Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Next Few Weeks

I'm going to be devoting myself to my writing and Christmas preparations for the next few weeks. Blog posts will be sporadic. I'll probably be tweeting more frequently, so feel free to follow me on Twitter, where I'm WriterMargMoore.

In the meantime, here's a picture of our cat, The Count, I call Waiting for Santa:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Writing Challenge - the conclusion

So this turned out to be the last day of what was originally a twenty-day writing challenge, to end on Thursday, the 18th. My goal was to write ten pages a day for twenty days, for a total of 200 pages. Alas, events conspired against me, so I missed some goals. However, a couple of other things have cropped up that make this a good time to stop. What did I end up with?

I wrote five pages this afternoon, and 929 words, so my final totals for the challenge are:

173 pages, 36,601 words.

If I'd done ten pages today, and ten the next two days, I would have made my goal. But I'm not disappointed. I'm delighted with 173 pages. That's more than enough to give me a good start. And it turns out I should stop here for two other reasons:

1. I need to do more research before I can continue. I need some practical terms and especially more information for the setting.

2. I got grabbed by another idea last night, and when I say grabbed, that's pretty much exactly what I mean. This idea came to me so strongly, I had to write notes. Of course, that happened just when I should have been going to bed. I made notes, then went to bed. Then turned on the light to make more notes. Shut off the light. Turned on the light to make more notes. Turned off the light. And again. And again. Heaven only knows what the neighbors might be thinking. But I honestly could not sleep for the scenes popping into my mind. I tell you, there is nothing more exciting about being a writer for me than this.

I think this experience is directly tied to the challenge. It got my imagination pumping and the ideas flowing. And that's a wonderful thing.

Here I am in Sirmione. I gather this is quite the tourist mecca in summer, but it wasn't very crowded when we were there, on a beautiful, sunny day in October.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Writing challenge - Days Fifteen and Sixteen

When I originally began this writing challenge, I wasn't going to write on the weekends. Those would be chore-and-rest days. However, given that my 20 Day Challenge is going to end early (either tomorrow or Wednesday), I wrote 7 pages, 1555 words, on Saturday.

I had a great writing day today, but alas, my aching shoulder is reminding me that I shouldn't push it.

Today's totals:

A.M. - wrote 9 pages, 1,804 words
P.M. - 4 pages, 961 words, for a daily total of 13 pages, 2765 words.

Total so far:
168 pages, 35,672 words

I don't think I need to say where I am in this picture. :-)

Friday, November 12, 2010

20 Day Writing Challenge - Days Thirteen and Fourteen

Yesterday was one of those "what happens when you're self-employed" kinda days. I had a commitment in the afternoon. After I'd started writing in the morning, I got a call to say, nope, don't need your help after all. So I slowed the pace a bit and took a break, only to get another saying, "Oops! Need you after all." So I did a bit more writing in the evening, but didn't quite make my goal. I had better luck today, in part because I always write faster when it's not a love scene.

Thursday's totals:
9 pages, 1966 words

Today's tally:
A.M. - 7 pages, 1685 words
P.M. - 6 pages, 1028 words for a daily total of 2,713 words

Totals so far:
155 pages, 32,907 words

Here I am in Siena. Must remember this fella if I ever write a boar hunting scene again....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why I won't forget

This is my dad, who served in the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II. He did his basic training at CFB Cornwallis.

This is a photo of me at CFB Cornwallis about thirty years later.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Formerly 20 Day challenge - Day Twelve

Having another commitment this afternoon clearly spurred me to have a productive morning - 10 pages, 2101 words, which means I made my daily goal between 9:34 and ll:45. I took a couple of short breaks in there, too.

So yes, I can write more than 10 pages a day if I have to. If I'm under the gun (and I have been), I can do 20. However, I pay a price for that kind of writing, in stress and in physical pain (shoulders and back). I've resolved to never again get to the point where I have to write that much in a day to meet deadlines.

I know there are some writers who write at least eight hours a day and think anybody who works less isn't as dedicated to their craft. I'm dedicated to my craft, all right, but I'm more dedicated to achieving a life/work balance that works for me.

It absolutely poured when we got off the boat in Capri. It stopped raining as we made our way to the spectacular Natural Arch (that's where I'm headed here). Then the sun came out and it turned into a beautiful day - one of the best days on our trip, in fact. Here are pictures of the Arch, one approaching and the other looking through to the ocean below.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

20 Day Writing Challenge - changing the ultimate goal

Once again I am reminded that self-employed people have to learn to go with the flow. Due to circumstances beyond my control, involving a family obligation and a work obligation I wasn't expecting, I'm going to have to change my ultimate goal for the 20 Day Writing Challenge. Instead of writing two scenes a day for 20 days, I'm going to have to simply try to complete the next group of five chapters (2 scenes each) before November 19.

That said, because I'm already over my projected page and word counts so far, I may make the original goal of 200 pages and/or 40,000 words. Or I may not.

The thing is, even if I have to alter my plans and change my goal, I'll still have a really good foundation to build on, and that's the major reason I set myself this challenge. So despite the picture, I'm not really "malcontenti."

Here are the details from today:

A.M. - wrote from 9:33 - 10:24, 7 pages, 1338 words

P.M. - wrote from 7:35 - 8:04, 3 pages, 838 words (which I wouldn't have done if not for the challenge)

Totals so far:
122 pages, 26,127 words

Friday, November 05, 2010

20 Day Writng Challenge - Day 10, Writus Interruptus

I had a great writing today - 15 pages, 3,318 words. However, this was another day when I was reminded that freelance writers are not in complete control of their schedules and the best-laid plans should have some built-in wiggle room.

