I can’t say this weekend has been perfect, but it’s close. Even though I was busy with the day job, I had a chance to get inspired again.

Last week was an “off week” for writing. I just wasn’t feeling it — not writing new words or editing already written ones … not any of it. I think I earned all of one point in the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival. I used the excuse of “decluttering” my bedroom to avoid feeling guilty for this lapse.

But this weekend, my drive was renewed. Thank goodness for that! I only have one uncluttered surface in my bedroom — dresser No. 2.

The creative juices started seeping back on Saturday, while I perused the latest issue of RWR as I stood in a slow-moving line at Chipotle (the first time I’ve seen the line move that slowly there). Then I attended a book-signing for one of my NARWA sisters. Glynna Kaye‘s new Love Inspired release, “Second Chance Courtship,” is new this month, and she had a signing in Flagstaff.

Home from work on Saturday night, I opened my WIP file for the first time in about a week. I read back through a few pages … but still found myself stuck. Those juices weren’t quite flowing yet.

Lucky for me, I still had plenty of other things to do when I met with our chapter president, Anne Marie Becker, Sunday morning for a write-in at Starbucks. We chatted a little, about NARWA business and “Only Fear,” the book she has coming out in September through Carina Press. Then we settled down to work — her on suggested edits from her editor, me on self-editing my NaNo story, “My Fair Fiancee.”

Juices running at full force by then, I also read through another of the GH entries I was sent to judge (just one more to go!) and reviewed my query letter for “Beauty and the Ballplayer,” the contest finalist.

Now, after I finish this blog post, I’ll transfer some of my Kenny & Kristi edits to the Word file. I was editing the old-fashioned way today … on the printed page.

Seems I catch more that way — especially when I go through each page with a highlighter to find all those pesky, unnecessary adverbs. Some pages had an embarrassing amount. I blame the NaNo mentality (more words, more, more, more!)

Of course, without that NaNo drive, I wouldn’t have another completed MS, now would I?

As many of you know, I’m proud to be a part of the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood’s Winter Writing Festival.

Sure, it hasn’t started yet. (The kickoff is Jan. 10.) And I just officially signed up here this evening. But I’m eagerly anticipating the kickoff — and I’ve been busy trying to craft a list of attainable goals that will still result in a big payoff when the party’s over.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

— Write at least 200 words on Beth & Cody’s story OR

— Do intensive edit of at least 1 chapter of Meg & Matt or Kenny & Kristi OR

— Read one article in one of the many unread issues of RWR I have on file OR

— Write a blog post of at least 150 words for this blog, Love & Laughter. Posts for the weight loss blog don’t count.

There you have it — a list of simple and attainable goals that will still add up to big progress.

I may revisit this list again before Jan. 10 to tweak my options. But I think it’s a pretty complete just the way it is.

Any thoughts? What would you like to see me do?

Jan. 10 will be here before I know it. That means it’s time to craft my goals for the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival.

But before I do that, I feel a need to create some writing resolutions for 2011.

2010 was a very successful year for me. I wrote more than 180,000 words, entered the Golden Heart in not one but two categories, successfully completed the NaNoWriMo with a 53,000-word story and scored my first-ever contest final.

In 2011, I want to build on that success and keep the momentum going. After all, I’m now less than a year away from the big 4-0 (the arbitrary date I set for myself to get published).

But how? That’s a very good question. I wish I knew the answer — but I don’t. All I can do is try to set some goals for myself.

Keep writing. I wrote 180K+ in year because I sat down to write most days. I can’t say every day, mind you. However, I did write more often than not. I treated writing like a day job … a part-time one, at least. I took myself to Starbucks (where, until July, I did not have access to the Internet. Am I the only one who thinks free WiFi at the Bux is a bad idea?)

Continue my search for the right agent. At our last NARWA meeting, I stated the intention to send out at least two queries a week. Hopefully my agent search will become easier in April, after I final in the Golden Heart. (A girl’s nothing without her dreams, right?) Speaking of GH dreams, I already requested the week of Nationals as a vacation week so I can go when I final. 😉

— Finish the first draft on Beth & Cody’s story.

— Edit Kenny & Kristi, my NaNo novel. I started reading through it again last week and still thought it was excellent … meaning, of course, I haven’t been away from it long enough to see its flaws yet.

— Take at least two online classes/workshops this year, so I can can continue to hone the craft.

Read more. Writers read. Conventional wisdom says you should read as many books in your genre as you can get your hands on. Now that I’m concentrating so much energy on writing, I don’t read nearly as much as I used to. BW (before writing), I could devour two to three books a week. Now, I’m lucky to finish two a month.

Hopefully, that will change soon. The Boyfriend is getting me an e-reader for Christmas. I’m hoping access to cheaper books will encourage me to read more. (Then again, I have shelves full of still-unread books, and that hasn’t been an encouragement. It just adds to the clutter in my room.)

