A Novel in 4 Days – Day #3 — The End!

Today is day three of my journey to finish my novel over 4 days this week. I blogged about my plan HERE (10K per day for 4 days to equal 40,000 words) and the results of Day #1 can be found HERE and Day #2 HERE.

On Day #2, I hadn’t hit my goal. I only wrote 8200 words with a goal of 10,000. I was approaching the book’s climax and I got stuck. A little case of writer’s block. I put the story away and talked through my road blocks with my husband and daughter. Between the three of us, we came up with a few ideas on how to twist the story around.

Then yesterday, I had to work at the zoo, so I took the day off from writing. A little recovery time. 🙂

This morning, I was full-force back into it. Cranking out nearly 6000 words today before I picked my kids up from school…but then the story all came together and I wrote two special little words:

The End.

It’s a short first draft, as when I throw down a lot of words in one day the result is like a skeleton. Mostly dialogue, no description, pretty bad writing.

But now the fun begins — editing! Fleshing out my first draft into an actual story I can send off to beta readers.

Honestly, that part takes the most time for me. It’s when the real writing gets done.

Ernest Hemingway had said, “The only kind of writing is rewriting.” Time and time again, I prove this to be true.

So, how many words have I written this week so far?

  • Day 1: 10,157 words
  • Day 2: 8,201 words
  • Day 3: 5,798 words
  • Total: 24,156 words (bringing my novel up to 48,319 words.)

And I know when I’m done editing, it’ll be at least 60,000 words…or a lot more. Even though I wrote “The End,” I’ll still post how the editing goes tomorrow.

My take-home thoughts:

  • I am completely capable of writing 10,000 words in a day! I was skeptical of this, and it’s a great confidence booster to know your capabilities. (But writing 5000 words is much more manageable for life-balance, as I learned today.)
  • A break between major writing days is helpful for plotting when you’re stuck and for the little things…like telling your family you love them.
  • To write this fast, you need to have your major plot points already created. If you get stuck, you come to a screeching halt.
  • I discovered that I work best off a rough outline of plot points, rather than a detailed outline.

So, what will I try with my next novel?

  • Pick four days per month to write 5000 words.
  • Edit on days in between, so there’s not this daunting task of fixing an entire novel at the end.
  • Just get the thing done. Once the plot is down on paper, publishing the novel is so much closer.

And that’s a wrap. Thanks for joining in and all the encouragement. It’s amazing how I can not meet my exact goals, yet feel so accomplished anyway.

How about you? Do you write a little each day or have big writing days where you compose thousands of words?

A Novel in 4 Days – Day #2 — Urgh!

Today is day two of my journey to finish my novel over 4 days this week. I blogged about my plan HERE (10K per day for 4 days to equal 40,000 words) and the results of Day #1 can be found HERE.

Day #1 had gone fantastic. I frantically typed 10,000 words with no hiccups at all. They flowed, scene to scene, chapter to chapter.

Now, we’re ending Day #2…and I’m calling it quits at 8201 words. I just can’t write anymore. Not because I’m exhausted or sick of it, but because I hit a huge wall. Writer’s block.

Urgh!

I even saw it coming, but the characters wanted to do something completely different than what I had planned for them…and I wrote myself into a corner.

Luckily, I have a day “off” tomorrow where I can step back and do a little more planning before returning to the project on Thursday. (Okay, I don’t have it off — I have to work at the zoo.)

So, the detailed play-by-play:

  • 5AM – Started strong, writing 1828 words by 6:30AM
  • 8AM – Wrote another 1838 words by 9:30AM. I even made breakfast for my husband and I. When I was done, I squeezed in that nap, since I had been up since 3:30AM for no reason at all.
  • 11AM – Wrote 2022 words, but I was starting to slow down. It took me 2&1/2 hours to get those words down.
  • 2PM – Wrote 2033 words off and on between getting the kids and losing track of where the story was going. Again, it took me 2&1/2 hours to hit that word count.
  • 5PM – Here’s where I flopped. I just couldn’t get the story to work out. I even skipped ahead and it still didn’t flow. I decided to go out to dinner and give it a rest. We’ll do some plotting tomorrow and play catch-up on Thursday.
  • Total today: 8211 words. Current word count of novel: 42,852 words. Bright side: The end is in sight.

Lesson learned: Taking a break between major writing days to plot and ensure you’re on track may be good. I know I need one.

