ROW80 Check-in: October 21st

I sort of had a lapse of frustration with my writing and the story I’m working on in general and wound up not getting much anything done in terms of writing under the stress of trying to make myself do it, and I think that pressuring myself like that isn’t going to be a good way to get through ROW80 – so I’m going to rework my goals and system here.

Basically, for this round, my main goal is going to be to just get this draft done. The measurable part of this will be more putting a rundown of what exactly I got done that is measurable in the week on the Sunday check-ins, the main ones being entries written, entries outlined, and entries edited. I’ll probably also put in my total entries written and total handwritten pages.

I feel like this will probably help me get things done better, because instead of pressuring myself to get a certain amount of one of those things done during a week, it’s just a goal to get as much done as I’m comfortable with as long as I get a little bit of progress in and, in the long run, to finish the draft. The numbers probably won’t be very high these next few weeks, because I’m still having all of that trouble with getting back into writing, but I think I can do it.

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ROW80 Check-in: October 10th

Third check-in of the round already (I missed the first, unfortunately)! I still don’t have much to report – I’ve been doing fairly fine with my work on writing here. So far on my goals this week, I’m almost done with the one entry and have outlined two. Since I don’t have much to report yet, I’ll just talk about what the experience in general has been like so far.

The beginning of this is kind of suffering, to be honest. Getting myself to write and stay positive about it is an up-hill battle. I’ve been dealing with a lot emotionally, and the slump is really making it hard for me to write, so I really keep winding up having to make myself pick up my pen and get writing for this. I know for a fact that once I get into the system of this I will be able to enjoy it fully – it’s just a matter of keeping things running and sticking to trying to get comfortable with writing again after so long.

All in all, I have been having a lot of trouble, but I’ve been reaching my goals and getting further into the story to the point where I’m planning parts that I’m rather excited about. It’s a little hard keeping writing at the point where things haven’t picked up much steam yet, but I have to push through this development phase while I push through the “getting used to writing again” phase, so I can fully enjoy the fresher, newer parts of the story once I get in the program of things.

How is writing going for everyone, and if you’re participating, how about ROW80?

ROW80 Check-in: October 7th

Entries this week: 5

Total entries written thus far: 9

Handwritten pages thus far: 25

I’m happy to say I was able to reach my goal and get past the basic opening/introduction of the story. I’ve been through this part a lot and I’m really excited to finally get past it and get into the story. It was sort of hard to get it all written, having no really written for a while before jumping into ROW80, but hopefully I’ll get in the hang of it soon.

My goal for the second week of ROW80 is to get a basic outline for 10 more entries down and finish one entry.

I’m really struggling to put much into this post – I just hit my head pretty hard and it’s hard to concentrate, but I really wanted to get this post done, so here it is. I might edit it when I’m feeling better, or just leave it as it is – I don’t have much else to report, anyways.

ROW80 2012: Round 4 Goals

I’m not going to go into much detail about that long, unexpected hiatus I took other than that I’ve been stressed and having a lot of trouble these past few months, but I’m finally getting back on track with productivity, so I’m coming back to the blog – for now, it’ll mainly be to keep track of ROW80 and things related to that, but I’m sure I will go back to writing my tips and etc posts eventually when I get in the hang of things again.

That being said, instead of participating in the usual National Novel Writing Month this November, I will be participating in this round of ROW80, since this time around, it’s more than a first draft I’m trying to get done – this one is going to be a second draft to what I did during Camp NaNoWriMo, this time hand-written with each ‘diary entry’ planned out along the way based on that draft I did in June. You can read about ROW80 here. It’s essentially an alternative to NaNoWriMo that lasts a bit longer and gives you more time, along with the option of setting and changing your own goals.

That being said, it’s time for me to state my goals for this round.

GOAL:  Finish 5+ Entries per week

This is really exciting. I’ve never participated in ROW80 before, and I feel like I’m getting closer and closer to finally finishing this first book in the planned series. As much as I’ve enjoyed working on it, four years is a long time and I’m so glad to finally be putting this in the direction it needs to go. My break from it after finishing the first draft in Camp NaNoWriMo was one I really needed in order to get some new ideas to throw in this draft and sort of have the time away from it I needed to be able to be refreshed and excited on the project all over again.

Needless to say, I think I’m going to enjoy this.

July: Currently Reading

As I’ve said multiple times before, I’ve been meaning to catch up on my reading and get into the habit of reading more often, since I already have several books here that I’ve been planning to read and lists upon lists of books I want to read. I tend to read fairly fast, my biggest problem seems to be picking up the book on a regular basis so that can add up – I’ve been working on reading one book since April (which I wound up only reading 70-some pages of during that month, and somewhere between200 and 300 of it in my free time during May, with about 20 or so pages in-between Camp NaNoWriMo escapades last month) and when I’ve managed to pick it up I tend to get really into it and read quite a bit, but I never seem to be able to pick it up again soon and make significant progress.

That’s what this is for. I’m going to give you guys a report on what I’m currently reading now, at the beginning of the month, with titles, current page counts and a few thoughts, and at the end of the month, I’ll give another report – be it with pride, shame, or neither – to show what progress I’ve made, if any at all. I don’t expect to make a whole lot of progress, but I’m hoping to finally finish the one I’ve been reading since April and hopefully start one or two more.

In terms of novels, my ‘currently reading’:

‘Dracula’ by Bram Stoker

Currently on page 400 out of 450

I’ve been reading Dracula since sometime during April. I really do adore the book, it’s entertaining and inspired me to get back into writing through journal entry format – I just really have trouble picking it back up after I put it down and why. It’s really a matter of picking it up and starting. If I’m able to pick it up once or twice between a few days, I’ll probably be able to finally finish the book, which I’ll admit, at the moment, I’m liking a lot better than any interpretation of the book I’ve seen before, although that’s admittedly, not many.

‘The Salem Branch’ by Lara Parker

Currently on page 166 out of 334

I don’t remember when I started reading The Salem Branch – not too long after I first bought the book, unlike most of the books I have lately. I’m enjoying it a bit, especially since I got it during my withdrawal from the series it’s based on (the original Dark Shadows soap opera, which I was only able to see the portion of the series on Netflix at the time). Now that I’ve burnt through all of my DVDs and will probably have some time before I can buy the next set of DVDs of the series, I’ll probably be making progress on this as well.

As for the non-fiction books I’m reading, I’ve been slowly making progress on ‘Making Comics’ by Scott McCloud (119/272 for page count) while I work on my comic. It’s fairly helpful, at least in getting inspired to work on it, and while I’m not drawing ‘noir comics’, Shawn Martinbrough’s ‘How to Draw Noir Comics’ (finished for the most part, still need to read the example comic it’s got left in the back) has a lot of good techniques and insight on the process of comics.

I’m not quite aiming to finish those two this month as much as I’m aiming to finish the fiction – at the very least, Making Comics is one I’m just trying to read through when I hit a dry spell for inspiration on trying to work on my comic and to get ideas on techniques to use, and I’m not very sure on when I’ll be up for reading the comic example to consider How To Draw Noir Comics completed.

I’m going to go into closing this with a quick apology for getting this posted a bit late (it was intended to be posted yesterday) and if the ending seems a tid-bit rushed. I’m a bit spacey right now, having some trouble fully concentrating on this, but I really want to get it done and posted so that I can have this up as inspiration for me to keep reading, plus for the sake of possibly getting some opinions on what I’m currently reading and answers to my end-of-the-post-questions.

What are you currently reading, and how is that going for you? Are you generally a fast, slow, or average reader?

End of the month update: What I have in store for July

Summer for me, thus far, has been fairly productive in the writing front – I’ve finally completed my first draft, I’ve been updating the blog fairly frequently, and at least trying a little bit to get involved with the community of writers on twitter. Now that I’ve finished up that first draft and Camp NaNoWriMo is coming to a close, though, I’m not too sure if I’ll be keeping up with productivity. While my novel is going to be a bit on the back-burner aside from a little bit of outlining every day or so during July, I have other projects that I do want to keep up with, some work, drawing and painting, and I’d like to at least keep myself writing -something- regularly (aside from this blog, of course).

In terms of keeping up with writing, I’ll probably stick mainly to writing things for the blog and doing some daily writing on oneword so I can focus primarily on outlining the novel when it comes to writing. I’m planning to try to update the blog weekly on Tuesdays and/or Thursdays and do a little writing at oneword on Mondays through Fridays, which may or may not be posted here, considering they’re practically just free writing from what comes to mind first for a minute for me (although maybe a weekly post of my oneword writings on Saturday or Sunday would be nice, or maybe just one at the end of the month of the best things I came up with? We’ll see, I guess). I’m thinking I’ll try to mainly stick to posts about writing, from my tips and opinions to posts on resources I use for writing and why/how. I also have some reading updates in mind, if I’m able to keep up with my reading like I really want to.

That’s another thing I’m going to try to keep up on this Summer – I love reading and I’m actually a fairly fast reader when I work at reading frequently, but I’ve been getting too caught up in other things to keep reading on a regular basis. I think to keep up with this I’ll try to do a post at the beginning and end of the month reporting how I’ve been doing with my reading and what I’ve been reading in general. Since I’m reading multiple books at once, I’ll try to get about 50 pages in each of the fiction ones read a week, minimum, until I finish one of them. I’ll probably go at a more leisurely pace with the non-fiction, since most of the non-fiction I read are books intended to help with the process of making comics, so I’ll be reading it along with working on things of that vein.

In terms of things of that vein, I’m also going to be trying to work on a collaborative comic my lovie and I have been working on throughout this month regularly on at the very least weekdays. I’m hoping to at least get a rough sketch for a frame (it’s going to be a single-frame-a-page web comic rather than a multiple-panels-per-page one – sort of an experiment on our part) done per day during the week. I’m hoping to finish up at least the first chapter before we launch it so I won’t have to rush to finish pages to update on a regular schedule – however, if I do seem to slack from the blog every now and then throughout July, it may be because I’m working on trying to get significant work on this done, since it’ll probably be my biggest focus of the month.

While working on the comic counts as working on art, I also want to keep up with doodling and digital painting, so I’m going to be trying to work on those more during the weekends and free time, which is why a lot of what I’ve said above seems to be focused on during weekdays. Weekends will be reserved to relax and work on various digital paintings and concept sketches for them. Doodling is something I’ll probably do during both the weekdays and weekends to just be silly and avoid getting burnt out.

I’m going to try to update my other blogs, which are all more focused on my art and inspiration for that rather than writing, at least once every week or two, as well, so when I get around to regularly updating those, I’ll probably put up a page on here that can redirect people to those if anyone’s interested. Over all, I have a lot in store for July to keep me productive and busy, which is something  I need to keep up with to keep my mood from taking a turn for the worse too often and is essential to my recovery. I’m not planning on overloading myself or taking it all too seriously – breaks will be there when necessary, and I’ll be keeping in touch with ways to relax, be it talking to my buddies or watching things.

What do you have in store for July?

Buckling down on first drafts

The idea of finishing the first draft – or any draft, honestly – of your novel can be daunting sometimes.

Writing a novel isn’t ‘easy’. You have to go through a lot to make the best you can – several drafts, maybe some outlining, re-reading and editing, and so forth. When it comes down to really getting started on the first steps you’re taking other than thinking about it to getting it done – which could either be outlining or starting the first draft – it can be hard to get yourself motivated to begin.

I like to start off with a first draft that’s sort of just ‘winging it’. Pouring out the ideas and developments I’ve got in mind without really outlining it or following any sort of map for it – this will serve as that map later on. I won’t get my best work done in a first draft, anyways, and I’m much better at getting things down for the first time, I’ve found, if I’m not constricting myself to the limitations of an outline just yet. I like to get the story down and figure out the little things as I go, let myself and my characters lead the way through the story first, so instead of taking the time to create the outline before even starting the first draft, I like to reserve some time to create my mess of a first draft to get everything down beforehand as quickly and enjoyably as I can before going into the rest of the process.

Lately, I’ve been using events like NaNoWriMo, JuNoWriMo, Camp NaNoWriMo, Script Frenzy, and things of that nature to motivate myself to get the first draft done – I’ve only been participating for a short time, but thus far it’s helped me get down the first draft of a script for part of a graphic novel I’m working on developing the story for and the first draft of the first novel in a series I’ve been trying (and failing) to motivate myself to get a good first draft down for almost three years. Putting aside a month or so to get the first draft done helps me do just what I intend with the first draft – just get everything down, every development and idea I have for it, no matter how horrible it may seem, and not let myself go back and fix things as I go.

My several other attempts to start the first draft for this story didn’t work out because I kept distracting myself with editing and making every last thing perfect, second-guessing myself and stressing over making it perfect. That just doesn’t work for me, though – I need to be able to have fun with a first draft. I need to give myself a sort of playground to mess around with and figure out the nooks and crannies of my story in with my first draft. I use my first drafts of things to explore my imagination and my story, to just put down my ideas and give myself something to work from that isn’t an outline. My first draft is an attempt to let myself go wild and get every idea I have that I can get down on the story, well, down on paper (or in a document).

It helps me figure out what works and what doesn’t, and discover new things and ideas about my story that I hadn’t had before. Only then, after I’ve gotten them down in one big document with me and my ideas poured out onto it, will I go through and write an outline for the story, adding, subtracting, and changing what I need to that I can use for my next draft, one that I’ll take more time and thought for. My outlining and rewriting process are things that I will be writing posts on eventually as I tackle those things with my current projects.

The first draft definitely won’t be perfect, and I need an opportunity to let the story go wild on it’s own, to wing it and explore my ‘playground’ before I go into the rest of the process and take the time to put down a comprehensive outline. While I try to make it the best I can, I also try to make it as enjoyable and close to the ideas I have in my head as I go along with it as possible.

To get my first draft done, I remind myself frequently that it will not be perfect and is my way to get things down and have something to work from – you can’t edit a blank page, but that doesn’t mean that the page you edit has to be perfect – it just means you need to get everything down first.