Follow along day by day as Author Merrie Housdon writes about what its like to write a book in this diary-style blog.
Be sure to ask questions, comment, and give feedback/advice. Your input is respected and desired.
Day 21: 6/18/18
This morning I woke up and was compelled to work on my novel rather than work on my blog post highlighting my writing journey this past weekend. No complaints there, I will take the writing bug anytime it wants to hit.
So, as far as progress is concerned, between Friday, Saturday, Sunday and today, I wrote a total of 3,937 words, pushing my manuscript past twelve thousand words. WooHoo!
I snuck in some writing sprints each day that really brought my totals up. I write a little bit without the timer but for the most part. I sprinted. Just to show you what that looks like for me, here is a picture of the spreadsheet I used to track my sprints in minutes.
I broke down and started writing the scenes that I was excited about. I have thought through these scenes so much that I could visualize them in my head, making them that much easier to write. So, I guess that means that this book is not written linear, so that will prevent some new challenges with rearranging my draft before I start editing this bad boy.
I got off track the last two weeks and it really pushed me behind on my goals. I will not likely finish this book in 30 days, but 60 days is definitely still possible.
For good measure, I decided to take a picture of my set up with morning and thought I would share it with you as well.
The scenes that I wrote this weekend and today involve me hero helping my heroine during a difficult situation, and a sweet scene featuring Mercy and Jordan (my previously featured couple). And of course, there was a scene featuring the four of them and a little mischief. Because mischief is always fun to write.
When I looked by over my outline last week, I found some obvious gaps that could be filled to enhance the story and move it more in the direction that I want it to go. My main focus is on the love story between my hero and heroine, with the small storyline added in with Jordan and Mercy for my already established Sunrise Valley readers. But, now that I have a good start to my novel, I need to start adding in bits and pieces into the story that will help pull readers into the book that I am planning after this one.
I have started an outline for that book, featuring two previously introduced characters. I’ve thought a lot about that story, too, and I really like where this series is heading. So far, I have three books in the planning stages to follow this one. That will make my Sunrise Valley Series five stories long, and who knows after that. There may be many more to come.
With that being said, I am not sure that I will write the third Sunrise Valley Series book immediately after this one. There are some other stories I’d like to explore, including some fantasy and a full-length historical romance book that I outlined over two years ago, originally planning to write it for NaNoWrimo.
In the meantime, I will continue to make progress with this novel and keep working on my goal to get this story completed.
Day 18: 6/15/18
Today (or late last night by the time you’re reading this), I wrote 963 words of the aftermath scene from the day before. After all, elephants usually leave a path wherever they roam.
I am really enjoying this nighttime writing. It reminds me of when I started writing during my third shift job. It’s quiet and peaceful, so I can really hone in on my thoughts. Unfortunately for evening writing, though, is the fact that I go through bouts of insomnia every six to eight weeks. That may sound idea considering I love writing at night but believe me, it’s not.
When I body decides it’s ready for bed and my head won’t shut down, it gets foggy and I become anxious. I’m pretty much useless at that point. The insomnia will last about a week and then I will become so physically and emotionally drained that my brain has no choice but to shut down.
The first few days, I get up in the morning and feel normal but in a few days, I guarantee I will be slugging around.
Tomorrow, I am going to read through (at least partially) a novel for a friend, go through my outline to see where I can take this story because I think it needs a bit of work, and get some writing done. There are some scenes that I am really looking forward to writing, but I need to work on connecting one great scene to the next while still moving the story along.
I am not a person who enjoys an insta-love storyline. I find most of them predicable and unrealistic. I love as a reader to see a relationship develop and grow. It’s like some of the television shows that I’ve watched over the years. The hero and heroine obviously have chemistry and you want them to get together so, so badly, but the satisfying moment that they do… the show loses its magic.
As a writer, I find it more satisfying and enjoy watching my characters grow, face their fears, and become stronger ‘people’ because of it. Plus, now they’re really, really happy, because in romance, they get a happily ever after. Or, at least they should in my humble opinion.
Day 17: 6/14/18
I am writing this later in the day due to babysitting duties. Yesterday I managed to write 880 words of a scene that highlighted my reoccurring characters.
I usually write linear with my stories, but I am not sure that this scene will go in this exact point in the book. It’s hard to say since this is a second storyline, albeit a much shorter one.
