The Wisdom of Wordsmiths

Blog Post #31

Dear Readers,

How’s the month been treating you? Do you feel a bit overwhelmed by this month? I certainly did, but then again, I did have some interesting adventures…

The Writing Front

Word Counts

So let’s take a look at the month of May, shall we? Before I begin digging up numbers, I am going to go out on a limb and say that I will not have reached what I intended to. I tend to aim overly high like that.

However, I am sure I at least got some words down. Even it if it isn’t steady progress, at least it is progress. I’ll eventually learn how to be more consistent. I think that might have to be next year’s goals since this year is all about the word counts…

For the month of May I was able to write 6,480 words between blog posts and general plotting for a future novella which might become a novel. I fell 10,507 words short of what I should have accomplished last month.

6480 / 16987

This month I wrote 6480/200,000 or 3.24% of my entire yearly goals. Taking that into account, my entire Year to Date word Count to 48,224 of 200,000 at the end of May which has me sitting at around a quarter of my yearly goals completed at the half way mark of the year.

While it’s not the almost 100k that it should be, that’s still enough words to almost be a novel. In the course of half a year I wrote about a novel’s worth of work? Meaning in theory I could actually write two novels a year if I actually spent more time giving it some effort? What if I eventually gave it maximum effort?

I spent a lot of last month in edits for From the Woods You Came and preparing for my birthday party. I’m pretty excited actually that I at least got something done despite all those sorts of trip wires, but no excuses!

When a Story Grips You Tight

…and drags you from the one you should be writing. I don’t get how other writers can handle a bunch of new ideas and set them aside in order to focus on the story at hand. Maybe they don’t and I just imagine that’s what other writers do. When I get a new story idea in my head it continues to shout the loudest, maybe because it’s newborn crying because the world is cold.

It could also be that I’m tired of looking at the same story until I want to attack it violently, and the only way for my subconscious to appease my need to not be in the current world I am working on is to invent a completely different one for me to play in.

The method I use to cope with an exciting new world to play in isn’t exactly the most efficient either. Instead of continuing to carry on with the story I’m currently working, I’ll set it aside, open a blank document, and write the new story idea out completely.

This past week while I was attempting to finish the last round of edits on “From the Woods You Came” before I send it out to Beta Readers, my story about an apothecary came to mind and began to prod at me. I knew it was a losing battle.

I set FtWYC aside and just let myself try and get everything out about the apothecary story that I possible could. Everything from dialog to basic descriptions of characters and the town to various plot twists to culturally significant phrases. I may have even found a website to help me build a calendar for a fantasy world.

Over the course of the week, I set down over 2,000 words on it. I know it’s not ‘publishing productive’, but at least it’s out of my system. As this post itself can attest, I’m finally getting back on track with my writing goals.

The Reading Front

Reading About Writing

The Art of Fiction, David Lodge

I feel a little disappointed that I didn’t in fact actually find what I was looking for when I turned to this in my time of need. This is a reference guide I used for one of my college courses.

The organization is a bit different than what you might be used to, and it really encourages you to flip around and just go for whatever it is you need specifically at that moment whether it be help with developing the beginning, an ending, or how to approach using a particular technique.

At that moment I needed some flashback advice, but I didn’t find the exact thing I set out to find: a treatise pointing out if I could get away with the flashback sequence that was eating up like one seventh of my novella.

How to Market a Book, Joanna Penn

I finally made some time to sit down with this again. I love a lot of what she has to say mostly because I know she says what she does because she’s learned it from experience, and who am I to not learn from someone else who has already made missteps and found their way out again? I’m sure I’ll find completely new snags that no one could have foreseen all on my own. Avoiding the few that I can just seems like a smart plan. I’m sort of bracing myself for the next section that tears into blogging. I hope I don’t read through it and nod along and realize I need to burn everything that is my blog…

Reading Challenge 2016

June: A New Author

So this month’s Reading Challenge was to read a book by a new Author. If you follow me on twitter you may have already encountered my own issues with even selecting a book.

After our reading group discussed this and brought up points about how hard it had been to find Indiana authors and how we would likely encounter similar issues while trying to find an emerging author, we all agreed that we would attempt to find something at our literary excursion of the month: The Printer’s Row Lit Fest in Chicago.

While I spent most of that trip completely distracted by everything since it was my first literary festival on that sort of scale (not counting Scholastic Days), one of our other reading group members, who knows everyone’s tastes really well, found a book that we would collectively read. Still waiting on my turn at it, but then again it gives me time to maybe actually finish “On Writing”.

Looking forward to reading, Day of First Sun by Sheryl Steines.

Printer’s Row Literary Fest 2016, #PRLF16

An accurate summary of how I felt BEFORE I arrived:

Me upon arrival:

Surveying the harvest once I’d returned home…

The festival was unlike anything I’d ever been to and not just because it was 96 degrees outside that day. It was like the Farmer’s Market for books. I don’t feel like I got the chance to properly even look at everything despite the fact I know I spent hours looking at literally every single title available for sale. When the rest of the group finally succumbed to the heat (I thrive in heat), we headed over the Hackney’s for some cool air and water and a lot more food than we expected. I bought so many books that day.

Day two proved to be a lot cooler (68 degrees). I only bought two more books that day, though I did end up purchasing a fun quote and image inked onto a dictionary page (which you can see above). Mostly I sat through a few of the panels trying to escape the blustery winds Chicago is known for. When we’d finally decided it was time to pack up and head home, I stopped by one last booth.

I really just wanted to let her know how awesome her hat was. Having spent a lot of time costuming and helping others put together their own, I have a great respect for the craft. I wanted to give her props for simply having toughed out the heat the day before in the period garb. I’m an introvert by nature and writing is the most eloquent I will ever be unless I’ve reviewed a predetermined script in my head like a thousand times over.

So when Jeanette Watts introduced herself, I felt it was time I figure out how to introduce myself as the person I plan on becoming. I told her that I was interested in writing and that I planned to self-publish my first story before the end of the year.

As the conversation began to roll, Jeanette started talking me through some of the different hurdles one might need to overcome a writer. I listened intently, making notes of the things I did know, and the things I didn’t.

I don’t know how it came up, maybe I had mentioned that I was still working two day jobs and trying to break into the writing life, but she eventually told me the thing that would be what I would take away from that conversation as the most important lesson I need to hear right then.

“You know who T. S. Eliot is, right?”

I smiled. Of course I knew who Eliot was. I’d studied his work meticulously for my Senior Seminar at U.E. I regularly reread The Wasteland. Especially in April which ‘is the cruellest month’.

She told me that even he was a banker to make ends meet. No one remembers that for a time he was a banker; people only remember him for his poetry. With that she wished me good luck and told me to never give up on my writing. I walked away with two of her books and renewed sense of purpose.

That sort of thought would never have crossed my mind. Never. But now that she’s said it, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget it.

Love and Lightning,

M. L. Trumbull




Filed under Writing Update

3 responses to “The Wisdom of Wordsmiths

  1. Pingback: Flock Together | M. L. Trumbull

  2. Pingback: Motivation to Keep Writing | M. L. Trumbull

  3. Pingback: Writing Life Goals Check In | M. L. Trumbull

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