On The Wall Instead Of Up It

Wow, I log on to write this post and find I’ve surpassed 3000 hits.  When did that happen?  And how? Um, thank you for tuning in?

And now we’ll go back to my original purpose for typing on this keyboard (as opposed to my netbook). I thought I might provide a bit of an update as to how I’m doing. The short version is that things are better, but we all know I’m not going to stick with the short version. I’m a writer and therefor fairly addicted to using words.  A lot of words. A maelstrom of words across the screen! *evil laugh*

Uh, sorry, apparently I had to get that out of my system. But many words have been used, and I have another lesson going up on the wall.  It’s kind of an extension of the things I talked about in the last post, but I think the last couple of days have clarified things further for me.

Looking back at my last post, I realize that I know myself too well, enough that I was entirely right. The last two days have been 4k days. I wasn’t trying to get there, really. In fact, after hitting 2.5, I told myself I could quit any time I wanted to. But then I didn’t want to. I just kept telling the story. And that’s the thing, it was about the story, entirely about that and word count just got left behind as unimportant. Then I quit for the night, entered the total on my tracking spreadsheet and stared in amazement as numbers a little in excess of 4k came out both days. Seriously, I was kind of impressed with myself, a highly unusual state of affairs, trust me.

So the lesson going on the wall? Direct quote from what’s on the paper being taped up: Lose yourself in telling the story and words (word count and all) will flow along with that story. It means a lot of things, including using how the story flows as a tool for me to diagnose when something is wrong with the story, or worse, when I’m driving myself too hard.  It also helps me to know when I’m putting together a good story, because I think those are the ones that a writer tends to lose themselves in. I may be wrong on that part, as it’s purely my experience, and I welcome comments on it, either agreement or otherwise.

All that writing landed me at another milestone for the draft last night, 70k was reached and breached. I’m still not willing to pin down how far I have to go, but I think it’s in the 15k range. Nobody quote me on that later though, please. There are parts I think I will have to work with to smooth out and others that I’ve skimmed through and been surprisingly pleased with. But that’s all a worry for another time, not until at least a week or two after I finish this draft, depending on what I might have to keep myself occupied when I’m done this.  One day, if I ever have a lot of money, I’m going to go out and try to buy some patience.  Nothing else has worked, maybe that will, if I can find the right shop.

I have done one big scary thing, this past weekend, and I hadn’t mentioned it because, well, I’m a little nervous.  My recently written short story, Cost of Duty, is entered now in the Writer’s of the Future contest. It’s done on a quarterly basis, science fiction and fantasy only if memory serves, and there’s real money in it (if you win at least), plus there’s a bigger prize if you win the year. They produce an anthology every year as well. It’s been going on for 29 years and it’s kind of a big deal, thus the nerves.  It only took me about 15 minutes to get through the whole electronic submission process, and apparently my nerves don’t respond to big scary things that fast, because I didn’t get nervous until after I hit send.  This morning I got my confirmation that it’s officially entered.  Eeep.  Wish me luck. Apparently I get to wait until June to find out about winners.  I need to find that store and buy patience right away. :p

And finally, today’s picture, before I go off and make dinner, then (shockingly) write. I have a few like this one, and I tried to pick the best of them. I love the layering in this shot.

About Julie

I'm a writer and photographer. I always have something with me to take notes for ideas or writing projects I'm thinking about or have on the go. I also like to go around with my camera and take pictures of anything that strikes me as beautiful or evocative. I'm perpetually working on one story or another, while waiting for enough distance to judge the last one (or more). I'm always working on several projects at once, developing the next book, even as I'm editing the last. Beyond that, there's always plenty of scraps and twists of ideas rolling around in my head, eventually turning themselves into full blown stories.
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26 Responses to On The Wall Instead Of Up It

  1. Good luck, not that you need it ..

    Here’s some patience in the meantime: I don’t use my allowance so you may as well *grin*

    Oh and I just wanna say that I always get a kick out of seeing your email arrive in my inbox (that so sounds stalkerish lmfao) 🙂

  2. if you find that store, could you forward the addres on? my better, more patient half wants to get me a gift certificate.

    seriously, your accomplishments with both this blog and your writing since November are so wonderful! I can’t express in words how happy and proud I am for and of you!

