffered through the harsh winter) made a difference for you? Had any breakthroughs lately on your WIP?