Build up this blog. My weight-loss blog is moderately successful, even if my weight-loss efforts have faltered. It’s doing so well that I pulled in more than 1,000 hits for two of the last 12 months. Love & Laughter, on the other hand, gets between 100 and 150.

One big difference is posting frequency. Here, I’ve been lucky to post once a week. There, I sometimes put up multiple entries in a single day.

Any other suggestions for me? What about you? What are YOUR 2011 writing goals?

 

Isn’t that a song title?

More importantly, it’s where my NaNo novel is as of tonight. Yes, I crossed the 25,000-word mark … important because 25,000 is half of 50,000. See, Ma? Even though I’m a writer, I can do math! 😉 That’s important because it means I’m halfway finished.

My stats, so far:

  • Words Written Today — 2233
  • Suggested Daily Word Count — 1667
  • Cumulative Word Count — 25164
  • Current Day — 11
  • Suggested Cumulative Word Count — 18334
  • Average Words per Day — 2288
  • At This Rate You Will Finish On — Nov 22 (Oh, if only I could keep up this pace and finish before Thanksgiving!)
  • Days Remaining — 19
  • Total Words Remaining — 24836 (less than I’ve already written …) 😉
  • Words per Day to Finish on Time — 1308

Pretty nice, eh?

I keep comparing this year’s experience to last year’s, though. In 2009, I signed up for the NaNo for the first time with the intention of writing 40,000 words to finish my 90,000-word manuscript. By the end of November, I’d only written about 25,000 words.

While that was 25,000 words I didn’t already have — and I finished that MS a couple of weeks later, before Christmas — I didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped.

Tonight, I sit here having already written as much as I did all month long last year. It’s a heady feeling, but a little worrisome all the same.

Is what I’m writing now any good? Or am I writing too quickly, meaning I’ll have to go back and throw three-quarters of it out when I start editing?

Maybe my speed has something to do with starting with a blank slate. Sure, Kenny and Kristi have been bouncing around in my head for years, but I only wrote one scene in which they made an appearance — and that was told from someone else’s POV (Kenny’s brother Brad, the hero in my first book).

Or maybe I’m just in better (writing) shape this year. I have been putting in a lot of practice since January. (More than 120,000 words written since Jan. 19 — and that’s without my NaNo count.)

On the plus side, Kenny & Kristi finally did the deed today. (And yes, I wrote the scene @ Starbucks. Oh, if anyone peeked over my shoulder at the screen, they would have been embarrassed … Or maybe I would have been embarrassed. Someone’s cheeks would have been cherry red, for sure.) 😉

Sometimes, the timing’s just not right.

After trying again — unsuccessfully — to get Kenny and Kristi to cooperate with my plan, I decided they just weren’t ready yet.

I moved past it, getting them off the couch. Now the story’s flowing right along. I already have 1,000+ words for the day. Hope to get another couple hundred before bed tonight.

I’ve come to that point in my story: You know, the one where my characters stop doing what they’re told.

That’s right. Although I  want them to, my hero and heroine stubbornly refuse to do the deed.

I had them right where I wanted them — alone on the couch at Kristi’s house. I even managed to initiate some hand-to-knee contact (his hand, her knee). But they refused to cooperate by going any further.

Sighing, Iput my computer to sleep for the night. When I woke up with a renewed desire to finish my scene, Kenny and Kristi still wouldn’t play ball.

I’ve already mentioned that I tend to write better sex scenes in a public place. I packed up my computer and headed off to the Barnes & Noble Cafe in hopes that they’d be more in the mood.

Even there, they refused to oblige my whim. Finally, I gave up and scrolled back a few pages to work on other scenes.

My theory is that they’re just not ready yet — even if I am. Perhaps if I add another few scenes between there (the moment they started getting hot for each other) and here (where they’re on the couch, being stubborn), they’ll actually start to behave the way I want them to.

A writer can dream, right? 😉

I'm ready — are you?

So far, work on the NaNo novel is going swimmingly. Not only did I cross the 10,000-word mark today (11,087), my hero and heroine had their first heavy makeout scene (followed closely by their first fight).

The handy NaNo stats page assures me I’m making great progress, averaging 2,772 words per day:

Current Day  — 4

Total Words Remaining — 38,913

Days Remaining — 26
This is my favorite stat so far: Words per Day to Finish on Time — 1,497

That’s right. Less than 1,500. I no longer need to log that magical 1,667 words per day to hit my 50,000-word target. If I keep producing a few hundred extra words a day for the next week or so, I’ll be sitting pretty when those Thanksgiving holidays roll around.
On a somewhat related note, I find myself disturbed on two counts:
  1. I seem to end up writing some of my most sizzling sex scenes in a public place.
  2. My characters tend to get it on — at least for the first time — in a vehicle of some sort. (Today it was Kenny’s Ford Explorer.)

I guess that’s fodder for another post, though. 😉