The Silver Lining | Day 2 Check In: March Madness

(If you already checked into the post below, no worries! That’s still awesome. I’m just late in getting this post up.)

So how do everyone do yesterday?

In full disclosure because I think successes AND failures are beneficial to everyone–the failures help us improve and the successes keep us chugging–I’m going to state that yesterday did not go as well as I hoped. There were two specific reasons. I’m using them as guidelines for the future. Now that I know what hindered me, I can work to fix it! So I’m going to tell you what stopped me from reaching my 1k goal and how I plan to fix it today. I hope you’ll get something out of this.

For those that reached your daily goal, CONGRATS! You rock! For those that didn’t, I’d love to hear why and what you plan to do differently to avoid the same mistake.

Yesterday there were two big things that messed me up:

1. The first was time, in that I was lacking in it. This is not something I can control (Or is it?). But in my case last night, it was kind of my fault. You see, last night I worked until 7:45pm and planned to rush to the subway to make the 8:15 bus home to NJ. Except…I accidentally got on the subway going in the wrong direction and I wasted more than an hour traveling to Brooklyn instead of Upton Manhattan. Doh. (Side note: reading is DANGEROUS, people! Don’t believe all that hype that claims it’s good for you, boosts vocabulary and ignites imagination. The facts are clear to me: reading makes you stupid. If I had not been so engrossed in a book, I would have been paying better attention and I would have gotten on the correct subway.) I didn’t get home until 9:30ish and I still had to eat dinner. And um, watch LIFE UNEXPECTED since I’m in love with Baze. Then there were phone calls to Grandma (because my parents are on vacay and I wanted to check on her) and my boy, who is away in Utah skiing with his brother and Uncle. By the time I finished all that, it was nearly midnight and I hadn’t written a single word. I am not a night person, so even though my body was awake, my brain had long settled in for the night. So…I failed last night. I chose sleep over writing. BUT!!! I have a plan to fix this today!

2. Switching gears. The other thing that hindered me from starting at midnight is simply that I’m just not in the mindset yet of the new story. I have an outline ready to go. I know exactly how the scenes, especially the first ones, play out. I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know my characters over the last few months. But for the last week or so, my brain has been entirely consumed with my retelling because I’m back on the query go-round and have been in Blurb-land, synopsis-land, agent-research-land, etc. So I found it a bit overwhelming to have to start back on the other story, the one that seemed so distant to me at Midnight. It was daunting, and so I chose to wimp out and avoid the challenge instead of face it had on.

SO HOW WILL I IMPROVE?

1. TIME: First, I hope hope hope I will not make the same subway mistake tonight, but I make no guarantees. :-\ Time is already stacked against me tonight because I have a standing date with friends in my apartment building. Every Tuesday we alternate apartments, order take-in and watch LOST. When the show is over, we discuss it. I love these nights. Assuming I get home at normal time and then my friends come over, I’ll have the same problem last night as settling in to write around Midnight. So today I have a different strategy. I want to reach 1k (or maybe 2k to make up for yesterday). I plan to do it in short bursts. I can use my lunch break. While at work I plan to mull over sentences and commit them to a document one at a time. I think if I do it in small increments, I can get it done without it taking out a large chunk of my time. This week is just difficult with my 10/12-hour work days and so I need to make adjustments to stay on track. If the short bursts don’t work, I’ll sacrifice reading time and write during my commute on my alpha smart.

2. Switching gears: This one is more difficult because I still need to be focused on both manuscripts this month. But I plan to fix the problem my tackling it the old fashion way: with the power of thought. Today at work, I will think on the new manuscript. I will allow the scenes to solidify in my head before I transcribe them. I think getting back into the head of my protagonist will help me get excited about this story again. I AM excited about it, but I also don’t want to be daunted by it! I plan on set a schedule, like at work I can focus on one manuscript and at home (when I have time), I can focus on the other. Or maybe it’s a morning/afternoon thing. Or a lunch break vs rest of the day. Either way, I think setting a schedule will help me here. I’m better with routine.

So that’s my goals and ways to fix them. How about you?

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39 Responses

  1. I’m still working on the rough draft of my research paper. Hoping to get it done today then I will take a bread and work on revisions of my WIP before doing revisions on the research paper later in the week (the final draft is due next Tuesday).

  2. I was able to get some word trimming in. It isn’t much, but I am hoping that doing a little each day will add up. The good news it that I still like this story.

