brown fountain grass closeup photography
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I’ve heard this expression so much this week I had to begin with it.


Being ‘in the weeds,’ I guess, is to be hung up in the details.

Missing the forest for the trees.

That’s a bit where I am.

I got hung up in the prep for CAMP, and the writing got off to a slow start.

It’s going better now.

I’ve finished the ending and done a little more. Notes to myself look something like this:


As of the last post, I had a little over 5K words.

To date, I have 13,034.


(I wrote that before I knew it would be)

TODAY (JULY 7th) I caught up to my word count goal and am now back on track for writing 1k a day to make my goal. I’m excited, and I can’t wait to update.

TODAY (JULY 10th) I caught up again after falling behind. I wrote nearly three thousand words. I had more to say here, but my update didn’t save.

TODAY (JULY 13th) I am finishing this post before I do any more writing on LUKE. Priorities.

My progress has seemed scattered to me, but the truth is it’s been quite good. Not only the word count, but also the actual product.

I’m pleased with what I’m writing.

I went through beginning to end (or rather vice versa) and there’s very little off target.



Here’s the progress my board has made!


I’m still getting distracted. Don’t think all those words are LUKE related. I’ve done a lot though, and I’m proud of my progress.

A little more than halfway to go.

See you next week.



Hello all!

Welcome back to the madhouse.

You may or may not be aware that this is my first post since JULY CAMP NANOWRIMO began, but I wanted to show y’all how I have set up and prepped the last few days of JUNE. Here’s a recap of where I am on the project as of the last post:

Hope*writers had a 14 day challenge I took up at the end of JUNE. There were 14 days left in the month, and I challenged myself to work on my second novel LUKE for 15 minutes each of those 14 days.

I succeeded.


photo of a woman holding an ipad
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Now a little about how I prepped for CAMP.

You may remember that CAMP NANOWRIMO is a little different in that you can set your own word count goal. I typically use the CAMPs (in APRIL and JULY) to rework novels I have started in NOVEMBER. This project (LUKE) is an exception to that rule. I started it as a new project last JULY and am trying to publish it out of the order in which it was written.


Because it’s a completed story: I know the beginning middle and end. I know all the major events, though some of the details are bound to change. That’s not true for all my fiction, plus LUKE is definitely more “written” than some of my other ideas.

Since I know all the major elements of the story and have gotten stuck typing them in order, I’VE COMMITTED TO WRITING THE THING BACKWARDS:


Because it’s good for me. I’ve never done anything like it before, but as several of my students can tell you, I often tell them to write the parts they know.

Often that includes the ending.

Since I know the ending, I’m going to write it. Since I know the scene before that, I’m going to write that too, and the scene before that, and so on.

When we get to where I began before, I’ll deal with it.

I think my characters will look different this way (from back to front) and it will be easier to write some of them.

Some of them are just going to be hard to write no matter what.

Moving on: CAMP NANOWRIMO Prep:

I started putting together my notebook. I blessed myself the day I found these things and remembered the hard work I have already put in:

Lots of notes on characters. What they do and who they are. I’m really excited I found this.

This is what I spent the 30th of JUNE doing:



I decided to make a KANBAN board to help me with this month. I’ve done a very simple one here with only three categories.
TO WRITE: The scenes I haven’t done yet. For the purpose of CAMP this year, I’ve decided to group all the scenes together and either rewrite or heavily edit those that I have already written.

IN PROGRESS: These are the scenes that I am currently working on and will be writing this month. When I decide to work on a scene, as soon as I have any words on it, I will move it to the IN PROGRESS board.

DONE: I’ll take each scene and move it down accordingly. I’m really excited to be able to see my progress throughout the month and to be able to share it with y’all.



man with fireworks

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Last week I went through some rough moments. I hope this week will be better.


Something isn’t Nothing

I have a whole lot of something. An entire week’s worth of writing I didn’t have before, and much of it is actually on topic! How wonderful!

beautiful blur close up colors
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Got a lot written in my notebook before falling asleep most of the day. Then watching the countdown clock while trying to read for censorship. All in a day’s work.

I did do some interesting work on LUKE’S background. You know, pre-story elements that influence or foreshadow events in the novel.

JUNE 24:

I typed the word LUKE.

Actually, I did begin the very important step of organizing a story binder for my novel. This is where I take all the loose pieces of paper and put them together in a binder. It reminds me of story elements I may have forgotten (like the layout of a certain apartment complex) or need a refresher on (what was the bartender’s real name?). Remember, it’s been a year since I looked at this stuff and not all of it has stuck.

JUNE 25:

I am hopeless. I will do the hard work.

