The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Written

WIP, Writing

*To celebrate my two-year blogging anniversary, I’ll be re-blogging some of my favorite posts from 2014 throughout the month of December*

Lately it feels like that’s what this current WIP is turning out to be. I wrote the other day about how I had my first good writing day in a while but something I didn’t quite clarify was that “good” wasn’t necessarily referring to the actual writing itself. Yes, I gained clarity and yes, the words were flowing but that didn’t mean they weren’t garbage. They were and they are and the more I write the more I dread revisions because this puppy is going to need a lot of work. But what I’ve come to realize in my quest to write a first draft without obsessing over every word is that it’s not the words that matter. What matters is the story. And not whether or not it’s good but whether or not it’s there.

Through five books I’ve been the type of writer who would rather sit and…

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WIP Wednesday

WIP, Writing

It’s the final WIP check-in of the year and even though I’m drowning in revisions right now, I’m still trying to absorb the fact that I’ve published two novels in the past three months and there’s still one more on the way before the year is up! Everything but the last chapter, which I’m still tweaking, of book 3 in the TGIB series has been sent to my final beta reader, which means that the FINAL draft will soon be complete (hopefully mid-December) and then I’ll just need one more line edit before this novel will be officially done!

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The first draft of this novel practically fell out of me and it had been smooth sailing through most of the revisions but now that I’m nearing the final draft, those doubts I’d managed to stave off for so long are finally starting to rear their ugly heads. This happens every time I near the end of a project but since the writing of this novel wasn’t as tumultuous as the others, I find myself questioning whether or not that’s a bad sign. Writing should be difficult, and writing this novel was difficult, but not as difficult as the others. I’m not sure if that’s just a result from my recent growth as a writer or if it’s a sign that I didn’t grow enough during the writing of this book, but I’m hoping to take some time away from it before my final revisions so I can get some clarity and see it more objectively.

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Book 4 in the series will still be my main focus this spring but now that I’ve started a new job I’m probably going to spend most of the next couple of months trying to work out a new routine. For me it’s an essential part of my creative process and I just can’t be productive unless I have some kind of itinerary.

I’m absolutely loving my new job but I can also sense myself using it as an escape. My writing has been my sole focus for so long but mentally I’m just so drained from this series that I can’t wait to take a small break from it at the start of the new year. I put so much pressure on myself these last two years that I think I deserve to live in the here and now for a little while instead of constantly planning the next chapter or book or release date. I still want to be a full time author but after getting this new job, it’s also nice to know that I can do something else and actually be good at it. I’m a creative person and that creativity isn’t bound to words or a certain medium or occupation. That creativity is boundless and powerful and I can fulfill my purpose as an artist no matter where I am.

WIP Wednesday

Life, WIP, Writing

This past Friday I celebrated the release of The Boy In Her Dreams and while I was able to upload that novel a month early, making it available for pre-order, these last two months of finalizing book three in the series are going to have me cutting it dangerously close. I still have my fingers crossed for a December 31st publication date but it will require laser focus and absolutely NO unexpected setbacks. So, yeah, not a very solid plan but like I said, I still have hope. I was heads down all October long trying to get the third draft of this novel finished and as of today at 2:00PM I only have thirty pages left to edit!!!! I would be jumping for joy right now if I didn’t already know that those last thirty pages are absolutely terrible and probably need to be re-written from scratch. I’m giving myself a Sunday night deadline and then I’ll dive straight into the fourth draft since I’ve already been passing along chapters to my beta reader as I go along.

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Book 3 is probably going to be my main focus right up until December 31st but as soon as the new year hits, it’s going to be all about crafting the proper farewell to this series. Book 4 is a monster and as of now the first draft is still sitting at about 50K. Hopefully I’ll be able to spend the entire month of January on getting a good solid draft and then I’m just going to keep chipping away at revisions for as long as it takes. I don’t want to set a deadline for myself right now, even a tentative one, because I really just want to focus on making this story great. I’ve never written a series before, and certainly never a finale like this, and even though I have no idea what kind of pressure I may get from readers or if this series will even attract any readers at all, I want to be totally conscious and committed to finishing this story the right way and not the fast way.