Only 2 more days to go! I hit the half-way point. 🙂

A Novel in 4 Days – Day #1!

Today I started my journey to finish my novel over 4 days this week. I blogged about my plan HERE (10K per day for 4 days to equal 40,000 words.)

As I stated in the first blog post, I’m not writing an entire novel in 4 days (even though, by some definition 40K is a full novel), but I’m finishing my novel that had about 20K written, adding another 40K to equal 60K. That’s about all I do for a first draft because in all my edits, the thing becomes bigger and bigger. This one will weigh in at about 85K when I’m done.

So, how did day 1 go?

Awesome.

Need I say more?

(No, but I will anyway. 😊 )

I broke up my 10,000 word goal into smaller steps that I knew I could accomplish.

So, my plan and goals were the following:

  • 5AM: I wake up early, so thought I could pound out about 1000 words while sipping on my cup of coffee.
  • 8AM: After the kids are dropped off at school, I wanted to sit down and put 2000 words down on paper.
  • 11AM: While my lunch was in the oven, I thought I’d write another 2000 words.
  • 2PM: Again, 2000 words (one chapter) down on paper…or rather eInk.
  • 5PM: A final chunk of 2000 words today…then just a little more to hit the goal.
  • 7PM: Finish the day with a short 1000 words. This should be easy compared to the rest of the day.

And how did it go?

  • 5AM – Goal of 1000 words – DONE! 1079 Words.
  • 8AM – Goal of 2000 words – DONE! 2071 Words (by 9:21AM – then I took a 30 minute nap.)
  • 11AM – Goal of 2000 words – DONE! 2415 Words (by 1:25PM – but I stalled and ate lunch and worked with my cover designer.)
  • 2PM – Goal of 2000 words – DONE! 2149 Words (started early (1PM) because I needed to pick the kids up by 2:50PM.)
  • 5PM – Goal of 2000 words – ALMOST! 1421 Words (Started early 3:30 – Kids came home. Much harder to write with distractions…then my husband came home, too.)
  • 7PM – Goal of 1000 words – DONE! 1022 words. Started at 6PM and now it’s 7PM and it’s finished & I’m writing this blog post (ha! Another 500 words.)
  • Total today: 10156 words. Exceeded goal! Current word count of novel: 34655 words.

And the best part? Something I didn’t expect?

Once I get writing, the story is all there in my head and the words flow. Each scene lines up like little toy soldiers, waiting for me to knock them down, one by one.

Also, with spreading the goals out like this gave me time to be domestic. Do dishes, pick the kids up, take my daughter to swimming, and go to the house my husband is rehabbing and give him some moral support.

Only 3 more days to go! I can’t wait to share with you how tomorrow goes.

A Novel in 4 Days – Hold me Accountable!

Since last summer, I’ve been struggling to write Book 2 in my Angels of Sojourn series. This novel was supposed to be my July Camp NaNoWriMo project, but then June 29th happened.

I had the novel all outlined and waiting for me to write it…then a tree limb fell on my father, uprooting my and my family’s life. In subsequent months, we moved home to run the family zoo. My weeks were filled with sixty or more hours of work (balancing two jobs, four hours apart for a while), packing, finishing a house so it could be sold, moving the kids schools, etc. etc. etc. — not to mention nursing my father’s skull fracture back to health. Needless to say, this project (Fur & Feathers) did not get written.

Now, six months later, I’m still struggling with the story. I’ve been slowly jotting down words, one scene at a time, and am 20K into the novel. I’ve put it aside to do other, shorter projects (Hexes & Ohs and Darklight & Daydreams) and am feeling quite guilty the story’s not written yet. All my pre-accident writing routines and techniques have not been working for me.

So…I’m trying something new. Something I’ve seen writers on forums and Facebook groups do. Something I thought was impossible…

Since I only have 40K yet to write, I’m going to block off my calendar for four days this next week. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday (I have those days off, just by a miracle!) and I’m going to finish the novel! 10K a day until an official first draft.

What I need from you is to hold me accountable. I’ll be posting every day on my progress.

Here’s my plan:

PREPARE!

  • 1/19 (Test Day) I have most the day off, but have things to do with my kids. My goal is to spend the day writing. I want to see how many words I can write in an hour. (Update: I did this. It’s 2000 words per hours. That means I need to spend 5 hours per day writing to hit my goal of 10K per day.)
  • 1/20 (Organization Day) Get all my outlines and paperwork in one spot.
  • 1/21 (Rest Day) No writing. Answer all emails/social media, because it’s going off tomorrow!

