The six long weeks of the Clarion Write-a-thon are at last over. I pledged to write five chapters of A Pixie’s Promise over five weeks (I was away on vacation for the first week of the Write-a-thon). So how’d I do?
Well, I didn’t write five chapters. I wrote EIGHT!!! And then some! WOO HOO! I seem to have finally found a sound writing practice, a good rhythm that balances work and life. Creating a plot outline in advance really helped. It kept me moving and knowing what needed to come next, and yet I didn’t feel bound to follow it to the letter. In fact, I added in several subplots and twists along the way. I think this strikes a good balance, using the outline as a substrate on which the story can grow.
On the other hand, I didn’t make my fundraising goal. I’d planned to raise $125, and I was only able to raise $100. Thank you, thank you, to my sponsors, on behalf of Clarion and myself. Honestly, if I’d gotten no pledges, I think I would have lost the will to continue. Also, I promised to match all the donations I raised, so I also donated $100. Thats $200 in scholarship money for the next Clarion class. I feel pretty good about that.
Now the trick is to keep up the writing, and I think I can do that without killing myself or neglecting the other important things in my life, such as my family. In fact, I suspect that I was so successful because I built in time away from writing. I started off the Write-a-thon with a one-week cruise to Bermuda. I refused to write on weekends, because that’s time I spend with my kids. I took another short vacation, five days in Cape Cod, in which the highlight of my trip was two hours lying on the couch watching Property Brothers on HGTV. Well, and also a fabulous meal at Tumi Ceviche Bar in Hyannis. Once I got back and caught up with all the laundry, I had an incredibly productive three days of writing, and I think it was because I was well rested, mentally and physically.
One other thing: I’ve gotten faster. I used to be happy writing 1000 words/hour. On Thursday, I timed myself, and I’m now writing slightly over 1500 words/hour. This means that I can easily just churn out a chapter in a day while also running the kids to camp and grocery shopping and paying bills and doing laundry and cooking dinner and cleaning the kitchen – I actually cleaned out the refrigerator this week! Really!
So I am on track to complete the first draft of A Pixie’s Promise by the end of the month. Then I have four months to revise and polish the manuscript before I hand it in to my publisher. This is a reasonable goal, one I’m confident I can meet, even with all the small ups and downs of life. And that I can keep doing this indefinitely. Life is good.
Okay, I think I may have underestimated my writing speed just a bit. When I set my goal for the Clarion Write-a-Thon, I thought five chapters in five weeks was being overly ambitious, especially during the summer when the kids are home a lot more and camp schedules change from week to week.
But this week, despite recovering from vacation, Independence Day, and both girls being sick, I’ve somehow managed to bang out three new chapters of A Pixie’s Promise! Apparently, I write faster than I thought, which is very good news.
I’ve had some inklings of this. Back during NaNoWriMo, I produced a similar amount of writing in the first three days before getting horribly sick. Just before vacation, I finished up a completely different manuscript (more on that in the next few months) by writing a chapter every two days or so. But I didn’t know whether these were flukes.
Now I’m convinced. Once I get in the groove, I can write like the wind. I’ve finally figured out my work/life balance, and I’m producing at least 2000 words per day. I have some minor chores to do now, and then I may well sit down and try banging out another chapter around bedtime.
Meanwhile, you can read excerpts of all six chapters on my Clarion Write-a-Thon writer page. Enjoy!
Prospective cover for A Pixie’s Promise
Here it is in all its glory! The preliminary cover for A Pixie’s Promise. This morning, I wrote 1175 words of chapter 4, and I think I’m about halfway through the chapter already! I may be on to chapter 5 by Thursday. We shall see.
Well, for me, anyway. Yes, I know, the Clarion Write-a-Thon actually started a week ago. But last week I was on a cruise to Bermuda, which was lovely and restful and planned way before I decided to do the Write-a-Thon. So I consciously chose NOT to participate for the first week. But now, I’m back and raring to go!
My Plan: Write five chapters of A Pixie’s Promise in five weeks!
My Goal: Raise $125 – that’s $25/chapter – for Clarion scholarships
My Incentive: I will match all donations up to $250!!!
And I’ll have written a large chunk of my next novel while helping support the next crop of outstanding science fiction and fantasy writers. If you’d like to support me in my quest, please sign up to donate.
I’ll keep posting my progress as well as tantalizing tidbits to keep you checking back for more! For now, here’s a video of me reading Chapter 1 of A Pixie’s Promise.
Back in 1995, just a year out of college, I managed to nab a spot in the Clarion Workshop. I will never forget what I learned there. It made me a far better writer. I also made lasting friendships and connections within the science fiction community.
Now I’m giving back. Clarion runs largely on donations, and every year, they run a Write-a-Thon. Writers pledge to write a certain amount of work, counted in words or chapters or hours or edits, and supporters pledge money if those writers complete their goals. I’m hereby pledging to write five chapters of A PIXIE’S PROMISE during Clarion this summer – that is, between June 25 and August 5. My plan is to write one chapter per week, except for the week when I’m off on vacation. I’m hoping to raise $125 from my efforts – that’s just $25/chapter!
But it all depends on YOU, my readers. Can ten of you spare $12.50? Can 125 of you spare a buck? What are you willing to pay to see not only the sequel to A Witch’s Kitchen written, but also to support the next generation of great science fiction and fantasy writers? What is that worth to you? I’m betting it’s worth at least a dollar.
So please, go to the Clarion Write-a-Thon page and sign up to pledge your support, for me and other fantastic writers as we work to support excellence in science fiction and fantasy.
Hi, all. I have recently been informed by my daughters that this blog is boooooooring and not at all interesting for kids. So I’d really like to know: what would you like me to write about on this blog? What’s fun and interesting to you? Parents, please ask your young readers what they look for on authors’ blogs. As an incentive, I will a send a FREE signed copy of A Witch’s Kitchen to one person who comments on this post. Thanks!