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Posts from the ‘Write 500k!’ Category

End of September 2016 – Short Story September is a Bust

Not much left to say. This September challenge was a bust. Between my internet deciding after 4 years it would just not work anymore and me getting a bad cold at the end of September, I didn’t finish much.

Seriously, how did I get sick? I haven’t had a cold in…three (?) years? But there I was in the last few days of the month blowing my nose and guzzling cold meds.

Internet is all fixed too. I just felt like I was on the phone everyday. It would work for about an hour at a time. Then, I would have to restart something… again. Honestly, I’m tired just thinking about it. Glad it’s over.

So, I finished one chapter of my book. And started 3 other short stories. I’ll try to get the rest finished by the end of this month. So far this year hasn’t been very productive for me. I’ve gotten a few finished chapters of my book and two stories.

I’d like more, but it is what it is. At least I’m still writing, even if it is slow going.

Summer 100K Results & Beginning of Short Story September

I haven’t finished typing up everything I wrote for the months of July and August 2016, but as I said before, I didn’t hit 100K words. I still estimate that it will be closer to 10 – 11K in words. This is a huge feat when you consider I had barely 1, 000 words this year. Once I finish typing it all up, I’ll give the final results (hopefully this week). So what happened that kicked my productivity into overtime? Here are a few things:

Change of Routine

July chugged along and I didn’t have much success, so in August I threw the game plan out the window and radically changed my routine. Up until that time, I had been an evening writer. My routine was to wake up, have a breakfast, work (I work from home full-time now.), workout, shower, dinner, and then finally write. You know what? By the time I got my workout in, showered, and ate, the last thing I felt like doing was writing. I just wanted to turn my brain off and watch TV or surf the net.

I had tried working out in the morning, but I couldn’t do it. I’m an early riser, but I liked working out at the end of my day after sitting in front of my computer. I was used to writing in the evening, because that’s what I did when I went to an office. But once I started working from home, I had no evening commute. So I got lazy and pushed the time further and further back until I was writing at the same time some TV show was on that I didn’t want to miss. (Side note: I don’t have cable so no DVR.)

So I told myself starting in August I was going to write first thing in the morning. I woke up and before I got dressed, looked at the news, or ate any food, I would write. And it worked. The pages started to pile up. Chapters got finished. I no longer felt worn out or tired when I wrote. I also didn’t feel guilty about staring at the TV, or going out at night. Before I would beat myself up for not writing, but now I could say – I got some writing in this morning. I’m good.


Not everyday was perfect. I missed 6 days in August. But today is the 22nd day in a row I have written some fiction. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t want to break the streak. That can be addictive. I would say to myself You’ve made it 10 days, why not go for 11? And I would pick up my notebook and get a few words down, happy as a clam that the streak was still alive. Some days I still had to write at night, but mostly these were morning writing words. They were the first things done before the rest of the world got moving.


I have accepted at this point in my writing life, I am not a fast writer. I don’t get 1,000 words written a day. I get closer to 200-300 words done. While I admire those that can churn out fast copy, it’s not me. Frankly, I’d rather be slow, but consistent. The words do add up. Maybe one day I will build up my speed, but right now, I just want to be consistent again. Once in a while, I will do a marathon day, but that will burn me out. Yesterday was Labor Day in the US, and a holiday for most. I spent about 5 hours or so finishing a story. I happy it’s done, but I don’t want to do that everyday.


I’m going to stick with this routine until it doesn’t work anymore. That’s the most valuable thing I learned. When your routine doesn’t serve your needs, it’s time to change it. You might have great success.

Also I want to make a note that it is time for my annual challenge to myself called Short Story September. I started in 2014 writing a new short story every week. Last year (2015) I tried writing a story everyday, with not so great results. So I’m back to a new story every week. I’ve already started the story for this week and hope to be done by Saturday. I’m also writing a novel, so I may switch things up and work on that this month too. Either way I want 4 new short stories and/or 4 new chapters.

Submissions are also chugging along. I’m at 55 rejections, and I have four currently out for consideration. Hope to have a few more by the end of the month.

Thanks everyone for reading. Happy Writing!


Not Going to Hit 100K, But That’s OK…

I have two more days until the end of the challenge, but I already know I’m not going to hit my goal for the summer. I’m bummed, because I wanted to really knock it out of the park. I’m so jealous of those people who can easily write thousands and thousands of words in a short amount of time. I guess that is a speed I’ll have to build up to.

But I’m still pretty proud of what I did do.

As I said before, I hand write almost everything. So I haven’t typed up all my words yet for the summer. I believe it will come in around 10-11K worth of words. Not bad considering that is one completed short story and I’m deep into chapter three of my novel. I’m so proud that I actually have two completed chapters of my novel. This is from almost nothing at the beginning of July.

I’ll take it.

Another great thing? For the month of August I have written 23 out of 29 days. (I don’t count today,  because I haven’t gotten my writing finished. BUT I will.) I still have two more days of writing to go. I plan to use them to finish another short story.

In a longer post (probably over the weekend.), I’ll go into more depth on how I did as well as the final word count. And an update on my submission journey.

Later folks!

100K By September 1st!

We’re well into summer and half the year is almost gone. I’ve been so unproductive this year that I’m a bit frustrated with myself. But I keep telling myself that what gets done gets done. I just wish I could get more done.

Don’t we all wish that?

