#my500words reflection

So, after a month of trying to stick to writing 500 words a day minimum, how have I done?

Well, there were a couple of days where I didn’t write anything, despite all my best intentions. Sometimes it just happens like that – there might be a lot of things going on at the farm, and by the time we get home I just collapse on the sofa. There was some success with getting up a bit earlier and managing my 500 words before breakfast, but other days I could snatch some time before cooking tea. A few days it would be the bare 500 I could manage, however I’m happy to say a lot of days it was a good more than 500.

In total, over the month I wrote 14 chapters, so it averages out as just under a chapter per two days. Some of these chapters are barefaced edits – straight rewrites of previous chapters I have been happy with. Others have had to be complete overhauls. And I have been quite ruthless. A lot of chaff has been cut. To put it into real terms, I’m writing what is now Chapter Seventeen, but in the second draft equated to about Chapter Twenty-Five. There are still one or two chapters that I have rewritten that could potentially be for the chop. And within the chapters themselves, I’ve gone from a single chapter easily exceeding 10,000 words to a much more realistic 5,000. My only concern is I’ve maybe been a little overenthusiastic with my executioner’s axe!

I’ve really enjoyed taking part in #my500words. More than anything else, it’s been a personal motivator, and it’s worked. There were 69 chapters in total for #MFB (make of that what you will). If I can manage to cut 7 out of the first 25, maybe I can do the same over the next part. We are however coming to the end of the part that was for me the most indulgent. I’ve had to do some serious chopping and changing to streamline this part, but at least now I’m happy with its continuity, and I feel it reads a good deal better.

So I will continue with writing a minimum of 500 words a day. I have a feeling I will hit something of a mental block in a few chapters’ time, as previously I have had issues with timing and locations for my character, so if I miss a day of writing, I would hope it’s for the sake of ironing out some continuity issues.

How is your writing going? Are you on track? Do you have any motivational tools you use to help you get on? If you do, I’d love to hear them!

Katy

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Writing Goals for 2017

A couple of days ago I did something quite major for me, and booked myself a place at the How To Get Published conference, part of the York Literature Festival. I think all the ladies in my Writing Group will be attending, so it should be a good day. It’s a full day packed full of talks and discussions, not to mention a panel of writers and literary agents (!) I’m hoping it will be really helpful.

I’ve always written but never had the confidence to go to anything like this before. Last year I went to a free talk as part of York’s Festival of Ideas (and I wrote about it here) and that was all about the benefits of a Writing Group, which is how I found my group. After attending the sessions I’ve got a bit more confidence about myself, so I bit the bullet and booked myself on the conference.

The conference is at the end of March which gives me just over 2 months to get my act together and *finish* the third draft of #MFB. It also coincides with a new time in my calendar, that of lambing. Now granted we don’t know when this will start or how long it will go on for, but as far as I know the world stops for lambing time. So my idea is to get this third draft bossed by then, so I can a) have lambing time to distance myself from it and approach it afterwards with new eyes, and b) have something in a form like finished to talk to agents about.

So that’s one goal for 2017. But I have some others, and I figured if I wrote them here and stuck them on the internet I might actually have to honour them, as opposed to having them in my brain and thus easy to forget.

  • Writing Goals for 2017
  • Finish draft three of #MFB
  • Draw maps for locations in #MFB
  • Set up a Facebook page to directly link my writing progress with my social media
  • Work on my blog, including updating the images and dividing it into ‘writing’ and ‘blog’
  • Increase my activity on social media
  • Attend more writing and literature events (online and in person)
  • Enter some competitions
  • Look at #MSB and decide on how old my protagonist is going to be

I think that’s enough to keep me going for the year! Who knows – things might change. I’m really excited about the conference but it’s a long way off yet and I have lots to be doing before then.

Do you have any writing goals this year? Maybe you’re going to the conference too! Let me know!

Katy

Two weeks into #my500words, and a missed day

One of my big aims for the year is to nail Draft Three of #MFB and be in a position to maybe tentatively send it off to people who read and make dreams come true. I started #my500words this January, aiming to write 500 words a day for 31 days, and it went really, really well until yesterday, when I wrote nothing. I should have known I was doomed when I tweeted about how well my progress was going! It had snowed a little bit yesterday morning and instead of getting up early and writing my 500 words before breakfast, I was still laid in bed, watching it snow. And I didn’t go up to the farm, but I did a load of washing, swept and mopped the downstairs floors, did a load of ironing and baked some chocolate cupcakes. All non-essential when it comes to being a writer, though when it comes to being a “housewife”, which I think most people view me to be, all required tasks. I am fairly houseproud and every day it horrifies me that my house is such a mess, with muddy floors and a kitchen table with no space to dine off. But it also horrifies me and fills me with that feeling of waste when I don’t do any writing whatsoever.

