Saturday, April 3, 2010

I'm Back, iPad, Writing and Other Adventures...

Yes, I am back from the dead.

The downside is my birthday was Thursday (yes, April Fools Day...I know, apropos)
and I was still sick in bed. 5 solid days of sick.

There was no 'party like it's your birthday, drink Bacardi like it's your birthday...'

It went more like:
'blow your nose like it's your last day, drink NyQuil out the bottle, yay...' 

The upside?

The fever really gave me some lucid, hallucinatory dreams...fodder.
Hey, a girl has to make the little bit of lemonade that she can out of the deal.

More upside: Husband and daughter took excellent care of me.
Love is the best medicine.

And today...I am greatly improved this fine sunny day!
I'm out of bed, laying on a lounge chair outside in the sweet sunshine.
Easter will be at the in-laws, so I do not have to clean or cook.
I'll give that a BIG glorious WOOT!

Husband is leaving me alone out here to write in wanna know why?

Because his new lover arrived this morning.

He is obsessed with her.

When the doorbell rang, he RAN to our front door...
I think he nearly kissed the bald gnarly UPS man.

The UPS man that never delivers on Saturday.

But, apparently today is a very special holiday.
iPad Day.

Husband is gleeful.

I never saw a wrapper come off so fast in my life!
Not even a condom wrapper.
Dude meant business.
It's been a couple of hours and he is still fondling his new lover.

But, enough about me and mine...
 I have so many of YOU to visit, to catch up with.
I miss you!
How are you?
How is your writing going?

Before we discuss writing here today (which I shall do in a moment),

May I wish you a magical...



(or whatever spring holiday you celebrate)

And this important reminder:

Not that you could forget, since you are made of awesome.

Okay, now that all the warm and fuzzy's are out of the way, let's talk writing. 

Do you have a writing routine?

I think it is well established that I am a 'pantser', a 'bulldozer' or whatever the trendy term is to say I wing-it through my first draft, sans outline. (I'm a big believer in the Write Fast, Edit Slow philosophy)

But, I DO have a fairly established writing routine.

I make a point to write every day, Monday through Friday.

I am a firm believer that writing daily, preferably around the same time every day, helps the words come easier, we stay closer to our story and characters. 
Writing daily becomes part of my routine and others learn to respect my writing time, because I respect my writing time.
My daily word count goal will not be the same as yours.
It isn't a race.
Every writer has to do what works for them.
But, for me, especially when I'm drafting, I have to stay close to the story by working on it at least a little almost every day.
Or the story goes cold on me.

Usually I take the weekends off to hang with family and friends,  
But, M-F, I make sure I have solid time carved out to write.

My first draft goal is usually 1-2,000 words per day, M-F.
Yes, I have been in a zone and gone above that number, but I rarely allow myself to go under that number.
However, that is a schedule I, and my family, can live with.
What works for me at my stage in life may not work for you. 
But I do find it important to sit down with my novel-in-progress every day, even if only one page a day. 
If you can't come up with a block of time (like a solid hour) then make smaller appointments with yourself in your daily schedule. Write 10 minutes in the morning and write for 20 minutes during your lunch hour. Whatever works for you. Even a small, semi-regular, daily time for your writing, if you possibly can, keeps your head in the story.

Measure your success not by the number of words or pages you write each day, but by the consistency with which you come to the task. By the forward progress.

Keep a good dictionary and thesaurus on hand.
I use the mammoth Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus (I own every thesaurus out there, and this is by far the best, in my opinion), and the Oxford English (2-part) Dictionary (6th edition).
Especially during revisions and editing.
A good style/grammar manual is handy too.

My writing schedule is every morning, after the husband and kid are off to school and work, I get my coffee and head back upstairs, still in my jammies. I sit down with my laptop (a pen and paper and the above reference books nearby) and write. I write until I'm hungry for breakfast. While eating my breakfast I check email, write a blog post, visit your blogs and comment on them, then I throw in a load of laundry and go back upstairs and write. When I hit my daily writing goal, I stop writing (unless I am in a zone...then nothing else gets done and time slips away until suddenly there are eyes on me begging for dinner) and go about my other daily chores/life. 

If I did the chores first, or showered first, I would procrastinate the writing. I get to it first thing, because that works for me.

When do YOU write?
Do you have a daily schedule?



Summer said...

Aww, that brown bunny is the cutest!
And I agree--they really could have come up with something better than iPad.

I try to write every day, too, between the hours of 1-6pm. I wake up, shower, then eat breakfast while I read blogs and comment. If I didn't preschedule the night before, I'll throw off a slapdash post, then on to the writing. If I have a physical therapy appointment that day, I try to get in a good thousand words before, because I know I'm going to be hurtin' after!

Happy Easter!

sarahjayne smythe said...

I'm glad you're feeling better. It's a shame you were sick on your birthday. It's nice your loved ones took care of you. And those pictures are so sweet. :) Happy Easter to you, too.

DL Hammons said...

First off, I'm SOOOOOOOOO jealous of your hubby. Us boys love our toys, and this is the latest and greatest. I'm thinking of adding it to my Xmas list this year. *Cyber-drool*

I've been editing and revising for so long I've forgotten what my writing routine was. I do write something everyday. Most of my writing occurs at night between 4:30 and 8:00, and bunches on the weekend. I'm most productive on the weekends early in the AM.

Welcome back to the world of the living! Have a happy Easter!!

Irish Gumbo said...

I'm having trouble getting that iPad comment out of my head...erk...:)

Hey, I have that thesaurus! Woot! But...but...I don't have a writing routine (yet) is to my shame (sob)

And glad to hear you are feeling better, my dear! Cheers!

Jen said...

Awww the brown bunny made my heart melt!!!! How adorable!!!

Writing has been going great! Just finished my first draft and now have a crit group put together so that when I get back from my little vacation in Los Angeles I'll be ready to hit the ground running!!!

Glad to hear that you're feeling better! Have a fabulous holiday!

TechnoBabe said...

I like the graphic of the gel tab open with hearts spilling out. That says it all. You were treated with hearts and lots of love to be feeling so well now. You made it through your birthday and you will be feeling well enough on Easter to enjoy being with family. One of the reasons I believe I am a hippie is that I do not like schedules or routine. I write when I get the urge, and that can be any time day or night. It works for me but I know some people actually have discipline to stay on a schedule. Sadly I do not do well with that. Happy Easter!!

KarenG said...

Your daily schedule sounds divine. And disciplined. I feel guilty right now. No, i don't write every day, except in my journal and on blogs, gulp, but I WANT to. Does that count? I'm taking a break from wip, letting it cool, before going back in, then I will be writing daily, at long stretches, or sometimes if I don't get the daytime hours in, I'll write during the wee hours. So glad you're feeling better :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Wonderful photos!
And please have the hubby write a review of the iPad.
Sorry you were sick on your birthday - that is yuck!

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm so glad you're feeling better - you've had a really tough time. So not fun :(

I try to do something with my writing every day, but it may not amount to much during the week. The weekdays can be chaotic. If I'm too tired or my brain's in the wrong place, I do a bit of revising/editing, work on the query or the outline...

I do most of my actual writing on the weekends :)

Christi Goddard said...

The condom wrapper remark made me LOL.

I write as often as possible. I usually write down ideas during the 8 hour shift of work, then write after I blog when I get home, then buckle down on the weekends to get some actual hours.

Terresa said...

I write mostly in the evenings, between 8pm-midnight, later on weekends and vacations. Kids are asleep then and I have (mostly) guaranteed uninterrupted dream/write/muse time.

Happy Easter to you & your folk. The bunny picts made me smile.

PS: Guess who's sick now? Moi! Laryngitis, baby. :/

Terresa said...

PS: The marketing guru behind the Apple I-pad should be fired. Or have his head examined. So many rampant jokes of feminine hygiene associated w/ the Ipad, you'd think they did that on purpose?! Srsly!

Wendy Ramer said...

I'm with you on the iPad being a feminine product marketed by Apple. (What were they thinking with that name???) As for my writing schedule - not exactly a schedule. More of a when-my-muse-hits-me kind of moment. Fortunately, it happens frequently enough. Hope you enjoyed your beautiful day of good health and sunshine ;-)

Shelley Sly said...

Welcome back and happy belated birthday! I hope you are feeling much better!

Those bunny pictures are the cutest!! :D

And I agree about the iPad... besides that it makes me think of periods, it also sounds like someone saying iPod with a crazy accent. At least to me. :-P

Lexa said...

I absolutely adored your commentary on your husband's reaction to his new iPad. And I agree with you. Apple could have come up with a catchier, less reproductive-sounding name.
Reading all of these wonderful blogs about writing makes me want to write so badly, but I'm lacking inspiration.
Anyways. Have a fantastic Easter!

Lorel Clayton said...

Happy (belated) birthday! Glad you're feeling better. I completely agree about writing everyday. When I don't, I notice a significant deterioration of skill and motivation.

Anonymous said...

Hi - my first time here. Love your post. "'blow your nose like it's your last day, drink NyQuil out the bottle, yay" LOL! Happy belated birthday. Sorry it wasn't so great.