  3. Wee! I hammered out new and improved first chapter last night and beginning sentences for chapter two.

    I succeeded because I tried a new regime: Once every other living creature in my care was asleep, I used to grab a book and enjoy an hour of me-time reading before I fell asleep. That’s fun, but last night, I brewed a cup of tea and sat at the computer for an hour of writing. That was fun and productive.

  4. I didn’t get make any progress. I had just finished reviewing some stuff of my CP’s when I noticed a funny smell from the other room. My dog got sick all over the bed (with my husband in it), which was awesome. So hours were spent cleaning sheets, walking the dog, washing the dog, and taking care of her to make sure she didn’t get sick.

    Today’s plan is to try to squeeze in some editing on my lunch break, then cross my fingers that my dog is better tonight!

    -Heather
    http://SeeHeatherWrite.blogspot.com

  5. Revised a needy chapter yesterday. It’s much improved – yay! Today’s goal: expand one scene and write a missing scene.

    Good luck with the subway today, Shana! πŸ˜‰

  6. While riding the bus, I wrote a scene yesterday and a partial scene so far today.

    Mondays and Tuesdays are always my worst days for writing because I’m at the office and work over 20 hours between those two days, so I know that I’m unlikely to get much done until Wednesday. My progress so far actually feels like a bonus and I want to keep it going!

  7. So far I’m very much on track. In total I’ve written 2400 words yesterday and today. I’m not sure how happy I am with them – the tone and voice are giving me some trouble, and the scenes might not be fleshed out enough – but the story itself is progressing well.

    I might be adding more later tonight, depending on how things go!

  8. I didn’t meet my modest goal of 500 words yesterday. I was shocked to discover that I hadn’t opened the WIP since February 17–so just opening it and doing ANYTHING is an improvement.

    Today I managed to write 300 words before I got the boys to school and started work for the day (indexing: the blind angle and predator avoidance strategies). I also decided I was going to commit to a plot bunny, big time. I’m going to raise that plot bunny to Monty Python status. And I discovered a new scene. It’s like finding a piece to the jigsaw that fell on the floor. Eureka!

    And I’m excited and ready to get some more done tonight. Now, I must index like the wind.

  9. I reviewed and polished a couple chapters and then moved on to revise another so feel I made a pretty good start. I’m changing POV as I go so some chapters are going to be more of a challenge.

    BTW, I left a brief comment here yesterday (Monday) to say I’d checked in at Denise’s blog, but since I didn’t realize the major time change between us, it posted as a Tuesday comment. Now today is Tuesday (for me, at least) and this is really meant to be my first progress report. Have I confused you yet? Sorry!

    Carol

  10. My goal was to start out by doing chapter summaries of what I have so far, just to get my head back into the story. I made it up to chapter 10, not as far as I’d like, but at least I got started. Today I hope to finish that and review all my research notes. Maybe do a bit of outlining for my subplots if I can squeese it in.

  11. Such great attitudes among this group! I’ve been fighting an AWFUL sinus infection. I did, however, work through my chapter one yesterday. Today, because I’m feeling equally awful, I plan to take a stab at writing a new scene later in the book. I don’t feel so much pressure for it to be good if it’s brand new writing, as opposed to polishing something old(and I don’t feel capable of doing anything good at the moment!)

  12. Well, I am focusing on major revisions in five separate places of my WIP. Last night I finished one of the five. HOORAY! (We aren’t going to bring up the fact that it was the easiest of the five, since it only required writing one paragraph.)

    But I also revised and polished most of the first chapter (where said paragraph needed to be inserted), so it was a good session.

  13. My goal for March

    I am at page 315 of an adult novel. My goal is to finish this puppy by the end of the month. I hope to work on it every day. Today I drafted 3 pages (a scene) and plan to type it in and polish tonight.

  14. My goal is to revise my middle-grade novel this month, and last night, I revised the dialogue in a key scene and began work on introducing a new scene earlier in the manuscript. Good luck to everyone! Happy writing!

  15. my goals

    I’m new at this sort of challenge so not sure I have the hang of it. Here are my goals:

    1- Write every day on my new novel;

    2- Without editing – this is a biggie because I want to edit before I have much to edit;

    3- By March 31 have 100 pages of a rough draft.
    I’m off here to start! Good luck to anyone who is joining.

  16. I got to 20k. I don’t have a writing goal for every day but I do want to finish this WIP by the end of this challenge. Next up, I’m taking 3 days off because I have midterms but should be back on schedule by Friday. πŸ™‚ I guess I’ll check in then!

