Wednesday, 6 August 2014

What's Up Wednesday & IWSG: Battling Insecurity with Goals!

It's time for What's Up Wednesday, a weekly meme run by Erin L Funk and Jaime Morrow. Here's what I've been up to this past week!

What I'm reading

I read Silver Shadows, the latest in Richelle Mead's Bloodlines series. It's as addictive and intense as all her books, and didn't disappoint!

I also read The Falconer by Elizabeth May, which I loved! A book about a faerie-killing girl in a steampunk version of 19th century Edinburgh...yes please! And it more than met my expectations. *waits impatiently for sequel*

Then I read The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. I see what the fuss is about now! I actually bought the sequels immediately after finishing.

And I read The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley, and wow. I like epic fantasy, but I'm super-picky about it (purple prose turns me off!). This, however, is awesome - I couldn't put it down!

What I'm writing

Carrying on with my artsy WIP. :) Had a few really good writing days last week! I've also been plotting my Shiny New Series (which doesn't have a name yet). This is going to be a long process, but I've decided not to stress about when I'll actually start writing it. It normally takes me several months to plan a series and this one's particularly complicated, so I'm working on it in stages. But I think I've put in enough time so far to say that it's definitely going to be an Actual Thing (at some point!).

What inspires me

The Harry Potter books. Just 'cause. And J. K. Rowling, of course. 

What else I've been up to

My book re-released! :D   Yep - Darkness Watching is back on sale! I'm doing KDP Select for the next three months, so the ebook's only available on Amazon (it made sense, seeing as Amazon accounts for about 95% of my sales!). I also signed the contracts for Darkworld Books 4 and 5, so the rest of my series is definitely on track to be published by Curiosity Quills! *bounces*

And I'm...officially back in the query trenches with The Clockmaker's Key. o.O


It's also time for IWSG! The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the creation of Ninja Captain Alex, and is a great way for writers to share their worries, support and encouragement. 

I've been thinking a lot about goals lately. For instance, word count goals just aren't helpful to me anymore. I do like to use the progress counter in Scrivener as a motivator, but in terms of daily writing goals, not so much.  Sometimes the best thing to do is stop and re-outline or rethink before plunging ahead. This is the main reason NaNoWriMo doesn't work for me (though my record is 66,000 words in a month...but with three different projects!) - I can't guarantee consistent progress on one project without ending up typing nonsense for the sake of meeting the word count and then having to backtrack. Most issues can be fixed in revisions, true, but I find knowing that I'll have to rewrite from scratch can be off-putting enough to stop me writing altogether! 

Also, my first drafts are short. I'm not the kind of writer who has to axe 40K in a second draft - my first drafts come out at around 55-70K (the highest so far has been 72K, the lowest my MG fantasy at 46K) and then I add 10-15K in revisions. So I finish my drafts quite quickly (2-3 months), but the actual word count is much lower than a lot of writers I know. It also means that if something goes wrong, it can't just be cut out - it means a total rewrite. Often, taking some time away actually saves time later down the line. So...I guess I'm saying that I'm not going to be insecure about low word counts anymore!

As for overall writing career goals, I'm in a good place, I think. The first half of this year was a minefield of self-doubt triggers which left me doubting everything and it's such a relief to have some idea where I'm going...though specific goals depend on how I fare in the query trenches this time around! Yep - I'm querying my MG fantasy this month. And it's nerve-wracking, to say the least. But I'm also working on a backup plan in case things don't work out, and it's amazing how much it helps to quieten those evil voices of Self-Doubt. Mostly, those voices tend to stem from not feeling in control of my own career (a curse of having OCD/anxiety), so having that plan in place is really helping me move forward with my writing projects. :)

Now all I need is a way to reassure Future Emma when she inevitably falls into a pit of insecurity again. I guess it's all part of this crazy rollercoaster of a writing life!


  1. Good luck querying! :D I really hope you get some good news fast ^_^

    My drafts really alternate with how much I like the idea :P My longest was 96k, my shortest 51k. Final drafts tend to be 75-80k.

