Fully Exposed – Day 6

DSC_8777Anybody who follows me on Facebook probably knows this about me — Saturdays are for Pinterest. It is the one morning a week I allow myself to indulge in this fun site. I do have some bookish pins there that show my characters and the areas where they live, but I also have cute animals, clothes, and food pins.

As Matthew mentioned on his site, my weekends are different than his. My work week is really Monday through Friday. Between parenting and other sluttish housewifery* activities, there is no way I can have that type of focus or concentration I need to work on my novel.

I did use today as an opportunity to get organized and to whip out some guest posts for other people’s sites and publications. My agent also has me working on something for my Gabriella Giovanni series so I worked on that, as well.

In addition, I made room for fun — as I mentioned, played around on Pinterest, but also finished Lyndee Walker’s terrific novel, FRONT PAGE FATALITY, and finally got a chance to crack my buddy, Owen Laukkanen’s gripping new book, KILL FEE!

I didn’t make my goals, but all in all a really good day.

I’ll leave you with this bit of inspiration I found — a terrific article about the routines of geniuses.

STAY TUNED for tomorrow and don’t forget to see how Matthew Clemens, my partner in this project, did daily on his goals here on his website and here on Facebook.

Today’s Stats:

Goals:

Writing: 2,500 words or three hours of revision

Walking: 1 mile

Results:

Writing: Nothing toward novel, but very productive writing day otherwise

Walking: 0

*Despite the provocative name, sluttish housewifery does not involve being a slut or being promiscuous. It means lazy. I cribbed the phrase from my friend Kristin Boldon — who borrowed it from Bridget Jones.

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Fully Exposed – Day 5

fullyexposed

I ventured through the snowstorm out to the office today (local coffee shop) and met up with some writer friends.

Before I realized it, I’d been revising and editing for four hours and was about to faint from hunger, so back to home base for some food!

I’m stoked that I got so much done on Blessed are the Meek, but also feel a little tapped out creatively and I’ve got stuff to do. My walk will not happen because the crap all over the sidewalks (snow) is up to my knees and I don’t have the energy to plod through it. No thank you.

So the walking goal will be a big FAIL today. Again.

This afternoon, I’m going to work on the list of articles I am now writing for magazines, book reviews, blogs and websites in promo sorts of ways. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be doing this. Again, I’m astonished to be in this position, where people actually want to promote me and my book.

I will never take this for granted. It is the best thing ever and something I feel like I’ve been working years and years to have happen. I’m going to remember to appreciate this whole debut author process.

But mostly I thank my lucky stars I wrote a mystery.

I am still astounded by how supportive, encouraging and just plain kick ass this mystery writing community is. The support has gone beyond all my dreams. And I truly feel like I have a whole new world of friendship opened up to me — this mystery community welcoming me with open arms.

It’s wonderful and strange at the same time. Strange because for so long, we as writers do it in isolated settings. We write our books alone for months, sometimes years, and then bam — one day, an entire universe unfolds before you.

I am so grateful for this. For the friendships I’m making more than anything.

So, I’ll sign off today, feeling blessed.

STAY TUNED for tomorrow and don’t forget to see how Matthew Clemens, my partner in this project, did daily on his goals here on his website and here on Facebook.

Today’s Stats:

Goals:
Writing – 5 hours revising
Walking – 1 mile

Results:
Writing – 4 hours revising
Walking – O

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Fully Exposed – Day 4

fullyexposed

I got sucked into a vicious spiral of designing and revising Facebook cover pages on Thursday morning. Lots of fun, but a total time suck.

If you want an entire morning swept away, this is the website that sucked me in — here you go: It’s addicting and awesome and I love it.

Finally at 9, I had to employ my secret weapon, Mac Freedom, which turns off my online access. I programmed it for 90 minutes. That’s usually about the longest I can go without resorting to grabbing my phone and hopping online that way.

Made it! Got my three hours of revising and editing in. At this point, I’m 100 percent back in Gabriella Giovanni’s world again, even though I first wrote the novel (Blessed are the Meek) a year ago. I’m living it now and feel more confident in my revisions and even more excited about how my editor’s suggestions are making this story come to life.

My editor said she thinks this second book might even be better than my first and that is the biggest compliment I could have received. My goal is to become a better writer with every book I put out.