  3. quix689 says:

    Good luck with that contest! Just entering it is a huge accomplishment, because you have to be proud of your work to enter it in a contest. I look forward to the day when I write something I’m that proud of. Even if you don’t win, that’s a huge accomplishment in my opinoin — although I still hope you win, of course! 🙂

    • Julie says:

      Thanks! And I find it’s hard to know the line between being proud of what I wrote and worrying intensely that I’m simply blind to its faults. I swear, that’s what test readers are for. 😀

      But I’m sure you’ve written something you were proud of. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just good enough.

  4. Good luck!

    BEAUTIFUL picture! 🙂

    Also . . . why is the Hatrack Writer Forums down?? 😦 I have so much fun reading on there and it’s broken today! Whaaa . . . (Sorry . . . it’s just kinda upsetting to me just now)

  5. It’s always good to learn new lessons, and I suppose writing them down and taping them about isn’t a bad idea either.

    I think I agree, after a fashion, that the stories a writer loses themselves in are often “the best” (in so far as I believe in a concept of “best.”) I think that getting lost in it can mean different things for different writers but I think (as I said in a recent post) that works of art beloved by (or at least, obsessed upon) by their creators are often the most effective. The more we invest, the more return we receive.

    As to Writers of the Future…I almost entered this quarter myself but then I did some reading and some thinking and decided I don’t really want my work in a book with L. Ron Hubbard’s name on the cover. While certainly winning it is quite significant…I think it is at the same time a little overrated, especially on Hatrack (there have been times when I felt like Hatrack was basically a big WOTF prep group and I think several of the people I tend to have…disagreements with there have, seemingly, adopted the preferences of the WOTF people as some sort of universal yardstick of “quality.”)
    I’ve critted many a WOTF story for many a writer and I’ve seen many stories that, in my somewhat humble opinion were amazing pieces of art…masterpieces in some cases…receive a mere Honorable Mention or nothing at all.
    I don’t say this to discourage you…quite the opposite. It’s good to enter, definitely but I don’t think its worth getting nervous over.

    • Julie says:

      I keep my lessons learned taped to the wall (and written in big letters) so I can see them from across the room when I’m writing. Keeps them front of mind.

      I think I entered WotF mostly because it was easy to format for. I’m very aware of the feeling around Hatrack that WotF is a central thing, but it’s not something I’ve ever felt that invested in. I’d love to win, or get something other than an outright “thanks for trying”, but to me it’s like any other submission. You win some, you lose some. I just get nervous any time I put myself out there (in anything other than this blog, though I don’t know why this is different to me). I’d have been nervous no matter where I had submitted it. Heck, I get nervous sending stuff to test readers.

      • That was how I was approaching it, when I was considering entering it…as any other submission. But I just came to the conclusion that since I don’t really care much more about it than any other pro pub, and its somewhat entangled with things I am violently opposed to, and the judges appear to have…issues of taste…and they almost never pick fantasy stories anyway…~shrug~ I’ll just keep circulating my usual routes.
        We’re going to have to get you over that nervous thing. I’ve been blessed with never feeling any fear or anxiety or anything of the kind about submissions etc. I love my stories but I know some people aren’t going to…indeed, some will even dismiss them for one reason or another but in that last case, that just means they are a noony-head-face anyway. 🙂

        • Julie says:

          I get nervous for a lot of reasons, but trust me, it’s never stopped me. It just means I still care. You should have seen me when I used to do stage acting. Nervous as hell right before I went on stage, but it always turned out well. And to be entirely honest, the nervous thing has already passed about the submission. I’m mostly irritated at having to wait until June to find out, but that’s the patience thing. Oh well, lots to keep me busy in the meantime. One book to finish, another million to make notes on/outline. 😀

          • You may find out earlier. Some of my WOTF following friends told me they seem to be doing rejections, at least, in somewhat more of a “rolling” way after the manner of a normal publication. But yeah if you do well, you will have to wait.

          • Julie says:

            I will refrain from saying what my inner pessimist wants me to say. Here’s hoping I have a chance to get really impatient. :p

  6. Indeed . . . once you hit “The Zone,” the word count becomes inconsequential. Sometimes I have to force myself to stop worrying about my daily word quota and worry instead about the story. It’s not always easy.

    Fingers crossed for “Cost of Duty.” Good luck!

    • Julie says:

      Thanks! What I tend to find is that I stress until I hit word count, then hitting it sets me free and I just go with it. But yeah, that balance thing again. I swear, it’s my own personal stalker (well, everyone’s stalked by it really).

  7. I’ve “tagged” you in my most recent blog post.

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