I just got some proofreading to do. Right in the middle of my 20 Day Challenge. Now, some people might do both, writing new material and proofreading old, but that's not the way I roll. It gets too confusing and since this is my last chance to go through HIGHLAND HEIRESS, I don't want to miss anything.

However, I had planned to take weekends off and I'm ahead of my goal, so I may not have to veer too much from my Challenge plan. Hopefully I can get the proofreading done by Tuesday, or Wednesday at the latest, and then carry on, although that means I won't be able to take next weekend off, either.

Nevertheless, it's not such a terrible problem that my whole Challenge is thrown out of whack. It's just...a bit of a bend in the road. Fortunately, I do have that wiggle room.

Today's details:

A.M. - wrote from 9:49 to (egad! forgot to make a note - I think about 10:50), 9 pages, 2015 words

P.M. - wrote 2 pages and 426 words from 4:44 to 5:06 and 4 pages, 877 words from 7:21 to 7:55.

Total so far:

112 pages, 23,951
Where I wanted to be at the end of Day 10: 100 pages, 20,000 words, so yep, I have some wiggle room. Thank goodness!

I'm standing in what was a wine shop in Pompeii.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Writing Challenge Day Nine - Revision Decision

Although I lost lots of time attending a Twitter webinar and then organizing my followers into lists, I made my writing goal for the day and a little bit more.

See, this is why I set myself these challenges, or why I'd do NaNo if it was convenient. It makes me get my butt in the chair even on days I have a good excuse not to. It also makes me turn off my inner editor and keep forging ahead, if at all possible. Today, for instance, I made a major decision about the sequence of events in this project. However, instead of going back and reworking it now, I'm making a note of what needs to be done and carrying on as if I'd made the changes. I'm comfortable with that because experience has taught me that, as I found yesterday, what may seem like a good decision today may not tomorrow.


A.M. - wrote from 11:35 - 12:28 (late start due to webinar), 6 pages, 1486 words
Didn't exercise, but did do lots of housework and some yard work, too.
P.M. - wrote from 7:45 - 8:36, 5 pages, 889 words

Totals so far:

97 pages, 20,633 words (so I made my weekly word count goal already! Whoo hoo!)

Here I am in Monte Cassino. You know, I paid about $5 for that scarf (on sale) that also doubled as a shawl. One of my better buys, I must say!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Writing Challenge Day 8 - a squeaker

I didn't quiiiite make my page count goal today - but I did make my word count goal.


A.M. - wrote from 9:32 - 10:39, 6 pages, 1190 words
P.M. - wrote from 4:20 - 4:54, 3 pages, 840 words, for a daily total of 2030 words

Totals to date:
86 pages, 18,285 words

As I was finishing this afternoon, I thought about changing the next scene, then realized, nope, the first idea was the better idea. Sometimes, it goes like that.

Also, company's coming for dinner, so if I weren't challenging myself this week, I probably would have written this morning and called it a day. That's one reason to engage in a challenge, even if I set the parameters and the only prize is a sense of accomplishment.

Here I am near Castel Gandolfo, the pope's summer residence.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

20 Day Writing Challenge - I can't count!

Well, duh. Yesterday was Day Six of the 20 Day Challenge, not Day Five. So today would be Day Seven. Now that I've got that squared away....

My dishwashing experiment seems to be panning out (ha!). I had two good ideas while washing the dinner dishes last night.

Which meant another good writing day today. I also went for a walk to deposit a royalty check. Writers of single titles and "literary" fiction can turn up their noses all they want at category romance, but I'm still getting royalties for my first book. A WARRIOR'S HEART was first published eighteen years ago.

Details of today's work:

A.M. - wrote from 9:15 - 10:31, 7 pages, 1665 (including a few added to a scene from yesterday)
P.M. - wrote from 2:50 to 3:27, 4 pages (for a daily total of 11), 889 words, for a daily total of 2,554.

Totals to date: 77 pages, 16,255 words

Here I am at the Pantheon. And now you know why I called these my "goofy pictures" in Italy.

Monday, November 01, 2010

20 Day Writing Challenge - off to another good start!

Week Two and Day Six of my 20 Day Writing Challenge started off well, even though I was puzzling and puzzling over how to start the first scene of the day. Once again, I simply had to plunge in and write something to get it going. That meant I went back a bit to tinker before I even finished the first page, but not enough that I would call it revising. Then it was full steam ahead. I finished with 12 pages, which is actually one scene, not two short ones. I took a long break for lunch, exercise and to watch a great old movie (some of it while on the treadmill) called They Live By Night. That is an absolutely terrible title for what turned out to be a poignant, suspenseful film about a guy trying to go straight and the girl who loves him. There was also a secondary character with a great internal conflict, and it was this character's predicament that was partly why it was so affecting.

Here are the details of today's writing:

A.M. - wrote from 9:08 to 10:17, 8 pages, 1628 words
P.M. - wrote from 2:30 - 3:21, for 4 pages (I went back to the end of what I'd written previously and did some necessary clarification before continuing)

Totals since the start of my Challenge: 66 pages, 13,701 words.

Obviously, I'm not waving here. I'm tossing a coin into the Trevi Fountain.