Today it has been especially hard to write about LUKE because I feel so uninspired and tired of the whole project. I’d love to say there are only five days left in the challenge, but that’s only in the blog challenge. I don’t know why I can’t seem to sit down and write about LUKE no matter what I do. So here I sit writing about how I can’t write about my book. That sounds like a filthy excuse, and I should go back to writing.

Upon a second glance, it looks like I did some important background work on a couple of characters. That’s never wasted time.


So, I’ve done more blogging about writing than writing itself. That’s ok the writing will come next month.

JULY CAMP is next month (only a few days now). I’ve adjusted my goal from 50K to 30K.


If you remember, I wanted to write 50K in APRIL and didn’t make it. I did make 30K.

While I totally believe it’s possible to write 50K in a month and plan to do it again in NOVEMBER, I don’t think this month or this project is the time to push boundaries. I would rather have 20K of usable words than 50K of gibberish, which is usually what I come up with the first go round.

For JULY’s hard work, I am going to try to write LUKE backwards.

Yes, you heard me. End to beginning.

You may be thinking:

But why?!? Didn’t you say you already have the beginning done?

YES! look how far it’s gotten me…


I started practicing the backwards thing, trying to tell myself the story in reverse. I actually remembered quite a bit, I’m proud to say.

Here’s me getting real with myself about a couple of my characters:

They’re not going to be considerate people, and they’re not going to have good ideas.

Sometimes I have to get over what I thought I was doing and write the characters as they are, not as I would wish them to be. Not everyone in my stories are nice people, and though it would be great to only write about nice people, I’ve committed to telling the truth in my fiction, and the truth is frequently ugly.


Yet another (unconventional) character has appeared in my peripheral vision, and though s/he must be acknowledged, I’m not sure s/he must be developed. We shall see.

Questions about setting. Whether the events I have taking place are appropriate for the location they are taking place and vice versa. How do my characters fit into this setting, and do I have the right things in place.


More blogging than writing, but that’s ok. It’s the last day of the month tomorrow and that will be my final prep day. I’m going to continue assembling my notebook and will be ready to rock and roll on the 1st

…with all my scene sticky notes listed backwards.

Catch you up next week!




J says: I’d rather be 100% done with 10% of the work than 10% done with 100% of the work


LUKE for 15MIN. What am I going to do? I hate all of it. It’s garbage.
Next month is CAMP, and I know I should work on LUKE, but I don’t know where to start.
Go back to the list:

when in doubt, we can always…

  • begin at the beginning
  • muddle through the middle
  • end with the ending

It just so happens this novel has three parts, so that’s particularly helpful.
I think I will go over the notes and decide what to do.

MUDDY MIDDLE IT IS! I decided to tackle this character head on and try to get inside. We shall see how it works, but for today that is enough.


Today I did the work of going back over my notes, or at least starting to. I began to get the character a little more. I re-met the person I have been writing about for months.

It was like running into an old acquaintance and remembering some fond and distant memory the two of you share.

I was inspired by my writing group, BYONAP (more on them later), whose assignment it is this week to uncover some character quirks. We wanted to have a laugh and that’s what we’ve come up with.  This is not the project I’m working on for them, but I decided it was a good dry run for that work.

So, I began to unearth my character’s quirks as well as his/her past and the reasons he/she ticks. My characters have a heartbeat and I treat them like real people who whisper their stories in my ear.

I am not afraid to share them with you.

However, I don’t want to give the story or parts of the novel away by referring to specific characters and their development. That’s why the he/she.

I don’t even want to know which character I’m talking about unless I just happen to remember. It’s important y’all not feel like you’ve read the novel before it’s published, because that would suck, and you wouldn’t want to buy it.

I want you to want to buy it very much.


Mostly rambled. J asked how an event happened. I’d thought about the event, but not the episodes leading up to it.

I realized I need some more research (or at least quick google searches to make sure I’m not making stupid mistakes)


More ramblings on another character. How he/she is dressed and what’s the particular problem. Insecurities and character quirks. Details about this person’s job.


ALL IS DOOMED. I may have to start over. I’ve been asked and asked myself some hard questions about these characters. Deep questions about their motivations and backgrounds that formed the people they are. I don’t know if I’ve said it here, but I feel and respect my characters as real people telling me their stories, so to think I may have misjudged them or they may not end up where I thought is disconcerting. This is probably nothing new, but I’m panicking.

DIRTY REALISM is the official genre, says R. I’m pretty sure that still makes it LIT FIC, but who knows.

Another character has entered my head and I’m wondering about the necessity of creating yet another. Madness I tell you. These characters are doing things that don’t make sense to me and I’m afraid I’m going to end up with yet another story I didn’t intend to write.


Starting back over with a character. R asked me to describe this character and it got me thinking about his/her motivations and origins. It was nice to go back to the drawing board, though I still haven’t looked at my notes or anything. All of this is coming out of my head, and I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing. It’s helpful to re-think the whens whys and hows of where characters came from and how they got to where they are.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading and stay tuned to me *hopefully* getting my act together next week. Until.


