Posted in General, writing

Camp NaNoWriMo

Three months a year, NaNoWriMo hosts a writing event. For the regularly scheduled NaNoWriMo in November, the goal is set at a solid fifty-thousand words within thirty-days. For the two Camp events in April and July, you have the option of setting your own goal.

Because I have such a bad habit of start ten million projects and simply never finishing them, I’ve opted to only work on new projects during the three NaNoWriMo events. Technically, this is something I started last year, by trying to finish at least a few of the continuously unfinished projects I have on the list.

So far it’s worked out decently. Although we’re only a few days into April, I’ve found a lot of the ideas I’ve had on hold are better fleshed out even though I haven’t been working on them. I’m aiming to get two novellas written this month.  

Are you doing Camp NaNo? What project are you working on for the month?   

Posted in General

Book in a Week

A couple of years back I heard passing mention of a unique writing challenge. The idea was simple: write an entire draft in a week.

At the time there was absolutely no way I could even conceive of taking on a challenge like that. I had neither the time nor the skills needed for it. Since I last heard about it, my situation has changed and as a result I’m back to take a look at it.

Although I found a few remnants of what looks to have once been an official backed site, I couldn’t find anything concrete when I went looking. The idea of the challenge still appealed though, which left me to figure things out on my own.

Based solely on plausibility, writing a book in a week is more than possible. If we pull in the NaNoWriMo standard of fifty-thousand words to a draft, that breaks down to seven thousand, one hundred and forty-three words daily. Difficult? Absolutely. Impossible? Not quite so much.

Looking again at NaNoWriMo’s forums and participants, there are forums for Overachievers—people who go well over the fifty-thousand goal in a single month. There’s also another challenge: MilWordy. That is, the challenge to write a million words in a single year. Asking around any writing community  and you’ll likely hear at least a few stories from someone who knows someone who wrote their rough draft in seven days or less.

So while writing an entire book in a week sounds incredibly difficult, it might be possible, given the right tools.

The first tool, clearly, is time. I don’t know it could be done around a forty-hour work week, plus family or school commitments. I did all of the following math based on my average typing speed of roughly fifty-five words per minute.

Reaching seven-thousand, one hundred and forty-three words would take roughly two and a quarter hours. It sounds impressive, but remember that’s fifty-five words per minute, for a hundred and thirty minutes without dropping speed or pausing for some reason. Since that’s not likely to happen, it’s rounded up to three hours daily. Times seven days, that’s a minimum of twenty-one hours.

If twenty-one hours sounds doable, the next thing is a solid plan, especially if there’s no possibility of taking a week off to focus solely on writing. While I’m a huge advocate for planning for bad days during NaNo, writing an entire book in a single week doesn’t leave room for zero days. If making seven thousand words a day isn’t an option, you’d need to figure out which days on chosen week you can frontload the words onto—and stick to it.

As far as plans go, the math breaks down nicely and makes it more than possible, which is where we take the hard-left turn out of math and into the biggest obstacle of writing, inside or outside of a challenge:

Inspiration and motivation.

I’ve noted a few times over a couple dozen different posts that I’m much more of a pantser or discovery writer. I prefer to write the story first and then make an outline once I start editing. That said, it’s not a challenge I want to try without an outline.

Not for the first attempt at least.

As it stands however, after a rough February and looking back over my project list, one of the projects I have on there is a major rewrite. A rewrite that does have an outline.

And this week, oddly enough, lined up to give me plenty of free time with relatively few outside obligations.

Since I’ve been wanting to try this particular challenge for a while and things have lined up so well, I decided to bite the bullet and go for it. In the worst case scenario, I end up not having a complete draft at the end of the week (March 6th, if you’re wondering).

I’ll post an update on how things are going (or have gone) on Friday. In the mean time, I’m curious: would you ever try to write a book in a week?

Posted in blogging, General

Upcoming in February

Admittedly, January did not see a huge amount of things actually getting ‘done’ owing to the fact I took on a lot more than I really had time for. However, I’ve taken a little bit of time and hopefully gotten myself reorganized.

February’s main writing project is the second draft of a paranomal novel I’ve had sitting on the list for ages. I last opened the silly thing all the way back in 2019. It’s still incredibly rough, and at this point the plan is to polish it up and begin querying it for traditional publication. That’s still a long ways off however.

On the blog side of things, I’d like to get my short stories page reorganized. Ideally I want to turn it from a list of links into a gallery, showcasing the header images for each story. Because not all of these stories have header images, the first part of getting this accomplished is to update all the ones currently missing images.

