Like many writers, I belong to several writing related groups. Two are in-person critique (and support) groups. There are several on-line groups as well. One of those is a private group where we don’t so much critique one another’s work as we’re there to answer questions about the process, discuss what we’re doing and why, and brainstorm. Yet there was no accountability. Until this past week when my friend and fellow blogger at Mad Genius Club, Cedar Sanderson, challenged us to set a daily writing goal AND post our daily outputs. Judging not only from how my writing has been impacted but from how others in the group have responded, that daily accountability has helped most, if not all, of us.
I’ve never been one to set a hard goal for how many words I’m going to write in a day or week. The few times I’ve tried it, it backfired on me. Life interfered or the story dried up. Something would almost always happen to stop the flow. But not this time. Now the writing is happening and, with the exception of yesterday when I only had time to blog because I had to clean house and cook and do all the stuff you do to get ready for company, I’m meeting the goal of 1,000 words a day. More than that, I’ve been blowing past that goal most days.
That’s been a great feeling, especially because I’d been stalled on Nocturnal Challenge. Perhaps that has been the difference this time. I was stalled on Challenge and had finally given up and started working on something else. Then Cedar issued her challenge and, well, Mac and Company from the Nocturnal Lives series started clamoring for my undivided attention.
(Of course, so did at least six other stories, all of which have been told to hold on. I’ll get to them shortly.)
I will admit that Nocturnal Challenge is still presenting me with challenges. For one, I’ve completely tossed the last half that I’d already written. I realized pretty quickly that I’d forced it and had forced the characters to do things they wouldn’t normally do, at least not in the situations I’d thrown them into. That was my fault. I wasn’t listening to my characters and I wasn’t trusting my gut. I had it in my head that this series would end with Challenge and, being the stubborn woman I am, I was determined to end the series with Challenge no matter what.
Only, the series can’t end here. Not unless I wind up making Challenge three books in one. Which would be okay if it was only going to be digital but it’s not. So, I had to rethink what I’d done and, much as it hurt, toss the tens of thousands of words (don’t worry, they are in another folder. I have learned never to throw anything completely away when it comes to writing. You never know when something will come in handy later.)
I’m probably two weeks away form finishing the novel. I say probably because after I finish the ending, which will be another day or two depending on how much work I can get done this weekend, I will have to go through the entire thing, making sure I have the ending properly set up in the first half. Then it will be off to the beta readers and, as soon as they finish, final edits and out to the public.
After that? I’ll be finishing up Honor from Ashes, the third book in the Honor and Duty series, and Dagger of Elanna, the sequel to Sword of Arelion. After that, well, I need to put the finishing touches on Skeletons in the Closet (yes, Amber, it is almost done.) There are a couple of other standalone projects coming up and then it will be back to the series work. So, yeah, I need accountability to keep me on track.
Oh, man, who am I kidding? I need a keeper and someone with very pointy boots to keep me on track.
In the meantime, this image is acting as quasi-inspiration for Nocturnal Challenge. The storm clouds of rebellion have been sown and life for Mac and her family and friends will never be the same.