storyteller and all-around creative distraction

did I say that out loud?

So here is where I back up all that nonsense I committed to for this new year. Two of these goals are going to need some pretty hardcore planning, I think.

the ass kicking:

I’m starting Jillian Michaels 30-day Shred, which I’m doing 5 days/week rather than daily, but I’ll do it for 6 weeks rather than 30 days. Anyway, it’s hard, but I guess it doesn’t really feel like enough. Maybe I need to start out on level 2? But the fact of it is, I’m used to exercising for 60-70 minutes per session. The Shred feels like it’ll do an awesome job at sculpting, which is what it’s intended to do, I guess, but I’ll be combining it with a 45-minute yoga/fitness blend on cold days, and on warmer days I’ll do my regular 4 miles outside.

Speaking of the regular 4 miles on ass-kicking hills, I had no idea my calves had been so neglected, because Shred makes them want to cry, lol! I guess hills really don’t do much for calves. My ass though, chubby as I might be otherwise, is pretty damn tight 😉

Honestly, it’s not the working out that I’ve ever had trouble with, but my terrible eating habits. It sounds like it should be so easy, you know, just don’t eat so damn much? I’m going to try to fall back on South Beach Diet again. It’s worked for me in the past, and I am obviously not to be trusted with carbs. I’ve tried to live in harmony with carbs, and it just keeps not working, again and again. I do much, much better when I just cut most of them out.

the novel:

The hardest goal for this year (we will not say the word “impossible”) is going to be the novel. I think an ambition of this magnitude requires a schedule. (Because I’m a Virgo, and super-dorky!) Let’s make a schedule, shall we? 😉

February: finish part 2
March: finish part 3
April: finish part 4, the end
May: pull everything together, polish a bit, and done

June and July: novel sleeps? How long should a finished first draft sleep for? Maybe just one month, since we’re working with the near impossible here 😉

(July?)/August: commence hacking it to pieces.
September/October: out to beta readers.

October/November: get feedback back (lol).

November/December: with feedback, instead of NaNoWriMo, we’ll do a NaNoRevMo, lol! Carry on into December, before Christmas eats us all alive again. 2nd draft done, by the end of the year, and ready to be thrown out into the world first thing 2011 (you know, since we might as well wait until after Christmas is done eating us all alive).

Of course, anyone who’s actually done this process before is welcome to shed some light on how my timeline is destined to fail because of my glorious noob-ness.

And has anyone ever tried a staggered beta-reading process before? I read a novelist blogger (Allison Winn Scotch maybe?) who said she liked to have her first 100 pages read and get feedback, and then she knows if the rest of the novel will work or not. I think I might try something like that. I feel like I need somebody else’s eyes on this mess so that I know it’s headed in the right direction.

So, in that light, I’ll probably be soliciting some beta readers around the end of the month, for my first seven chapters (estimated 70 pages). Ack! I said it out loud, people! We’ll also let this take the place of the promise of my first chapter after the new year. Seven chapters is better than one, right? 😉

progress report for the three weeks I haven’t been blogging:

These past three weeks have probably been just about as productive as everyone’s past three weeks, which would be a big lazy mess of Christmas/New Year. I did actually add maybe 4000 words that I managed to steal from some old notes and drafts (it’s not cheating if you steal from yourself), and the first part is done. Did I say that out loud? Done, ugly, sketchy, but done!

Part two is officially in the works. Part 2 is roughly chapters 8 through 15, I think. Parts of them were very eager to be born last month, but I welcome the rest of them into existence, if they would be so kind to join us 🙂

8 thoughts on “did I say that out loud?”

  • Hey Laura~! A former friend of mine was in the process of writing a novel when I knew him. He actually handed out biz cards to the website where he published to for the first 100 pages, he collected feedback for 1 month, then revised for 1 month (or 2, not sure :/)

    I’m happy for you to have set a goal~! I’ll be sending free flowing thought vibes your way. 🙂

  • Melissa, thanks for the vibes! 🙂 I’m glad to hear it’s worked for someone before. I know that when editors/agents look at a novel, they know within the first 100 pages if it’s going to work or not, so I figure it makes sense to get feedback at this point before (or while) carrying on with the rest.