After my three hours of immersing myself in Giovanni’s world, I surface for air and go forage for lunch, run errands, and try to stay warm on this wet rainy day. Errands take longer than I like, but I’m still spending under an hour for lunch-time activities, so that’s good.

I’m back at the computer, polishing a post for Dru’s Musings and taking a look at my Do Some Damage post. Darn you, Joelle Charbonneau, for being such a tough act to follow. : )

Even though as a newspaper reporter, I’m used to pounding out as many as four newspaper articles a day, I’m sweating over a tiny blog post. Ack! The pressure. Oh well, I’ll put something I like together and hope everyone else likes it, as well.

And then, at night on my way to pick up Juicy Lucy’s from Matt’s for my writer’s group meeting, the day gets even better with a phone call from one of the Dignitaries of the Mystery Writing Community — seriously, a true king, talking to me about my work. I just about lost my mind with happiness.

And then — my writing group, where they critiqued my young adult mystery. I wasn’t sure about writing YA, but my group loved it. In fact, one member said he thought it was the best writing I’d ever submitted to them, so that made me super happy and motivated to finish it after I get all my edits done for Blessed are the Meek.

STAY TUNED for tomorrow and don’t forget to see how Matthew Clemens, my partner in this project, did daily on his goals here on his website and here on Facebook.

Today’s Stats:
Goals:
Writing – 5 hours revising
Walking – 1 mile
Results:
Writing – 3 hours revising
Walking – 0*

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Fully Exposed – Day 3

158494820860468This morning was pure chaos in my attempt to be sitting here ready to write and revise at 9 a.m.

All because I had to wash my hair today. And because I washed my hair I had to blow it dry, which is right up there as one of the most inane and boring activities on the planet. Snore.

Today I’m starting my day at the coffee shop. I like to change it up every once in a while. (Why? You ask. Well, you saw a picture of my work space yesterday!)

Studies have shown that white noise helps creativity.

But I have a confession to make — the real reason I ventured away from my house today is because I wanted to wear my new boots. Yep. This is called Fully Exposed, right? You get the bad, the good, the ugly and the vain Kristi right here every day for the month of April.

I got these cute boots last weekend and haven’t had a chance to wear them even though I did work one day at the newspaper.

I wish I was like Lyndee Walker’s character, Nichelle Clarke, who wears sparkly blue Louboutin’s working the crime beat or my own crime reporter character, Gabriella Giovanni, who wears cute strappy sandals.

Me? No way. I soon learned as a crime reporter to wear shoes I could run in or stand in all day.

So here I sit at the coffee shop with my latte, dry hair, and cute boots.

Today I’m going to tackle the next level of line edits. These are the ones that require more thought than the fast fixes I did all day yesterday.

Because of this, I’ve already rethought my five-hour revising/editing goal. I’ll see how I do today before I make a decision on this. I don’t waiver on my writing goals — at least 1,000 a day no matter what — but revisions are a different story.

As I mentioned in my first Fully Exposed post, based on Carolyn See’s book, Making a Literary Life, that 1,000 word goal transfers into two hours of revision. But I’m going to push that to three or four, maybe some days five.

Today, I was grooving along really well doing revisions when a good friend stopped at my table at the coffee shop. We’ve been friends for 20 years, which is crazy to even think about, and I haven’t seen him for maybe six months, so of course, I was happy to set aside work to catch up.

Then back at it — until hunger drove me home.

I ate lunch and walked three-miles. It felt wonderful, but toward the end I was huffing and puffing.

Back at home, I wrote the first draft of a post for the lovely Dru at Dru’s Musings that will run in June.

After that I brainstormed what to write for my post Sunday on Do Some Damage. I came up with a few ideas, but they still need some work. Will devote the entire afternoon tomorrow to the Do Some Damage post.

PLUS, I still need to submit some article ideas to my publicist by next week for the magazine she was talking about.

But it is now 3:30 p.m. My work day is over. Time for my Mamma Italiana duties and my sluttish housewifery.*

*Despite the provocative name, sluttish housewifery does not involve being a slut or being promiscuous. It means lazy. I cribbed the phrase from my friend Kristin Boldon — who borrowed it from Bridget Jones.

Today by the numbers:

Goals: 5 hours revision and 1-mile walk

Results: 3 hours revision and 3-mile walk.