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Since I’m having to push back finishing the first draft for book four, my NA contemporary romance is still on the back burner as well but I hope to return to it sometime this spring. More HUGE NEWS, after a relentless campaign, Amazon has finally price-matched The Girl In Between, which is currently FREE at all major online retailers! Check out my BOOK page for more info on links to where you can download your copy! As for the blog tour, so far everyone’s posts have been going up without a hitch and the series has been getting some stellar reviews. It took a lot of time and effort to put everything together but as more sales and reviews start to trickle in I’m beginning to see the fruits of my labor and it’s just such an incredible feeling! Some more MAJOR NEWS…I daydreamed in my previous WIP Wednesday about someday only having to work one job instead of two and I am thrilled to say that day has finally come! There are just so many wonderful things in motion right now and I’m so incredibly grateful for not only these recent opportunities but for the amazing lessons in patience and perseverance I learned when I thought they’d never come.

WIP Wednesday

WIP, Writing

I know it’s not technically Wednesday but let’s just pretend like it is. Despite the tardiness, this week I’d actually vowed to integrate blogging back into my life again, especially since it’s not enough to just tell the world that I’m working on something huge, but now that I’m approaching the publication date of the first novel in my upcoming series, I think it’s time to start actually showing it. Because I am working. Non-stop. This series is literally my entire life right now and the closer I get to that fall deadline the harder it gets to breathe. Which, if you happen to also suffer from anxiety, you know I mean that quite literally. It’s a stressful time but it’s also terribly exciting, especially now that I’m back to making steady progress.

Unlike my last WIP check-in, things have actually changed this time around and I’ve actually made some huge dents in my to-do list. Book 4, the first book in my upcoming YA series, is still waiting for its final read-through before I send it off for a copy-edit. But, finger’s crossed, I will have the FINAL draft ready for spit-shine by next weekend.

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AND I’m only about 6 pages away from completing the 4th (really the 6th) draft of the sequel. This book I really struggled with. I mean, really truly, pulled my hair out struggled. And I’m still struggling, primarily with the ending. All I can hope for at this point is that everything save the last thirty or so pages is fantastic and maybe I’ll have an epiphany between now and the fall. Still it’s off to my FINAL beta reader this weekend and I can’t wait to get her feedback on how the series is evolving.

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Being that I was totally an editing machine this past month, I also made some huge progress with the third novel in the series and it is now off to my second alpha reader for review. This is hands down my favorite book in the entire series. The first two were all about discovering the story’s true identity, while this third one was just pure joy. I don’t know what made this one easier to write than all the others, surely it has a lot to do with the groundwork I laid all those months I spent writing and re-writing those first two novels from scratch. There was so much starting and stopping and so much self-doubt that by the time I got to the third novel in the series I was at least sure of the essential things, which made exploring not just a necessity anymore but something I actually looked forward to. I’m praying that plot-wise this novel is much more solid than the others but I also don’t want to let my love for it blind me from its imperfections. Luckily I’ve just sent the third draft off to one of my harshest/most insightful critique partners and I can always breathe easy knowing that her suggestions will always improve my work tenfold.

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I was supposed to resume working on the first draft of the fourth and final book in the series this past week but editing the previous two took wayyy longer than expected. I’m officially three weeks behind schedule, which sucks, but I’ve refused to go into panic mode just yet. The work I did on the previous two books was necessary and it couldn’t have gotten done any other way. Sometimes things just take longer to evolve and sometimes there are days when you’re only capable of doing so much. I worked my butt off this month but for the first time in a long time I didn’t let myself get burnt out. And for me that’s a victory. Not to mention it makes it painfully clear that some of my deadlines, okay most of my deadlines, were probably ridiculously unrealistic. But you live and you learn. So as of now the final book in the series is still sitting just shy of 50K but I plan to finish it within the next couple of weeks and then work on the first round of revisions throughout the month of August.

