I know it has been a few weeks. Please excuse my absence. I am here to let you know not only am I not dead yet (yay!), but to awesomely recap my writing progress from last month. *Dons Mario hat and black mustache.* Here we go!
The Writing Front
So when your yearly word goal is 200k words, it breaks down to 15,343 for a 29 day month. I mean looking at it on a calendar you don’t think that’s a lot of time to really push out a lot of work. But in reality, it’s only technically a few days shorter which I discovered is more than enough time to get something done. I didn’t just match the monthly goals for February, I rocked it out and started making up for my lack of things in January! Here’s what my word count looked like last month:
16823 / 15343
25755 / 200000
109%! My 16,000 new words were for all sorts of projects, and so, just because I couldn’t go a post without one, I present to you a list.
Last month I wrote:
- A blog post
- Continued my Nano Project (at 65k words and still not done!)
- A massive nine page outline for a brand new story idea
- Most importantly, I completed the second first draft of “From the Woods You Came” which is still not long enough for me to justify italics yet.
As you read in my last post, I had February 17th off from the day jobs and deemed it my official Revision Day for “From the Woods You Came”. I got up as I said I would and began to work toward my eight hours of revising.
I spent from eleven a.m. until after ten p.m. that night revising. I mean, there were breaks of course, but I absolutely amazed myself with my ability to commit that much time to it. I think the hardest part of it, as with most of my projects, was to begin. Once I finally settled myself in, I found it hard to tear myself away.
I created Revision Day because I had a first first draft down. Let me explain, my first first draft is actually whatever I let spew out at the moment of epiphany. It is, in essence, a picture of my initial story idea. If I have the time, the moment an idea I enjoy strikes me, I sit down and write it out in as much detail as possible. Even if it means sitting there for four solid hours. Yes, this has happened before.
I had this first first draft sitting around for a bit and on Revision Day, I read through it and made corrections as I could but realized many more scenes needed to be written and other themes addressed.
So I spent the rest of the month hand writing new scenes in a notebook between jobs. I spent the last three nights of the month up really late working on typing them up, adding them, improving the flow, and finally sending my second first draft off in an email just before bed.
I woke up the next morning and while getting ready for work realized I’d forgotten one of the vital lines of dialog at the end and had to write it in and send out a new email. It was only six am. I maintain that I met my deadline as they story was still in an inbox before anyone would be awake to read it. My logic is flawless. Maybe.
The Reading Front
Reading about Writing
To continue my binge reading of Joanna Penn’s work, I began reading, How to Market a Book. So far, I’ve found a lot of solid information that I will one day get to implement. Right now, though, I think the most helpful piece of advice was on page 33. She titled a section, “You can’t learn it all from books: you have to get on the slope.” For me, she wrote exactly what I needed to hear most. I tend to get lost in the research phase. I want to keep reading and learning to get everything I do just so and perfect before I let the world see it.
It took me years to learn to let go of that need to have everything perfect before anyone sees my writing. I think having college deadlines and group discussion helped on that part. What I need to do now is to finally let go of the idea of my perfect platform and just start skiing. The only way to get my perfect website or bio is to start making them. Might look like a child’s finger painting for a while, but at least there will be color.
This month’s reading challenge is to read a book at the bottom of your ‘to-read’ pile. Honestly everyone, I really could have done better at this. I haven’t even decided which book to read, and I have only days left in this month. Can I just pretend that last month’s challenge is this month’s as I may have just read the whole series I was recommended last month during the first week of this month? I do have off for Easter (from both day jobs), so I might just settle in and read something from my physical book shelf that I have never read…
My Personal Shelves
Look, yes, there are books on my actual bookshelves sitting there unread, but can you blame me? Books are precious things, and people seem to inherently know that I will take them if they move. When I finished up freshman year at college, my R.A. found me in the hallway and handed me a stack of her various religious studies books she didn’t need anymore. When my dad was also moving, so I gained the part of his collection I’d been using for reference which included part of an old encyclopedia series, a handful of books on knights and the crusades, as well as a couple of fiction stories. When I moved on my own after college, most of my own precious books went into storage. Just recently, I regained a few of those that were in storage. I have become reacquainted with my entire collection of Animorphs that I patiently curated during my middle school years.
Opening the box to see those covers literally shot through my heart. It was like seeing one of my best friends for the first time in nearly a decade. I looked forward to spending a night every few months with the newest book. I can still remember reading book twelve The Reaction alone in my room and people coming to ask if I was alright because I kept laughing so loudly.
Animorphs became my escape when I first moved to a new state in ’97. It kept me from missing my old life and from feeling the unhappiness of learning to start over. I think everyone that reads has a series or book that becomes their glue when the world falls apart. Later, I grew into Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, but first there was Animorphs. I guess, the best plot twist was that the book series lead me to my once and future best friend/ editor/ trusty writing buddy.
In the middle of no where, I bonded with my first friend over these books. While any person can recommend any book to anyone, only a book you love can recommend a great person specifically for you. This, dear readers, is one of the many reasons books are vital. Awareness of this aspect of books reaffirms and fuels my dedication to my craft. It is another one of the reasons why I write.
Love and Lightning,
-M. L. Trumbull
Current Music: “Please Just Take These Photos from My Hands” by Snow Patrol