LET THE WRITING BEGIN!

  • 1/22 Goal: 10K
  • 1/23 Goal: 10K
  • 1/24 Goal: 10K
  • 1/25 Goal: 10K

NOVEL IS FINISHED!

  • 1/26 (Celebrate! No writing)
  • 1/27 Let the editing begin! Still gloat that I finished it all by February. 🙂

I am disconnecting from the internet on the 22nd-25th, except to update this blog and a post on KBoards.

My writing days are mostly consecutive, but if this works, moving forward, I think I’d prefer a day or two between each mega writing day…Like two weekends in a row.

And I warned my family it’s coming. That I’ll be absent.

So…Technically a novel is 40K. So, if this works, I could block off four days per month and whip out a short novel per month. Wouldn’t that be fantastic?

Ready…Set…Write!

(Jump ahead to Day 1, Day 2 & Day 3)

Getting More Instafreebie Downloads

Instafreebie is one platform authors use to distribute free stories to readers. A bonus to using Instafreebe is they have author group giveaways with a purpose of growing your newsletter. (Readers get a free book if they sign up for your newsletter.)

I had been struggling with this a little, as I only had short stories that I could give away free. All my novels and novellas are enrolled exclusively with Amazon and enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. In addition, I don’t have the budget for a fancy designer cover for a free giveaway, so I make my own.

Both these issues (average covers and shorter stories) resulted in less downloads than the other authors in the group giveaways. This was fine, as I continued to grow my mailing list, but made growth slow and I questioned the cost-effectiveness of this method.

Well, I found the secret for me to have DOUBLE (or Triple!) the downloads to my free stories!

It’s bundling them into a box set — and making it LOOK like a box set. (Note: I think this method will work for ANY platform, including Book Funnel, and even for sale on Amazon.)

For example…Here is what my Quick Escape: Fantasy Tales freebie used to look like:

Quick Escape LQ

And now, I give away the same freebie, and changed the image to this:

Quick Escape 3D

And it gets double the downloads, even though each story averages only about 2000 words.

I did the same with my Superhero Wives short stories. I used to give away just one story:

Stellar Life of SH Wife

But I bundled it with a few other short stories I had to create this:

SHW Box

And downloads doubled!

You can see how Quick Escape: Fantasy Tales stands out on the page here:

instafreebie

That’s it. I just wanted to share this little trick with you. (FYI: I make my covers at http://www.canva.com and then made them look like a box set through https://lite.boxshot.com)

are physical books obsolete_

Of course, now that I have the subscribers, they need to be paired with a stellar newsletter welcome series to keep them reading.

As always, thanks for reading!

–Joy

 

Please Join My Launch Team

Six days into 2018, and I’m finally solidifying my writing goals. The focus of this year will be on my Angels of Sojourn series, which includes Blood & Holy Water and four other stories.

I’m getting some fabulous covers for this series, creating some memorable characters, and trying to gain some new readers & fans.

To do all that, I need your help. I am looking for people to join my launch team. People who will help spread the word of these stories by purchasing the book(s) when they’re specially priced at 99 cents, leave reviews, or help share Facebook posts.

of sojourn

Here’s my (ambitious) plan for the year:

  • Blood & Holy Water: New Cover in Spring
  • Fangs & Fairy Dust: Publishing February 1st in the Darklight & Daydreams anthology, then republishing as a stand-alone novella in May.
  • Fur & Feathers: Publishing late spring/early summer
  • Untitled Novella: Publishing in the Unleashed anthology in August, then republishing as a stand-alone novella in December.
  • Lily & Grimm (or some other titled): Publishing late fall/early winter

And then that may be the end to this series with new things for 2019.

Please join my launch team HERE:

Here’s my tentative calendar.

January

1/15/18: Hexes and Ohs Published

February

2/1/18: Darklight & Daydreams Published (Fangs & Fairy Dust)

March April

Relaunch Blood & Holy Water?

May

Publish Fangs & Fairy Dust independently

June

Publish Fur & Feathers

July August

8/20/18: Unleashed Anthology Published (untitled novella in Angels of Sojourn world)

September October

Publish Lily & Grimm

November

 

December

Publish untitled novella from Unleashed independently.

How about you? What are you focusing on in 2018?