Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dojo and Mojo


“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired to write at 9 o’clock every morning.” ~Peter De Vries



      01/10 marked the year since I started my writing support group Write On to Build On. We keep a daily tab of how much we write and how often we write. Since I began writing in 2006 (Yes, I’ve been writing seriously this long with this little to show for it), this has been my most productive year ever. I don’t know if my word count is higher, but I’ve been drought-free. For 365 days, I wrote, revised, edited, or critiqued all but 26 days.

      This consistent writing has paid off. I’m juggling all 3 contemporary fantasy projects, each for different age groups.

      I spent last year writing something new. I got the seed in 2009, but didn’t write anything else on it until 2011. By 2012, the word count was still low. I started the Write On to Build On group in part to push myself to finish the YA. I finished it in June and revised it for the next few months. It’s been through 2 readers and has been revised again. Now it’s off to 2 more readers.

      The 2nd  manuscript I ever wrote has been hidden away for years.  My husband asked what happened to it. Back then the protagonist was too young for a MG, it was all show and no tell, and the. plot. lagged.

      I looked at the 1st 4 chapters a couple of years ago and got some feedback. Then I overhauled the entire thing this summer. It went through more readers. Now I’m at the hell—please kill me now querying stage. I’ve received rejections and a glimmer of promise. Unlike many of my previous querying periods, I’m not going to give up too early. I believe in this story.

      My most recent work in progress got its inspiration when I visited my dad in Maine this past August. I took some notes and sat on it for a few months before starting a draft. Now I’m just over 20k into it. But I between critiquing other manuscripts and working on revisions for the YA, it has stalled. I want to give myself a push to finish this upper-middle grade.

So I’ve joined the The Writer's Dojo to keep up my mojo.


For February, there are 3 categories: writing, revising, and querying. I’ve signed up for the writing one. I choose my own goal (500 words per day) and I’ll check in once per week.

      My son got his black belt in taekwondo this December. My daughter is testing for her black belt in March. My YA black belt training in it. Now I’ll be working on mine too. (Too bad I’m not getting the fitness benefits.)

      Often I fail to see the progress I’m making. While I’ve had some small works published, I’m not as successful as I want to be. Besides writing fiction, I’ve also started building an editing business. I’ve edited the content of 2 websites and am about to do a 3rd through the same person. Someone else has approached me to edit the content of his web design site. This may lead to other jobs through his site.

      All I can do is keeping writing, learning, revising, submitting. Giving up is not an option. It’s who I am. If all my stories have magical elements in them, I have to believe in a little magic in my own life.

Writers, how are you feeling about your writing journey?

61 comments:

  1. You really inspire me with your production, your dedication, and your willingness to help others. With your talent and drive, you are going to be making some splashes in the literary world very soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shelly, thank you. I hope your prediction is right.

      Delete
  2. I spent most of 2012 polishing a manuscript I detested with every fiber of my being. I began 2013 drafting a manuscript I love. Writing's forced march has once again become a journey.

    As writers, I think the most important thing we can learn is not to judge ourselves through someone else's eyes or via someone else's progress, yet we must still remain open to feedback and never stop learning—a considerable challenge in the grand scheme of publishing. Not everyone has what it takes. You most certainly do. Soldier on!

    ~VR Barkowski

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. VR, that must've been a hard time. Writing shouldn't feel like a forced march. I love your last quote. I will refer to it often. Can I quote you?

      Delete
  3. I'm revising, and trying to figure out how best to structure this manuscript. *sigh* :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Larissa, that's a tricky spot to be in. Good luck!

      Delete
  4. Sounds like you're making awesome headway! Glad to see you've found something that works for you. :) For me, I find it's usually a matter of building momentum. If I loose it... then I'm really in trouble.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah, I have the same problem. I belong to these two groups, so I don't lose momentum--makes me more competitive with myself.

      Delete
  5. Sounds like you're on the right track, Theresa - for you, I mean. Each of us seems to have our own rhythm and needs. I like my schedule, with two days of mandatory editing per week (after work), and one extra if I feel like it - but I never feel as if I'm moving quickly enough!
    Good luck with your querying!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deniz, it's hard to feel like we're making progress when another job take our time (and pays the bills). For rough drafts, I write during lunch because I still have energy. After work, I can edit. I think of it as slow and steady.