    The Falconer is in my TBR pile. I might have to move it up a bit... And, of course, I need to check out your book ;)

    Have a great week!

  2. I think it's great that you spend several months planning a series. I love the planning phase because it gives you an excuse to just sit there and imagine and scribble down notes. Congrats on your book being re-released and I hope querying is going well for THE CLOCKMAKER'S KEY! Have a lovely week! :)

  3. Good luck with your querying! I'm getting very close to that time as well, so it is very nerve-wracking. I've never been good with word count goals, either (I never win NaNo...). I think it's better to just let the story do what it needs to do, especially with a first draft, then worry about length later.

    Sarah Foster
    August IWSG Co-host

  4. Wow. Sounds like you had an epic reading experience. I've read a couple of those, and the rest are on the list.There's no enough time in the day, right?

    I hope your querying goes awesome, and I'm very excited for you on your rewrites. I'm with you. No NaNo. It never makes for good words, just many of them.

  5. You've read a lot of books this week. I can barely read one. Good luck with your WiP and plotting. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Congratulations on your book release! YAY! And good luck with the query trenches. No worries with low word counts on first drafts. Mine always fall short too, but I tend to lack in descriptions. Edits and revisions change the whole thing again drastically anyway. Glad to see your self-doubt monster is in check. He's hard to keep at bay.

  7. Grats on the re-release and best of luck with the querying! It's good to hear you're in a good place with your career goals.

    Word counts are terrifying to me, because they're a slap in the face if you don't reach them. And not everyone writes verbosely. I know a lot of people who write lean.

  8. Sounds like you're keeping yourself pretty busy, so you'll have plenty of things to keep your mind off the querying wait. Great news about the book re-release.

    Oh yeah, the Harry Potter books inspire me too. They're what got me writing fiction in the first place!

  9. Good luck querying!

    I'm with you on the short first drafts. I tend to be happy these days if I hit 50k. Even though I go through and flesh things out in revisions, I'm hoping my current WIP makes it to 70k.

  10. How do you read so much?! I'm impressed and envious. I think there's nothing wrong with a short first draft. Seems better to add than to have to take out a bunch of hard-earned words at the end. Congrats on all the exciting publishing news!

  11. I know what you mean about the daily word count. It just doesn't seem motivating...especially long term. I managed to win NaNo last November, but then I was spent. It took me forever to get back in the swing of writing and enjoying it.

    Good luck with the queries!

    Leanne Ross ( & @LeanneRossRF )

  12. Yes! Someone else who is a bare-bones writer. I rarely have to axe anything either. The second and third drafts I'm busy adding details, scenes, and just making it fuller. If that's your style, keep at it, because for some of us, that's what works best.
    I do need NaNo and other prompts though. I'm also a very lazy writer.

  13. Yes. Harry Potter. No more words needed. :)
    Great news about the series! I'm always excited when I know I'll actually be able to write something.

    We need constant reminders, it seems. And I think this is okay. I started hanging quotes around my house for those many, many times that I forget. And backup plans help a lot. I know just having projects that I love has been enough to get me to stop obsessing so much over my last project. I love it, but if it doesn't make it, I have two more coming up! Now, if I could only find a day job that I actually liked, I might actually be kind of content with life. :)

  14. Good luck in the query trenches! I'm the same style of minimalist writer and always add as I revise. Congrats on the publishing news!

  15. I just finished reading Silver Shadows too . . . the waiting begins again for the next book lol

    I'm one for short drafts too, but I do revise and delete a lot after I add more words. Sigh. Good luck with the queries! :D

  16. Good luck with querying! I'm still waiting on replies myself. Have a great rest of the week. :)

  17. Wow, sounds like you are super busy!! Best wishes for your querying.

  18. Good luck with the query. I probably will be returning to that world this summer.

  19. And... Darkness Watching download... done! Can't wait to dive into it. The cover is gorgeous, by the way. :) Congratulations on the signed contracts and good luck with the querying!