I fancy myself a writer.

Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge

It’s time to wrap up our summer writing challenge!

a picture of an apple pie

As summer draws to a close, it’s time to start thinking about apple pies and second drafts. Time to harvest the fruits of our labor!

Today is the official last day of summer. The time has come to wrap up the Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge. I don’t know about you, but I am feeling *super* productive after completing this challenge.

For those of you who did not complete your first draft, that’s okay. Did you keep writing anyway? That’s the important thing. As long as you keep writing, you will get there eventually. Keep at it!

A few of you have contacted me to let me know when you did complete the first drafts of your novels. Congratulations on a job well finished!

If you are like me, Anne Lamott, Stephen King, and a myriad of lesser-known writers, your first draft is probably… WELL… “Shitty.” (more…)

Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 12, Time to revise!

black walnut tree

Have you looked outside lately? Mother Nature keeps reminding me that summer is almost over. These black walnuts will be on the ground soon.

September 21st is the last day of summer, as well as the official last day of our Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge. I don’t know about you, but I feel good knowing I have written an entire story from start to finish. Now, on to revisions!

After letting my first draft simmer for a couple of weeks, I finally sat down this week and started working on my second draft. Many famous authors (Stephen King comes to mind) say your second draft should always be shorter than your first. They advise cutting out unnecessary words, which is great advice. But I don’t think that is going to work for me. (more…)

Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 8 | I DID IT!!!!

The state capitol of Madison, Wisconsin

We’re off to Madison for a little staycation to celebrate my completion of the summer novel writing challenge. | The state capitol of Madison, Wisconsin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, I did it. I set myself a goal to write a fifteen-chapter novel in fifteen days. I ended up needing an extra chapter, so I wrote a sixteen-chapter novel in sixteen days. I have officially completed the Write Your Novel This Summer Challenge!

At 83 pages and 22,935 words, my first draft is (obviously) full of holes. However, the important thing is that I finished it. The entire story is on the page. I have a beginning, middle, and an end. I did not write a single unnecessary scene. I wrote only the pieces that absolutely had to be there to hold the puzzle together. Now, on to draft #2!

What’s next for me? (more…)

Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 7 | Are we there yet?

Cast of characters in The Big Bang Theory. Fro...

How can I be expected to write anything when The Big Bang Theory is on? | Cast of characters in The Big Bang Theory. From left: Howard Wolowitz, Leonard Hofstadter, Penny, Sheldon Cooper and Rajesh Koothrappali. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been on a writing roll this past week. I continued with the experiment I started last week and have managed to write one full chapter every single day!

I almost didn’t make it yesterday. I had suffered a bout of insomnia the night before and hadn’t fallen asleep until after 2 a.m. When I woke at 8:00 yesterday morning, I was so exhausted, I just couldn’t seem to function. I spent the first half of the day crashed out on the couch beating myself up over the fact that I hadn’t written my day’s chapter yet. Then I spent the afternoon thinking about it while hanging out with my kids, looking through old photo albums. (more…)

Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 6 | Breaking the rules, starting a new project

"Writing", 22 November 2008

I actually had a very productive writing week. | “Writing”, 22 November 2008 (Photo credit: ed_needs_a_bicycle)

This week, I am breaking one of those fundamental writing rules. You know the one about how you should finish one project before starting the next? Yeah, well, I totally broke it.

My existing work in progress (WIP) seems hopelessly stalled at the moment. I know what the problem is. My focus is too broad. I need to start cutting, but I can’t decide where to start. I decided to do some experimenting with a simplified story line to gain some perspective on my problem. Next thing I knew, I’d mapped out an entire new novel project and written a first chapter to go with it.

Yes, I broke the rule.

At least I am writing again. (more…)

Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 5 | I just don’t know how to say no

my new kitten lulu la gata

This is my new baby kitty. Her name is Lulu La Gata. (La Gata is Spanish for “the cat.)

I should consider changing my Friday Writing Challenge Check-in series to “This Week’s Excuse for Not Writing.” Seriously, people, if I keep this up, I’m going to have to stop calling myself a writer. Maybe I should change my title to “blogger” since I can at least manage that.

Anyway, last Friday I headed out to Illinois for a huge family campout (huge as in somewhere around 60 to 70 family members showed up.) Of course, I brought my notebooks. Of course, I was too busy camping and visiting with family to write in them.

We camped until Sunday morning, then went to my parents’ house for a couple of days. Then I made a stop at my sister’s house a couple of hours north of my parents. I was planning to come home Wednesday, but she begged me to stay another day since she was off Wednesday and we could actually hang out and see each other. Once school starts, I’ll hardly get to see any of my family at all until next summer, so I couldn’t say no. (more…)

Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 4

word count work in progress

This is the actual word count for my work in progress.

I haven’t added many words to my novel this week, as I have spent much of this writing week engaged in weaving. It’s all because of this one very important character who suddenly popped up around page 150. I think he is important enough that he needs to show up sooner. So, I’ve been reading my way through my first 150 pages looking for opportunities to include him in the action.

On one hand, I think this could be a second draft activity, as it is keeping me from writing forward in my story. On the other hand, this character is important enough to the overall story that I think I need to spend some time getting to know him and seeing how he interacts with my protagonist. Thus, the time spent weaving him in. (more…)

Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 3 (I wrote something. I actually wrote something!)

The writing life - a stack of notebooks

My current stack of notebooks includes a pretty fairy journal. Follow me on Instagram for more pretty pictures.

We are now three full weeks into the Write Your Novel this Summer writing challenge, and I can finally report that I have written something! This week, I finally managed to break through my writer’s block and am gaining some momentum. Here’s a quick look at what I have accomplished:

  • I added 875 words to my Word document’s total word count. “Yawn,” I know, that’s not much. BUT that was my total word count for the day I finally managed to start writing again. Since then, I have—
  • Done some research and written a ton of notes on some important elements of my story that will likely only be alluded to if they are mentioned in the novel at all. However, my knowing these details about my story world is essential to me writing a believable story. (more…)

Summer writing challenge check in: Week 2

overcoming writer's block - crumpled paper on ...

This wad of paper pretty much sums up all aspects of my life at the moment. | overcoming writer’s block – crumpled paper on wooden floor – crushed paper (Photo credit: photosteve101)

I am setting a horrible example for my summer writing challenge participants. I just can’t seem to get anything written. At least not on my novel. I’ve been dealing with some personal issues (on top of the whole job fiasco, as if I didn’t have enough to feel depressed about,) and it seems like every time I put a pen to paper, that’s all I can write about. This doesn’t bode well for me finishing my novel by the end of the summer.

So, my accomplishments this week: there was one. I wrote a tragedy arc for one of my characters to try to stoke the writing fires. That didn’t get me far. I’m thinking of writing a tragedy arc for myself next. It might be fun to plot my own demise. (more…)

Write Your Novel this Summer: It’s time for our first check in!


Kitty says, “Stop looking at me and get back to writing!”

Well, it has officially been one full week since the start of our summer writing challenge. I plan to check in once a week on Fridays throughout the entire summer. Since I really haven’t accomplished anything yet, this week I will simply report on my starting point.

I started the summer writing challenge with a total of 65,128 words written. That’s about 240 double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 pt font pages.

While figuring out where to jump back into my story this week, I read my last few chapters and did a bit of surface editing here and there. I have also done a bit of freewriting, which I will not add into my word count. I am still in the freewriting stage at the moment, trying to get back on track with my story. Hopefully by next week I will be cranking out some actual chapters again. (more…)