Wednesday, July 30, 2014

WIPMarathon Report #6

Guys, this had to be my ROUGHEST month. As you know, I finished my book [almost] in time for last month's check in. So I should be on Cloud Nine, right? But let me tell you, the my-book-is-finished afterglow has worn off pretty fast--replaced with the being-pulled-into-a-bazillion-different-directions anti-glow. It turns out that writing the book is the fun part. Everything else is the stuff you're forced to swallow as a writer if you want to be published.

But I'm being overly-grim, I think, because honestly, there were some awesome milestones this month that I'm elated about. The biggest one is, I have my cover! I told my cover artist, Naj, that I wanted my cover to be "mysterious, dream-like, with a sense of tension and movement," and wow did she deliver. I gave her other parameters too, but I don't want to spoil it, so for now I'll just leave it at "I really love it."

Also, after months of agonizing over one, I finally have a title. For personal reasons I decided not to go with a series title, so the title for Book One will eventually be the series marker as well. Having my cover and the title for my book--and my series--feels huge. It's making this whole book-thing feel more real.

On to my report:

Last report word count + chapter count/scene count: 108,878 words - 36 chapters, plus epilogue, completed
Current report WC + CC/ SC: 109,049 words - 37 chapters, plus epilogue, completed. This is NOT GOOD. I'm trying to bring my word count DOWN through the revision process, not up. And how the hell did I grow a chapter? 
WIP Issues This Month: Oh heavens where ever do I start? My biggest issue this month was the fact that I spent the last several weeks trying so hard to make my story (in particular, my last chapter) fit the ideals of others, which would be fine if it weren't for the fact that those "ideals" completely contradicted each other. It would be like wearing a blue dress to an important event, and some people tell you "I really like your red one better." So you change into the red one, but then other people say, "I liked the blue one. Switch back to that." Except for in this scenario, everyone is VERY adamant that their preferences are the RIGHT ones, and everyone is sort of important to you, and you start to feel damn ugly no matter which way you go. So bringing this back to writing--this whole "never able to please everyone" phenomenon was actually making me feel like a bad writer. And for the most part, this "pressuring" was lighthearted. But when you're getting it from every direction at once, you start to feel helpless. In the end, I told myself that even though it can be stressful having so many opinions thrown at me, I'm really lucky to have people in my life who are taking valuable time from their lives to care about my little ole' book. So...I need to stop biting the hands that feed me so to speak, and grow some thicker skin, and...I'm starting to combine too many idioms here, I think.  
Four I learned this month in writing: 
  1. Use an eReader to Edit: Ifeoma suggested this technique a while back on her blog, and I finally decided to give it a go. I downloaded my entire manuscript onto my Kindle, and then proceeded to read the book from my Kindle while making edits on my laptop. This worked BEAUTIFULLY. I was able to read my book in two 5-6 hour sittings, doing initial edits along the way, and it didn't even feel like a chore. The Kindle gave me fresh eyes and made me feel like I was reading someone else's book rather than my own. 
  2. You Can Create Your Paperbacks on Amazon's Createspace.com: Okay, this one is probably a "No duh, really?" But I swear I never knew. I wasn't sure HOW I was going to format my paperback for Amazon. So far, the program is very cool. It lets you download your cover, choose what kind of finish you want (glossy vs. matte), choose the color of your pages (white or cream--I chose cream), format your pre-pages, obtain a barcode, etc. 
  3. Look for Review Opportunities: My sister in-law shared this with me--self-published authors can submit their books for consideration for a review by Publishers Weekly (see BookLife.com for more information). Not every entry is accepted, but how cool would it be if yours was accepted, and now you get to add a sentence or two from their review onto the front or back of your cover? This makes me want to search out more review opportunities for indie authors. You never know when you might strike gold.
  4. Make Time for Family: There were times this month when I was so buried in brainstorming my cover, brainstorming titles, revisions, etc., that this became my world, from morning 'til bedtime. I noticed that on those days, I would go to bed feeling anxious/depressed. Yet every time I took a break for half a day to have some silly fun with my kids/family/in-laws, I would go to bed feeling content and rejuvenated. It made me realize how important it is to keep fostering your personal relationships. Yes, as writers we disappear into our fantasy worlds, and that's okay--necessary, even. But a fantasy world should never take the place of your real world. 
What distracted me this month while writing: Ohhh, I guess I'd say weekend events (such as Comic-Con) were distracting. This week I'm working in my classroom to prepare for the upcoming school year, so that, too, is stealing away precious revision-time. Also, I wasted hours and HOURS trying to come up with a title for my book, discussing the different possibilities with family/friends, etc. I also spent a lot of time brainstorming my cover with Naj. Basically, I got caught up in the pretty shiny elements of my book, instead of focusing on the part that matters the most (the story itself).

Goal for next month: To finish re-writing chapter 37 (the last chapter), and to have most revisions completed. I'm officially back to work next week, and I'm feeling almost frantic about that. I just know that writing will be shoved on the side burner while I'm going through the insanity that is our first month of school. 
Last 200 words: N/A.

Best wishes everyone for the month of August!