I really love writing these two characters because I know them inside and out. And while the two storylines are unrelated, they do weave together in various parts of the novel. Much more complicated than anything I’ve written to date. And to think, as this world of Sunrise Valley grows, so will the need to weave the different storylines together.
In the scene I wrote yesterday, Mercy is forced to address the giant elephant in the room that she has avoided since learning Jordan’s real identity.
Today’s writing session will have to come later tonight because I have a meeting with my editor to go over sections in A Heart Worth Keeping. I cannot wait until my first full-length novel is released to the world. This has been almost two years in the making, and I couldn’t be prouder.
I think I might hop online later after my editing session and join in on some word sprints. I really need to make some head way in this book. I wrote A Heart Worth Keeping during NaNoWriMo 2016 while working full-time so I know that I can push through this.
I’ve been thinking about July’s CampNaNo this year, and I am not sure if I will participate. I did April’s CampNano for about a week and used it to finish up a short story I was working on for this years Annie Acorn’s yearly Christmas treasury. Although, come to think of it, I think I listed the book I am working on as my project. LOL, that didn’t happen.
Are you a participant in any of the NaNoWriMo events? If I do participate in July’s Camp, I think I will create my own cabin because I never have luck with connecting with other cabinmates for some reason.
Let me know if you are interested in joining a cabin with me.
Day 16: 6/13/18
Instead of writing the blog post last night after my writing session, I am doing it the morning this post goes live. I ended up writing yesterday evening around 10pm instead of during the day. I managed to get 647 words in before settling in to a good book and staying up past 2am reading.
My writing session yesterday allowed the reader a bit of an insight to my heroine. She is very closed off and doesn’t allow anyone to get to close so yesterday I had a good time exploring her character. This heroine, for me, is more relatable than any other character I’ve written. Although our backgrounds are not exactly the same, she has faced some tough things in life that I have also experienced. Perhaps that’s why this book in particular has been difficult.
Writing that is real and vulnerable is hard to write, but I’ve been told that it makes for the best stories.
Although I have an outline for this story (my version of an outline), I can feel this story starting to drift from it a bit. Although I don’t mind my book morphing into something I didn’t originally plan, I am enough of a plotter to not like that I don’t know where it’s going. I might go over my original outline and make some changes to see if I can cut a clear path for myself.
I know that there are many debates in the writing world as to whether you should plot or fly by the seat of your pants. I think it’s a ridiculous debate to have. Write your story how you want to write it. I started off a pantser and have since moved to a loose outline. When I got 50,000 words into a book and realized that I needed it written in multiple perspectives I decided that I would never make that mistake again.
Now, outlining is one of my favorite parts about writing. Some people believe that outlining stifles the creative process, and for them, it might. But for me, outlining is a huge part of the creative process. I get to play around with multiple ideas and fit them together like a puzzle.
No matter how you write, just be yourself and explore your creativity.
Happy reading and writing,
Day 15: 6/12/18
My original goal of finishing this novel in between 30-60 days is becoming harder to meet. I have not written a single word since June 6th.
I have a million excuses, some better than others, as to why I haven’t made progress. Mostly family obligations like babysitting my niece and taking my mom to the doctor. I struggled with headaches last week and went to lake over the weekend. I worked with my editor on my novel that will be releasing soon. All valid stuff but looking back now I know what my biggest problem was.
I didn’t protect my writing time.
This week is going to be a struggle I know… For instance, it’s already Tuesday. This week I have two editing sessions and I will again be babysitting my niece while her family attends a funeral. But I need to better. I know that, you know that. And, keeping this blog is holding me accountable for my actions in representing a full-time author.
Respecting my time has been a learning process since I quit my day job in October 2017. There have been months that I have done fantastic and have been so productive. Other times, the month is a total bust.
Some members of my family think I sleep in all morning, then wake up and watch television until my husband gets home from work. That is completely not true. I hardly watch tv without my husband, and I get up when he does because the dogs expect their morning walks and won’t let me sleep in. I read a lot and can spend hours mentally processing and work my story out in my head. Plus, I enjoy YouTube. But I only use the platform as a reward system for writing.
For every 500 words written, I let myself watch one video. Seems to be working…most days.
I guess I said all of that to say this… No one is going to respect my writing time except me. If you struggle with this, trust me, you are not alone. There are many of us out here.
I’ve been down this road more times than I can count, and I know that I am the one responsible. I am the one who failed to write. And if I can remember that, then I know I will get myself back on track.