    BTW Shana I <33 Life Unexpected too!!!!!!

  17. I think in pages when I write – so my goal was 5/day and yesterday I cranked out 6. Wa-hoo! Today I’m on track to finish my daily goal as well. I’m not answering the phone .. the laundry is starting to pile up (already) and I’m doing my ‘work from home’ job after dinner to allow the quietest time of the day for writing.

  18. I’m excited to be here. I did write the verse that I needed to for a non-fiction pb. Just found out today that I’m up next for crit in one of my groups. Perfect timing.
    So tomorrow I plan to get on the MG. I’ve said it a million times…I do well under pressure, and having to be accountable. Thanks again.
    On another note, I did the community read today. they were short on readers at the little school I went to so I volunteered to do two classes. they assigned me K and 5-6 multi. Well it turned out so well that I read another full period to the second 5-6. Mid graders! Mona

  19. Love to see so much progress from everyone. It is so inspiring to me. Hooray!

    I have loose daily goals as well – somewhere around the 500 word mark with more on weekends. Yesterday I worked on trying to iron out my storyline and between yesterday and today I added 1100 words to the story. My big writing days are Saturday – Monday but I’m excited to do a little everyday to keep my forward momentum and the story in my head.

    Walked 7.2 miles today, worked and took son to the doctor. Choir tonight. Busy, busy. But that is why we are doing this, right?

    Kai

  20. checking in…

    I didn’t reach my goal of editing 5 chapters last night. These were all very minor edits and large cuts which should have been fairly straightforward, (The major revisions don’t come until the middle of the book), but as I started to cut chapter 2, a completely different way of doing the scene came to me. So basically my quick edits of chapters 1-5 turned into a quick edit of chapter 1 followed by extensive re-writing (and re-writing) of chapter 2.

    I don’t think of this as a failure though because the result is a MUCH stronger chapter 2. I am happy even if I’m behind right at the get go.

    So tonight is finishing the quick cuts/changes to chapters 3-5 and hopefully starting chapter 6, which needs major changes.

  21. Congrats on the request, shannywriter! So exciting.

    I wrote out the beginning of a scene last night (starting at 11:30–and then had to stay up an hour because I kept knowing what had to be written. Must start earlier!). It ended up being about 1k, and it’s a pretty crucial part of the story, so…I’m kind of stoked.

    Love checking in and reading up on everyone’s progress! And also I love Life Unexpected. It’s a teenager show AND a people-my-age show! Perfect!

  22. OK – 9:21 and I’ve written 611 words today. Since my goal is 12,000 this month, I think I’m right on target. Hoping for more tomorrow. Must keep plugging away . . .

  23. Wanted at least 1000 words today. Finished my usual writing time (kids at school) with 960. So I snuck back upstairs tonight and got in a few more. Total for the day: 1079.

    This accountability thing is great–really motivating. Fun to hear how everyone is doing.

  24. >DOH<

    I was totally not paying attention this morning when I posted and wrote today’s in the wrong place. So here it is in the right place.

    My brain totally pinged last night (In ADD
    speak, that means my brain went PINGGGG in a totally random direction last night after emailing with someone). I have totally gotten side tracked on another writing project instead of my WIP. This is something that has been on the back burner forever. I sat down last night and worked on an outline. We’ll see where it goes.

  25. I edited the scene I wrote on Sunday and added a little more detail. I’m still working out some of the rules of magic in this world, but I’m hoping to get some forward momentum tomorrow.

    I love Life Unexpected, btw! Baze is great.

  26. Grumble.

    Well I did well on day one. And on day two. And yesterday, day three, I did NOT so well. I don’t know what happened. I honestly can’t remember how the day ran away from me. I was out with friends in the evening, I had 4 hours of class during the day. I still should have been able to write a LITTLE bit. But I didn’t. So big fat failure there.
    In Australia, Day 4 is coming to a close, and I have written 150 words, when to get to my word count goals I really need to be writing 750 words a day. I work best in the morning so good luck to me now, at 10pm trying to slog my way through. But I’m trying.

    You’re right Shana, you do learn from both success and failure. Often more so from failure.

    -Sairz

    http://twitter.com/SairzBillington

  27. meeting goals/march madness challenge

    Hey,
    I did more than I thought I ever could today – it was busy. BUT I got two new pages on my novel and fleshed out one character that had been hiding from me.
    Thanks so much for starting this. I’m loving the challenge.
    Barb

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