ARE you my mother? (explicit)

Remember that kid’s book?



Nobody wants to be that baby bird’s mother except his/her actual mother.

That’s great. Awfully sweet.

If my manuscript was a baby bird, it would have perished long ago.

I have been so inattentive, I almost killed the thing worse than my houseplant. I’m so neglectful. So far I’m SIXTEEN days into JUNE and I’ve barely touched the manuscript except to take these glorious





Poor LUKE has suffered, but I promised to give updates and I’m committed to being honest about it. My first struggle has been to START.

I wanted to start at the beginning of MAY, but it turns out I may need that month off as a break from the SCHEDULE I’ve created for myself.

I also wanted to begin at the beginning of JUNE, but it seems I had other fish to fry.

My struggles have been TWO:

  1. I have not wanted to reread the part I have written, which amounts to a full section (or third) of the whole. There is no reason I should not want to reread this except I am tired of being in that character’s head. See point 2.
  2. I have resisted entering another character’s head, for the second third of the book, because I’m not a fan. I find parts of this character personally despicable, and I don’t wish to enter that mindset. It’s understandable, but my conclusion is…


and deal.

with the WORK at hand.

Then I decided to be gentler with myself, and I went to explore hope*writers and see what they were up to…


long story short…they’re doing a 14 day challenge and there are 14 days left in June.

I mean…

It doesn’t get any clearer than that. So my only challenge for the rest of the month is to work on LUKE for 15MIN a day.

Of course I’ll keep you posted.

Here’s another thing about baby birds. At some point, and I have witnessed this recently, mom or dad leave the nest, and the babies are on their own.

That means flying or falling. Falling means dying or flying, as I’ve also witnessed.

It takes some nerve to creep to the edge of the nest, but the only choices are up or down.



LUKE, I am your…Mother?

My second novel has an official name, and that name is LUKE.

LUKE is not the final title, it’s not even the first title, but it’s short enough to be as good as an acronym.

In case you forgot (I did), Here’s what I said last time:

I’m working on my second novel draft (gulp), and I am going to blog through the (my) process of drafting (putting together) a novel.

I’m using the blog to measure my progress week to week and also as an accountability tool for getting the stuff done.

So here we go:

I’m often tempted to feel behind, or that I haven’t spent as much time on LUKE as I should. I remember I felt this way in APRIL about the writing work I was doing then. The truth is I am far from behind and this draft is going much better than my  FIRST NOVEL, partly because this time I have a plan.

I’ve dedicated JUNE to working on LUKE, on trying to get a FIRST DRAFT done. When I say first draft, I mean something readable, something I don’t mind letting other people see. It’s actually taken me THREE drafts to get to this point and that’s where I’m going to start the month.

My progress to date:

I began the very first draft of LUKE a year ago in CAMP NANOWRIMO JULY 2019. My first step was to jot down on a piece of notebook paper a question about one of the characters. The notes about this person flowed, and I filled up both sides of the paper in no time.

From there, I plotted an outline that turned out very different from those first scribblings, but was an actual story, all told, beginning to end, if only in bullet points.

In JULY I began the hard work of sitting down to write the thing and found I had more to say than I had planned. The story and the people kept changing under my hands though I had the same distractions and tangents that happen when I sit down to write. I managed to get the whole story out, from beginning to end (though not in that order).

I let it simmer.

That’s a fancy way of saying I tried to forget about it for a year or longer, but that didn’t happen.
Some people’s stories just need to be told.

After some time, I began the business of copying and pasting a manuscript together. This is a long and boring process of combing through 20,000+ words of pure garbage to find the nuggets of gold I buried along the way. I slogged through it, and I made it.  I put those pieces in order, tried to make a hodgepodge from what I had unearthed, and completed some of my incomplete thoughts.

I found:

  • a lot of repetition
  • parts of the story I told myself over and over again, while other parts I changed, and still others I didn’t even remember writing (these are undoutedly the best).
  • few pieces missing entirely, mostly everything I need in abundance.

Just one problem…

It doesn’t make any sense.

So, I printed it out,

read it,

and now I’m in the process of retyping it WORD FOR WORD in the right order.

I’m crafting a story that didn’t exist before anywhere but in my head.


There are so many steps and so much work that is done behind the scenes. I’m not trying to get credit for how hard I work (or am I?), but I am saying it is no easy feat to put a novel together.

It’s no mystery to me why most people never finish the books they start.

Next week I’ll share some of the struggles and stages I’m working through and let you know how it’s going. Until then.


