Writer’s Notebook, 8/28/12: First Things First

As you know, we recently moved.  The upstairs of our house is still being remodeled.  Our selves and our stuff is relegated to floor number one.  I have no privacy, no office, few office supplies, and only a few books unpacked.

But, thank the sweet Lord Jesus, after that horrific week of nap strikes, The Boy is back to sleeping in the afternoon.

Time to write, Naptime Novelist!

Write today. Not tomorrow, or next month, when conditions are theoretically ideal. Not when I have an office (though that’d be nice).  Not when the house is painted (though that’d be nice, too).


If I truly believe that I have a vocation as a writer, then I had better show up for work like the rest of the world’s working stiffs.  My husband does not get a pass on work just because the sink needs fixing and the yard needs weeding.  He shows up.  And so must I.*

Bill and the sock puppet just crack me up.

As a measure of accountability, I’m using Bill Dodds‘ word count goals for writing a novella in nine weeks:

Week One:  300 words a day, six days of writing, 1,800 words total.
Week Two: 400 words a day, six days of writing, 2,400 words for the week, 4,200 words total.
Weeks Three – Nine: 500 words a day, six days of writing each week, 3,000 words each week, 25,200 words.

25,200 words is one small novel.

I have two days under my belt.  600 words since starting up again, plus reams of material previously written to sort through some other time.

Guess what?  300 words is nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  And yet, Dodds directs me to STOP at 300, make a quick plan for the morrow, and leave it there.  Why?  So as to prime the pump for the next day, avoid burnout, and maintain manageable expectations.  Some people can write a novel overnight, but I cannot.  The story is in my head, but its details must come out steadily over the course of time.  A little every day a novel will make – so goes the arithmetic.

Reality check: I have plenty of time to write.  Perhaps it doesn’t feel like it, but I do.  Not only can I write while The Boy naps, but I also have an evening or two a week when my husband lets me out of the domestic cage for coffee shop time.  Plus mornings and nights, when I can manage it.

On the contrary, my cousin John, a writing major at the University of Oregon, with no wife and no kids, has about half the actual writing time I have.  Now, he produces ten times the verbiage that I do, but… I have more time.  So there.  Blessings counted.

Speaking of schools… remember when I was debating the best way to really learn the craft I have an answer now.  We get one-hundred percent tuition remission – no waiting period, like I thought – for classes at the small college where my husband now teaches.

Free is golden.  Free means the decision has been made for me.  We have enough student loans as it is.

In case you missed it… here is my August article at CatholicMom.com.  Say a prayer that inspiration strikes for September.


*Struggling to get started and keep going?  Read Steven Pressfield’s The War of Artanother good book recommendation from my friend Colleen.

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5 thoughts on “Writer’s Notebook, 8/28/12: First Things First

  1. I am so very new here, what are you writing about? I have dabbled in writing both stories/memories and music and it has had just a clif hanger type of ending as others have done it better than I think I could do. *small smile* So, I ask you, what are you writing about? In the movies Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and Raod to Avonlea the authoress is told to write about what they know. I suppose I could write about life where I live and the transition to living here as well as the changes that have taken place in the past seven years since we moved here. But who would buy my thoughts? That’s where I stop. *smile* I wrote an article and submitted it to Homeschooling Today Magazine and have heard not a word from them. Maybe my writing is terrible, I used spell check and had my beloved husband edit my article, but am curious why they didn’t use it or let me know why…you know? Any ways, I had better let you go. Have a lovely time enjoying nap time. Due to our youngest wanting to stay awake until close to ten o’clock we cut naps out much earlier than I had hoped. When our son took notes he also stopped taking midday naps. The days are different and arranged differently, but I enjoy them just the same. *smile* Sincerely, Mommy of two growing blessings & so much more!


    • Good question. If you read my Writer’s Notebook posts, you’ll notice that I never actually say what my story is about. I’ve been keeping it under wraps. But, since you ask… I’m working on what I’m calling a “family drama” and a story about vocation, for all four of my main characters. Basically, it’s about a marriage that reaches a crisis and then resolves, though that’s not the whole of the story, of course. :)

      Re: a tough writing market – I anticipate, for myself as a brand-new fiction writer, quite a few rejections. From what I understand, most writers receive many, many more rejections than not. My own hope, and therefore my focus, is to be and become the very best writer that I can be. I know that I lack some tools in my creative writing tool bag, and I want to learn and hone those skills. Fortunately, I will be able to do that in a “formal” setting, i.e. college classes. Acceptance of my work is my eventual goal, but I know that I and my story have a long way to go. And, when I’m ready to peddle my wares, it’ll probably be a matter of “try, try again.”

      That’s me, at least. :)


      • Thanks for making the time to share a hint of your story. I saw a lady one time do a writing thing, not contest but write your story without editing just write it all out. So, I tried writing some memories I have and trying to figure out how they link together to make a story, bad plan, don’t link, just write. *big smile* I like stories set back in time like Janette Oke books and right now I am reading one about Midwives. I like how everyone was trying to survive and how God is the one that the main charactors turn to in good times and in bad. I like the family values in these stories. The Midwife’s Legacy one I am reading now is a four-in-one collection by four different authors; I think this first one is by Rhonda Gibson. I wish you all the best as you let your creative juices flow freely. Sincerely, Mommy of two growing blessings & so much more!


  2. Awesome about the classes! Score!!! Send me your reading list. :)

    I’ve recently taken to keeping track of my word count as well. It’s significantly helped me track how I’m doing. Some weeks, I fly. Others–like this week–are painful. I’m realizing, it *is* possible to write the book. Editing and rewriting are key, I think, but another part of the story. At first, I was trying to do both.


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