If you’re supporting me over on Patreon you’ll get early access to this month’s short story, plus an exclusive behind-the-scenes video for an upcoming project. Patrons will also get a couple of other treats this month, so if you’re interested in finding out more about that, check out my page here.

Although last month wasn’t fantastic for reading, I’m all set for February’s challenges. February’s challenge plot is Obstacles to Romance. Location is Seoul, South Korea (I’ve chosen Wicked Fox by Kat Cho for this one!). The title word is breath and the cover image is a heart.

What’s on your calendar for February?

Posted in recaps

Recapping 2020

With all of the news that came out of 2020, it’s hard to know where to start. The year has been a whirlwind of changes and tragedies. While there’s some good hope for 2021, there’s still reason to be cautious. ‘Normal’ is a long way off, and there’s still no telling how Covid-19 will continue to change and redefine what we consider ‘normal’ in the coming months.

While we can’t tell what will happen, we can still celebrate our accomplishments for this year. It’s been an incredibly tough year, one that challenged us all in many different ways.

2020 Accomplishments

150 posts written and published here on the Written Vixen

Crimson and Gold  released on Amazon in January!

Seventh released as a serial on the Written Vixen!

Patreon launched in October!

Although I’d also planned on providing a stat break down of how many words I’d written throughout the year, that ended up not happening. My agenda got lost somewhere in the moving shuffle and while I’ve got a new one, I’m still missing about four months of wordcounts.

2021 Goals

With how insane 2020 has been, very few of my goals for next year have been focused on writing. There’s a variety of reasons for that, which I’ll save for another post, largely because this post is long enough as is and because I don’t want to derail the topic. There are however, two big ones for next year that I want to work on which do tie in here.

I freely admit I forget to do header images and pictures for my posts. There’s also relatively little reason for that because I do try to give myself plenty of time between writing and posting that I could come up with something. So, for next year, the goal is to get at least one blog image for the week. Prompts won’t count for that, largely because they’re already in an image format.

Secondly, I want to start having guest writers. I have a lot of ideas for how I want that to work out, but for right now I’m not putting any concrete dates or guidelines down for it. If you’d be interested in writing a guest post here on the Written Vixen, let me know! I’d appreciate any ideas you might have for contributions as well.

That’s all I have for right now, but I’d love to hear from you!  What are your goals for the new year? What did you accomplish this last year?

Posted in General

Why Writing Resolutions Fail

It’s that time of year where we all start looking towards what comes up next. Especially now that 2020 has finally gotten a little bit of good news. While Covid-19 is far from being under control, it’s nice to have some hope that we’re getting there now that a vaccine has been found. 2021 may not bring much in the way of change right away, but it is bringing with it hope. It’s also bringing what is perhaps the only thing that looks the same this year as it has in the past: New Years’ Resolutions.

For those of you who got bitten by the writing bug this year, you might be wondering what sort of resolution to make to keep that writing spirit going. Resolutions themselves are great, and they’re meant to improve your life. Keeping them however, isn’t easy. There’s a few reasons they may fall apart.

Vagueness. If your first instinct when trying to think of a writing related resolution is to shout ‘write a book’ this is your primary problem. A book covers a lot of ground—is it a memoir? Children’s book? Anthology? Epic fantasy saga? To avoid this trap, get specific. Include details like what kind of book and how long. Consider adding a deadline, such as having thirty-thousand words written by the end of March, or something similar.

Unmeasurable. Getting from point a to point b is a lot easier if you can see how close you are. That means using some form of measure makes it easier to achieve your goal. Try putting your goal into a measurable form, such as writing 200 words a day, or finishing one short story a week. This way you can track your progress. Making your goal measurable also makes it more manageable, which makes it easier to stay on track if you have a bad day, week or month.

Unrealistic. Often the goals we want to accomplish aren’t in line with where we are now. In some ways that’s a good thing. A goal should give you something to strive towards and work for. In other ways however, where we want to be can be a little farther than we can reasonably reach in a day, a week, a month or even a year. You’re not likely to go from rarely writing to writing a novella a week every week. Take stock of your skills and set a goal you can realistically reach.

Accountability. Having a goal is good—but having someone to cheer you on through your accomplishments and give you a pep talk when things get rough makes you much likelier to complete your goals. In fact, you’re 65% more likely to succeed if you have someone to help hold you accountable. So make sure when you’re setting your resolutions, you tell someone and buddy up if you need to.

What are some of your writing resolutions? How will you accomplish them in 2021? Let me know in the comments!