Monthly Archives: July 2016

A Day in the Life of a Summer Writer

I don’t know why I think anyone would care what I do all day, but I get that question a lot for some reason. It’s summer, and I’m a teacher ten months out of the year, which means I get to collect my overtime for two months. (June and July) Save for a few professional development days. I write all year ’round, but during the summer…I’m a full-time writer. And it’s awesome.

Currently, I’m writing Alex and Azalea, the prequel novella to my Underground Trilogy. And I’m editing Ash, the second book in the series. It’s been published, but I’m working on re-editing and re-formatting it.

So, here’s what my summer writing day looks like:

7:30 am– Wake up without an alarm 🙂

(Lay in bed and scroll through all the social media platforms. It’s embarrassing how long I let myself do this.)

8:30 am– Actually go downstairs and make coffee, brew, add cream, clean up coffee grounds, nuke it until it’s scalding. Grab chocolate. (Important step)

8:45 am-Sit in “the writing chair” and open Scrivener, scan the last few paragraphs of what I wrote yesterday, long-hand write what I plan on writing today in a physical journal. (For some reason it helps.)

(Get stuck on Facebook for another five minutes.)

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9:00 am– Using the “Pomodoro Method” write for 25 straight minutes with a timer. (Wrote 750 words during this go.)

9:25 am– 5-minute Break (Nuke coffee again)

9:30 am– Write for 25 more minutes (700 more words)

9:55 am-5 minute Break (Nuke the last of my coffee)

10:00 am– Write for 25 more minutes (Final morning word count = 2029)

IMG_220510:25 am– 5-minute Break

10:30 am– Have a psychotic break and decide it’s a good idea to take a 45-minute walk outside…in the Texas heat. Why? Who knows.

11:20am– Collapse on living room floor. Chug water.

11:30am– Make myself get up off the floor and return to my chair. Open Grammarly and the word document of the novel I’m currently editing (inwardly whine about it) Edit for, like, 20 minutes and decide I’m hungry for lunch.

11:50ish am– Make avocado toast with ricotta cheese (it’s delicious) Open Netflix, watch an episode of Shameless (SO FREAKING GOOD)

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12:45ish pm-Go back to editing

1:30 pm– Decide I’m gross from walking outside and probably need a bath. Grab book, read in the bath, wash hair, etc.

IMG_22202:15 pm– Get mad because I somehow got my book completely soaked. Brush hair, apply lotion, get dressed, go back to “the writing chair”

2:30 pm– Write half of this blog post

3:00 pm– Go back to editing (UGGHHHHH)

IMG_22223:30 pm– Eat a snack. Watch more Shameless. (Because summer.)

4:30 pm– Chat with the HusBen who is now home from work, do some crunches to get that six pack…yeah, contemplate whether I should do more editing now or later.

(Mess around on social media instead)

5:15 pm– Make tea. Edit some more.

IMG_22236:10 pm– Throw computer across the room. Just kidding. But…no more editing for today. Okay? No more.

6:15pm– Make more avocado toast. Because I can have the same meal for lunch and dinner. Shhh. Don’t judge me.

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SHAMELESSSSSSSSS

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(Can’t you tell it’s so good ^^^ LOL!)

7:30pm and on– Probably watching more Shameless, finishing and posting this blog, messing around on Pinterest and social media, reading my new book (from my book of the month box!) and hanging with the HusBen.

Tomorrow (after my damn 7am dental appointment) I’ll probably do it all over again in one way or another. But, yeah. In addition to what I wrote, there were also other random things that are too minor or inappropriate to write in a blog. Also, I’m a type one diabetic, so there was, of course, testing of my blood sugar and changing out my insulin and such in between everything.

Do this every day, and you have the completed first draft of a novel (or novella in this case) and an edited novel ready within about two months. (or less)  It works for me. This is my summer. (Sometimes I go to coffee shops and do the writing and editing thing.)

And this is basically what I do during the school year too, only minus the fun Shameless watching and snacks and social media checking breaks. I wake up earlier (5AM!) and write about the same amount, and edit in the evenings. It’s a full-time job wrapped around my other full-time job.

Maybe soon it will be my only one. 😉

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Absence Makes the Author’s Heart Grow Fonder

IMG_0383   So, I’ve been working on lots of things lately. Lots and lots. Do you ever have, like, a billion projects going on at once and none of them feels close to being completed? Once upon a time, I used to work on one book at a time. Not so anymore. I’m sure I could if I wanted, but, after publishing the Underground Trilogy, I found myself in a perpetual state of writing, plotting, planning, and editing…all at the same time.

It helps because I like to leave books alone for a little while (like the brilliant Stephen King suggests) so I can stop being so attached to the story and re-read it from a reader’s point of view. I also like to do this with trilogies and series because I have found that when I’m writing them one right after the other, I grow tired of the characters and the world. Not because it’s boring or anything, but because I’m a fickle Gemini that is obsessed with change.

For instance, I’ve been working on a trio of books called the Halo Trilogy, which is about a race of half-angels called, you guessed it, Halos, who’ve been called upon to save the world from the fallen angel known as Caducus. Two of the Halos–Aurora and Gray–find themselves unnaturally attracted to one another. They later find out that it actually has an otherworldly explanation.

I love these two characters. I love them because they are different from what I was used to writing. Aurora is headstrong and tough and, at times, even cruelly cold. For reasons wrapped up in her past. Gray, on the other hand, is gentle and kind and helpful. This is different for me because I was used to writing guys with dark secrets and brooding attitudes. Bad boys who wished they were good and all that. Gray sort of shattered all of those stereotypes. He balanced out Aurora and I loved him for it.

But, for some reason, writing these books began to drain me. I don’t know if it’s the world building or the depth I explore each character, but it has literally taken me three years to get through this trilogy. That may not seem like a lot to some writers, but since I’ve begun plotting, I can write books in only a few month’s time. What I’ve been doing with the Halo Trilogy, though, is finishing the books during NaNoWriMo. Something about the competitiveness and tight deadline helps me finish the novels.

And after this past year’s NaNoWriMo, when I finished the second book and started the third, I was so ready for a break from the Halo world. Now, it’s only July, and I’m so freaking ready to return and finish it. I’ve found myself thinking about Gray and Aurora, hating that I’ve left them hanging. I’m itching to come back to them.

Guess what they say is true. Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.

So, my advice to you, if you happen to find yourself in a place where you are bored with your characters and story…take a break. Maybe even a long one. Your readers and characters deserve a story you’re excited about. Your boredom will be evident between the lines. So, take a break. Eventually, the story will pull you back to it.

And, if not, maybe you were bored for a reason.