There’s no excuse for why it didn’t happen. We went to my parents’ in the afternoon to mend the tractor and there was nothing for me to do except sit and get more frustrated. Then after taking the tractor up to the farm we came home, I cooked tea, and after we’d eaten I was tired and we just sat and watched rubbish on TV. Now I wake up this morning feeling like yesterday was a waste of a day! Sure, people say it’s good to have time off, but when my writing is constantly playing out in my head, there’s never time off. I’ll never get anywhere if I keep taking time off.

So it was one day. A blip. Since starting #my500words, I’ve actually completed 5 chapters for #MFB. I’ve written more than two weeks’ worth of 500 words all in all, so that’s a good accomplishment. I’ve cut out a lot of chaff, including a whole chapter’s worth. I’ve streamlined the plot a little, and turned characters and incidents around. Finally, I’m getting excited about it again.

So yeah, I missed one day! Big deal. Get over yourself, self. Today is a new day. I have my writing group today, and then the rest of the day to write, write, write. If I can do 5 chapters every two weeks, in four months I’ll be romping home.

How do you get back on the writing train after a hiccup? I’d love to hear your tips on motivation and how you keep at it!

Katy

MFB – How I find time to write

Writing a book is a huge investment in time and energy, and sometimes it’s hard to find time to dedicate to the chief principle behind it all: that is, to write.

I’m embarking on a quest to finish my first book, in at least what I deem to be a standard of completion to offer up to agencies. See my previous blog post for history on MFB, here: https://katylallanby.wordpress.com/2016/07/22/mfb/

How I find time to write

At the moment, I’m juggling this above quest with this (somewhat neglected) blog, running my own little household, including keeping an eye on two naughty pusscats and all the scrapes they get into, and of course full-time work. You might remember, if you’re a seasoned follower of this blog (and I like to think there maybe are one or two!), that before Christmas last year I was working in Hull, working long days and coupling those with a long drive there and back. Well I work on the outskirts of York now, so the drive is much improved, and my working day is a little more flexible, so some days I can be sat at home with a brew at 4.45pm, instead of not getting back till nearly 7! Saying that, I still managed to charge through a big chunk of the first draft, so making time may be a problem, but if you’re determined, you’ll get it done. Continue reading “MFB – How I find time to write”

Happy Paper Club – a mystery parcel

So, as you may (or may not) know, it was my birthday a couple of weeks ago. I got lots of lovely things and did a wee little post about them here #MyStyleWednesday – Summer baby

The other day I came home to a mysterious box posted through my letterbox! I was very confused as I was pretty sure (though naturally not 100% confident) I hadn’t ordered anything, and it all looked very professional and proper. I was meant to be racing out that night so I quickly made short work of the protective tape fastening all up, and was very surprised to find a tissue wrapped box of goodies, from my best friend Amy (who coincidentally also has a blog too, and I’d love it if you gave her a little nosy! She can be found here: In bed with Amy). Amy is big on subscription parcels, and knowing me to be the stationery nerd that I am, she knocked the ball out of the park with getting me a Happy Paper Club subscription! Continue reading “Happy Paper Club – a mystery parcel”

MFB and an attempt in culture

The city of York hosted its annual Festival of Ideas in the beginning of June. Since I’m a good bit more local to the city now, and since it’s always good to try and broaden your mind, I thought I would give it a go. The festival is a huge event that is run by the University and you can read about it here: http://yorkfestivalofideas.com/2016/

I was pleased to get tickets to four the events I wanted to attend:

  • Mythology: Our Imagined Worlds
  • Ideas for Publication: What Works for Us
  • Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World
  • Towards a Maritime Deep History of our Planet

A lot of it was maybe too deep and scholarly for this little brain, somewhat removed from the academic sphere, but I really enjoyed them all. Three were lectures and one was a workshop held by the York Novelists, a local writer’s group about how to set up a similar group as an opportunity to meet like-minded people and get some proper constructive criticism. That was super useful for me – I hadn’t even ever thought of a writer’s group, and I think it is really going to be the best next step for me. I can hone and tweak and write and rewrite to my heart’s content, but if it’s only me reading it, it’s no good. I need someone to tell me this is good, this is bad, I hate that character, I love this scene, I think the mood or the tone is a bit off here. Hopefully the writer’s group will be the perfect scene for that! I also hope that for all the constructive criticism I get back, I’m not reduced to tears and anxiety like I was in the feedback sessions from my teacher training. It would be nice to hear if I am on the right track, or what I can do to make sure I’m on it. Continue reading “MFB and an attempt in culture”

Celebrating 26 years of my little life

Can you believe I’ll be 26 this weekend? I can’t! It feels like two minutes ago I turned 25. I still feel like I’m a wee little teenager, and judging by the amount of times I get ID’d, I must look it, too! I don’t know whether to be insulted or overjoyed when the cashiers in Morrisons question as to whether I am old enough to purchase a bottle of rose. It seems to be happening less and less, though, which is a little worrying. Either that, or they know me as a regular – still, the worry remains. Continue reading “Celebrating 26 years of my little life”