      Delete
  6. I'm really considering shelving my current manuscript. I love my idea but I think it needs an overhaul. I think I'm going to concentrate on some shorter pieces that I've been working on and find homes for them. If the manuscript is really meant to be, it will take center-stage at some point.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melissa, that's a hard choice to make. I had that same issue with a manuscript last year. It seemed the only way I'd get an offer was to change the magic. No new way has come to me, so I have let it go. If I get an idea, I'll revisit it again later.

      The important thing is to keep writing, right? Good luck!

      Delete
  7. Congratulations on the editing jobs, and the fact that you've published stories. That's more than a lot of people (including me) have done. And I like the idea of a writer's support group; it helps to know that there are other people who can relate to what you're going through.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Neurotic Workaholic, you're working on a dissertation. I know what a huge commitment that is. My husband and several friends were in the same position as you. I wrote a Master's Thesis, and that was enough hell. That's like writing a chapter compared to a whole novel.

      Yes, support from other writers is essential. It keeps me going.

      Delete
  8. Hi Theresa .. the kids are doing wonders with their Taekwondo skills - while you amaze me at your ability to be creative along the way - always probing forward ...

    It can only help to have another string to your bow - there may be a few characters there who'll appear out of the innards! The writer's support group must help - as there's always someone to ask and proffer support ...

    Cheers and enjoy your writing ... Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hilary, I wish I could post video of my son's performance. He truly amazed me. I put videos up on Facebook, but I keep my children's faces off this blog.

      I am grateful for all the ways writers can reach out. I needed to know how to say a few lines in French, and voilà, French speaks on Facebook helped me out ASAP.

      Cheers to you!

      Delete
  9. Awesome progress, Theresa. :)

    I do ROW80 and stick to my goals. I've been really productive since joining. I'm revising and editing three WIP's, juggling like I always do. I stick to realistic goals. During the summer, since I'm off, I might up my goals, but in the fall when I'm at my busiest, I tone it down a bit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Medeia, I've loved seeing your amazing progress from your ROW80 blog posts. Until a couple of years ago, I used to concentrate on one piece at a time. I thought I'd lose voice for each one or something. Since I started writing short stories, I've abandoned that worry, and it's fine.

      I can't wait for your next book to come out.

      Delete
  10. Sounds like you're making great progress, Theresa! I like your approach. My writing feels stalled these days - a good ninja kick in the hindquarters wouldn't do me any harm :) Good luck with that query!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susanna, are you going to do the 12x12 that Robyn Campbell is doing? That would be a great ninja kick.

      Thanks for the luck. Same to you!

      Delete
  11. The progress during the last year sounds wonderful. I'm joining you during February at the dojo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Miranda, YaY! Which one are you going to do? See you there!

      Delete
  12. Yay for querying a story you believe in! I've got my fingers crossed for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Meredith, thank you! I can take all the good wishes I can get.

      Delete
  13. Good for you to go with the dojo:) I'm not sure I'm up to par, but still plugging away. Cool post:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mark, thank you. You don't have to share you work and you make your own goals at the Dojo. Consider it if it work for you. Keep plugging away!

      Delete
  14. Bravo, Theresa! You deserve success for all your energy.

    I believe we all learn and grow each day regardless of our creative side. My memoir is my first book length ms attempt. Good for you for writing all but 26 days out of a year. Does your family leave you alone or do you need to escape somewhere to write?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Victoria, during the week, I write during lunch, which usually gets me 500-800 new words. I also write on weekend mornings. After the house I grew up in, I'm good at writing when there's noise around. That said, they're all supportive.

      Delete
  15. I'm sending you positive thoughts. You will get the agent. You will get the agent. You will get the agent.

    Repeat after me, Theresa.

    I am beautiful, I am smart, I am a great writer, I shall realize my dreams.

    I have got two fingers crossed for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michael, you leave the best comments. Truly. Thank you.

      Delete
  16. It's funny. I suddenly have new direction on two of my shelved novels. Well, they're not shelved anymore.

    Slow and steady. And it doesn't seem like we're making any progress until we look back and realize how far we've come.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liz, that's great news. Good luck!

