WIPMarathon: July 2015 Check-In (I’m Back!)

I know, I know. I haven’t participated in WIPMarathon in a while. Like, more than a year. I’ve really missed doing it, it’s just that my last year of college was kind of a crazy mess and I stopped participating. But I’m glad to be back and I’m hoping this will motivate me to finally finish my first draft of I Chose the Monster. I think I only have a few chapters left and this draft is getting MASSIVELY long, so I need to just make the final push and get to the end.

Last WC/CC:

Uhh I don’t think I’ve reported my WC/CC since February 2014 (yikes, was it really THAT long ago?!) but at that point my word count was 90,211 and my chapter count was at 31.

Current WC/CC:

WC: 113,944 (lol kill meeee)
CC: 40

WIP Issues This Month: 

I tried to do Camp NaNoWriMo this month with a goal of 20,000 words. Let’s just say … I did not reach that goal. Although at least I wrote about 8k words during the month of July, and that’s more than I’ve written in a long time. So I’m trying to feel good about myself even if I didn’t make my goal.

I’m still fighting my low self-esteem and trying not to beat myself up if I don’t write every day, or if my writing isn’t perfect. It’s an uphill battle, but I think it’s getting a little easier.

What I learned this month in writing:

I shouldn’t depend so heavily on my outlines. I have a bad tendency to get too attached to my plans, and then I get stuck because I don’t leave enough room for surprises. At the beginning of July I was feeling a little overwhelmed by all the chapters I’d planned out––but as I got back into writing I Chose the Monster (after a very, very long break … like, I hadn’t touched it in more than a year I think) I realized I didn’t have to stick to what I planned.

Instead, I’ve allowed myself to stray a bit from my outline and to make some more spontaneous decisions about the story. I’ve thrown in a few wrenches here and there if I felt like the story was starting to drag. In other words, I’ve found that my enjoyment of the story is the most important thing right now. If I’m not having fun with the first draft, it’s not going to be fun to read or edit down the line––so I might as well go a little crazy.

What distracted me this month while writing: 

Life is hectic right now because I graduated college not too long ago, and now I have to figure out the rest of my life. *Laughs and cries* I don’t really have a job yet, although I’ve been doing some odd-jobs here and there (i.e. working at my mom’s office, working at a summer camp, doing some freelance writing/research, etc.) so that’s all a bit distracting. I don’t really have an excuse because I still have a lot of free time, but … I keep feeling guilty about writing instead of looking for a job since I feel like the latter is more important. But I also don’t want to ignore my writing, so …. *screams into a pillow*

Goal for next month: 

I hope to hit 120k by the end of August. It might be optimistic of me to hope that it’ll FINALLY be the end of this freakishly long draft but honestly I don’t know if I’ll even get to the end yet. But, I’ll keep my fingers crossed. (Just kidding, I’ll keep them typing.)

Last 200 Words:

“What happened? Is she hurt?” Gavin demands, kneeling next to me.

I shake my head, trying to pull my flustered thoughts together. “It’s an attack. She just had another one a few minutes ago. A bad one. But she said she was okay …”

“We have to get out of here,” Audrey says.

I glare up at her. “And what? Leave Juliet behind?”

“We’re all going to get killed if we don’t do something now.”

I’m shaking. “If you leave her here, you leave me.”

“No,” Gavin cuts in. “We’re not leaving anyone behind.”

“Then what the hell are we supposed to do?” Audrey is shouting now, waving her gun in the air in a way that makes me cringe. “Make up your goddamn minds!”

I look at Gavin, and he’s looking down at Juliet, and she’s still lying there totally lifeless.

“We bring her inside,” Gavin finally says. “When they attack, we hold them off.”

“But that’s suicide!”

“So is trying to escape.” Gavin looks up, looks around at all of us. “And if we’re going down, I don’t want a single one of us to go down alone.”

Hope you all had a productive writing month! Did you make any exciting accomplishments? Do you have any writing goals for August?

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8 thoughts on “WIPMarathon: July 2015 Check-In (I’m Back!)