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Speaking of August I can’t believe that it’s really almost HERE. I’d very vaguely mentioned in the past that I was shooting for an August publication date for the first novel in the series and while, truthfully, that novel has been hanging around waiting to be tweaked one last time and published, I’m thinking of holding off for just one more month and moving the release date to September. I’d say the first and second books in the series are practically ready to go but being that I’ve found myself three weeks behind (which, like I said, really doesn’t count seeing as my deadlines were unrealistic in the first place) this final book is going to be cutting it terrifyingly close if I still want to release it this winter. Which IS still what I want. As much as I’ve enjoyed writing this series, now that I’m reaching the end, there are other places and other characters calling to me and I can’t wait to get to work on something new.

Unfortunately though, that probably won’t happen until…(let me check my calendar…) December. Well…that sucks.  At least I’ll have a nice break from this series when I get down to editing/re-writing my next NA contemporary romance, which is still in the totally unsalvageable first draft stage, so why bother putting up a fancy progress meter at all.

Last month’s WIP check-in was totally shameful. I didn’t make any substantial progress on a single thing. But this month was all about kicking it into high gear. If everything works out according to plan from this point on I will be publishing my first new novel in a YEAR. Yes, almost an entire year has gone by since I published Breathing Ghosts and it breaks my heart. And when my heart is broken I do crazy things like attempt to publish four novels in order to make up for the months of silence. Four. Like I already mentioned, I will try my hardest to get back to blogging, but if I end up dead or in a coma at least you’ll know why.

WIP Wednesday

WIP, Writing

I feel like I just wrote one of these posts and after visiting my blog for the first time in weeks I realize that it’s because I just did. I haven’t been blogging much and it’s partly because I haven’t had very much time but it’s also partly because I’m afraid of documenting my snail-pace progress for all the world to see and also of reading about all of the amazing things other people are accomplishing that I’m not. I guess you could say I’m in an intense state of hibernation these days working on this series but the strange thing is that the more I work on it, the more work there is to do. Every time I peel back a layer of disfunction there are two more hidden underneath and when I make a significant change to the plot I don’t just have to make sure it works within that particular novel, but I have to go back and weave it through three other books. I’m not sure what I expected. I knew writing a series wouldn’t be easy but I also didn’t anticipate that almost an entire year would go by before I published something post Breathing Ghosts. I know that writing them back to back was the right decision for me, especially since this is my first series, but eight months without putting anything new out into the world has definitely made me more gun-shy when it comes to this next project. Hence the hiding in shame.

But seeing as this monthly check-in is supposed to hold me accountable, I’ll be honest and share the fact that nothing much has changed since my last WIP Wednesday. Book 4 was supposed to FINALLY be complete this month but after several delays and going out of town last week that’s just not going to happen. Luckily it’s just awaiting some minor changes to the ending and one last copy edit before I can set it aside for good.

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As for the sequel, I’m slowly working my way through those revisions now. Tragedy struck for one of my beta readers and all of her notes were deleted and although (thankfully) she was willing to re-read the entire thing again, it set me back about two weeks and after going out of town I just haven’t had a chance to gain the momentum I really need to get through these changes.

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I was supposed to be editing the third book this week, but due to the aforementioned setback I won’t be getting to those revisions until next week.

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The almost good news is that I’ve still been making somewhat steady progress on the last novel in the series and just hit 41,000 words, which is just about halfway. The bad news is that my deadline is just two weeks away and there’s no way I’m going to meet it.

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But the real good news this month? On the drive back from my trip I had an epiphany about my NA Contemporary novel and when I re-write the entire thing from scratch this fall it might actually be interesting.

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I was tempted to delete this post instead of publish it but that wouldn’t exactly be fair. Admitting you have a problem is the first step toward recovery and I definitely have a problem focusing right now. But for the sake of my own sanity I can’t keep dwelling on all of the things I didn’t do this past month. In fact, let’s all just pretend like the month of May didn’t even happen. Let’s also pretend like it’s not my 23rd birthday this month and that, just like everyone else on the planet, I’m not immune to getting older.