      Yes, it adds up. I wrote thousands and thousand of words last year. And I edited manuscripts over and over. Sometimes it was just my 30-minute lunch break, but it added up.

      Delete
  17. I'm a bit all over the place ... when I have too much at work and personal, I tend to get no writing done, and then it takes me ages to get into it. It's a vicious cycle... love the idea of the Writer's Dojo:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. tfwalsh, I was in the same vicious cycle. Then from 2009-2010, I didn't write for months. When I finally started writing again, I felt like I'd been underwater and had finally taken a proper breath.

      Delete
  18. Awesome Theresa how much progress you're making. Mine is much slower but that's okay for everything else going on in my life right now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Natalie, thank you! Sometimes we can't make as much time. I hope you can make faster progress soon.

      Delete
  19. Lovely Theresa!! Yay for your babies and their black belts! Blimey!!!

    And you with your editing and writing and keeping your writerly flame glowing and burning bright!! Hoorah! take care
    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Old Kitty, awesome alliteration! You take care too.

      Delete
  20. You've had stories published, so you can't say you've been writing since 2006 and have nothing to show for it. Getting a story published is not an easy thing to do, and you've done it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan, thank you. There's always the battle between insecurity and reason, isn't there?

      Delete
  21. It sounds like you are doing very well Theresa--all the while wearing the many other hats that you do. Glad that your editing work is taking off. Once the quality of your product gets around, you may find yourself turning opportunities away. Options are never a bad thing.

    Enjoy your weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Slamdunk, true, options are never a bad thing. Enjoy your weekend too.

      Delete
  22. Like you, Theresa, I began seriously writing in 2006 while I still had a full-time job. Since I was injured in 2008 I have been able to write much more since I am unemployed! However, the last two years I have told friends and family I am a self-emplyed writer and have set aside three hours every afternoon to write. Some days are more productive than others, but all in all I am pleased with my progress. Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Victoria, I'm sorry you were injured, but I like how you turned it around into a good and productive thing.

      Delete
  23. Wow it sounds like you've been busy. That's awesome :)

    Personally I feel that these things just can't be rushed. We want to put our best work out there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LR, you are so right. Rushing only hurts our chances of success. I didn't understand that in the beginning.

      Delete
  24. All the best with the querying, Theresa! You will get rewarded if you believe!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Wow, Theresa! You've got some really great things going on here. Good luck with the writing, querying, and everything else. (How awesome that you've begun editing for others as well! I'd like to do that someday."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, once I learn how to use proper punctuation. That was supposed to be a close parenthesis, not a quote. ;)

      Delete
    2. Shelley, good luck with your writing/editing/querying too. It was good luck that I got my first editing job. I hope it leads to more and more.

      Delete
  26. Theresa, the group certainly has kept you on track! I may not check in everyday, but I find it both a comfort and a source of motivation knowing that you gals are just there, and we're all in this boat together. Write On!

    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nutschell, I've missed you checking in as regularly, but I'm happy you're still part of the group. I know what a busy life you lead. Write On to you! :)

      Delete
  27. It amazes me that you don't see all the writing progress you're making. Since I've known you, you've had so many things published and you are so prolific. I don't know how you do it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Missed Periods, I do see some progress. I guess I'm holding out for that whole landing an agent-publishers fighting over me- book on the NYT bestsellers list for 20 weeks kind of progress.

      Delete
  28. This post makes me feel so proud of you, Theresa! You are making huge progress and learning so much about yourself and writing and stories (and aren't support groups a lifesaver?!). There is definitely magic at work in your life! Don't forget it! That's an order - LOL. This post makes me wish I could hug you. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kimberley, your writing journey fills me with hope. Yes, support groups are a lifesaver! Some days it feels like it's one step forward and two steps back. Other days, it's two steps forward and one step back. But there are glimmers of progress. Thank you for the hug wish.

      Delete
  29. My writing journey could best be described as a marathon rather than a sprint :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Optimistic Existentialist, ha! When you put it that way, it feels like a triathalon sometimes, doesn't it?

      Delete
  30. Keep up the good work! So glad you're getting glimmers of promise in with those rejections. They do make it more tolerable, don't they? I have my own ups and down, yep! but I keep plugging away... :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Carol, yes, glimmers of hope do help this whole process more tolerable. Good luck plugging away!

    ReplyDelete