Being an update on writerly progress

I’ve been getting back into my WIP this week, which is hugely satisfying. After hitting the wall during NaNoWriMo in November, I lost momentum — mainly because December is always crazy with Christmas and the start of summer, and then I was just getting going again in January when… stuff happened.

But I am going to heed Kristen Lamb’s wise words in a recent blog post: “The writer who can focus no matter what else is going on around him is the writer who will succeed long-term. There will always be pets, kids, family, friends, bills, deaths, illness, and drama. We need to learn to work no matter what.”

These words are so true. I can always find an excuse as to why it’s not convenient or practical or even possible to write. If I keep giving into that, I’ll never get anything done.

So, no more excuses. The WIP is back on the table.

It helps, of course, that I’m between jobs at the moment. My aim is to carve out a couple of hours writing time on most days, giving me ample time for job hunting as well.

This past week I’ve found the surest way to carve out writing time is to get out of the house to a cafe. I know I’ve said this before — repeatedly — but gee I love writing in cafes. The whir and hum and smell of the coffee machine. The people-watching. The simple change of location — out and about, rather than chained to the desk all day.

The banishment of the internet to the smartphone.

I’ve been reviewing the 40K odd words I wrote during NaNoWriMo. I printed the chunk out yesterday — the most massive stack of pages. I still can’t believe I wrote all that in less than four weeks. Much of it is even usable… But some of it isn’t, because I need to rework one of the character through-lines before I continue. As a result, I’m making lots of notes and adding/slicing/dicing a few scenes, particularly from the beginning. It’s a slower process than banging out a first draft, but it’s a process I absolutely love and also a great way to get my head back into the story.

And don’t worry, those of you who know my bad habit of rewriting before I’ve finished: I’m not rewriting much. Just a little bit. Promise. Cross my heart and all that.

So that’s where I’m at with the business at hand. Just felt like sharing. As you were.

How are you going with your current project, whatever it may be?


18 thoughts on “Being an update on writerly progress

  1. I am bogged down with writing my synopsis! I have tried 5 times and hate it everytime. Can’t send it to a publisher without a synopsis, so…..


    1. You have my sympathies – synopses are hard! But they mean you’re at the pointy end of the process. Yay! Good luck with it. (have you considered asking someone else to write it? I think it’s much easier to write synopses for other people. It’s hard to be objective about one’s own work!)


      1. I never thought about that. It may be a good idea to have someone that is detached from the characters to write it. Hard for me to cut it down; everything seems important to me. Haha


  2. Way to go, Ellen! Sounds like your writing mojo is back. I also love writing in cafes. I usually get so much more done that way. I bring my headphones, turn on my favorite cello music, and the rest of the world falls away so I can write. I have yet to look over what I wrote during NaNo. I’m sure much of it will need massive rewriting but I’m o.k. with that for now. We’ll see if I’m feeling so positive about it when I actually dig in to it. 😉


    1. The mojo is on the way… I don’t write with headphones. I prefer the background noise. 🙂
      Right now I’m back in the cafe and the place is humming. The coffee machine grinds. Cutlery clinks. Milk spits. Bell rings to signal an order. Music plays ‘here comes the sun’…


    1. Cafes are definitely better for pure writing, rather than editing. Although today I lugged a great chunk of printed pages to the cafe and spread myself out! I need to overhaul my writing room at home to make it more inviting. At the moment it’s got bad karma. Don’t know why.


  3. I hit a wall too, but now I’m all inspired after WANA Con ~ so back at it for me.
    I’m glad you got to the other side of your stumbling block and are at it again. Good for you! Writing in a cafe sounds so awesome. The way you describe it, I can imagine how cool it must be.


    1. Glad to hear you’re at it again too! I was wondering who went to WANAcon — the times were too awkward for me with other stuff I had on. Hope someone (you?) blogs about it.

      Writing is cafes is pretty awesome. Sometimes it’s the only time I get anything done. You should try it.:-)


  4. Keep us apprised of your progress Ellen. We’re interested and it keeps you accountable too. If you write for two hours every day, you will have that book finished AND revised before you know it. Honest.


    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! I try not to post about progress too often, for fear of boring people, but every so often I like to share. 🙂

      It’s amazing, though, how hard it is to even find two hours on some days, even though I’m not working! The whole job search (and networking) really takes it out of me…

      But as you say, if you do the numbers, it just happens. 🙂


      1. When I’m between jobs, there’s an underlying layer of angst that isn’t there otherwise, which takes its toll too. I found that working on my WIP first thing in the morning made me “happy” and counteracted the stresses of job hunting. You’ll find another job soon. I know it!


      2. You’ve summed it up perfectly — that angst can rear its ugly head unexpectedly at any time!

        I’ve also found writing best first thing in the morning, before my head is full of all the other stuff. Even so, I’m taking it out of the house so I can’t get bogged down in job-related emails. Problem is though, I don’t want to stop! And then I don’t leave enough time to do the things I should be doing to gain employment.

        Some days I do job stuff first, and then it seems as though I can’t find my mojo for writing in the afternoon… but once again, if I take it out of the house, I seem to find the zone. Somehow or other, I’m making progress.


  5. Bravo for writing 40,000 words during Nanowrimo! That is incredible! I love that you said “most of it is even usable.” That’s quite an accomplishment! The part of the process you are in now sounds fun to me! Being able to see that you have things you can use from fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants writing and having time to tinker with a printed out copy… amazing. Enjoy your café time!


    1. Thanks — I was really happy with 40,000 words, I can tell you. But I wish I said “most” of them were usable… Still, many of them are (although not, you understand, “as is”), so it was definitely a worthwhile process.

      And yes, I love the stage I’m at now, although I’m trying hard not to get sucked into editing/rewriting properly until the entire draft is finished. I have a shocking habit of doing that. So I’m backfilling a little bit and trying to get myself positioned for a sprint to the end. 🙂

      And I’m loving my cafe time, thank you!


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