STAY TUNED for tomorrow and don’t forget to see how Matthew Clemens, my partner in this project, did daily on his goals here on his website and here on Facebook.

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Categories: Blessed are the Dead, Blessed are the Meek, Fully Exposed | 3 Comments

Fully Exposed – Day Two

myglamorousdesk

(This is a picture of my work space. It is my kitchen counter. I write here or at a local coffee shop. Glamorous, isn’t it?)

My writing on my YA mystery has come to a screeching halt.

I had planned on cranking it out and having the first draft done by no later than June 1. I was then going to let it simmer for about six weeks and then revise like mad and get it to my agent September 1st. Not sure that is realist anymore because my plans have changed and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

I got an email from my editor last night! She has the edits ready for my second book in the Gabriella Giovanni series, Blessed are the Meek. And she loved it.

I’m on cloud 9, but also ready to dig in and work my butt off to make this second book shine.

I love my kids but I couldn’t wait for them to go to school today so I could settle in and read my EDIT LETTER for Blessed are the Meek.

It is sort of like when you eat your dinner and save best for last. That’s what I did this morning. I went through my morning routine, posting two blog posts (My Fully Exposed – Day One) and another one at Mysteristas, a mystery blog I’m part of.

But the entire time, I kept thinking I CAN’T WAIT to read my editor’s letter! Like holding off on opening a super cool and big Christmas present until it is the last one sitting there among the shredded bundles of wrapping paper!

Woot!

So ….

Am going through the line edits first – those are the easiest ones to tackle. In addition, doing these gets me back into the story. I haven’t looked at it for at least a month.

The other edits are more big picture ones that I want the boys in the basement (Thanks Stephen King) to work on for awhile before I tackle them. This type of work (revision) means I tend to check social media a bit more (do line edits for 45 minutes, check Facebook and email for 5 minutes. Repeat.)

My editor is brilliant. I’m not exaggerating. She has to be one of the best in the biz for sure and I’m counting my lucky stars she’s in my corner, making me look good!

Okay, back to edits, will check in later.

Worked on line edits until lunch. Then ate and went for a walk. How was my walk? A major FAIL. I probably managed to walk half a mile before I crawled back home whimpering from the cold. This is total B.S. Where is spring? Where are the 60 degree temperatures we saw the past two days?
The only reason I even attempted a walk because it is part of my daily goals for this project. Well, today, I failed. Moving on.

I spent the rest of the afternoon, not on marketing stuff like I usually do but working on the easy line edits from my editor.

There are really two levels of line edits. One’s you fix right then on this first read though and ones you fix on the second read through. I highlight the second read through edits and copy them into a file I’m going to print out.

The edit letter will be the last thing I tackle. Those are big picture things that take some thought and can be kind of tough, but always, always worth doing. Those are the types of things that take your manuscript to the next level and if you are as lucky as I am, you have an amazing editor who makes this happen and explains what to do in very clear terms.

So my goal until 3:30 was to work on line edits. Tomorrow I will slow down and use the afternoon for some articles and brainstorming ideas I’ve promised others, including my publicist. But today, I’m riding the momentum of having this edited manuscript and edit letter in my hands.

Besides my short walk, I’ve been glued to this bar stool (in the picture above) for about five hours today. Laundry remains unfolded in a pile. The sink — well that’s a disaster that I’ll deal with tonight. Errands for today were postponed until tomorrow. But it’s been worth it. I’ve done the first round of line edits. Now I can breathe at little and am totally immersed back into this novel and the revision process.

Goals and Progress

Writing:

This goal MUST be changed to editing/revisions and my new goal is to put at least five hours a day into doing this. (Result: Made goal today.) My editor gave me a May 1 deadline to revise. If I get done early, I’ll be back to my 1,000 words Butt in Chair daily goal. If you read Brad Parks article on this, you’ll remember he says that with this plan (1,000 words a day) writers should be able to have their first draft written in three months. Stephen King says the same thing — three months. I think he says, a season to write a book.

Walking:
1 mile. (Fail. Walked .5 miles.)

Stay tuned for tomorrow and don’t forget to see how Matthew Clemens, my partner in this project, did daily on his goals here on his website and here on Facebook.

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Categories: Blessed are the Dead, Blessed are the Meek, Fully Exposed | 6 Comments