To Whom it MAY Concern:


If you trust in yourself. . .and believe in your dreams. . .and follow your star. . . you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy.
Sir Terry Pratchett

I was asked again the purpose of this blog, and while I’d like to redirect anyone with similar questions to ABOUT THIS BLOG, I realize it was written many moons ago and may not be strictly relevant.

So I read it.  It’s probably as good as it needs to be, and I really don’t feel like redoing the thing now, but it made me think about what I am doing going forward.

I started this blog as a challenge from someone else.

Its continuation has been more a challenge to myself.

This blog is about fearlessly writing and publishing in the face of a faceless audience. It’s about putting myself out into the world. It’s about practicing on a weekly basis, having a target, and writing something readable. It’s a benchmark.

What this blog is NOT: It’s not my author platform (that’s coming). It’s not for y’all as much as it is for me (though I love having readers, and nothing gets me more excited than seeing a new comment or follower). I’m not trying to become famous or launch a product (at least not yet).

Mostly I’ve found this blog is about learning how to blog. Learning how to finish a thing and call it good. To do the hard work as well as the dreaming. To win small victories so I can appreciate the big.

It’s tempting to think I haven’t accomplished anything. That this blog does not resemble anything I want it to be and must therefore be a failure. Then I remember I said from the start this blog (and myself) was under construction.

Somehow it keeps happening, and nothing has yet exploded.

I keep cycling through the stages of grief. Memories can lie and time is a thief.
Bobby Keane

I have been using the months as a way to plan content and, though May sneaked up on me and found me planless, she also obliged me by moving fast. This is how I know I have not been a failure no matter how I feel about my content.

Let’s revisit:

February: I planned to post every day.

March: I wrote 4 professional style posts.

April: I wrote about my Camp Nanowrimo progress.

May: I made puns.

Here’s a sneak peek for June:

I’m working on my second novel draft (gulp), and I am going to blog through the (my) process of drafting (putting together) a novel.

I’m using the blog to measure my progress week to week and also as an accountability tool for getting the stuff done.

So that was a long way of saying the blog began as an outlet for my thoughts and has become a way to keep myself accountable in publishing weekly. If you like what I got, stick around.



MAY the Force be with You

It’s as good a greeting as any, especially for this nerd. I tried for another pun on May, but this is what I got.  There’s a lot going on, but not much to write about.

Last week’s theme was starting over, and I do feel I have been. I’ve been trying to get used to a new schedule, one that has me waking earlier and hitting the sack earlier too. I’m trying to accommodate other people’s schedules into my own, and it is not easy.

I’m reminded why most people go to a place for a certain amount of time to do their work, then come home. It is a full time job trying to keep up with other people.

So why the Force? The Force is a living thing that flows through universe. It requires balance and attention. Why wouldn’t you want that on your side? I need all the help I can get with this new lifestyle.

Also it has been a little like forcing myself to work on some of these projects. To get up early. To remain consistent in my timing and my communications. It needs a lot more work, but this is where I’m starting:


4 to 6 AM WORK




9 to 11 AM WORK


1 to 2PM WRITE

2 to 4PM EDIT





We shall see how well it actually works. Let me know about some of the ways you’re starting over, or what you have been doing that’s working for you these days. Until next time.


MAYFLOWERS: Starting Over

Remember the old saying?

April showers bring May flowers

It’s been on my mind lately.

What do May flowers bring?




sunset ship boat sea
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You’re welcome.


The saying has been on my mind because we’ve had a rough month.


It’s as though it’s been raining for six to eight weeks, though the weather here has been glorious.


For the first time, I’ve noticed spring on a daily basis. I’m appreciating the difference, however short, in the seasons where I live. I’m also more aware of what people are doing, or not doing, and interested in people’s lives like I’ve never been before.


Could it be the rain has brought something beautiful out of a yucky situation?


Look around. What do you see that has improved during the past month. What are the benefits of what you have sown before the rain?


MAY DAY: Final Camp Update

Sorry about the late post.

200+ Free May Day & May Images - Pixabay

Well that didn’t go at all as planned.

Final count was just over 30k words, which would have been a more reasonable goal for the month, but oh well. For Camp, you’re even allowed to change your goal, but I feel it’s cheating to change it on the last day.

So I lost…

Events | The Uncommon Geek

…but I was only competing with myself.

I had a lot going on in April.

I tried really hard, and I got a lot of words in spite of not reaching my goal.


I’m told I’m being gracious to myself. I don’t feel that way, but I hope it’s true.

Free Printable May Day Baskets | Skip To My Lou

Also it’s May Day and we’re supposed to be flying streamers and dancing around maypoles. I doubt many people feel like doing that this year, but it’s a good reminder that life moves on with or without us.

I’m celebrating anyway. If nothing else that I’m done with Camp 🙂

I have a couple of thoughts, but I’m not sure what my May goal should be for the blog. Any ideas?




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