I'm with everybody on the name of the iPad. I guess they could have named it iTampon and people still would have salivated over it.

Susan Fields said...

So glad you're feeling better and that hubby and daughter took good care of you! In the past few years, I've started waking up at like 3 or 4 in the morning so I can get a few hours to write before the rest of the family wakes up. I don't do it on purpose, I think desperation for quiet writing time has warped the sleeping mechanism in my brain. So I write from whenever I wake up until 8am when I help my youngest daughter get ready for school, taking small breaks to see hubby out the door and get the older kids off to middle school. Usually after 8am, my day just gets too busy and I never get back to the writing, but usually I at least have a few hours in by then.

Happy Easter to you!

Kazzy said...

I hope you see your husband sometime soon, and that the three of you can make some kind of arrangement. LOL

I am glad you are better today. Keep on healing!

Talli Roland said...

Welcome back! Glad you're feeling better and happy belated birthday.

Happy Easter, too. That photo of the bunny in the teacup is too cute!

I have a definite writing routine that must be adhered to in all cases. Any variation spells disaster. I write on my fiction projects in the morning, usually striving for between 2500-3000 words if it's a first draft. Then, in the afternoon, it's on to my other writing: non-fiction, which I write under a different name. That's much more like my 'work' with lots of deadlines and finicky tasks.

Jen said...

I have an award for you over at my blog!

arlee bird said...

Easter blessings to you from the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge


Anonymous said...

Happy belated birthday, and I'm glad to hear you're feeling better!

Thank you for sharing your writing schedule - I'm always curious to hear how other writers do it. I am much more regimented with draft #1 and have a similar schedule to yours. But revision, especially discovering a new avenue of research I must turn down, changes that structure. I'm trying now to keep the tight schedule of writing first thing in the morning because it's a good one to maintain, and then researching in the afternoon, but honestly the writing has slipped a bit. I'm again feeling a bit overwhelmed with the research. Though I love researching, it tends to take over my life if I let it... and I've let it! But your post has inspired me to get back on track, so thank you!

Elliot Grace said...

...three active kids and an irregular work schedule have unfortunately sent my routine into a tailspin of late. One way I've learned to adjust however, is to constantly have "the project" swirling about in thought. While at the job, not a scrap of paper is spared, no idea too outlandish for its moment in ink. I collect my pile of debris each evening, spread it out over my desktop, spin them into something interesting, and roll with whatever time I'm blessed with. Certainly not an ingredient for landing one's work in the NY Times, but its the plate I've been dwelt, and so I chew when I can. the Kipling quote Lola, it's a keeper:)

Helen Ginger said...

Making note to self: Only get sick just before holidays. I rather like the idea of no cooking or cleaning up!

I admit, I don't write every day. I do edit every day. Sometimes my own stuff. Mostly for others. Sometimes I can get through 2000 words; sometimes not.

Enjoy your Easter -- and no relapsing!

Straight From Hel

Amy Jo said...

One of my New Year's resolutions was to write every day. Sadly, that hasn't happened. I like how you mentioned breaking it down into small portions of time. That makes it sound more manageable, so I'm going to give it a try. Thanks for your post!

Crimey said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

I hope you're feeling better! I've been down with a cold for a few days myself which zapped all of my energy. Getting better though. Get better soon.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Glad you're feeling better. Easter is certainly appropriate for a day to rise from the tomb of the sick bed!

Since I am a blood courier currently, my writing must be squeezed into my ever-changing schedule. Every day, even if it's only revising something from the day before. I plot while I drive {Beware thou unfortunate drivers beside me.} Just kidding.

I found you while I was blog-surfing. Oh, and the great thing about your husband's new lover -- you can sit on her!

Come check out my blog if you can squeeze in the time.


Palindrome said...

I don't have a schedule but I usually do most of my writing on the weekends. I try to do stuff during the week but the "real" job exhausts me so I'm not so productive afterward.

I'm glad you are back and well!

Piedmont Writer said...

Oh my Precious I'm so glad you are feeling better. You sound better so all the love and attention from Hubs and daughter must have worked.

Happy Easter! I hope you had a good day.

I write whenever Monster Baby is in school. I have got to get out of the blogosphere though, it is eating me alive. I just can't help it though. It's like a drug.

Anonymous said...