My home search is on hold right now. Here in the DC area, home prices are so competitive that it is really hard to get a place. Plus I still have some debt from JHU. So my plan is to pay off the debt, then look into buying something. In this market, every thousand dollars makes a difference. On one hand I’m sad I won’t be able to own something now.

But I also started thinking about other expenses coming in the near future. The last thing I want is to have a mortgage, school debt, and other stuff like a car, etc. No thank you. I’d rather pay off the school debt, save for the house, and then save for the car. No more debt.

Seven years ago, I was debt free as I paid off the last of my undergrad loan. That was such a freeing moment and I want to have that feeling again. It’s addictive to have no obligation to anyone.

When I was 16, I took the “Strong Interest” test in high school. Number one career recommendation? Author. Annual salary? $16K.

Yep. I knew I was in a low paying career from the beginning.

But when you don’t have debt, a small salary will allow you to be very comfortable. I just slipped up and made some no so great decisions. Still, I got an MA out of it and over all I still think it was a good decision.

So, yes, my financial life takes up all my thoughts. Writing has fallen by the way side. It’s a three day weekend here in the US. I hope to get something done. I am still submitting. A story I submitted a year ago finally came back rejected and a few others are still in the que.

Can’t say I’m not persistent or patient.

I need to attack my writing goals like I attack my debt. So I’m making a goal right now that I will write 100K in the next two months. That is my writing goal. It’s a big one, but hey, aim high right?

I think I can do it.

On Productivity and Getting Older

I am notorious for not being productive in the winter months. I don’t know why I am in denial, but here we are again in the winter and I’m not really writing. I see the pattern before me and it is always the same. I write a little bit in the first three months of the year and then sometime around April, I get me groove back and get productive again.

So right now I am woefully underwriting my goal for the year. I was supposed to be aiming for 500K, but so far I have finished 1 story at 1,114.


Right now I’m blaming my back. A week ago, I was jolted awake by my neighbor’s friend banging on their door around midnight. Apparently, her phone was dying and she was trying to wake the person up. Woke up everybody, but the actual neighbor. My back is paying the price for the jolt. I sit now in front on the computer propped up with pillows, drugged up on Advil, and periodically using my heating pad to relieve my strain.

It’s so clear now that I’m getting older.

I was never really in serious denial, but once in a while there is a moment where I realize that time really has passed. In my stories, I find myself writing about people older, wiser, not so fresh-faced. Even when I write about kids, I don’t make them typical. But it has been a while since I wrote mainly about a child.

My novel’s main character is 30 years old. I can’t picture her younger. It seems perfect. When I first started, she was older and had a different profession. But I tossed that beginning and started fresh. It feels much better, more exciting. For the first time in a long time, I can see myself finishing this novel (we will see if I actually do).

It makes sense that a lot of writers get their first novels published in their late 30’s/early 40’s. Yes, there are 20 somethings who get published. I know a few of them. But I’m glad I didn’t get my first story out until I was in my 30’s. There isn’t an ounce of me that wishes for things to be different. The writer that I am now is happier and better for it. The writer that I am now is grateful for it.

Well, the first two months of the year are a bust so far. Let’s see if I can turn things around in March. Heck, I can’t really move around anyway so… where’s my notebook. 🙂

Also just as an update, I’m still submitting my stories. I’m up to 43 rejections. So this weekend I’m going to have to search out some new places to submit.


Goals for 2016

Goal Pic


I started and stopped this post a couple of times. I tried to think of something clever and different to challenge myself this year. But the truth is that there is only one simple goal I have for 2016.

Write More.

I had four goals for 2015:
1) Complete 2 pieces a month
2) Write one long piece
3) One Year One Hundred Rejection Challenge
4) Design an E-book (cover and text)

Those first 2 I failed. I didn’t write nearly as much as I wanted too. The first half of the year I was working on my degree. Then I took a break. Then I worked on the longer story. I did complete a few stories, but no where near the 24. And my longer story? Still unfinished. I found myself running out of interest in the plot and not sure what comes next.

I don’t outline my stories, but I’m not a shoot in the dark writer either. I have a vague sense of where the story is going. But with this novella… I just lost the thread. As I’ve said before – It’s been a long time since I wrote a long story (say over 10k). Over ten years…maybe I am out of practice. Not writing, but trusting the process. Trusting myself as a storyteller.

Currently, I have 3 unfinished short stories, 1 unfinished novella, and 1 beginning of what I think is a novel. Lots of stuff started, not much done.

So my BIG goal for 2016 is very simple. Finish everything I start. I hope to have @500k in new words this year. (Yep, that’s right.)

Other goals:
1) Read at least 5 translated books. My reading habits need to expand, so reading outside of the native English speakers is good.
2) Read 50 books this year.
3) Go to 2 conferences this year. Either literary or something else. I want to keep learning.
4) Devote one day a week to the business of publishing.

I know I need to work on balance. I think devoting one day a week to working on my business (and you’d better believe it’s a business) will help keep me writing and submitting. Won’t be perfect. I may need to change and adapt as the months go on, but I adjusting to this new life out of school. Time to try new methods and fine what works best for me.

I’ve read a few blogs in the past few weeks with the same sentiments. It seems like a lot of writers are looking to write more and get back to their craft. I’m with them. I never want to lose sight of my devotion to storytelling. That needs to come first.

Here’s to 2016! And to all my fellow writers – I hope your year finds you working on your best work yet.

Oh, and about 2015 goal #4… Here’s a sneak peek:

Shhh... secret pic here...

Shhh… secret pic here…

But we’ll talk about that later…