  1. I wouldn’t worry about your word count; my first drafts are routinely (way) over 200,000 words (I cringe to admit this). As for writing goals for August, I…have another revision to do! Literally I sent off a new draft to my editor the morning before leaving for music camp, and by the time I came back five days later, she’d sent me new notes. And here I thought I was going to turn my attention back to linguistics research…

    I sympathize about the post-college what-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life situation. (Unsolicited advice warning!) Have you considered doing a volunteer year of some sort? There are a bunch that let you work at a non-profit or do some kind of volunteer work, and they provide you with a (small) stipend and sometimes housing. There are various Americorps programs all over the country, I think. I did Lutheran Volunteer Corps (for which you don’t have to be Lutheran (I’m not) or even Christian) after college because I had no idea how I’d get a job and I knew in LVC I would have a roof over my head and money for food and I could work at a non-profit whose work interested me. I didn’t stay in the non-profit world, but other LVCers used the connections and experience they’d acquired to get actual jobs in the non-profit sector after the year ended. Anyway, sorry if you didn’t really want to hear any of that! Good luck with your WIP!

    1. Wow! I think my longest draft ever was a little under 170k, and then I ended up cutting about 80k of it, haha. Yeah I try not to worry about the length of my first draft; it’s just a bit stressful knowing how much of it I’ll have to cut out! But there are already a lot of parts I know I don’t need … and I’ll probably end up totally re-writing a lot of it, anyway. 😛

      Good luck with the new draft! Whoa, that’s great your editor got back to you so quickly––but also I see how that’s stressful since you didn’t get much of a break from it. 😀

      Haha please don’t hesitate to give me advice––I really need it. Thanks! That is a good idea … I’ve been meaning to look into doing some volunteer/non-profit work, so I should probably do that! Sounds like a really good experience.

  2. I sympathize with the pain of a long first draft. It certainly makes my fear of editing spike up a bit, but it’s not like first drafts ever want to behave, you know? They’re always finding new ways to cause stress 😛

    And hey, 8k words is pretty good 😀 I’m sure you’ll be picking up the word count now that you can fully immerse yourself in the story again.

    1. Exactly! Having such a long first draft always makes me worry because I know I’m going to have to take so much of it out. But at least I now know from experience that scrapping things is not all that painful. I often just end up rewriting things in a more concise manner, because I’ve already worked my way through the story and have a better understanding of what I do and don’t need. I know it shouldn’t worry me too much because the first draft is never going to be perfect.

      Thanks! Well, I’ve been slacking off a little lately, but hopefully in the next couple weeks I can make up for my laziness. 😛

  3. Hey! Glad to have you back 🙂

    Don’t worry about how many words you have with a draft. I freaked out a few months ago, too, but when you edit you end up cutting so many words it doesn’t really matter. Also remember to take age category and genre into account, too! 🙂

    Also– I graduated not too long ago and then went straight into grad school, and graduated THAT about 7 months ago and I STILL have no idea what I’m doing with my life or career. I’m not saying that to scare you, but rather to let you know you’re not alone. You still have plenty of time to figure that stuff out, so just enjoy being done with school for right now! 🙂 Congrats on graduation!

    Your excerpt is super interesting! 🙂

    1. Thank you, I’m glad to be participating again! 🙂

      That’s true, I always end up cutting out so much. There was one time I cut about 70k words out of a manuscript and I didn’t even take out that many scenes! There was just so much filler that could easily be removed. And thinking ahead to my revisions of my current WIP, I already know there’s a lot I can take out. So I’m trying not to stress about it.

      Haha thank you! Yeah I know I’m not the only one who’s having difficulty finding a job right after college … and I’m also thinking about grad school in the future, but right now it’s just too overwhelming. It’s good to know I’m not alone. I’m just trying to believe something will work out soon!

      Thanks, glad you liked it! 😀

  4. I’m super late in replying to this (I didn’t even post my own for July!) Welcome back!

    I know just what you mean about sticking to plan. I love to be organised and feel like I’ve got things all sorted out so I can just open my Scrivener and dive right in, but I think being a hybrid plotter-pantser is the way to go 🙂 The things you don’t plan as you’re drafting are often the highlights!

    Good luck on that 120k, and great snappy dialogue! 🙂

    1. Thanks Cheyenne! Yes, I totally agree. I think you have to find a good balance between plotting and pantsing. I like to have an idea of where I’m going, but I also like to surprise myself along the way!

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