Glad you're back! I like what you had to say about writing schedules, etc. Mine changes like the seasons. When I had no responsibilities (high school/college) I wrote at night, all night. Now I find that early morning works best for me, but it's a challenge to fit it in first thing.
What usually happens is I wake up and scribble something for later. Then after the oldest child is off to school, I blog/email during breakfast. after that, I play, eat lunch, then, when one child is napping and the other is having "quiet movie time," I write. for two whole hours. I try to get 1000 words, but I don't set a word count for myself...just keep an eye on the counter. I find that if I set an amount, I start to focus on that instead of the words I'm writing.
Now, my youngest is not so good with napping so I am moving writing time to evening again. It's okay, but so hard to keep my eyes open. xx

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Hi, Lola! Thanks for stopping by Book Dreaming. I can't believe I haven't found your blog - there are a TON of familiar faces here! :-)

I LOVE the cute bunny in the cup!

Aubrie said...

Hi Lola! Thanks for stopping by my blog! Yours is AWESOME. Where did you find all those cool Easter pics? Anyways, I write 1k a day and that's it for me. After that all that comes out is crap. So 2k rocks. :)

angfla said...

The condom wrapper comment-so funny! I really enjoyed this post. I absolutely agree that it's essential to write everyday. That said, however, I'm having issues with this on my curren WIP (thank you for your comment on my post re: that by the way). I've found, however, if I so some work on the novel everyday, usually some light editing, it also serves to keep the story fresh in my head. I do think even if you can't write it's absolutely essential to make some kind of progress on your novel every day.

Tara said...

Yea! for feeling better! Hope your Easter was great.

I write whenever the mood strikes. lately, that hasn't been often *sigh* But I am forcing myself to edit at least 1 scene per day - usually after the kids and hubs go to bed.

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Glad to hear you're feeling better! Happy belated birthday :))

I'm jealous of your hubby and his new lover.

I keep a Mon thru Fri writing schedule. Plus I give myself deadlines for certain tasks. I need them. Believe me!

Hope you're having a wonderful day :)

G.~ said...

I really have nothing more to say, than I simply love your blog; the content, the way you write and of course that your favorite movie is Say Anything...

You have made a follower out of me. ;)

Jackee said...

Glad you are feeling better and I'm glad you found me so that I could find your blog! :o)

(And a late happy birthday to you.)

Anonymous said...

Happy Belated Birthdyay.

Glad you feel better.

Yes, I write every day. Can't pay the bills otherwise.

I write first thing in the morning, after yoga and/or running, but before I start my day. That's my first 1K.

Then, I switch back and forth on projects as required by deadline.

Lola Sharp said...

Everyone--Thanks for all the birthday and well wishing!

Y'all are legit, yo!

Peace out,

Lola Sharp said...

Oh, and husband is STILL fondling his newest lover. It's lame. ;o)

Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist said...

"I never saw a wrapper come off so fast in my life!
Not even a condom wrapper.
Dude meant business.
It's been a couple of hours and he is still fondling his new lover."

Dude - that totally cracked me up.

And damn! 2000 words a day! I am so jealous. ;)

Jade said...

Darth Vader recently lured me over to the dark side and I'm now an outliner. You should join us. We have waffles and chocolate sprinkles.

Joanne said...

I do write every day, but don't set a wordcount. Instead I have weekly goals that I've written down, and work on checking them off as I go. Hope you had a Happy Easter!

Voidwalker said...

Welcome back. Sorry to hear about the sick thing... If it makes you feel any better, I just got back from my honeymoon cruise not that long ago and I was slightly sick the whole time with an upper resp infection. blegh, but hey, I survided and so did you, so YAY to us and BACK TO WRITING!

Watery Tart said...

I'm really glad you stumbled into my blog, because I LOVED this! A little bit of everything, but all well said. I'm glad you're feeling better. Totally agree with you on the writing MUST BE ROUTINE. I write every night--about 90 minutes (naked in the bathtub). The ONLY exceptions is if we have a party (about twice a year) or one of my kids has a sporting event (about 10 times a year that it goes so late I get no writing in)

Marla said...

Sorry you were sick. Glad you are better.

Happy belated birthday to you!

Love, love, love the bunny pictures.

Writing schedule? I need a serious intervention.

May your pen be mighty

May your pen be mighty

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Lola Sharp
My name is Lola. (I'm not a showgirl) Yes, L-O-L-A Lola. It's the least of my worries. Let's move on, shall we? This blog is mostly about my misadventures on the journey to publication and beyond. My passion for lush prose, quirky characters, art, music, literature, performing arts and anything creative will be a major theme here. This journey of mine will not always be pretty. Much like rubbernecking a train wreck, I know sometimes you just can't help but look at the carnage that is often my life. So strap on your neck brace, helmet and 5-point harness and come along for the ride! Licentia poetica.
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