  • Wishing you the best of luck with this! I am a bit of a planner, too, so I definitely love that you’ve outlined your steps. Hopefully it will help keep you motivated during the long haul!

    I am also definitely looking into the shred… would make a nice addition to my belly dancing videos. Draw the line at putting a stripper pole in the living room, though. Husband was saddened, LOL!

  • I’ve read it’s best to let a novel sit for a few months after you finish it and tackle it again when you’re not so close to it. I let my finished draft sit for a year and when I started to read it again recently, I realised that I still think the story works but it needs more editing and some rearranging. In Chapter One alone, I cut out half of the scenes and rewrote at least 60% of it. It’s much snappier and tighter now.

    I got the Wii Fit for christmas so I’m hoping to start that up in the next day or two to get rid of all that christmas excess I stacked on!

    I’m sending you good vibes and much luck for the novel completion and edit.

  • Mao, I definitely feel more motivated with a good solid plan. It’s like giving myself an assignment or something. I can’t keep myself accountable otherwise.

    What is it with these men and their stripper poles? 🙂

    Carnaxa, I think I’ve heard a few months too. Hmmm, you see that just doesn’t work in with my plans, lol! Maybe I’ll commit to two months, and dedicate that time to reading a few really great books to up my game.

    Everybody’s doing Wii Fit! I’m gonna have to see about getting one of those!

  • My problem is that I’m a boredom eater. I’ll eat anytime I feel bored, even if I consciously know I’m not hungry. So I have to keep myself busy with a lot of hobbies. 😉

    I have the Wii Fit, but honestly, the delay between exercises drives me crazy and so I don’t use it very often except when I feel like I need to do some yoga. Instead I use EA Sports Active (which works with the balance board from Wii Fit) and Your Shape (which I absolutely love!) along with my treadmill for my workouts. Haven’t ever tried The Shred, but I can say that Your Shape made me realize that some of my muscles weren’t getting any attention from the treadmill and Sports Active, LOL. I hobbled around for three days before my legs recovered from the first workout with Your Shape.

    I can’t let anyone read my drafts until after I’ve completed the first one and have revised it at least once on my own because I’m a “seat of my pants” writer, meaning that I rarely ever outline or think too far ahead. I discover the story as I write it and so my first draft is VERY messy and doesn’t make sense at all because I’ll change my mind about something halfway through and instead of fixing the earlier chapters I just keep writing and fix it during revisions. I have an online critique group I put together but they only get to read the second or later drafts, never the first because it would make their heads explode trying to figure it out. 😉

    I’ve always heard and read that drafts should be put away for several months, but I’ve revised much sooner than that several times. When you’re under contract and on a deadline you don’t always get the luxury of waiting (I had to write and revise my second book in just one month before sending it in for my editor’s read through!), so I think teaching yourself to revise quickly is a good thing. But I also think you kind of know when to revise–or at least I do. 🙂 I’ll put the story away for a while and when my brain starts thinking about it again and my fingers are itching to work on it, I know it’s time to pick it back up.

  • Shana, I think that’s how most people write, seat of their pants, from beginning to end for the first draft. I feel like a very strange mutant of a writer sometimes because I never ever write anything in order – not a novel, not a short story, not a blog entry, not even this comment! The very first thing I wrote for my current novel was what is expected to become chapter 21 😉

    I guess maybe that pre-draft of random scenes and notes is kind of like what most people write for their first draft? Because then (the stage I’m in now), I go through from beginning to end rearranging, plumping, filling in the blanks, and polishing all that mess I spewed out the first time through.

    It’s weird maybe, but it makes for a pretty polished first draft 🙂

    I think you’re right about learning to work under pressure, since I guess your first novel is the only one you really have the luxury of letting sit for however long you want, since all the novels after it will probably have deadlines. I like deadlines anyway. I’m too lazy and unaccountable without them, even if they’re just deadlines I’ve given myself… and announced to the public, of course 😉

  • We have very similar goals for 2010! I am on my fifth day of phase one of south beach – so far, so good – haven’t weighed myself thus far. I know what you mean about carbs…even with celiacs you can still eat a lot of calories in potatoes and rice and ice cream, LOL. So south beach it is for me, too – and of course, the novel writing –

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *