Tag Archive | productivity

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. 

Camp NaNoWriMo: Crossing the Finish Line

Final word count: 50,214 words in total

This is basically the first event of this nature that I’ve ‘finished’ – although during my participation in Script Frenzy I did complete the draft of the script, but it was much less than what was needed to ‘win’ – and it’s a very exciting, accomplished feeling. Not only was I finally able to get down a good first draft to go from for a story I’ve been trying to get down as I want it to be for years, I was able to participate in a fun event and make a lot out of the communication and advantages that come with it, and complete the challenge. Pushing through the last paragraphs I needed to get to the total that night, I did have a lot of trouble with – but I was determined to make it through to the 50,000th word on the draft that night.

I’d already written a bit that day, earlier on, trying to get into the ‘zone’ and figure out a good word count, and I needed only about 2k more to finally make it to 50k. I was at a scene that I hadn’t intended to put in, but it just came as an advantage to me – it was something I could definitely write a lot out of. I’d decided to throw my main character a bit of a bone and let him have a good night, but not without a little trouble and definitely not without throwing in a big plot point that I’d been building up to from the beginning. It was a big revelation, and my character had a lot of trouble admitting it (it took him a few paragraphs of trying to explain things before he was able to just write it) even to his journal.

Of course, I’d been planning to make this one carry over the course of journal entries spanning throughout a year, getting to know my characters and their situation, but something about the way this scene had ended just felt incredibly right. It was perfect for an ending to this first story – I’d gotten to know not only my main character, but his family, his friend, the other characters involved, his situation, and I’d built up to this revelation throughout the story as I’d worked it.

Of course, there are things that I need to fix and change and the entire thing is going to be re-written (and probably a little longer) – there are plot devices that I need to weave in better and I need to put in some more information, and I need to fix the ‘time-line’ of most of it. I’d somehow made this draft, despite being over 30 entries, take place in a much shorter period of time than intended, and that’s… not really going to work well. I’m going to stretch it out over a few more months so I can give some more development to different things and try to figure out different things in the next draft. I didn’t set up for the first one to end at that point, so there are obviously some bits that I held back on and of course, being a fairly quickly written draft, there are a few inconsistencies and a lot of things I need to fix, but it’s going to be serving as a good tool during my outlining process and a good starting place.

Camp NaNoWriMo has been a good tool for me in finally getting the ball rolling here. I’m excited for what’s to come next – I’m going to spend July pouring over this first draft and working out an outline on it. I’m hoping that my next posts on writing and the process will be on either first drafts or making outlines and how I go about those two things – whether the first one that will come is going to be one or the other, I’m not sure, but I’m betting I’ll probably cook something up about first drafts before outlining. I’ve already started on that bit, but I think it’d make more sense judging by my outlining process to write about this whole first draft business first.

How is the last week of Camp NaNoWriMo going for you? Have you crossed the finish line, or are you expecting to?

Camp NaNoWriMo Week Three

Word count: 45,406 and counting

Week three is at it’s end and, while not necessarily keeping directly on my schedule, Camp NaNoWriMo has been going wonderfully for me. I’ve been making good progress with my story and writing, and currently have over 30 entries for my WIP done. As I’ve said a few times before, this run with the story has been so much more fun for me than the previous attempts at getting out a full draft. I’m much more confident about this version and, come November, when it should be done, I’m going to put it away for a week or two before I go back and review the entries. In reviewing them, I’ll have my handy dandy notebook where I’ll do an overview of basically what I touched base on in each one that I’d like to be kept in the final draft, add in what I want to be put in there, make any changes I need/add any new entries or parts of the plot, basically make an outline for the rewriting through looking at my mess of a first draft from this NaNo-season.

What I’ve loved the most about this experience in general, aside from the writing itself, is being able to share what I’ve been able to do and my new developments. Participating in the wordsprints and interacting with other people doing these types of events, being able to experience the whole thing with others. My lovie and I have been working at this together, and talking to him about the whole mess has been one of the best parts of it. I’m not too sure where he is in terms of word-count, but regardless of that, being able to enjoy Camp NaNoWriMo with him and the sort of ‘community’ of people participating has been amazing.

As for the most enjoyable parts of the writing, I’m not sure exactly what I’d pick. Perhaps the way I can get into character so easily, the way I can explore him so much easier through these journal entries and give him a very prominent voice while doing so, or the way I can come up with an idea on the fly to write about when nothing in particular that I’ve planned ahead for is going on and make something of it just to get those words in and getting something a lot better than I expected out of it. Maybe it’s the progress on the story in general, or, more in particular, the character development (developing characters has always been one of my favourite parts of writing – I love getting to know my characters and sort of see what I can come up with for them, starting out with one idea and as I write and go through the development of the story and it’s draft, wind up with something completely different than I thought).

This story is basically a sort of warm-up for the series itself – the one I’m writing now isn’t exactly intended to be published. I guess you could call it a bonus, an exploration of the character before things really start up. It’s a way to get the ball running and leading up to a good place to start the first book I have planned for the series. What I’m thinking I’ll do is, when I’m working through the final draft for this, post it gradually on here to not only get feedback to help me as I go but make this sort of ‘bonus’ available to what could be potential readers of the series. Not only would it be a good way to figure out my writing style and get into my characters, it’d also be a fun way to get people’s opinions on it and see if anyone likes it.

Thankfully, I’m not making all of the developments here – what I plan to do is to  use this as an opportunity to learn about who my characters are and what situation they’re in at the beginning of the series. While I intend to make this the best I can make it, I’m trying to really save the best for what happens after, for the stories that will follow and will – hopefully – be published one day. For now, it’s just a dream and a goal, but I’m doing everything I can to work towards it. That just happens to be participating in events like these – I have other projects that I need to get done, and those projects will be a big focus of mine outside of these events.

In other words, the first drafts for each of these stories will more than likely be (mostly) written during NaNoWriMo events. I enjoy these types of events so much, they help keep me inspired and get everything down quick without going back to edit and basically help me through the process of getting a first draft down. I’ve been thinking on these things often this past week, and (at least at the moment) this is what the plan for the future is. I’m unbelievably excited to make more progress on this current project I’m working on now and see where it goes, but I’m sure that by the end of November, I’ll probably want to take a bit of a “kinda-sorta” break from it and focus on other projects while I edit and rewrite.

I’m planning on writing 2k every day for the rest of the month, with the exception of today and the day after I hit 50k (if it’s before the very end of the month). I want to have at least 40 entries done by the end of the month, so I need to really buckle down and get what I can done. I’d like to take a break next month, but if I don’t get at least 40 entries done in June, I’ll have to cut out the break and keep working hard towards that in July.

For this last week of Camp NaNoWriMo coming up, I’m planning on trying to wrap it up with a big event in the draft so I can have an exciting finish to the month to come back to at the beginning of August. As of now, I’m not too sure what it’ll be, but I’ll be able to come up with something soon. I have a few things in mind. Whether or not they’ll be positive or negative for my main character, we’ll have to see… but knowing me, it’ll probably be something that has a pretty negative effect on it. Looking forward to it!

What do you plan on doing for this last week of Camp NaNoWriMo? How has the event been going for you so far?