A Month of Writing – August

MoW-ENIt seems that I’m more than fashionably late with my month writing report, but it doesn’t mean I have bad news. Quite to the contrary, after a difficult July when I had to balance both the 365k Club challenge and Camp NaNoWriMo, I caught my breath and slowed down with editing my novel, though I still took it to my day job to work on it during my lunch break. With no need to devote an hour or two every to it other evening I felt like I have a lot of time at my disposal and I took it to relax a bit while I maintained my writing goal.

With “By His Will” still being edited, I was reluctant to plunge into writing “By Her Will”, especially that I’d like to take a bit more time to develop all the plots: I’m quite satisfied on how the first book turned out when it comes to the intrigue, and I want to make sure that the second installment of the series (yes, what was meant to be stand alone book slowly grows into series against my own plans) will have as engaging story as the first one.

So instead, I focused on an old project of mine which has been around for over ten years, but I never was satisfied how the first drafts turn out. I had a lot of fun putting together an outline and ended up with solid ten pages of plots, characters and storyline, at the same discovering I’m still excited about telling this story. But when it came to starting writing… I didn’t get past the first page, because I discovered my main character is a bit too bland for my liking. So I put the project on the back burner until I figure out a way to rewrite her.

1000-Aug

It looks like I’m only mentioning projects I’m not really writing at the moment, so you might be curious what I wrote, aside some blog posts and short stories. Well, as embarrassing as it might seem, I decided to relax during the rest of the summer and write something purely for leisure: no complex plots, no extensive world building and no hassle. I gave myself permission to write horrible lines and horrible scenes, cheerfully creating a… fantasy romance.

I’m pretty sure that once I’m done with it, the project won’t be even worth the time to fix it, but focusing on it for the summer definitely helped me to relax and after the hard work I’ve put into “By His Will” it reminded me how much fun I have just writing: be it seriously, with all the intent of creating something worthwhile, or just leisurely making up a silly story of a complicated love between two people.

If you wonder why I would “waste” time on something with no future, this project not only helps me to relax and keeps my writing routine going, but it also helps me to gain some perspective. When I write all the cliche sentences and think “Wow, that’s a horrible, really horrible line!” (and I do that with a big grin since all those words are guilt-free!) I learn to be more critical of my own writing in that positive way which helps to spot issues within the text and fix them. I’ve already caught myself using some phrases repeatedly and believe me, I’ll be sure to check how many of them sneaked their way into “By His Will”.

So all in all August has prove to be a fun, relaxing month full of leisure writing, while I let my head wrap around the more serious project, fine-tuning my plots and working on the characters. It was also the eight month I’ve spent writing day after day and it makes me think that before I realize, the 365k Club challenge will be over. I have some thoughts about the challenge and I’ve started making plans for the next year, but I’ll tell you more about them in one of the next “A Month of Writing” posts.


This post is a part of the “A Month of Writing” series – a monthly report on my progress in the 365k Club challenge.

13 thoughts on “A Month of Writing – August”

  1. Joanna, your summer of free writing made me both chuckle and feel encouraged to just keep on writing even when I’m feeling out of sorts and lacking in structure. Thank you so much :o)

    1. Thank you, Debs, for your comments :). And yes, do keep writing, even if only 10% of what you write is “good”, it’s better to have the 10% of something written than 10% of nothing, right?
      Though I have to say, I can’t really write without some structure, so I do have some sort of outline for that story in my head (but then, it’s quite simple, so no need for extensive plotting), but I do lack in style and storytelling in this one: and it’s fine (at least as long as I don’t try to claim it’s the best thing ever or try to publish it 😉 ).
      Good luck with your writing!

  2. Writing romance is not that bad, reading it is really disgusting. Accordingly I read and review them regularly. Disgusting, that’s me. Have a lovely September and good luck with the next part of your series!

  3. I love that you’re giving yourself permission to write crap! And who knows, maybe it’s not as bad as you think! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Danica :). I think writers tend to forget writing can be fun and not all the writing has necessarily get “out there” and be published. It’s ok to write crap.
      (And believe me, I’ve written good and really good things, so I can tell it’s not the case this time 😀 ).

  4. Oh as a writing tutor, I’m all for changing it up and giving yourself permission to unwind in any way you see fit. ‘We’re not machines,’ I keep chanting at my students – and I think it’s a shame that many published writers are clearly under significant pressure to produce books on an industrial scale. So if you want to write romance with the odd suspect line, then you go for it and please feel absolutely guilt-free doing so:)).

    You have an impressive number of other projects trundling forward at present, anyhow…

    1. Thanks Sarah! You’re right, we’re not machines, but on the other hand in the moment when an “amateur” writer (and I mean someone who treats writing as a hobby, not someone who has no idea about it) becomes a “professional” writing (supporting themselves with writing), it unfortunately becomes somewhat of necessity to “produce” books.
      But since I’m still an amateur, as much as I want to be disciplined about what I do, I can take a break to write silly stuff and enjoy it, as you said, absolutely guilt-free.

      As to the amount of projects, it stems from two things: first one is obviously the overabundance of ideas. The second one is my way of coping with writer’s block or starting to feel fed up with one project: if I don’t feel like working on something I jump to another project: this way I don’t force myself to do what I don’t feel like doing, but at the same time I get some work done. 🙂

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